Tell me – has not every somewhat literary girl out there at some point envisioned herself as Elaine, The Lady of Shalott, drifting to her doom along the river in a romantic/tragic/wonderful way? Come on, admit it. I know your little secret.
Whether or not you’ve spent time imagining yourself as the fair, cursed Lady of Shalott, if you enjoy a story told in verse, a story about a bold and whip-smart and lovelorn young woman in a camp full of dreamy soldiers, then look no further. This is your book.
Lisa Ann Sandell’s Song of the Sparrow is certainly one of the most engaging novels I’ve read this year. Reading it was one of those rare experiences when I didn’t want to put it down, and yet I didn’t want to rush along either, because I was so enjoying the lyrical phrasing, imagery, and let’s face it – the downright delicious romantic element. Bring on the handsome knights and the poetry! I’m in.
There is nothing pretentious or forced about this verse novel. There is a clarity to the language that really convinces the reader that it could have been spoken or written by the young Elaine, in her voice. This keeps you completely “at one” with the story, absorbed in Elaine’s thoughts and feelings. It feels natural and honest, just like this character. You’ll love the new spin on the old story too. Elaine is the sole female in Arthur’s camp, having grown up there since her mother’s murder. She hangs around with her brothers and Gawain and Tristan. She counts Morgan as her advisor and confidant, and has fallen hard for Lancelot. As the Britons head towards their riskiest battle ever, Elaine finds her world and her feelings are changing fast. Things only get more complicated with the arrival of Gwynivere, and soon Elaine will find that the one person she can’t stand is the person she has to trust the most.
Lisa was a guest at the readergirlz forum just this week for Night Bites. Well worth checking out that chat to learn more about Lisa’s inspiration and future writing plans. She didn’t rule out the possibility of more Arthurian-inspired verse novels. Yes please! While we’re waiting, I think we can keep ourselves happy rereading Song of the Sparrow, and getting our hands on Lisa’s acclaimed first novel, The Weight of the Sky.