Melanie Dickerson continues her medieval fairytales with a retelling of The Little Mermaid in “The Silent Songbird.”
Set in 1384 England, Evangeline, who has the voice of an angel, is a ward of King Richard — she is his illegitimate cousin, the daughter of his uncle. And being his ward, Richard can control her fate, and insists Evangeline marry his closest advisor, the much-older Earl of Shiveley, a truly evil man with devious plans. Unfortunately the king is blind to the earl’s true intentions.
Feeling trapped and literally fearing for her life, Evangeline runs away with her closest companion, Muriel, pretending to be mute and changing her name to Eva to hide her true identity.
When Eva meets the kind, compassionate and handsome Westley le Wyse of Glynval, she begins to realize that she is indeed worthy of love, and choosing her own love. She also learns to protect herself, as well as seek protection — whether from man or God. (“She imagined God as the father she had never known, a perfect Father.”)
Containing many references to The Little Mermaid, “The Silent Songbird” is a delightful little tale filled with romance, intrigue, danger, secrets and sacrifice. It tackles themes like freedom and independence, a feeling of not being one’s master of their own fate, bravery, feeling unworthy and like a pawn, kindness, mercy, compassion and God’s lovingkindness.
Fun little fact: I don’t know if the author intended this or not, but toward the end of the book there’s even a brief little reference to “The Princess Bride” — “As you wish.”
Dickerson does a great job, yet again, bringing commonly known fairytales to life in the medieval era.
Five stars out of five.
Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.