Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Because of A Book with Michelle Zink


For this week's edition of Because of A Book, we hear from another debut author.  An author who's book, Prophecy of the Sisters was due to release on Aug. 1st, but it got released early.  I am pleased to bring you the talented, Michelle Zink!

Michelle Zink lives in New York and has always been fascinated with ancient myths and legends. Never satisfied with simply reading them, she usually ends up asking, “What if?” Sometimes asking only leads to more questions, but every now and then, when everything falls into place just right, a story is born. Prophecy of the Sisters is one of those stories.

You can find Michelle online on her website or the Prophecy of the Sisters website.

Because of a Book
A Little Princess

It probably sounds twisted to say that one of my most inspiring childhood books involved a girl living in an attic.

And no, I’m not talking about Flowers in the Attic. Though I read that one, too.

But it was A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett that most captured my imagination in the years before scandalous family secrets and a torrid incestuous relationship captivated my attention.

In A Little Princess, Sara Crew, the daughter of a wealthy gentleman, is sent to a London boarding school while her father travels the world. With her lovely dolls, beautiful dresses, and enchanting tales of exotic locales, Sara is an instant hit with the other wealthy girls at Miss Minchin’s school. But Sara’s fortune changes when she receives word that her father is dead and she has been left penniless. Without funds to continue her education properly, Sara is forced to live in a small attic room and work as a maid at the school, waiting hand and foot on the spoiled girls who once purported to be her friend.

Sara struggles with feelings of despair, with lack of food (she is underfed by Miss Minchin), and with grief and loneliness for her father. But even in the face of all of this, Sara manages to find bright spots by imagining everything she needs to be comfortable and happy. Through sheer belief and vivid description, Sara imagines for herself and the other poor, scullery maid, Becky, great feasts when they are hungry, a blazing fire when they are cold, and parties when they are bored.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read A Little Princess, but it is one of the few books that I remember from childhood with such clarity that I can still picture the way the attic looks in my mind, the dresses and dolls, and the imaginary world brought to life by Sara’s refusal to give in to despair.

And that is the most important part. Because while there are shades of A Little Princess even in my Gothic fantasy, Prophecy of the Sisters - they share creaky, Victorian houses, gray skies and rain, and girls in gowns – it is Sara’s imagination that has stayed with me the most. Her ability to see a better life – another life - is proof to me that what I do matters. That a good story and a vividly described other-place can take us away from things mundane, depressing, and even tragic, if only for awhile.

What could be a better gift?

About Prophecy of the Sisters: An ancient prophecy divides two sisters-

One good...

One evil...

Who will prevail?

Twin sisters Lia and Alice Milthorpe have just become orphans. They have also become enemies. As they discover their roles in a prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other, the girls find themselves entangled in a mystery that involves a tattoo-like mark, their parents' deaths, a boy, a book, and a lifetime of secrets.

Lia and Alice don't know whom they can trust.

They just know they can't trust each other. 

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powells
Buy it at IndieBound

About A Little Princess:  Sara Crewe seemed just like a real princess...
When Sara Crewe arrives at Miss Minchin's London boarding school, she seems just like a real little princess. She wears beautiful clothes, has gracious manners, and tells the most wonderful stories. Then one day, Sara suddenly becomes penniless. Now she must wear rags, sleep in the school's dreary attic, and work for her living. Sara is all alone, but keeps telling herself that she can still be a princess inside, if only she tries hard enough.

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powells
Buy it at IndieBound


Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Incredible interview. I have never read A Little Princess but sounds as though I should. While I have seen Prophesy of the Sisters around the Blogesphere it was not until I read this review with the authors words that made me decide that this is a book I would love to read.

Bookfool said...

I felt like I was reading something I could have written. I couldn't possibly begin to count the number of times I've read A Little Princess, either. I can still visualize the attic, the characters, the dolls. I planned to name a daughter after Sara Crewe, if I had one. I did not. But, I'm going to get a daughter-in-law named Sarah.

Lovely article!!!

Beth F said...

I loved the Little Princess and Secret Garden. She also wrote Little Lord Fauntleroy, which I remember reading years ago, but I don't remember much about it.

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