Friday, March 1, 2013

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

By Katherine Marsh

Jepp has never lacked in confidence and wit, despite his diminutive size. For sixteen years, he has lived a comfortable life in the Dutch countryside, the son of a loving mother who protects him from the scorn of an unkind world. But this is no longer enough for Jepp. He longs to see the world, to seek his forune. Then a man arrives at his mother’s alehouse, promising Jepp a life of adventure he can’t refuse. Courtier to the Spanish infant, Don tells Jepp mesmerizing tales of the magnificent court. Before he knows it, Jepp has left behind all he knows to begin a new life. The Infanta’s court is not what Don made it out to be. Though he now lives in luxury, Jepp faces constant humiliation as a court dwarf, serving the whims of an all-powerful queen. The only joy in his life is his love for the beautiful Lia, who is small like him. But even this is soon taken from him, when an ill-fated escape from the castle leaves Lia dead and Jepp brokenhearted. As punishment for Jepp’s defiance, he is sent to the palace of Tycho Brahe where he faces the greatest challenge of all: can he defy the stars and his fate?

When I found this book I thought it was going to be a fantasy book and was surprised to learn it was based on history. I really enjoyed learning some things that I didn’t know about court dwarves (which was pretty surprising and horrible) and finding a character in Jepp that was deep and endearing. This book isn’t a fantasy at all, it’s a human story about a young boy’s coming of age and being thrown into the ‘real world’ and trying to keep his hope for his future alive in the midst of tragedy and pain. Jepp’s story is everyone’s story; and it’s a journey you’ll want to take, hardships and happiness alike. This book was heart-warming and often heart-wrenching.  All in all, it is a gem worth gazing at.

I give it a 4 out of 5

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