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Book Review: Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

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Song of the Sparrow is the story of Elaine of Ascolat, otherwise known as the Lady of Shalott. Being a big fan of the Tennyson poem (it haunts me), I just had to read the book to get a little more story on this mysterious woman who floated down the river to Camelot in her boat named the Lady of Shalott.

“Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,

Knight and Burgher,
Lord and Dame,
And around the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.”

In Sandell’s excellent young adult novel set in Britain 490 AD, Elaine is a young girl growing up in a world of military men. Her mother has been killed and so she lives with her brothers and father in the moving camps of war, the only girl in a world of men serving under Arthur. Elaine is a tomboy, a good seamstress, gifted healer and has a big and caring heart. Her only woman friend is Morgan, the sister of Arthur, who sometimes visits the camp.

She is almost a mother figure to all the men in the camp even though some of them are starting to change the way they look at her. Sse's sixteen and beautiful, though she doesn’t know it. Elaine, however, has eyes only for Lancelot, her childhood friend. Lancelot seems to be leaning towards Elaine, until the fiancée of Arthur comes to live in the camp, the beauteous but cruel Gwynivere who is deeply in love with Lancelot and he falls so with her.

Song of the Sparrow is written entirely in free verse and gives both a sense of the haunting poem and paintings of the Lady of Shalott, while being more hopeful, happier. Elaine is a marvelous character – vibrant, fiery, brave and determined. Gwynivere is multi-layered and deeply conflicted. The men in the story almost serve as background to these complex and interesting women.

The battle scenes, history and the wonders of nature all make this a highly entertaining and great read. Highly recommended.

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About Gina Ruiz

  • Kellie Hancock

    I absolutetly loved this book! It has a great use of Literary Terms keyed into it! It was a wonderful experience! Thank you!

  • Samantha

    this book was wonderful and i enjoyed reading it and i defenitly recommend it.

  • Kari

    I love this book it was great to read and try to figure out what she is going to do next.

  • bob


  • hannah

    I LOVE this book! It’s an easy read, and the last page of chapter 43 is hauntingly enchanting. Gwynivere and Elaine really could be sisters and Tristan and Elaine- a beautifully described couple.

  • Ciara

    I have read this book like 4 times, just finishing my 4th time last nigh!!! I love this book…I hope there’s a sequel!

  • Deidra

    I loved this book, personally I think everyone should read it. It is enspiring and beautiful. I have read this book about 5 times, and I can’t get enough of it. The author did a good job.

  • Elisabeth

    This book was awsome! i loved it
    It was the book i was looking for!

  • Kelsey

    This book was the book that i wanted 2 read! This book helped me understand what happend in my familys history!!!! yea =)!!!!

  • KiAna Kuchera

    i loved this book so much i read it twenty times! when you read it you won’t want to stop!

  • Serafina

    I think this book captured a great part of time but gave it a litle edge. Giving it a mordern feel to the book. But also keeping it in its time bracket.It has so many levels to the book that you just have to think about the writing but it comes easily. It makes you want to read as much as you can but then not at all because you don’t want it to be over. And it writen wonderful. Its the must read of the year.

  • kk

    are you going to make a seqiel

  • Spenser

    This book is the best!!!! I LOVE it. The way the author used metaphores to describe so well is enchanting

  • Jackie

    Me too I hope there’s a sequel or maybe a movie I mean this book is so great making it a movie would be perfect!

  • Irissa

    I love your book. I want to know more!

  • Irissa

    I love the way you wrote it. Can you give me tips on how I could write my story “The Pain in My Heart”?

  • kaci parvin

    i luv it

  • juliet

    THE BOOk was the best.is there a sequel

  • abbey

    i think this book should be a SAGA its so great!!!

  • syd

    omg i love this book and hope i find true love and some might say i am too younge and i think under 13 is fine

  • katie


  • abbie

    loved it

  • evelyne


  • Nellie

    Love the book. So worth the price!

  • lola

    i LOVED it, but i am trying to write a book report, and i do not know where the setting is???

  • Emma

    I love this book it was so good I hope they make a movie of it!!!!!

  • Rachelle

    I thought this book would be bad because it was in poems, and (no-offense or anything) I don’t like to read poems. I tried reading it though because it was the only book I had time to choose for a book report and I began to read it. It was interesting how she wrote it and it was a really good book, when I actually got into it I didn’t want to put it down.

  • neeci

    this book is owsum it was a sad traidy that her mother had died she was left wit all boys her father was sourdm of a meanie but i think she had took he job
    well i loved this book

  • kathrine

    this book is really fenomonal! i read it 5 times!!!

  • jade

    i read this book in a day, and that’s a biggie for me. i loved it. i read it so many times that i’ve lost count. you did a great job!!!!