“You should be grateful, my girl. You have no dowry, and I am doing everything I can to get you settled. You are hardly any man’s dream.” Alina’s brother, Milos, pulled his face into a perfect copy of Aunt Marci’s sour expression, primly pursing his mouth. He had got her querulous tone just right.
I pinched my lips together, trying not to laugh. But it was true; Aunt Marci had already introduced me to several suitors. So far I had managed to decline their suits politely.
Maybe Alina’s aunt was right. How could she possibly hope to become a musician, a trobairitz, as impoverished as she was and without the status of a good marriage?
But fourteen-year-old Alina refuses to accept the oppressing life her strict aunt wants to impose upon her. When the perfect opportunity comes along for her to escape, she and her brother embark on a journey through the Byzantine Empire all the way to Jerusalem.
Alina soon finds herself embroiled in the political intrigue of noble courts as she fights to realize her dream of becoming a female troubadour.
Of special interest to librarians and booksellers:
This unique historical coming-of-age novel introduces readers to the vibrant, short-lived period of trobairitz, women troubadours in the 12th century, and to the complex historical times of Jerusalem during the age of the crusades. The narrative incorporates true historical facts and details of Count Stephen de Sancerre and his planned marriage to Sibylla.
This story of a young woman from Provence will empower and encourage girls to follow their passion and dreams. Written in the timeless style of Anne of Green Gables and Little Women, Alina’s story is destined to become a beloved classic and can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
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Average rating from 5 members
Alina suffers a major loss with her immediate family. She has an uncle and aunt who arrive and their opinions of what is right vs wrong and what she should be doing in her station really rock her foundations, As a last ditch effort Alina and her brother Milos convince her aunt and uncle to send them on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to pray for their losses. Alina meets many people that help shape her and give her the confidence to follow her dreams even if society and being a female dictate otherwise. The book was really good and I wasn't able to put it down. There was a lot of action and major plot lines that really reeled me in. I would suggest this book for anyone who enjoys seeing the main character grow as a person and with her personal relationships with a touch of historical fiction. Great read!
As a French from Toulouse, I was very curious to read this coming of age story about a young woman from Provence in the 12th century. The author did a great job researching the time period and gives a lot of interesting details, while taking some liberties with History. The plot is character driven and Alina grows a lot on the road to Jerusalem. Clumsy, naive and uncertain at first, she becomes a self-sufficient young woman, determined to become a professional musician. I loved that aspect of the novel, since I am obsessed with ancient french poetry, and would have maybe liked to see more of Alina's craft. But the court intrigues are also well played and even enemies prove to be more nuanced that Alina ever thought. In the end, what really drives Alina forward is her craft and her love for her brother. She develops a crush on a certain lord, but the author leaves it at that. I wish there would be more stories like that, about young women who don't find love, but a vocation.