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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Book Review: The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

The Captive Maiden (Hagenheim #4) by Melanie Dickerson
Genre: Young Adult  (Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction/Romance/Fractured Fairy Tale)
Date Published: November 23, 2013
Publisher: Zondervan

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 meets the duke's son, Valten--the boy she has daydreamed about for years--and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows 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 the fourth book in the Hagenheim series by Melanie Dickerson. This book reminded me of the movie Ever After quite a bit. Which makes sense, since it's a retelling of Cinderella. I loved the jousting scenes and the fact that horses were a big part of the main character's lives. Gisela plays damsel in distress well, but she also holds her own. Valten gets his fairy tale story. Yay! I loved getting to know him. There was action and cuteness, and the two blended well together within this this story. 

When she was still seven, and before her father died, the Duke of Hagenheim and his oldest son, Valten, had come to buy a horse from her father, because, as Father said, he bred and raised the best horses in the region. Valten wanted a war horse, a destrier that would serve him as he practiced jousting and other war games.

The two of them, Duke Wilhelm and his son, rode up the lane to her house. Duke Wilhelm and her father greeted each other like old friends. The duke’s son was fourteen, and Gisela had been seven. Valten was already quite as tall as her father and broad-shouldered. She remembered his hair was blond, and he’d looked at her with keen eyes and a sober expression.

Within the first moments, she decided she did not like him. He had come to take one of her horses away, and worst of all, this boy meant to ride her horse in the lists. She didn’t want one of her horses competing in the dangerous joust, risking serious injuries with each charge.

But the boy and his father treated the horses gently and respectfully. From several feet away she had watched as they examined all the youngest destriers. By the time the duke’s son made his choice, Gisela realized he would love the horse, would take care of him. The horse would have many adventures with the duke’s son, more than Gisela could give him.

As their fathers settled their price, Gisela watched Valten — she was supposed to call him Lord Hamlin, as he was the Earl of Hamlin, but she thought his given name suited him better — as the young earl rubbed the horse’s nose and cheek and talked softly to him.

“He likes carrots.”

Valten turned and looked at her. “Then I shall make sure he gets some.”

Have you read other books in this series?

Check out my review of another book by this author!

Melanie Dickerson is a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing's Best award, and her book, The Healer's Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.

To learn more about Melanie Dickerson and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookGoogle+, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

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