‘Dolores!’ opens with a tragic drowning that immediately grabs the reader by the throat. Dolores’ life subsequently plays out like a slow-motion film, via powerful flashbacks. Noëlla Elpers zooms in on her childhood. Dolores grows up as a dwarf, in 15th century Biar in Spain. When she is five she realises she is different to other people. But she refuses to reconcile herself to limitations and glosses over her handicap with a generous dose of humour.
Elpers’ narrative art is poetic and inventive.NRC Handelsblad
Her father sells her to King Ferdinand as a gift for his daughter, the gloomy Princess Joanna - remembered in history as ‘Joanna the Mad’. That Dolores feels like a living doll is a fact that seems to escape everyone. Dolores becomes friends with her new mistress, but develops an even stronger friendship with the Moorish chambermaid Meryem. Elpers convincingly describes Dolores’ many yearnings and her search for true love, with a heart too big for her tiny body. And then Joanna’s ship is lost off the English coast. Joanna and Meryem manage to escape, but Dolores is swallowed up by the waves in the gripping final scene.
Both a historical novel and a fully-fledged, contemporary YA novel that paints a delightful picture of the difficult process of growing upDe Leeswelp