Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Songweavers by Kathleen McDonnell -- The third book of The Notherland Journeys trilogy

Originally posted Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This is the final book in the Notherland Journeys Trilogy. A children's and teen book, I enjoyed it as an adult. See also my reviews for #1 "The Nordlings" by Kathleen McDonnell (originally posted December 27, 2008) and #2 "The Shining World" by Kathleen McDonnell (originally posted December 28, 2008)

My misfortune is that I had not read either of the first two at the time I reviewed this one. I say “my misfortune” because this is a lovely, lyrical fantasy and my review will necessarily be restricted to one part only. This is exactly the kind of story I would have wanted to read when I was young. Notherland came into being through the imagination of Peggy, or Pay-gee as the Nordlings call her. At seven years old she is the Creator of this world. The characters are beautifully written and well-thought out. The world is simple with a beauty and clarity that makes imagination so wonderful. But what happens when a child grows older and puts away their childhood? That is exactly what the reader will learn when he/she reads this book.

Something feels strangely wrong in Notherland. Inhabitants, including Molly, Peggy’s doll, who in this world is alive, start to disappear, the land disappears and all is darkness. Molly finds herself back in the bedroom which was once Peggy’s, but Peggy is now in her late ‘teens and doesn’t live there anymore. She is unable to move, talk, or close her eyes anymore. She is totally unaware of what has happened, and is shocked to find a stranger who obviously thinks she is too old for dolls is in Peggy’s bedroom. Krista is very unlike Peggy, but perhaps not as much as one would first imagine. She tosses Molly into a closet and leaves the room again.

In fact, Peggy has moved on with her mother after the family breaks up and has reached the decision that she is too old for things that occupied a seven-year-old, including imagination. She also gives up music and sells her flute which unknowingly has played a very large part in her life, real and imagined. The consequence of her actions begin thick and fast. This is the point at which Notherland disappears. Only one Nordling, Mi, has the special ability to try to fix things. She is rescued and brought to the Songweavers and is taught how to spin stories & music into thread, how to weave this thread and sew it into a Story Cloth. I found this part of the story magical and imparting wisdom. The book has bits and pieces of historical references very quietly inserted throughout the text, and the author has done an excellent job of placing life-lessons unobtrusively into a very smooth flow. I am certain that children will enjoy this book as much as I did. The first book in the trilogy is “The Nordlings”, followed by “The Shining World” and as mentioned, “The Songweavers” is the end of the trilogy. I definitely recommend it and am sure this pertains to the entire trilogy, I can’t imagine otherwise after reading this final book.

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