The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras
I read The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras out loud to my two boys, and I’m not sure who loved the book more: them or me. This is a riveting Scottish medieval tale about a young girl named Drest who finds herself on an unexpected rescue mission to save her father and brothers from some invading knights. The knights, however, leave behind one of their own, and she takes him as a hostage, hoping to trade him for her family.
Drest has only a few days to return this wounded knight to Faintree Castle before they hang her father and brothers. Along their difficult journey, they encounter a hostile bandit who follows them and wants to kill Drest. They also encounter a friend who joins them on their mission, and Drest rescues a witch who will repay them just when they need it the most.
The hardest part of the journey, however, is what Drest learns about her father and brothers. They are being hanged because they have terrorized many of the villages she is traveling through, and she’s faced with the dilemma of whether she’s going to join her family’s warband or become something different.
As I was reading this, I thought that this book is unlike any middle grades novel I’ve read so far. It’s unpredictable and brings up many interesting questions about loyalty. My boys and I were swept along with Drest as she wrestled with new revelations, yet we were encouraged with how she drew strength from imagining what her brothers would tell her to do in any given moment. We weren’t fooled though. We knew it was this young heroine who was making herself into her own legend.
We can’t wait to continue Drest’s story in the sequel to this book, The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter, which comes out in March 2019.