Alina : A Song for the Telling
By Malve von Hassell, 19 – 23 March
Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08BJ7TQVW/
Genre: Middle grade to young adult historical fiction
Print length: 173 Pages
Age range: 11 – 15 years
Formats available for the Tour: pdf
Trigger warnings: One reference to a father committing suicide. Scenes
relating to the Christian Crusades reflect cultural beliefs prevalent at the time
(12th Century) about adherents of other faiths.
About Alina : A Song for the Telling
“You should be grateful, my girl. You have no dowry, and I am doing everything I can
to get you settled. You are hardly any man’s dream.” Alina’s brother, Milos, pulled his
face into a perfect copy of Aunt Marci’s sour expression, primly pursing his mouth. He
had got her querulous tone just right.
I pinched my lips together, trying not to laugh. But it was true; Aunt Marci had already
introduced me to several suitors. So far I had managed to decline their suits politely.
Maybe Alina’s aunt was right. How could she possibly hope to become a musician, a
trobairitz, as impoverished as she was and without the status of a good marriage?
But fourteen-year-old Alina refuses to accept the oppressing life her strict aunt wants to
impose upon her. When the perfect opportunity comes along for her to escape, she and
her brother embark on a journey through the Byzantine Empire all the way to Jerusalem.
Alina soon finds herself embroiled in the political intrigue of noble courts as she fights
to realize her dream of becoming a female troubadour.
This was such an interesting read! I really enjoyed following along with Alina and her new life.
This was a time period I did not know a lot about, and it was great to learn more about it. She is very brave and strong. I learned about many historical figures I was not familiar with and about how the world was much difference. I enjoyed the journey and following along with the political intrigue.
I found myself eager to read this book and learn everything I could about the time period after I read it. Alina is a great narrator and makes this book amazing.
A huge thank you to the author and Blackberry books for sharing a copy of this book with me.
About Malve von Hassell
Malve von Hassell was born in Italy and spent part of her childhood in Belgium and
Germany before moving to the United States. She is a freelance writer, researcher, and
She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the New School for Social Research. Working
as an independent scholar, she published The Struggle for Eden: Community Gardens in
New York City (Bergin & Garvey 2002) and Homesteading in New York City 1978-
1993: The Divided Heart of Loisaida (Bergin & Garvey 1996). She has also edited her
grandfather Ulrich von Hassell’s memoirs written in prison in 1944, Der Kreis schließt
sich – Aufzeichnungen aus der Haft 1944 (Propylaen Verlag 1994). She has taught at
Queens College, Baruch College, Pace University, and Suffolk County Community
College, while continuing her work as a translator and writer.
She has self-published a children’s picture book, Letters from the Tooth Fairy
(2012/2020) and her translation and annotation of a German children’s classic by
Tamara Ramsay, Rennefarre: Dott’s Wonderful Travels and Adventures (Two Harbors
Press, 2012). The Falconer’s Apprentice (namelos, 2015) was her first historical fiction
novel for young adults. She has published Alina: A Song for the Telling (BHC Press,
2020), set in Jerusalem in the time of the crusades, and has a forthcoming book, The
Amber Crane (Odyssey Books, 2021), set in Germany in 1645 and 1945. Currently, she
is working on a biographical work about a woman coming of age in Nazi Germany.
Social media links:
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/malvevonhassellauthor/
[Blog: Tales through Time]