The Captive Maiden
by Melanie Dickerson
Trade Paperback: 302 pages
Released: November 23, 2013
Source: Review copy from the publisher received through Booksneeze.com.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Gisela’s childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father’s death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela learns the duke’s son, Valten---the boy she has daydreamed about for years---is throwing a ball in hopes of finding a wife, she vows to find a way to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.
The Captive Maiden is a young adult retelling of Cinderella. It's based in "Spring, 1412, Hagenheim Region" to give it a historical feel, but it still reads like a fantasy. Every time Gisela needed a fancy dress or perfect-fitting dancing shoes, someone had some lying about that fit Gisela like it was made for her. During the jousting, charging knights repeatedly used pointed lances to hit the other's helmet...yet they walked away without a scratch. No broken necks, no poked-out eyes, no deaths. Gisela routinely rides spirited horses, yet when she considers throwing herself off a horse in an attempt to escape, she's convinced she'll die when she hits the ground. So it's not really realistic.
The story was primarily a romance. Valten was heroic and manly. Grisela was determined but nice. But the repeated capture and escape scenes just didn't work for me. The bad guys think it's torture to frequently let the two love birds snuggle together and plot their escape. Once, when they should be escaping from Valten's imminent death, Grisela is more focused on kissing Valten than escaping. It's all wonderfully "romantic" stuff, but it's not really what I care for.
There was an ongoing theme of needing to trust God rather than trusting in their own strength to escape the bad situation. There was no sex and no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book to teenagers who like romances where the hero is willing to die to save his love-at-first-sight beloved.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
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