Belle's Song

Belle's Song

by K. M. Grant
     
 

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Fifteen-year-old Belle is a dreamer with a sharp tongue and an aching burden: her carelessness has crippled her father. A chance meeting with bespectacled Luke has her decide to join the pilgrimage to Canterbury made famous by Geoffrey Chaucer's beloved tales. There she befriends the famous writer and Walter, a handsome squire with a secret of his own. Growing

Overview

Fifteen-year-old Belle is a dreamer with a sharp tongue and an aching burden: her carelessness has crippled her father. A chance meeting with bespectacled Luke has her decide to join the pilgrimage to Canterbury made famous by Geoffrey Chaucer's beloved tales. There she befriends the famous writer and Walter, a handsome squire with a secret of his own. Growing to love her fellow travelers dearly, Belle is thrilled by the attention from both Luke and Walter. But casting its shadow over the pilgrims is the threat to England posed by an unreliable king anxious to keep his throne at any cost. When Belle discovers that Master Chaucer is embroiled in dangerous politics, she is forced to make a choice that will turn her pilgrimage into a gamble with a deadly price.

K. M. Grant's epic story will introduce the world of Chaucer to a whole new group of readers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Belle, the 15-year-old daughter of a 14th-century bell founder, would do anything to change that tragic day when her carelessness resulted in crippling her father. In an effort to atone, Belle practices mortification of the flesh, rubbing her legs raw and bloody with a pumice stone; when this doesn’t feel like enough, she joins Geoffrey Chaucer himself and his fellow pilgrims on their way to the tomb of St. Thomas, hoping for a miracle to heal her father. In this retelling of The Canterbury Tales, Grant (the Perfect Fire trilogy) takes up Chaucer’s funny, bawdy style, as she draws Belle into the raucous world of his wandering pilgrims. Along the way, Belle meets two romantic suitors—Luke, the alchemist’s son, and Walter de Pleasance, the knight’s squire—both of whom add satisfying romantic encounters to her story. Filled with political intrigue, vivid historical detail, and poignant moments, this homage to Chaucer’s beloved verse should delight both adult fans of the Tales and teens who will have likely first encountered them in English lit classes. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Jody Little
Fifteen year-old Belle is afflicted with a wandering, imaginative mind, an obsession for groups of three, and a compulsion for scraping her legs with a pumice stone. When a horrific accident causes her father, the town bell maker, to lose his legs, Belle feels responsible and she yearns to atone for her careless ways. She soon meets a young man, Luke, who is traveling with his master along with other pilgrims to Canterbury. Longing to pray to St. Thomas to persuade God to heal her father, Belle joins the pilgrimage. Along the way, Belle grows attracted to Luke, but yet she feels something for the handsome squire, Walter, as well. She befriends Luke's master, who happens to be the famous poet, Chaucer, who confides to Belle that he is a messenger for the King of England. Soon Belle find herself caught in a web of secrets and blackmail, and the only way to save her father, her dear friend, Walter, and her beloved Luke is to carefully weigh which secrets to release. Set in the 1300s, this richly narrated tale weaves in tidbits of facts about the writer, Chaucer, and the pilgrimage to Canterbury. The protagonist, Belle, is sassy and engaging, and like many teens of today, she is filled with internal compulsions of which contemporary readers may relate. Part romance, part historical fiction and part hero's journey, this novel has a strong voice which will keep readers turning the pages to reach the rewarding conclusion. Reviewer: Jody Little
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—A medieval, coming-of-age love story with unexpected twists and turns. Grant takes readers on a journey that becomes an action-packed, behind-the-scenes peek at the legendary Canterbury Tales. Belle, 15, feels guilty for having caused an accident that crippled her father, so she is easily persuaded to join the pilgrimage to Canterbury to pray for his healing. She makes many friends along the way, including Chaucer's scribe, Luke; Walter, a squire who is dashing and kind; and the poet himself. She also makes enemies, most notably the summoner, who is convinced that Chaucer is a spy for the inept King Richard and that Belle is a partner in his scheme. Teens will relate to Belle, who is confused about her feelings for Luke and Walter and struggles with her own idiosyncrasies. This tale is bawdy without being gratuitous and canters along at the pace of a pilgrimage, with enough excitement and interesting characters to keep readers turning the pages. The author's note reveals much about Chaucer. A light, fun read.—Wendy Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Burdened by guilt over her father's accident and seeking adventure, Belle Bellfounder joins a band of medieval pilgrims on a journey to Canterbury Cathedral, finding romance and danger along the way. After her mother's death and father's crippling injury, Belle takes refuge in fairy tales, compulsive counting and self-harm. With little fanfare or preparation, she decides to travel to Canterbury and pray for her father's recovery, a move that embroils her in romantic triangles, espionage and cross-class flirting. On the road, Belle garners the courteous attentions of Squire Walter de Pleasance, a charming young man with a dark secret, and Luke, a bespectacled scribe (to Chaucer) and a future monk with a most unholy temper. When Belle runs afoul of the truly vile Summoner Seekum--whose nauseatingly described exterior matches his lecherous, kleptomaniac and blackmailing personality--she finds herself entangled in political plots surrounding King Richard II. Grant (Blue Flame, 2008, etc.) demonstrates an affectionate and thorough knowledge of the source material (as seen in an author's note and timeline), but Belle's good fortune, self-absorption and inexplicable attractiveness cannot fully compensate for plot holes and underdeveloped characters; she is neither the most reliable nor sympathetic of narrators. Romance, issue book and spy novel--as varied an offering as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802722751
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
11/22/2011
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,224,789
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile:
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

K. M. GRANT is the author of the acclaimed de Granville trilogy, the Perfect Fire trilogy, and How the Hangman Lost His Heart. She lives in Scotland and works as a writer and broadcaster. www.kmgrant.org

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