About The Silent Songbird
Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.
To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Westley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.
This is off the usual path of books I tend to read, but it’s a series my daughter absolutely adores. The Hagenheim series loosely retells fairytales (minus the magical elements) as light medieval romance novels. This one is a loose retelling of the Little Mermaid, with Eva pretending to be mute as she pursues Westley, which prevents him from realizing she’s the maid with the lovely voice he felt so drawn to.
The romance elements definitely kept me turning pages. I liked Westley’s character and his sense of honor and curiosity about Eva a lot.
I felt like Eva was much shallower than other heroines in this series. She felt bad about lying, but didn’t really take a lot of responsibility for it. She sort of had tunnel-vision on things she wanted, which blinds her to some of the hurts she causes in people around her, especially her friend who escapes with her.
Eva definitely grows as the story progresses, and I liked that she does eventually come clean about her past. I wanted the backstory or conflict between her and Lord Shively to develop more—like maybe for her to find actual evidence that he’d murdered his wife and flee because she feared he would kill her to silence her. But that’s probably because I’m addicted to angsty stories. Ha!
The Silent Songbird is a great pick especially for younger readers looking for light romance. It has all the tension and satisfaction of romance without being sexual or graphic. My daughter is twelve, and this is probably her favorite series.
All the characters appear to be Western European.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Brief kissing between a man and woman.
References to prayer.
A woman accidentally injures a man with a scythe. A woman sustains injury to her hands from her work as a servant. A man tries to kill another man by pushing him into a river.
References to drinking ale.