We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong. We shall all, in the end, find our way home.
In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood, and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all—for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why.
I have been a long time fan of Kate DiCamillo since “The Tale of Despereaux” and I was very excited to get my hands on this book. Mostly it is a story about stories and the power of words. It could definitely be a little corny, but overall I found the writing to mask many of the repeat tropes. It felt a little bit like floating through the tale. Most often we were peripheral to Beatryce moving tangentially or even back tracking before a character joined her group. This made a lot of the story feel more passive.
I felt like the characters in themselves were very morally good, but not as interesting or unique on paper as I have come to expect with DiCamillo. What I really liked though was that the acts of the generation before were incredibly important to the story. How Beatryce was raised and what she was taught to believe in value were integral not the page time and the story as a whole.
Overall I gave this book 4 star and had a pretty enjoyable time reading it. It was heartwarming and built at a comfortable pace. I would go to the ends of the earth for the “demon-goat” Answelica though.
Publication Date: September 2021
Publisher: Candewick Press
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