Hello everyone! It's Tuesday. Today I'm going to be reviewing The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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.
I like Melanie Dickerson's book. I have a special place in my heart for fairytale retellings, and she takes on that task in a creative way... placing her stories in medieval countries. It's quite interesting to see her retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, and now with Captive Maiden, Cinderella. (Sadly, I have yet to read the story that started it all, The Healer's Apprentice, but I plan too!)
Anywho, on to my review. Of all the Melanie Dickerson books I have had the pleasure of reading, this one was my favorite. There was just something about it that drew me in even more than the previous two I read. From the first page I was enthralled, pulled into Gisela's story and thirsty for more.
First off, there's the plot. Some may not like them, but I'm still the girl that loves the idea of a guy saving a girl. And I suppose that's a bit of the plot. But that's not all. It wasn't your average Cinderella story at all. I liked how she wrote it differently, like that the romantic interest knew who Gisela was for most of the story. It was a creative twist, and made the story so much better. I love how part of the story takes place around a tournament of knights, and that she got some of her ideas from reading Ivanhoe. I love... well. I love a lot of it, but I don't want to spoil anything.
Then there's the characters. Gisela was the perfect Cinderella. She's spirited, and sweet, and knows she could up and leave her cruel stepmother and stepsisters if she ever had the mind. She and Valten are so cute together in a different sort of way. Valten takes an immediate liking to her because he is free to talk with her about horses and such things most young ladies didn't enjoy discussing at that time. Speaking of Valten, it was so nice to see more of him in this book. His tough exterior was peeled back bit by bit as he grew closer to Gisela. Turns out, he's a really nice guy! There's several other fantastic characters, but I believe Valten's chatty younger sister, Margaretha, deserves a shout-out. She's just so funny and sweet. You can't imagine my joy at the realization that she's getting her own story soon!
Anyway. I really enjoyed this book. Tremendously. I read it in a couple of days, and my appetite is already whetted for another book by Melanie Dickerson. I think every book she writes just seems to get better and better.
~ a rambling author