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Angeline [Mass Market Paperback]

Karleen Bradford
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 15 2005
Angeline can hardly bear the blistering heat, the noise, the seaof faces crowding in upon her in the teeming Egyptian market. Only a short timeago she left her small village in France to follow Stephen, a shepherd boymounting a children’s Crusade to the Holy Land. She cannot believe she is nowbeing sold as a slave to one of the great princes of Egypt.

Angeline vividly recreates medieval Cairo, a rich andcultured city where Muslims, Christians and Jews live peacefully side by side.Karleen Bradford’s return to the Crusades is a moving, colourful tale with aspirited heroine at its heart.

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The title and theme immediately put me in mind of the Angelique books which my friends and I read avidly (and surreptitiously) in high school. Though not of the same racy nature, this works the same territory of historical fiction with an exotic setting, romantic tone, and compelling characters. You know it’s a good story when you forsake the day’s tasks and curl up on the sofa to read till you are finished. Both my teen reader and I fell under its spell.
One is immediately drawn into the book and sympathetic to Angeline as she stands on the block in an Egyptian slave market, after participating in the tragic madness of the Children’s Crusade of 1212 A.D. The Crusade, in which thousands of children died or were sold into slavery, is explained in the Prologue and portrayed through horrific flashbacks of Angeline’s experiences. The memory of those children-of all the lost children-was a searing ache within her that she would carry for the rest of her life.
The Crusade is but one of several strong topics dealt with in the book, along with female sexual slavery (concubinage, harems), the hostile relationship between Christianity and Islam, the question of God and faith, and the two-edged power of religion which can lead astray but also fortify. The depiction of cultural and religious intolerances based on ignorance-i.e. the core beliefs of the Christian crusades against the Muslim “infidel”-are timely, given the present day battles between fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims. Reading Bradford, one might wonder have we yet left the Middle Ages.
I must confess to an uneasiness at the almost cosy depiction of female slavery and would question the description of the Emir’s sexual use of Angeline as “kind and respectful.” Given that she had no choice in the matter and was not willing, this would normally be called rape. Yet one is forced to ruminate upon the question of how real people survive in these situations, the compromises they make, and the possibility, however slight, of their achieving happiness within such restricted parameters. The author tells us in her historical note that “slaves were treated well in the Muslim society of Egypt; most of the children sold there eventually were able to make good lives for themselves.”
At any rate, Bradford does not shy away from these difficult topics and her young readers will appreciate her straightforward manner. More importantly, she does not allow the weight of message or moralising to interfer with her story. This is a powerful coming-of-age tale of a courageous young woman who faces terrible hardship but remains true to herself and her will to survive-I must take care of myself-ultimately grasping happiness against the odds.
A final word on the writing: it flows as smoothly and sweetly as honey over dates. The occasional use of archaic syntax and vocabulary adds an antique flavour to the prose, while the evocation of colour, scent, desert image and suq carry you off to Cairo.
O.R. Melling (Books in Canada)
-- Books in Canada --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

KARLEEN BRADFORD is the acclaimed author of 21 children’sand young adult books. She has now written five books about the Crusades. Angelineis nominated for this year’s Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award. Lionheart’sScribe, was nominated for a Silver Birch Award, among others, andThereWill Be Wolves, was the winner of the 1993 CLA Young Adult Book Award.Another title, Windward Island, won the 1990 Max and Greta Ebel Award.Karleen Bradford lives in Owen Sound, Ontario.

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1.0 out of 5 stars Badly Written March 15 2008
This novel was written very badly that I felt that it should have been for a grade four's reading level. It also dragged on and on about Angeline's days, which were all very similar. It was somewhat educational, since the protagonist, Angeline, was a part of the Children's Crusade of 1212 A.D. The crusade was unsuccessful, and Angeline was sold as a slave in Egypt, and that is where the novel began. Only read Angeline if you are interested in how a slave is treated, otherwise don't waste your time: there are many more great novels out there.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Karleen Bradford at her best April 23 2005
By Marsha S - Published on
I have been a long time fan of Karleen Bradford's novels but she has truly outdone herself with this one. Angeline is a peasant girl in the middle ages who is convinced to join the Children's Crusade to take back Jerusalem from the "infidels". Angeline and Stephen are cruelly betrayed and end up as slaves to those very same infidels. As Angeline and Stephen work to earn back their freedom, they learn to appreciate the culture, compassion and goodness of these people that they thought were their enemies.
5.0 out of 5 stars My daughter loved this book. Jan. 7 2014
By Shannon In California - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We ordered this for a book report and because my daughters name is Angeline, she wanted to read this book. She loved the story. Her age is 9. Shipping was super fast! Thank you!
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