I received a copy of The Silent Songbird off Netgalley in return for an honest review. The Silent Songbird is the seventh instalment in Melanie’s iconic Hagenheim series. This time we follow Evangeline in her escape from a disastrous betrothal and her subsequent adventures in a non-magical Little Mermaid retelling! So let’s get into it…
I need to start this review off by saying that I love this series. I think it’s so fun, engaging and inspiring and Songbird is no exception. It’s a wonderful take on The Little Mermaid, focusing more on the loss of someone’s voice both literally (well, kind of, read to find out) and metaphorically in terms of being a woman in Medieval times and suffering at the hands of the Patriarchy. That’s what I love about Melanie’s writing, it has so many levels. I particularly loved the emphasis she put on singing. As a singer myself, I was able to appreciate the value of being able to use your voice in that way.
A key feature of the Hagenheim series is the romance – and this one is particularly good! It’s a real slow burner full of twists and turns and will-they-won’t-theys which made this book impossible to put down. Her love interest is a bit of a dreamboat, I have to say. There’s some really funny moments too, notably the pig scene! Runaway pigs…need I say more? It’s truly wonderful.
The book also has some really encouraging strong female friendships, which is really refreshing. Too often in books, the women are always at each other’s throats. I really loved seeing those dynamics here and the sacrifices that as friends, sometimes you have to make.
Evangeline is such a great character. She’s so strong and determined, which is also great to see. One thing I liked about her most actually is how morally ambiguous she is. She’s not perfect, by any means. She lies, she betrays people and causes a lot of trouble. I found myself at times saying “WHY Eva!?” when she made her biggest mistakes, but in terms of character growth, it’s really important that she makes those mistakes and hopefully learns from them in the long run. In terms of the original story, Ariel isn’t perfect either so this was a really clever nod toward the original story whilst bringing it to a whole new level.
The growth and hope the characters find through God in the story is subtle but inspiring and makes for a great Christian lit read, without it being too overpowering.
The series also is not ending there! Melanie tweeted me and said she’s currently working on an Aladdin retelling and a Mulan one is coming soon. MULAN. A MULAN RETELLING. So I cannot wait for that!
A great addition to one of my favourite series and cannot wait for more!
Thank you lovelies and happy reading! ox