Series: Hagenheim #8
Published by Thomas Nelson on 2018-06-28
Length: 343 pages
Reviewing Kindle from Amazon
Orphaned and alone, Aladdin travels from the streets of his Arab homeland to a strange, faraway place. Growing up in an orphanage, he meets young Lady Kirstyn, whose father who is the powerful Duke of Hagenheim. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion, and their childhood friendship grows into a bond that time and opposition cannot break.
Even as a child, Aladdin works hard, learning all he can from his teachers. Through his integrity, intelligence, and sheer tenacity, he earns a position serving as the duke’s steward. But that isn't enough to erase the shame of being forced to steal as a small child—or the fact that he's an orphan with no status. If he ever wants to feel equal to his beautiful and generous friend Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim and seek his fortune.
Yet once Aladdin departs, Lady Kirstyn becomes a pawn in a terrible plot. Now, Aladdin and Kirstyn must rely on their bond to save her from unexpected danger. But will saving Kirstyn cost Aladdin his newfound status and everything he’s worked so hard to obtain?
An enchanting new version of the well-known tale, The Orphan's Wish tells a story of courage and loyalty, friendship and love, and reminds us what "family" really means.
As one of a number of volumes in her Medieval Fairy Tales, The Orphan’s Wish stands out among its peers for many reasons. Don’t let the cover fool you! This is actually a historical retelling of the story of Aladdin, set in Medieval Germany in the fictional town of Hagenheim and its surrounding pretend forests. It also features medieval Lunenburg, St. John’s Cathedral and Lunenburg’s natural salt pans.
Of course, MY first thoughts in reading this was comparing it to the Disney movie, from which it is TOTALLY DIFFERENT (except for the appearance of Abu, in the form of another middle-eastern orphan whom Aladdin adopts). BUT, I tried to take this story for what it is, rather than what I thought it should be.
Aladdin & Kirstyn
This book stars Aladdin, an orphan brought to medieval Germany from his home in the Holy Lands in the 1400’s. I can’t imagine Aladdin would actually have been accepted as readily as he was in Hagenheim as he would have been in real life. I’m not sure how racism would have impacted him at that point – because all these people would have known about “Saracens” would have been that they’d killed many of their men-at-arms during The Crusades. However, we don’t really see much racism in the plot.
Aladdin rises to good favor in the community based on his hard work and burning desire to please his superiors. He is loyal, brave, kind, intelligent, and maybe a little too proud. And much like our beloved cartoon Aladdin – he is in love. His love is his childhood best friend, Lady Kirstyn of Hagenheim, daughter of the Duke of Hagenheim. He decides to seek his fortune so that he might earn the Duke’s approval, and eventually be what he feels is worthy of Kirstyn. Along the way he meets Herr Kaufmann, who takes him under his wing and teaches him the merchant business. Aladdin finds he has a good head for business, and does make a success for himself in the gothic city of Lunenburg.
Lady Kirstyn is a kind, joyful, and sometimes forgotten young lady in the castle where she grew up. Like Aladdin, she always wants to please her family to gain their approval and attention. She finds solace and comfort in Aladdin’s company, which turns into love as she faces life-threatening trials at the hands of the mysterious Michael and his abused partner Anna.
I love the way the plot twists and turns to reveal the flaws of each character. No one is immune from fallibility in reality, and so it is in Dickerson’s novels. It offers depth and a realistic quality to the characters that I admire. The story is also light-hearted enough that the subject of “flaws” doesn’t drag you down emotionally. I’d definitely qualify this as a book-hangover recovery book. And don’t even pretend you don’t know what that means. You know. 😉
My Final Thoughts
I enjoyed this book and really got into it towards the middle of the book. It was a slow start, but it did pick up. It reads like a bard’s telling of a story – like it’s being told over a fire over several nights to a medieval audience. I love the historical aspects of Hagenheim, the use of German intermittently, and the accurate visage of Lunenburg mentioned. I totally nerded out over the accuracy of Lunenburg, acutally. I’m usually a huge fan of fairy tale retellings, especially from Melanie Dickerson, but I don’t think this one is necessarily at the tippy top of my list in her Hagenheim series. I liked reading a different perspective of Aladdin, and I’m a big fan of medieval Germany. 🙂