Feb 17, 2010

Dear Shannon Hale

by Marielle Carlisle

It is no secret that I LOVE LOVE LOVE Shannon Hale's books. I just got this

from the library, and can't wait to delve into it tonight.

In honor of my fantastic read, here is an actual email I wrote to Shannon Hale many moons ago, after I just finished reading

(I talk about her books in it, so sorry if you have no idea what I'm refering to. If you haven't read her books, READ THEM!)

Dear Shannon Hale,

I should be taking a nap right now (while the baby is sleeping. I’m sure you understand), but I have all these thoughts in my head that I wanted to write to you about.

I stayed up way past my bedtime last night to finish “Book of a Thousand Days,” and I simply loved it. I have read all your books, and each one has been so delightful. I’ve read reviews where your writing style has been described as lyrical, and I wholeheartedly agree. It has such a gentle, comforting tone, and I simply can’t put the books down until I’ve finished them, which is after midnight most of the time.

Last night I had tears streaming down my face after reading Dashti’s story (it could also be hormonal; I am three months pregnant). You portrayed her loneliness so well, and her ache to be near Tegus was so real and her frustration with Saran’s depression so malleable, I couldn’t help but be emotional. My favorite part was after she brought down Khasar, and she stumbled trying to walk back to Batu, and Tegus swooped down to carry her. I imagined myself as Dashti, with a broken ankle, being held by the man I love, on horseback, and I could feel every jostle and jolt from the horse’s canter. I reread that part three or four times before moving on. She was so happy! But yet she was living a lie! Oh the drama.

Like I said, I have loved all your books, especially Austenland, because that would be my DREAM to go live that life for two weeks (sorry, off the subject. You should watch “North and South.” It’s from the BBC, and it’s about a young lady who moves from the comforts of the south to live in an industrial community up north in England. It has many similar elements to Pride and Prejudice, and I loved it.), but I only had one other “favorite moment,” and that was in “Goose Girl.”

It was towards end, after Isi finally arrives at the castle to confront the King, and is left alone in the room with Selia and her men. Again, I imagined myself there, and I could feel my heart crumble as the door to the chamber was closed, leaving me alone with all the treacherous people. I don’t remember if I cried reading that part (it was a couple months ago), but I still recall how shattered I felt, thinking that those she came to for help were deserting me. After all her hard work! And Geric was the prince! Oh the drama.

I realize I’m probably not in the demographic of readers your books are aimed at (married, late 20’s, pregnant, a two year old). Luckily a friend of mine who lives in SL recommended your books, and I’m always relieved when I finally get your books at the library (I never buy books. I’m so happy the library system in AZ carries your stories), and now I am utterly miserable, because I have no more books to read.

Thank your for sharing your amazing gift with the world!


  1. Wow, I hope someone writes me a letter like that one day. How satisfying as a writer to hear such wonderful words from a fan who definitely knows the material. BTW I'll have to read the books.

  2. Shannon Hale is such a great author. I have loved everything I have read of hers. So I say, "Amen" to your letter.

  3. I just finished Goose Girl and Enna Burning. Getting ready to read the third one in the series. Loved them! I loved Princess Academy...but I had a difficult time with Book of a Thousand Days. Don't know why. Great post Marielle! thanks!

  4. I haven't read her books. I need to. I'm with Terry- how awesome it would be to receive a letter like that. Good for you - for sending it to her. Now I'm going to logon to the library and see if they are checked in.


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