"Book of a Thousand Days" ranks right up with "Briar Rose" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" as one of my all-time favorite books. I honestly can't say whether it's Dashti, the music of Hale's language, or the story itself that kept me reading til 3 AM and now sitting in front of the computer trying to compose a review that's even halfway fitting to the tale within.
When you are done with this book, you do want to
tell people. In my case, I want to give this book to several lovely
young women of my acquaintance to sit along with others that I hope
they'll read and be inspired by. I know our local schools are always
looking for donations, too.
The story is written as entries in
Dashti's 'thought book.' It opens with Dashti recounting being sent to
her new assignment as a lady's maid. Orphaned at 14, the child of the
steppes had walked to the city and given her last horse as payment for a
job. When The Mistress learned she could sing the healing songs, she
trained her as a lady's maid and sent her to Lady Saren.
she knows the circumstances, Dashti pledges herself to the 16-year-old
Saren. Then, she learns her oath will trap her in a tower with her
charge for 7 years because Saren has refused to wed Lord Khasar, the man
her father has chosen for her.
You'd think a tale of two women
stuck in a tower for many days would be boring--it's not. The contrast
between Dashti and Saren's reckoning of the situation is riveting.
Saren weeps at her misfortune, but Dashti rejoices--she has a place to
live and food for seven whole years!
And those contrasts are what
keep you reading the book long past your bedtime into the night. Next,
we see two suitors--one kind and one unthinkably cruel.
is what keeps you reading. Despite whatever misfortunes are dealt her,
she works to keep her heart full of song and faith. She believes both
in herself and others and that's a powerful message for people of all
ages. "Book of a Thousand Days" is one of those stories that's good to
find during your own hard times because Dashti's faith and message are
inspiring to the reader as well.
I strongly recommend that you
reserve about 4-5 hours to read this book and perhaps a bit more time
just to look back on some of the lovelier passages. I hope if you love
this book, you'll be passing it along to others as well. Dashti's is a
worthwhile message to spread.
Rebecca McFarland Kyle, September 2012