Monday, August 26, 2013

A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison

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A Wounded Name
Dot Hutchison
320 pages
NetGalley- Lerner Publishing Group
YA- Hamlet Retelling
September 2013

Book Jacket Summary
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".

My Thoughts
It is a beautiful and lyrical retelling of Hamlet but I do feel reluctant to hand it over to an younger teen because of the abuse that Ophelia takes in this book. Hamlet strangles her at one point and she shows no resistance, only thinking that she will be the outlet for his pain... Not the best role model for most teenage girls. There are some circumstances that make Ophelia only half alive throughout the book but I was uncomfortable whenever she shrugged off the bruises she got from the men in the book. It is so hard for victims of abuse to step forward and with Ophelia playing a willing victim just makes me sad. 
Otherwise it is a beautifully written book and uses the Hamlet characters in a contemporary setting. I will admit that placing it in a school is a brilliant move and having the kingship become a Headmaster instead makes sense. Ophelia is already thought insane by her father and brother, with pills keeping her in their control. She sees the dead and fay creatures that haunt the woods. It follows the Hamlet story line and with this you go into it knowing that it will have a depressing ending. Still unsure when it comes to my feeling about this book, it is beautiful, well written and Ophelia was a weaker character in the play but the abuse just does not sit well with me. Read and judge for yourself.

Book Pairings
Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray
Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay
Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klien


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