Festivals/Seasons & Holy Days

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Mary Mendenhall: Michael and the Ice Princess

Mary Mendenhall

Michael and the Ice Princess: A Mystical Romance

ISBN: 9781 4635 8186 2

Self-published, available on the internet – search by ISBN

2011 (2nd Ed), 312pp, approx £11.50

The dedication of this book is really its beginning: “For Richard, once upon a time”, as it has all the elements of a fairy story: a curse which is finally broken by a ‘prince’, a princess hidden as a poor shepherd’s daughter, himself unaware of her origins; a craftsman who sets off to make his fortune but on the first night is robbed by rogues; plague, battles, wounds, dreams, friendships, flight, innocence, fidelity, and the gradual uncovering of the truth. It is an enthralling, tale, engaging the reader who can guess what might happen next and yet be surprised when it does, and when it doesn’t. The author describes it as a story in the oral tradition, to be listened to, felt, imagined. She says that it is not an allegory, though the quotations at the head of each chapter, being from a variety of Christian mystics and from the Bible, invite the reader to uncover a spiritual element in the story.

I enjoyed the story, and when I realised that details of time and place were not to be forthcoming, I focussed on the characters and the unfolding of their stories as the two main threads became woven together. There is a short list of authors and their books in the Christian mystical tradition at the end of the book, for readers who would like to explore further, but the story stands in its own right.

Maureen CSF