Written by Karlijn Stoffels

Translated by Laura Watkinson

A linked chain of love stories, a fairy tale, a song.

This is a book about love's music.

Mee was born with a great gift: to sing others' stories and heal their pain. As he travels the countryside, he eases many sorrows, but he remains always alone.

This is a book about love's delay.

But Mitou knows she belongs with him, even though they've never met. As they travel from opposite ends of the country to the court of the Princess Esperanza, so she carries her accordion, and hopes.

This is a book about love's many faces.

A princess who meets a prince. A soldier who saves his regiment. A sailor and his enduring wife.

This is a book about love.

And it will change the way you think about it forever.

Reviews and Awards

⋆ "Although born to deaf-mute parents, Mee develops a unique talent for singing. While his strange songs can calm the ocean’s waves, they fail to lift his widowed mother’s somber heart. To escape this memory, Mee heads east, becoming the singer of sorrows. Whether singing over the lieutenant, the farrier’s wife or the sailor’s sweetheart, he sees their lives and loves before him, eases their mourners’ grief, yet always remains alone. Heading west in search of Mee is Mitou, a girl born on the same day into a house of ceaseless insults. Using music to protect her from the “black-word plague,” she has become a traveling merrymaker. In search of this musical pair is Prince Viereg, who hopes their gifts can turn the depressed Princess Esperanza away from her mirrors and back toward the world again. Stoffels’s fresh Dutch voice, rendered fluidly and beautifully in Watkinson’s translation, weaves together traditional folktale elements to creates an original, haunting story of love that is magical unto itself. Heartfelt through and through." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

⋆ “Dutch author Stoffels makes an impressive American debut... Readers who like love stories will savor the imaginative details.” - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"This Dutch import owes much to its translator, who fills the pages with vivid prose that gives the stories a cinematic quality and a lilting tone. A unique selection by a master storyteller." - School Library Journal

“[T]his unusual novel offers readers limpid writing, strong storytelling, and the unblinking recognition of love in many forms.” - Booklist

“The plot works through a series of lyrical, interconnected stories that trace various kinds of love and sacrifice among people in a quasi-medieval fairy-tale landscape. Each story carries its own version of heartbreak and redemption, and the book brings overarching themes of appreciating life in all of its complexities of joy and sorrow and valuing people for who they are rather than rejecting them for not living up to our expectations. This thematic wisdom is communicated with a light touch in a variety of contexts, and readers who enjoy literary fairy tales will be charmed by this offering.” - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 

Purchase Options
Indiebound •  Amazon • Barnes & Noble

Spring 2009
Young Adult Fiction
ISBN: 0-545-06929-7
Price: $16.99 US / $18.99 CAN
Trim Size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Page Count: 144
Foreign Rights: Querido
Translation Rights: Querido
Rights Available? yes