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Age Appropriate For: 13 + for mild romance and mild violence
Best for Ages: 15 and up
Description: 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.
After reading The Merchant's Daughter, I have been eager to read more of Melanie Dickerson’s books. Cinderella having been my favorite fairy tale growing up, I couldn’t have been more excited about reading Melanie’s retelling of it: The Captive Maiden.
The beginning of the book was what you would expect from a Cinderella retelling: Gisela (Cinderella) enters into her fatherless state and is left with uncaring stepmother and step-sisters. That however, is really the only thing typical about this retelling. All though the story is very clearly the same basic story, it kept me on the edge of my seat.
Whether or not Gisela will go to the ball is not where the tension lies in the story. Instead the tension is whether she and Valten will escape the clutches of the villain. I for one loved this change. Not only did it keep me on the edge of my seat, it added a whole wonderful layer to the story, like extra icing on the cake.
Valten was awesome from the moment he entered the story. I just loved how, even before he has fallen in love, he wants to protect Gisela. I am always so happy to see swoon-worthy heroes that are also men of great character. Valten was someone you could cheer, for both because he was good looking and because he had godly character.
Gisela is one of the best Cinderella characters I have read or watched. She wasn’t so sweet that she made you want to gag, nor was she bitter from her life experience. She was very real in that she tried to protect herself from caring for others, because that had caused her so much pain. She also had a bit of sweetness to her despite her harsh circumstances.
I loved the tournament! As a lover of all things Medieval, the tournament captured my imagination. I was very impressed how long Melanie was able to draw it out without getting boring. The ball was wonderful. I wished that I could slip into a ball gown and join in.
I highly recommend this book for those who love fairy tales, romance, and characters that are inspiring.
I received this book from Zonderven through BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are entirely my own.