Hush: An Irish Princess Tale

Donna Jo Napoli

What is this book about?

This book is about the journey of an Irish princess, Melkorka, who is taken by vikings and taken around Europe by ship. Mel and her family go to Dublin for her birthday, but while they are there, her brother gets his hand cut off by foolish boys. Her family then goes back to Eire where they start to go to war. Mel and her sister Brigid are forced to leave Eire and run away. The two sisters are then taken by vikings and held captive as slaves for many years. Brigid ends up jumping off the ship but Mel stays on. Mel is eventually sold to other vikings as a sex slave and then gets pregnant and moves to Ireland.

When and Where?

This book takes place in the 900's in Europe, with direct references to Ireland, Iceland, and Russia.

Main conflict? Most important point? Resolution?

The main conflict in the book is an inner conflict with Mel and her self. She is forced to choose to stay silent or to use her voice to stop what is going on around her. The most important point is to not take your voice for granted. Your voice is a powerful thing that can change the world. At the resolution of the book, Mel arrives in Iceland and finds out that she is pregnant. She vows to tell her baby about its heritage and Irish traditions.

Historical references

This book makes references to Ireland, Iceland, and most of Europe. Vikings play a big part in this book and the old viking language "Norse" is spoke. Sex trafficking has been going on in history and is still going on and this book takes you inside the world of sex trafficking.

Was it good? Would i recommend it?

This book was very good. I enjoyed it a lot. It is very suspenseful and always keeps you on the edge of your seat. I would recommend this book to anyone. It is one of the best historical fictions i have ever read.

Interesting Quotes

"Okay. Don't talk. But you'll talk to him," p. 306. This quote is interesting because it is when Torild tells Mel that she is pregnant. It is when Mel first finds out that she is going to be able carry on her Irish heritage.

"Thank the lord, he is alive. But his hand got cut off." p. 13. This is when the conflict first starts. Nuadas hand being cut off started the war between the royal family and the vikings which cause Mel and Brigid to be sent away.

"Immalle" p. 75. The word Immalle means "together" and is first introduced when mother is talking to Mel and Brigid. The girls stay together throughout the book except when Brigid jumps off the ship. Mel continues to think of the phrase throughout her life and the word last appears in the book when Mel is talking to her unborn child


The book was published in 2007.
Napoli was educated at Harvard.
Napoli mostly writes children's and young-adult fiction.
Napoli is currently 67.
Napoli has received more than 20 awards for her work.