“Mama used to say, you have to know someone a thousand days before you can glimpse her soul.”
Dashti is only Lady Saren’s maid for a few hours when she promises to never leave her side. She hardly realizes what exactly it is she’s promised, but it’s not long before she realizes that Lady Saren is on the verge of being locked in a tower for seven years for disobeying her father and refusing to marry a man she despised.
Still, for Dashti, a mucker maid who’s all alone in the world, this doesn’t seem like the worst possible fate—especially when she realizes that they’ll be closed in with seven years’ worth of food, more food than she’s ever seen in her life!
The story goes way beyond the tower, though, and that’s when it really picks up, but I’ll let you find that out for yourself, because it’s spoilerific. I can say flat-out that I loved, loved, loved this book. Dashti, the mottled-skin mucker maid enters into this situation believing that Lady Saren, daughter of a lord, must be touched by the gods, and that she herself was smaller than a stone in her presence, but as time goes on, they both begin to see that’s it’s less what you’re born to be than it is what you allow yourself to become.
Like The Goose Girl, Book of a Thousand Days is based off of a Grimm’s fairy tale, this one on the lesser-known Maid Maleen. It doesn’t follow quite as faithfully as The Goose Girl, but still, you might not want to read it if you don’t want to be spoiled (or confused).
I’ll admit, this started out a little slowly for me, but it picks up exponentially, and by the time it was over, I didn’t want to say goodbye to these characters. I was enchanted by Dashti’s healing songs, even if the lyrics are a little odd. The quiet, seamless interfusion of magical elements is something that I really love in Hale’s work, and this has officially become one of my favorites (still under Enna Burning, I think). The characters are enchanting, and really none more so than Dashti. She is so sweet and eager to do good, which is something you don’t see in fiction very often—or at least not often enough. I can guarantee you’ll be as excited for her triumphs as she is.
My rating: An affectionate A+