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Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 23, 2007

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Hardcover, Deckle Edge, October 23, 2007
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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 570L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (October 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689861761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689861765
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.1 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,041,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Spellbinding."-- "Kirkus," starred review --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Donna Jo Napoli is the acclaimed and award-winning author of many novels, both fantasies and contemporary stories. She won the Golden Kite Award for Stones in Water in 1997. Her novel Zel was named an American Bookseller Pick of the Lists, a Publishers Weekly Best Book, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon, and a School Library Journal Best Book, and a number of her novels have been selected as ALA Best Books. She is a professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband. Visit her at

Customer Reviews

I could hardly put it down (don't worry I won't spoil it), until the end.
Amazon Customer
This results in almost NO resolution for ANYONE in the book and an ending that (for me) didn't seem to flow with the rest of the story.
K. T. Roen
Donna Jo Napoli has gone to great lengths to create a story for the princess/slave described in the tale.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on October 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
What would you do if you were torn away from your life and everything you knew and forced into slavery? If you were taken to new places where people spoke different languages than you, how would you persevere?

Meet Melkorka, the oldest daughter of an Irish king. As members of royalty, Melkorka and her brother, Nuada, and sister, Brigid, enjoy life at the top of the social structure. In Dublin, travelers from around the world gather to sell their wares. The "heathen" Vikings are among them. Melkorka wants nothing more for her birthday than to visit the stores in Dublin with her family and find the perfect brooch for her cape. The trip ends tragically when her brother is attacked in one of the shops. Although Nuada has survived, he is disfigured and, therefore, no longer able to be the future king.

Melkorka's father, the king, develops a plan for revenge against the Viking offenders. The plan involves luring a Viking ship to their town. Melkorka and her younger sister, Brigid, are sent away in the dark of night to assure their safety.

Before they can reach their destination, Melkorka and Brigid are abducted and taken aboard a ship bound for an unknown destination. Although her instinct is to announce her royal status and demand to be treated as such, Melkorka succumbs to the hints from Brigid and the word she has heard her mother utter so often, "Hush." She becomes silent, refusing to speak to her abductors, the other prisoners, or even to scream at the horrors she sees inflicted upon others.

While Brigid manages a daring escape, Melkorka remains captive, forming silent bonds with those she is held prisoner with and captivating one of her abductors. Her silence becomes her strength, an unbreakable and enticing gift.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Henstra on October 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I didn't really know what to expect from Hush Having never read a Napoli book before, it's discription is a little ambiguous and upon reading the first few pages I realized that the story was not what I thought it was going to be.

Hush is told in first person from Melkorka's point of view, which gives the novel the feeling of a story your being told, rather then a story your reading. As though an elderly Melkorka is sitting with you relating the story of her life directly to the reader. The year is 900A.D. At 15 Melkorka has never known anything but extreem comfort and security, She is a Princess and in no doubt that her future is bright. But a birthday trip to Dublin and a random act of violence against her younger brother changes everything.

Things seem to snowball from there, Melkorka and her eight year old sister Brigid are sent away for their own safety but their journy goes nightmareishly wrong. They are kidnapped by Russian slave traders, the Princess finds herself just another face in a mass of human cargo, her only power lies in her silence for she refuses to speak. The ships captain is fascinated and wary of Melkorka, and through him she gains some small amount of protection. Even so, hardship has hummbled the once hauty Princess she no longer feels herself above anyone. She bonds with her fellow captives, and uses her small amount of influence to help them. Then the worst happens. Brigid manages to escape while Melkorka is left on board.The ship eventually lands in the middle east and Melkorka watches powerless as those she has grown to love are sold away. Loss after loss and she can do nothing but endure. I wont say more, I dont want to spoil the end.

What you should know before buying this book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When Zel was first published, I fell in love with Donna Jo Napoli's writing style. Her beautiful prose, intense adventures and heart-braking romance caught me up in stories that legends are made of. But Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale let me down.

Melkorka is an Irish Princess whose brother is mutilated by a Viking, causing her father to retaliate. Mel and her sister are sent to hide in the pre-Columbian Irish wild where they are kidnapped by slave traders and end up on a ship heading for Russia.

With all the promise of an epic adventure, this 320 page book falls short of that promise. The plot moves slowly and is quite disjointed, going from one bad situation to the next without any room to breathe. While the plot is lacking, I did still learn to love Mel and hope that things would work out for her in the end, yet the ending didn't leave me satisfied either.

With authors the caliber of Shannon Hale (Book of a Thousand Days), Jessica Day George (Princess of the Midnight Ball) and Tamora Pierce (Melting Stones), Napoli just doesn't stack up.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By The_Hmm_Girl on December 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Donna Jo Napoli. My favorite book by her is actually Zel. I also enjoyed the Rumplestilskin Problem. Which is why I was so dissapointed in Hush. It was boring and I kept forcing myself to continue reading with hopes that it would get better. It didn't. Here is the synopsis of the story in a few paragraphs. I would reccomend you read it rather than the book. It'll save you a lot of time.


About 90% of the story takes place on a Viking slave ship which is boring. The protagonist and her sister and kidnapped and put on the ship. Because the protagonist decides that she isn't going to speak, the Viking captain decides she must be a bird in a girls body, so he allows her to do whatever she wants.

I found it very unrealistic, especially the times when she defies the captain in front of his crew. The captain is a man who cares a lot about appearences and he believes that slaves are scum, so it's very odd. Especially since he has no respect for women and viciously rapes one woman over and over and breaks bones of women and beats them.

Later, she leaves the boat and works as a slave. Then, a King decides he wants to buy her. For no apparent reason, he gives her beautiful clothes that he had intended for his wife. He has sex with her a lot and seems to fall in love with her. They arrive to his homeland. The protagonist discovers she is pregnant. She decides she may start speaking when her son is born and tell him about her native land.

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More About the Author

For all information about Donna Jo Napoli (books, events, biography, awards, contact information), please go to

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