The Captive Maiden [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...

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The Captive Maiden

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/21/2013
Dickerson (The Healer’s Apprentice) delivers a novel-length Cinderella story, complete with a damsel in distress and a charming duke’s son. In Hagenheim, Bavaria, in the early 15th century, Gisela lives like a servant in her late father’s home, while her stepmother and stepsisters sell off the horses Gisela loves. This compelling version of the familiar fairy tale dives into matters glossed over by shorter retellings. Jousting matches, swordplay, abductions, and other adventures allow Gisela’s compassion and spirit to shine as much as the valor of her hero, Valten. The two must overcome evil Lord Ruexner, who lives to humiliate Valten and seeks to keep Gisela for himself. Two-thirds of the way through, the story turns into an extended homily on love and what makes a good match, aided by a deus ex machina—the wandering evangelical priest, Friar Daniel. Valten becomes humble and appreciates Gisela for her bravery as well as her beauty, and Gisela learns she is worthy. Ages 15–up. Agency: Books & Such Literary Agency. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
01/01/2014
Gr 6–10—Without magic dust or musical interludes, Dickerson delivers a wonderful spin on "Cinderella" that is full of engaging, thoughtful characters amid lively medieval pageantry. Gisela, 17, works as a servant for her wicked stepmother and stepsisters. When the Duke announces a grand tournament to celebrate the return of his oldest son, Valten, she risks everything to attend. A chance encounter with Valten changes their lives and sets off a dramatic chain of events. The measured pace incorporates suspenseful plot twists, keeping readers wondering if there will be a happily-ever-after ending. Readers of Dickerson's "Snow White"-inspired The Fairest Beauty (Zondervan, 2013) will recognize Gabe, Valten's younger brother, and Sophie, Valten's former betrothed. The character-driven story line focuses on Gisela's and Valten's individual growth as well as on their budding relationship. Detailed descriptions create a strong sense of a 1400s' medieval town, from the vibrant marketplace to the cold castles, to knights battling in front of a gallery of beautiful maidens in their finery. The setting emphasizes the limited options available to Gisela as a young maiden with no money or family. The inspirational and reflective tone shows her to be kind and forgiving despite her hardships, and Valten, brave and chivalrous, no longer seeks fame and glory, but rather welcomes the "idea of God-given purpose." This novel has lots of appeal for fans of fairy tales and of chivalry and knights.—June Shimonishi, Torrance Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
Weaving a heavy dose of romance into a familiar fairy tale, and revisiting the same family as in The Healer's Apprentice (2010) and The Fairest Beauty (2013), Dickerson has concocted another lavish medieval idyll. Abused by her stepsisters and her vicious stepmother (whose motivation is unclear), orphaned Gisela, whom they call "Cinders-ela," has never lost her spirit. She has secretly admired rugged Valten, Lord Hamlin, for years. After he falls for her, she sneaks out to attend a jousting tournament, where he selects her as his lady. Valten duels the dastardly knight Ruexner, who's driven to defeat him even if that requires cheating. Gisela's conniving relatives maliciously conspire to have Ruexner kidnap her with the intent to force her into marrying him, but heroic Valten comes to her rescue, ultimately aided by Friar Daniel (an annoying character seemingly inserted merely to provide ample prayers and homilies). While Valten and Gisela are attractive characters, others lack the spark of life. Though it gets off to a fine start, it gradually loses its way--at least partly through heavy-handed references to other tales in the series--needlessly extending an otherwise pleasant if uninspired romance. Nevertheless, meticulous period detail and the slightly steamy--though modestly chaste--evolving relationship between Gisela and Valten ultimately sustain this tale. (Historical romance. 11-16)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310724421
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz
  • Publication date: 11/19/2013
  • Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,438
  • Age range: 15 - 18 Years
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet 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. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.

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Read an Excerpt

The Captive Maiden


By Melanie Dickerson

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2013 Melanie Dickerson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-72441-4


CHAPTER 1

Nine Years Later ... Spring, 1412, a few miles west of Hagenheim.


Gisela rode Kaeleb over the hilly meadows near her home, letting the horse run as fast as he liked. The morning air clung to her eyelashes, as a fog had created a misty canopy over the green, rolling hills. The wall surrounding the town of Hagenheim stood at her far right, with the forest to her left and her home behind. Hagenheim Castle hovered in the distance, its upper towers lost in the haze.

If her stepmother found out she'd been riding one of the horses without permission, as Gisela often did, she would find some way to punish her. But Gisela didn't care. She could leave any time she wanted to, as she had hidden away the money her father had given her just before he died. She chose to stay, at least for now, because of her love for the horses.

Gisela would probably be forced to leave soon. Her stepmother would end up selling all the horses, or would marry someone despicable, or would create some other type of intolerable situation. When that happened, Gisela planned to go into the town and find paying work, perhaps tending a shop or serving as a kitchen maid at Hagenheim Castle.

Evfemia thought she controlled Gisela. But some day her stepdaughter-slave would be gone.

She didn't want to think about her stepmother anymore. Instead, Gisela focused on the wind in her hair as she flew over the meadow on Kaeleb's back. The cool air filled her lungs almost to bursting. For this moment, she was free.

Kaeleb loved these rides as much as she did. She could sense it in the tightness of his shoulders, in the way he fairly danced in anticipation before she even tightened his saddle in place.

Movement to her left made her turn her head slightly. A horse and rider emerged from the trees and stood watching her from the edge of the meadow.

Gradually, Gisela slowed Kaeleb. She could tell even from this distance the horse and rider were both taller than average. The bare-headed man had short, dark blond hair and wore a green thigh-length tunic that buttoned down the front. His horse was the same size and color as Kaeleb.

The man reminded her of Valten—more appropriately known as Lord Hamlin.

The duke's oldest son had been away for two years, but she'd heard of his return. Gisela figured he would be about twenty-four years old now, as it had been ten years since he and his father had come to buy a horse.

She turned Kaeleb back the way they had come. But instead of riding away, she stared at the man. He seemed comfortable in the saddle, and he held his head high and his back straight. No doubt Valten was proud and self-possessed, but was he also still the kind, gentle boy she had dreamed about as a child?

Probably not. But why should she care? She had ceased daydreaming about him years ago, when she realized she was but a servant now and no longer the wealthy land owner's daughter whose father had been so friendly with Duke Wilhelm.

She glanced down at her coarse woolen overdress. She'd tucked her skirt into her waistband, exposing the leather stockings she wore to cover her legs while she rode, since she hated riding sidesaddle. Her feet were bare and dirty, and her hair was completely unfettered, as she liked to feel the wind lifting and tossing the long strands.

She wouldn't want the duke's son to see her looking this way, if this was indeed Valten. He would mistake her for a peasant, which, when she thought on it, she might as well be, given her position in her stepmother's household.

Gisela urged Kaeleb forward, and soon they were flying back over the hills again. She wasn't running away from the duke's son; she had to go home, for her stepmother and stepsisters would be demanding their breakfast soon, and she still had to give Kaeleb a good brushing after their ride. Besides, Valten, the tournament champion and future leader of Hagenheim, would hardly care to get acquainted with her, the stable hand, cook, and all-around servant for a spoiled, selfish trio of women.

As a little girl she had imagined marrying Lord Hamlin. Now, she knew it was a silly dream. Though she had once cared very much about Valten—following the reports from town of his accomplishments as a tournament champion—it was getting easier to tell herself he couldn't be as noble and good as she had imagined. Her usual trick to keep from feeling bad—to tell herself that she didn't care—worked nearly as well with Valten as with everything else.


* * *

Valten strolled through the Marktplatz for the first time since leaving Hagenheim two years ago. Very little had changed. The vendors were the same. Same old wares—copper pots and leather goods—carrots, beets, leeks, onions, and cabbages laid out in rows of tidy little bunches. People talked loud to be heard over the bustle of market day. They stepped around the horse dung on the cobblestones while brushing shoulders with the other towns people. Everyone had somewhere to go, a purpose.

What was his purpose?

A restlessness possessed him, the same restlessness that had haunted his wandering all over the Continent. Entering all the grandest tournaments for two years had not eased that restless feeling. He'd succeeded at winning all of them in at least one category—jousting, sword fighting, hand-to-hand combat—but often in all categories. He still wasn't a champion at archery, which rankled. But he couldn't be perfect at everything.

Perhaps God had given him archery to keep him humble. Archery, and his little brother Gabe.

He couldn't truly blame his brother. Gabe had seen an opportunity to make a name for himself and he had taken it. Valten would have done the same. And Gabe probably hadn't intended to steal his betrothed.

He didn't like to relive those memories. He'd forgiven his brother, and truthfully, Valten had not been in love with Sophie. He hadn't even known her. Now he couldn't imagine being married to her. She was Gabe's wife, and he didn't begrudge them their happiness or doubt that it was God's will that the two of them were together. But he had been made to look foolish when everyone wondered why Gabehart, Valten's younger, irresponsible brother, was marrying Valten's betrothed.

Why was he even dwelling on this?

He shoved the thoughts away and instead dwelt on the last tournament, where he'd defeated Friedric Ruexner, the man who seemed determined to be his nemesis. Ruexner had tried to trick the judges in Saillenay by substituting a metal-tipped lance for a wooden one when tilting with Valten. But in spite of his lack of chivalry, or perhaps because of it, Ruexner seemed to take special offense every time Valten bested him.

Valten had defeated Ruexner in many tourneys over the years, although the man had defeated him a few times as well, usually under suspicious circumstances. And now Valten was always watching his back, for Friedric Ruexner had muttered a vow of vengeance at their last meeting. But that only meant Valten would relish defeating him all the more in the next tournament, which was to be held here in Hagenheim, hosted by his own father, Duke Wilhelm.

Valten wandered past a vender selling colorful veils and scarves from the Orient, which reminded him of all his travels. Truth be told, he was beginning to weary of the tournaments. He had hardly admitted the fact to himself, and certainly hadn't told anyone else. His dream, his goal all his life, had been to distinguish himself in each competition, to be the best at all modes of war, to be known far and wide as the champion of ... everything. And now people far and wide knew his name, troubadours sang about him, wealthy and titled men's daughters in every town wanted him to wear their colors, and their fathers offered him money and jewels to make their daughters his wife.

He liked the acclaim. All the fame and attention had assuaged his hurt pride after his betrothed chose to marry his brother, but he was tired of that life. What was he accomplishing? What good did it do anyone for him to win another tournament? What good did it do him?

He continued through the marketplace. Most people stayed out of his way and didn't make eye contact. He was used to that; men of his size were often hired soldiers or guards, and sometimes bullies. Valten had been away so long that his people—the people he would lead upon his father's death—didn't recognize him. He wore his hair shorter, he had new scars on his face from his many battles, and today he was wearing nondescript clothing—a knee-length cotehardie of brown leather that laced up the sides and made him look like a farmer just come to town to buy and sell. A few people did stare, as though trying to remember him, but Valten kept walking.

As he wandered, a girl of perhaps seventeen or eighteen years caught his eye. Truthfully, it was her hair that fixed his attention—long and blonde, and somehow it reminded him of his sister Margaretha's hair, even though his sister's was reddish brown. It must have been the thick wildness of it, and that, instead of being covered or braided, it was tied at the end, at her waist, with a piece of rough twine. It also reminded him of someone else, someone he'd seen recently ... Yes. The girl he'd seen riding at great speed across the meadow just outside the town wall.

The girl's coarse gray overgown was covered with patches and odd seams where someone had mended it.

She was arguing with a man over something he was selling.

"You told me it cost three marks and now you say five." Her speech sounded strangely cultured, not like an ignorant country girl.

Also at odds with her dress was the horse whose bridle she was holding. He was magnificent, a horse worthy of carrying a king. Had the girl stolen him?

"I never told you three," the man yelled back. "You're daft."

"I'm not daft, but you are a liar."

"You dare call me a liar?" The man leaned toward her menacingly.

The horse reared, striking the man's flimsy, makeshift counter with his front hoof. The man threw his arms up in front of his face as the rough beam of wood crashed down. The side of his awning gave way, and a rope hung with leather goods fell to the ground, the collapsed fabric on top of it.

"Give me my money back," the girl said, unruffled by the chaos her horse had caused, "and I'll give you back your saddlebag."

"Get your crazy horse out of here!" The man slung his arm wide, cursing under his breath as he stared at the mess at his feet. "Be gone, and take the saddlebag with you." He shook his head, muttering and stooping to pick up his goods, then struggling to push the wooden beam back into place in order to set his booth to rights again.

The girl, whose face Valten still couldn't see, walked away, a leather saddlebag in her hand and her now-calm horse beside her.

Valten followed, almost certain she and her horse were the same horse and rider he'd seen two mornings ago. He continued to admire both her hair and her horse. In fact, the animal looked almost exactly like Valten's own horse, Sieger, the faithful destrier he'd ridden in every tournament. This horse could be his twin.

The girl bought a sweet roll from a plump old woman, then pulled a piece of carrot from her pocket and gave it to the horse, who deftly plucked it from her palm. She gave him a second carrot, then ate her bun as she made her way between the rows of vendors.

Valten admired the way she walked: confident, flowing, graceful, but with a hint of boyishness, as if her horse was more important to her than her hair or clothing. Yes, she was the type to ride astride, instead of sidesaddle, especially if no one was looking. He recalled how she'd given that remarkable beast a free rein when they'd galloped across the open meadow. Her hair had looked like liquid gold in the sun, streaming behind her. But he still hadn't gotten a good look at her face.

Her horse was limping slightly. Had she noticed? The girl was leaving the Marktplatz now and heading toward a side street. He wanted to see where she was going, but more than that, he was curious to see her face.

Just before she entered the side street, Friedric Ruexner appeared around a half-timbered building from the opposite direction, laughing and walking toward them with his squire and two other bearded, unkempt men.

Valten stopped and waited beside a bakery doorway. His nemesis approached the girl. Friedric Ruexner sneered, which drew his lips back and showed his yellow teeth.

The girl planted her feet on the cobblestones in a defiant stance as she stared Ruexner in the eye. Her horse snorted and shook his head restlessly.

Valten was close enough to catch most of their words. "... Too much horse for a girl like you. Where are you going with that fine beast?" Ruexner asked her.

"I have business, and it isn't with you," the girl retorted. "Move out of my way."

"A feisty one." Ruexner looked around at his companions, and all three laughed, continuing to block her way to the side street. He looked her up and down, then muttered something to his companions.

Valten stepped out and strode toward them. "We do not allow anyone to accost maidens in Hagenheim, Ruexner."

The smile left Friedric's dark, brutish face. "Valten Gerstenberg."

"The girl isn't interested in whatever you're offering."

From the corner of his eye, he could see her looking from himself to Ruexner and back again.

Ruexner focused on the girl. "I will fight you for this one."

"No. You will leave her alone, or you'll pay the consequences."

Indecision played over Ruexner's wide brow; he was obviously trying to decide his next move. Finally, he chuckled. "Too bad you came along when you did. The good knight and his good deeds." He turned his head slightly toward his companions. "Valten keeps a close eye on his towns people—when he happens to be here."

Valten crossed his arms while he waited for their scoffing laughter to die down. "For once you are right."

Friedric Ruexner leaned toward Valten, his upper lip curled in menace. "I will be here for the tournament, and there I shall defeat you, once and for all."

Valten gave him stare for stare. "We shall see who defeats whom."

Ruexner turned to the girl and ran his hand down her cheek. Her hand flew up and slapped him, the sound echoing off the buildings on either side of the street. He raised his fist. Her horse reared.

Valten stepped forward and caught Ruexner's forearm and wrenched it behind his back. The horse's hooves pawed the air mere inches from Ruexner's face, causing his eyes to go wide and his friends to jump back. Valten let go of his arm, and Ruexner and his lackeys edged away. When they were twenty feet down the street, Ruexner called, "This will be your last tournament, Valten. For every blow you've ever given me, you'll get double. I swear it."

Valten made sure Ruexner and his friends kept walking, and waited to move until they were out of earshot.

When he turned around, the girl was staring at him.

No wonder Ruexner had noticed her. Her eyes were a clear blue, without a hint of gray or green. Her features were bold and generous—long, thick eyelashes, a straight, proud nose, a full brow, a gently squared chin, and high, prominent cheekbones. Her skin fairly glowed, and he had to remind himself to breathe.

She seemed to be studying his face too. "Thank you." She abruptly turned away and continued on her way as if nothing had happened.

He stood stunned. Should he call after her? He only knew he couldn't let her walk away, so he followed her.

As she turned down the narrow street to the blacksmith's, she looked over her shoulder. "Do you want something, my lord?" She added the last phrase with a bit of slyness in her voice, it seemed. She must realize who he was.

Never good at making conversation with maidens, he ransacked his brain for something appropriate to say. Another way Gabe had been better than him—talking with women. His brother always knew what to say, and it was always something charming or clever. Valten's experience was much different. He'd had little time for women due to his travels and training, and most of the ones he'd met he'd only spoken to briefly. Their fathers had paraded them before him at balls given for the tournament knights, but he'd never known them long enough to feel comfortable. He had not been ready to marry, and therefore he had no interest in showing them how lacking he was in the art of conversation.

He hoped he didn't sound like Ruexner as he said, "A fine destrier you have. He looks very much like my horse, Sieger."

She turned and gave him her full attention. He marveled at her self-reliant expression, a unique trait in a woman, especially one who was less than twenty years old and obviously poor. Or maybe she was only eccentric, wearing ragged clothes to disguise herself, as he was doing.

"Thank you. He is a great horse." Then she turned and continued walking.

He still wasn't ready to let her go.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson. Copyright © 2013 Melanie Dickerson. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

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(26)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2013

    Greatest book ever!

    I have read all of melanie dickersons work. She is an amazing author. I bought the book today and i finished it in three hours. Melanie i hope you are reading this because you are my favorite author. Please come out with more books. This book has action romance and keeps you up all night just to finish it. The charcters are so real and you will fall in love with them. BUY THIS BOOK !!!! You will not redret it

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2013

    This book was really good. I loved how the author used a popula

    This book was really good. I loved how the author used a popular fairy tale to write this book!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 20, 2013

    Another excellent fairytale retelling from Dickerson! I have be

    Another excellent fairytale retelling from Dickerson!

    I have been looking forward to Valten's tale ever since I read the final pages of The Fairest Beauty, and I was not disappointed in the least! Set two years after the closing of Gabe and Sophie's story, Valten has just returned home after a long absence. He meets a beautiful, charming, girl in the marketplace and even after so brief a meeting, he finds his heart drawn to her somehow.

    I love Valten's integrity and his chivalry. He's simply the kind of hero you want to root for. Another character I really loved is Gisela. She's sweet, compassionate and has somehow managed to ignore or rebuff all the filthy lies thrown at her for almost a decade. The two together are an excellent pair.

    If there's one thing that, as a writer, struck me, it's that nothing ever happened easily in this story. I don't want to give anything away, but it did seem like if something could go wrong it did. Though it sounds crazy, I like it when characters are faced with a challenge. After all, what is a story without an impossible task?

    To sum up, I love what Dickerson did with her own Cinderella tale. I also enjoy any chance Dickerson offers to revisit Valten's family, and I hope we'll see them again. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great fairytale retelling with a Christian twist.

    I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 21, 2014

    This might be a young adult book but any woman who loves a good

    This might be a young adult book but any woman who loves a good fairytale, or historical romance will adore this book.

    This is the first book I have read by Melanie but I am planning on reading more. If the others are as good as this I may have found another author I need to keep my eye out for.

    If you know the story of Cinderella then you get the general idea for this book but it is different. Gisela and Valten meet before the ball and Valten is smitten by Gisela. Valten is a strong hero who will do what it takes to protect Gisela, he does this even before he knows her. Sigh.

    You will see Gisela emerge from a scared young woman into a woman who blossoms under the love of a hero. Just as we do under the love of our Savior.

    I had a feeling of anticipation the whole time I read this book. I couldn’t wait to see how Melanie would handle the storyline and the love between the two main characters is heart-twisting.

    This is a must-read for any historical romance lover and a great read for your teen who enjoys reading as well.

    A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    Once upon a time, in a land far away, lived a girl named Gisela.

    Once upon a time, in a land far away, lived a girl named Gisela. This girl was beloved by her father, a great nobleman who could boast of friendships with everyone around him, even the ruler of their land. He taught his daughter everything he knew about horses and shared his love for them with her so she too loved and cared for them. One day the father brought home a new bride and two stepsisters for Gisela, and things were tense as the families had to grow accustomed to one another. In the wink of an eye, Gisela’s adoring father was gone, with only the stepmother and stepsisters to fill the void left by his passing.  Sadly, they viewed poor Gisela as an intrusion in their lives and as someone they could abuse. So they forced her to wait on them hand and foot while they lived a luxurious life with money they gained from selling off the family horses one by one. When the duke hosts a tournament Gisela sees her chance to escape, even just for a day. She beats all the odds, including a trap set by her stepmother, and makes it to the tournament where she sees Valten, the duke’s son, whom she has fond memories of from their father’s horse trades over the years. As the two fall in love they must overcome the evil plots of Gisela’s family as well as attempts on Valten’s life by a black-hearted knight. The journey to happily ever after for Valten and Gisela is not an easy one, but it is definitely one that will keep readers up late to see what happens. :)




    **I received a copy of this book from Zondervan in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!**

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book

    I am in love with Melanie Dickerson’s retellings of fairy tales. The latest installment, THE CAPTIVE MAIDEN, is another version of Cinderella. It is set in the same world as the other books, which is nice. I enjoy the overlap between the characters and the world that continues from one book to another.

    One of the things I like best about this series is that they are retold in a realistic medieval setting, without magic. In that respect they are a nice change, when retellings often feature magic in a different form (not that I don’t love those as well!)

    The main characters, Valten and Gisela, are both well drawn characters who have their own problems, and I think in this case their personalities and problems are realistic. Valten has spent the last two years trying to soothe his wounded pride. In a previous book, THE FAIREST BEAUTY, his younger brother steals the betrothed he was duty-bound to marry. While he admits he didn’t love her, it hurt his ego that the brother steals her. Now, two years later, he’s a tournament champion and no longer finding it the life he thought. He’s restless and unsure what his purpose is.

    Gisela is living as a servant under her evil stepmother’s thumb. Unloved and lonely, she has learned to take solace in her father’s dwindling stock of horses and in convincing herself that she doesn’t care about anything. In allowing herself to care for the memory of Valten as a teenager when he bought his horse, and then in truly caring about him after he helps her in the town square, she opens herself to hurt and romance.

    The balls where Cinderella appears and no one recognize her are not featured. Instead, the author handles it in a realisitic fashion. I enjoyed that Gisela wasn’t a simpering pushover, but struggled with her feelings. However, I was disappointed that she became so “soft” so quickly, and the way she is kidnapped in the middle of the book I found hard to relate to her character.

    The ending was a bit long at times, and I will admit that I skimmed a few parts. However, the character development was well done, and I liked that Gisela did have a backbone.

    The book does have strong Christian themes, so if you don’t like that, be forewarned. If you do enjoy Christian fiction, they were well done and not at all overbearing. The fit the time and theme of the story.

    Overall, the book was well done and enjoyable. It is a quick read, and fans of fairy tale retellings should enjoy it, as will Christian fiction and historical fantasy fans.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Loved this retelling of Cinderella, with a historical setting in

    Loved this retelling of Cinderella, with a historical setting in medieval Germany. Valten is a man's man--great at all the tournaments, admired by many, but hopeless with knowing how to talk to a woman. (Think King Arthur from the Merlin series.) Poor Gisella has much to be bitter about, but is still sweet and holds onto her simple faith. She needs a champion and Valten needs a purpose. There is a super villain, sword fights, danger, adventure and romance. Melanie Dickerson has another wonderfully told tale here; had a hard time putting it down. Makes me want to reread the whole series. Great read--recommend! 4.5 stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2014

    The Captive Maiden

    The Captive Maiden is my favorite of all the novels Melanie Dickerson has published. I enjoy how she uses her creativity to spin an old tale in a new way. Along with her other books Melanie manages to develope her characters in a way that allows you to connect with them and to really understand how they feel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2014

    A spin in a classic farytale

    Join Gisela on her unexpected journey
    He father dies suddenly and Gisela left to do slav work for er aweful stepmother. Unexpectedly, she meets the duks son, Valten, and catche his eye. Sh learne yhat he is throwing a ball and swears not to go. As they grow closer, others are set in ming sure they stay apart.
    Melanie Dickerson, Christian author, does it again in a lively tale with a suprising spin! She draws you in and keeps you there till the end leaving you wanting more!
    Age remendation-13&up

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2014

    okay

    Good story....I enjoyed it, but it sounded a lot like the story of Cinderella.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2014

    Amazing

    Great retelling of Cinderella. Thumbs up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2014

    Cinderella with all the cinders

    Abd no fairy godmother worth the bame

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2014

    Soooo Good!

    Adventure & lntrigue! Great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2014

    A good surprise

    I loved reading this book, when I was reading this book I notice that Valtens parents are the main characters in a earlier book The Healer's apprentice. Also a great book to read next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2014

    Melanie does it again!

    Melanie Dickerson's Captive Maiden is beautiful. The carefully woven tale of Gisela and Valten is splendid. The character development throughout the story is amazing. I love how Ms. Dickerson grows her characters and makes them more mature through Christ. The Christianity beliefs are woven throughout the story perfectly. The love story between Gisela and Valten also helps to mature the characters. I love how Melanie is always so careful with her plot and characters. You can tell she put a lot into the story of Valten and Gisela. Thank you Melanie for your beautiful tales and faith in Christ. He has truly blessed you with your gift for writing. Thank you for sharing this gift with others. Keep writing beautiful stories for Him. God bless!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    Anonymous

    I just finished The Captive Maiden. In fact, I've read all four of her books in the last week or so. I've enjoyed each and everyone. Loved the story lines, the good clean read and the spiritual aspect of Melanie's stories. Hope she has another coming out soon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    Great Book!

    This is the first book by Melanie Dickerson (sorry if I got the name wrong) that I've read. It reminds me of the story of Cinderella but with the added religion of Christianity. The fact that Christianity plays an important role in this book makes me like it very much.

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  • Posted February 7, 2014

    Amazing!!!

    Amazing!!!

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  • Posted January 6, 2014

    I received The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson from the Book

    I received The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson from the Booksneeze program for free in exchange for my honest review.




    The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson is the creative retelling of the Cinderella fairytale. It is written as a stand alone book however it chronologically follows her other book- The Fairest Maiden. It is insightful and creative. The struggles are real enough to relate to and the triumphs are believable. Gisela (Ella for short) is left fatherless in the midst of her idyllic childhood. She is held captive by her stepmother and step sisters who nick name her 'cinders-ella' because she spends her nights sleeping near the cinders of the fire in order to keep warm. Her only comforts are the horses left behind by her father and the memory of Valten, the eldest son of the duke. 
    Years later she meets Valten in the market and catches his eye and he garners her promise to attend his last tournament. With the help of a friend she attends and she is crowned Queen of the tournament. She discovers that love is worth fighting for and that she is worth fighting for as she fights to free herself and her love from the clutches of an evil man. Will Valten and Gisela live happily ever after or will she be forced to wed another to save the man she loves? You'll have to read it to find out!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    This book is so amazing! Its beautifully written, and full of ro

    This book is so amazing! Its beautifully written, and full of romance action and mystery! this is my favorite book by her! A MUST BUY! i love the characters, and the setting! Melanie Dickerson never fails to amaze me

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