Nondula is a YA book, the second in the Waifs of Duldred series by Ana Salote. I reviewed Oy Yew, the first in the series, and was totally enchanted with the story. Nondula follows the adventures of the children who at the end of Oy Yew have escaped on a raft from their slavery in Duldred: Oy, Alas, Gritty, Gertie and Linnet.
Nondula opens with the children awaking in a haystack in the country of that name, having been picked up and blown there by a tornado. The children view this peaceful land and its gentle inhabitants as a land of milk and honey, but they soon learn that Nondula’s neighbors, the cruel and primitive Felluns, are in the process of destroying it in the search for a healer who can treat their queen, Fellona.
Each child is assigned a duty: Gerties and Gritty become assistants to the librarian in the Sajistry, a large, underground complex; Linnet, who is pale and colorless is assigned to the weaving barn to make dyes for their yarns; Alas is to be a jack of all trades, and Oy is left to find his way. Eventually he becomes an apprentice healer.
Linnet, Oy’s closet friend, falls deathly ill, and Oy works feverishly to find something to restore her color, trying to find a source of the correct yellow color that will make her well. When all the healers of Nondula have been captured by the Felluns, the half-trained Oy is the only one left. Oy decides to go to their land to look for the yellow herb but is captured and thrown into the pits where the animals are kept – the animals being the only source of Fellun food. He is trapped there, cleaning out the pits. Gertie goes after him, joining a dancing company in the hopes of finding him.
More than this I don’t want to say; I’d hate to give the story completely away.
There are many magical things in Nondula – how could there not be, since the author’s imagination is complex, colorful, and enthralling? She is talented at creating new names from words that we recognize: Sajistry – Sacristy; husbeaus, husbinds, and husbeens, for future, currents and past husbands, for example. Those made me smile. Her five waifs are fully developed into complex individuals in this book, and she limns the other characters so well as to develop the reader’s emotional attachment…or revulsion.
Salote has an extraordinary and wondrous voice, painting color and wonders and worlds in lyrical and compelling words. Like the last one, Nondula is a children’s classic for adults, too. It tickles the brain as a fairy tale and an adventure story with ogres. The Felluns are definitely its dark side, but the adventure of it all keeps you reading. Like Oy Yew, I will probably read it again.
Because this book focused on the five children, rather than primarily on Oy Yew, as the first one did, I found it very, very, slightly less enjoyable. On the other hand, having the development of all of them will expand the possibilities for the third book, which I anxiously await. I recommend this book highly for anyone from 10 to 100. It takes you on a journey to a wondrous place.
About the author
Taken from an interview by Maddy at Writing Bubble
Ana Salote’s father was a heavyweight boxer from Tonga, her mother was a Derbyshire miner’s daughter. She grew up among strong characters with constant drama, and it became a mine of material. She attended a comprehensive school where the teachers but left at 16 and went to the university of life, one of reading. She now lives in Somerset, England, which she finds a beautiful, magical place.
Ana find some things are intrinsically magical: acorns, seahorses, teapots, owls and chimneys. Chimneys seeded the central mystery of Oy Yew, and the character of Oy is based on a real person: a shy, sensitive character with a voice you strain to hear. In Nondula, his voice rings loud and clear. Ana is also fascinated by nature and nurture.
As a writer, Ana is a pantster. She kicks off with a trigger then runs with the scenes, and plot ideas form as she writes.
The next books in the series is set for release in a year.
You can find Ana on
Nondula is available on Amazon: