Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Captive Maiden (Hagenheim Series #4) by Melanie Dickerson: A Book Review

The Captive Maiden (Hagenheim Series #4)
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Christian
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 204
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: 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 Review: The Captive Maiden is not only a retelling of Cinderella, but it is also the sequel to The Fairest Maiden. This time we get to find out what has happened to Valten after Sophie jilted him for his brother Gabe. When Valten, the son of the Duke of Hagenheim, participates in a tournament thrown by his father, many young ladies are enchanted by his charisma. Then, Valten’s father decides to hold a ball in Valten’s honor. Meanwhile, we are introduced to the heroine, Gisela. Gisela has been cruelly treated by her stepmother and stepsisters. She dreams of a better life with a true love. Gisela wants nothing more than to attend the Duke of Hagenheim’s ball so she can catch a glimpse of Valten, whom she’s had a crush on for ten years. At the tournament, she manages to catch Valten’s eye, and the two of them embark on a forbidden romance. Can the two of them be together when there are evil forces that are plotting to keep the couple apart?

     Gisela is very kind and clever. However, she is a scared girl and does not stand up for herself. She relies on others to save her. Over the course of the novel, she gradually changes. She develops into a strong, capable, and confident young woman who can stand up to others. I also like her relationship with Valten. He is shy and yearns for glory. Yet, he too changes in the novel. He becomes more confident and is able to express his feelings. He also realizes that there are more important things in life than getting attention and recognition. Thus, both Gisela and Valten grow in the novel, and both of them work to save one another.

     Overall, this novel is about strength, courage, friendship, family, love, faith, and hope. The message of the book is to trust in God. The new characters were likable, and it was great to reacquaint ourselves with characters from the previous novels. I loved the historical details in this book, and my favorite scenes were the tournament. I also thought this novel was very fast-paced, for it is filled with action and adventure. However, because the pacing was faster, I wished that the ball scene was a little bit longer. I wanted more dance scenes with Gisela and Valten. Nevertheless, it was still a satisfying read, for there were a lot of romantic scenes. I recommend this book to anyone who looking to read a light and sweet fairytale that still teaches us an important message of God’s love for us. Melanie Dickerson is one of the best authors I have read that takes fairy tales, re-tells them in a realistic sense, and promotes her Christian values and beliefs. Her novels have not disappointed me yet, and this one continues the string of enjoyable reads.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



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