24 July 2013

A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison

A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab    
Publication date: September 1st 2013
My rating: 5 stars

There's a girl who could throw herself head first into life and forge an unbreakable name, an identity that stands on its own without fathers or brothers or lovers who devour and shatter.
Sixteen-year-old Ophelia Castellan will never be just another girl at Elsinore Academy. Seeing ghosts is not a skill prized in future society wives. Even when she takes her pills, the bean sidhe beckon, reminding her of a promise to her dead mother.
Now, in the wake of the Headmaster's sudden death, the whole academy is in turmoil, and Ophelia can no longer ignore the fae. Especially once she starts seeing the Headmaster's ghosts- two of them- on the school grounds.
At the center of her crumbling world is Dane, the Headmaster's grieving son. He, too, understands the power of a promise to a parent- even a dead one. To him, Ophelia is the only person not tainted by deceit and hypocrisy, a mirror of his own broken soul. And to Ophelia, Dane quickly becomes everything. Yet even as she gives more of herself to him, Dane slips away. Consumed by suspicion, rage, and madness, he spirals towards his tragic fate- dragging Ophelia, and the rest of Elsinore, with him.
Yet even in the face of certain death, Ophelia has a choice to make- and a promise to keep. She is not the girl others want her to be. But in Dot Hutchison's dark and sensuous debut novel, the name "Ophelia" is as deeply, painfully, tragically real as "Hamlet".

Hamlet's my favorite Shakespeare tragedy. His other work combined together can't top this masterpiece. So when I first saw someone was publishing a retelling I just had to have it. Not everyone has the talent and the guts to try out to integrate Shakespeare into their work. Dot Hutchison did an outstanding job. 

Ophelia is one of those characters in Hamlet I didn't care for. She was spineless and pretty much everything I don't like in a woman. My heroines need to be strong and independent but A Wounded Name's Ophelia made this well-known story interesting and made me like her even though she was still weak. She tries so hard to please her father, to be a good, obedient daughter and great wife one day to some yet unknown gentleman. She takes pills which are trying to get rid of the apparitions she keeps seeing all around. Her life flips upside down when Dane's father, Hamlet senior dies. 

After Hamlet's death, his brother marries Dane's mother and gets the title of the super intendant which only makes Dane angrier so he starts doing all sort of crazy things around the campus. His two best friends, Horatio and Ophelia are there by his side and are trying to comfort him. Dane's rage and bitterness leaves Ophelia bruised after his every episode. On the positive side, he doesn't remember anything but it doesn't stop Ophelia from allowing him to abuse her after their every secret meeting. OK, I'm gonna stop here and not discuss the plot any longer because most of you know what happens in the end. 

Even though I didn't like Dane/Hamlet in A Wounded Name he did redeem himself in the end. He acted like a spoiled, proud, revengeful, ambitious, mad brat most of the time and he didn't treat his friends well even though they were always there for him. Was he always like this or did I miss something when I first read Hamlet all those years ago? 

I just have to mention the incredible work Dot did with the setting. The lake, the graveyard... You people can't miss this book! You'll regret not getting to know the paranormal aspect of this story. Bean nighe, scary looking washer ladies which dance and sing around the lake whenever it's time for someone to die. I had to look up the term bean nighe and I wished I didn't because those pictures will haunt me tonight, when I go to sleep. 

A Wounded Name is a book full of unfulfilled promises, revenge, death and madness with a beautiful, lyrical writing which will captivate everyone. I can't wait to see what will Dot Hurchison come up next. Truly an unforgettable book. 


  1. This sounds really good. Can't wait to read it :) Great review!

  2. I'm gonna read this next. I agree with you that Ophelia is not my favorite character in Hamlet. I'm interested to see how this story takes her character.

    Great review!

    Dee @ Dee's Reads