Shannon Hale’s Book of a Thousand Days is a beautiful novel based on an obscure fairytale from the Brothers Grimm (though the author admits she has taken “many liberties” with the original). Dashti, a poor mucker girl from the steppes, has no idea what she’s getting herself into when she agrees to take a post as a lady’s maid after her mother dies.

She learns how to do the job, including learning her letters (which let her write this journal), and on the day she takes her post as a maid to the Lady Saren, they are sent to be shut in a tower for seven years as punishment for Saren’s refusal to marry the cruel Lord Khasar. They are bricked in with food that should last them seven years, if they can keep the rats at bay. The only things that makes one day different from another are the visits from Saren’s two suitors: the terrible Lord Khasar and the kind Khan Tegus, both of whom will play a part in the fates of the two young women…

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