Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A WOUNDED NAME by Dot Hutchison

There's a girl who could throw herself head first into life and forge an unbreakable name, an identity that stands on its own without fathers or brothers or lovers who devour and shatter.
Sixteen-year-old Ophelia Castellan will never be just another girl at Elsinore Academy. Seeing ghosts is not a skill prized in future society wives. Even when she takes her pills, the bean sidhe beckon, reminding her of a promise to her dead mother.

Now, in the wake of the Headmaster's sudden death, the whole academy is in turmoil, and Ophelia can no longer ignore the fae. Especially once she starts seeing the Headmaster's ghosts- two of them- on the school grounds.

At the center of her crumbling world is Dane, the Headmaster's grieving son. He, too, understands the power of a promise to a parent- even a dead one. To him, Ophelia is the only person not tainted by deceit and hypocrisy, a mirror of his own broken soul. And to Ophelia, Dane quickly becomes everything. Yet even as she gives more of herself to him, Dane slips away. Consumed by suspicion, rage, and madness, he spirals towards his tragic fate- dragging Ophelia, and the rest of Elsinore, with him.

Yet even in the face of certain death, Ophelia has a choice to make- and a promise to keep. She is not the girl others want her to be. But in Dot Hutchison's dark and sensuous debut novel, the name "Ophelia" is as deeply, painfully, tragically real as "Hamlet"

First line:
"The sky is blue today."

The first line doesn't do justice to the lyrical words throughout the book. The haunting, twisted, profound sentences that Ms. Hutchison weaves together to tell a story we all know and yet now, we understand.
This story is set in modern times at Elsinore Academy.  Dane's dad, the headmaster, has mysteriously died. Now the uncle is taking over, even marrying the widow (remembering Hamlet now?). Dane is distraught, grieving, angry and after talking with his dad's ghost, ready for revenge. He constantly yells at his mom or says snide things to her now that's she remarried. The only friends he feels he can turn to are Ophelia and Horatio.
Ophelia is beautifully portrayed in this story. Wanting to badly to be seen by others for who she is and not "her mother's daughter" (in other words, crazy), she takes Dane's pain, both literally and figuratively. I don't like that he isn't respectful to her or tries and protects her better from himself. He often leaves her more bruised after she's tried to consul him.
All the characters are well developed. From Dane to Ophelia to her mom's ghost, all the characters were unique and drove the story and madness.
The story flows well and chaotically. Even though I knew the ending, I was fighting it. I wanted a happier ending.

"I love and I hurt, inescapable and intertwined... To love is to hurt, either in giving pain or in suffering it. Which helps more with grief: feeling the pain or sharing it?"

"To whom do we owe the greater debt, the living or the dead?"

"Which is worse, to struggle to fly against the tether that always snaps you back? Or to accept the tether with such blind contentment that you don;t even mind when your wings are clipped?"

"Sorrows come not as spies but as armies whole hosts that stand at the gates to tear down our defenses."


The prose
Hamlet from Ophelia's point of view

The bruises
Skimmed some of Shakespear's words


Thanks to Netgalley for the preview!

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