Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

ISBN 13: 9780310724421
About the book:   Happily Ever After ...Or Happily Nevermore?  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.

My thoughts: I really don’t read many fairy tale retellings but made an exception to The Captive Maiden by  Melanie Dickerson because of its absolutely beautiful cover and the reviews of her prior books which are retellings of other fairy tales. In The Captive Maiden, Ms. Dickerson expands on the story of Cinderella and her mistreatment by the wicked stepmother and stepsisters. Gisela  attends a ball and the handsome suitor is there to entrance. However, that is about the extent of the connection with the actual Cinderella tale. Frankly, I think Ms. Dickersons’ expansion of the story line and addition of scenes and plot will thoroughly engage and enthrall the reader – perhaps 13 and up to the young-in-heart.

Gisela is made to serve and scrub for the stepmother and stepsisters, but she has a sweet attitude. She loves the horses stabled on her deceased father’s land and that is a major connection between she and the handsome hero, Valten, who is the future Duke.

There is a villain who fights Valten in the jousting tournaments (think Ivanhoe and medieval times) which are described in great detail. Swashbuckling sword fights and kidnapping scenes with and fights and rescues. Sweet romance blooms. This is sure to capture to attention of anyone who enjoys a damsel in distress and a hero who is coming to the rescue.

The book drags a bit in spots, but overall it is quite an enjoyable read.  On the back cover, the publisher denotes this as “TEEN FICTION.” That it surely is but will be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys a fairy tale retelling and light read. The story is replete with references to Christianity though it is not a “preachy” book. It is, after all, published by a Christian publishing house, Zondervan. It is one I can definitely recommend.

About the author:  Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary.  
I review for BookSneeze® 
DISCLOSURE:  I received a complimentary copy of The Captive Maiden from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.


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