Alina: A Song for the Telling
Von Hassell, Malve
In this coming-of-age novel set in the 12th century, Alina, an aspiring musician from Provence, and her brother embark on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to pray for their father’s soul and to escape from their aunt and uncle’s strictures. “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 got her querulous tone just right. Maybe Alina’s aunt was right. She could not possibly hope to become a musician, a trobairitz—impoverished as she was and without the status of a good marriage. But Alina refuses to accept the life her aunt wants to impose on her. Her journey east takes her through the Byzantine Empire all the way to Jerusalem, where Alina is embroiled in political intrigue, theft, and murder, and finds her voice.