Due to her parents’ promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, shortly before her birthday, a friend of her father’s enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents’ will left a second choice—if Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.
Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the knights’ arrival results in a series of attacks within her land, she begins to wonder if the convent is the best place after all. If only one of the knights—the one who appears the most guilty—had not already captured her heart.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
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An Uncertain Choice
By Jody Hedlund
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2015 Jody Hedlund
All rights reserved.
Montfort Castle, Ashby In the year of our Lord 1390
My slippered feet slapped the dirt road, and my heart hammered against my chest like a battering ram.
"Wait, Lady Rosemarie," my nursemaid called from the narrow alley far behind me.
But I couldn't wait. I lifted my silky gown higher and pushed my feet faster, straining to reach the town square before it was too late. I raced past the one-room thatched homes of the poor peasants, doors ajar and deserted.
Now I knew why everyone was gone, except for the bedridden and one lame beggar child who'd finally had the courage to tell me what no one else would. The entire town had gathered in the market square to watch several men receive punishment for their crimes. Only it wasn't the usual stocks or pillory, which I allowed. Nor even someone being placed in jail. No. This time, someone had apparently given the bailiff permission to boil the criminals alive.
Revulsion spread throughout my body. And anger. Why was the bailiff blatantly disregarding my law against cruel tortures?
I rounded the massive grain storage building and stumbled out of the dark alley and onto the cobbled street that led to the market. Almost immediately, I hit a wall of bodies—craftsmen and merchants who'd left their shops to watch the public punishment. My breath burned in my chest from my frantic run through town, and I gasped a lungful of the sourness that came from the unwashed bodies sweating in the merciless late-morning sun. The odor soon mingled with the stench of pigs and chickens brought to market, and the rottenness of overripe produce.
But fury mastered my nausea. I wouldn't tolerate cruelty on my lands, among my people. I hadn't allowed it in the years since the Plague had taken the lives of my dear father and mother. And I wouldn't start today.
With a flare of indignation, I stood on my toes, straining to see above the caps and wimples of all those who resided in my walled town. At the billows of black smoke arising from the center green, the ramming of my heartbeat doubled its pace. The smoke could mean only one thing—that an enormous fire had indeed been lit. And that a large cauldron had been suspended above it, filled with well water and set to boil ... with one of the poor criminals inside.
Panic rose to choke me as surely as smoke. "Cease this instant!" I cried. But amidst the clamor and shouts of those gathered, my voice only added to the confusion.
"I command you to release the criminals at once," I called again, louder.
My orders drifted into nothingness. At the back of the crowd, I was invisible. The townspeople were too intent on the cruel scene before them—some curious, others shocked. But mostly afraid. I could see the flickering lines of fear etching the weathered faces, the wrinkled brows, and the hunched shoulders. I needed to make my way to the front, to the bailiff, and demand that he stop the proceedings.
I tapped the back of one of the men standing before me. "Please. Let me pass."
Without a glance, the man shrugged away my touch as if it was nothing more than a pesky fly. I waited for him to turn around and see that it was I, Lady Rosemarie Montfort, the ruler of Ashby and all the many lands and estates beyond. If he would but take notice of me and realize who I was, he would fall to his knee before me. But he didn't budge. Like everyone else, he was too focused—too horrified—to see me.
With a breath of frustration, I stepped toward a group of women huddled together and attempted to wedge my way through their midst. But they only squeezed closer, blocking my way, shutting me out as effectively as the city gate.
With a desperate glance around the market, I caught sight of the steep steps that led to the guildhall's arched doorway. Bunching my gown, I worked my way around the edge of the gathering until I reached the large stone building. I wove through the children who crowded the steps, patting their bare heads tenderly as they bowed before me. When I finally climbed to the landing, the market spread before me. There, in the very heart of the green, was the bonfire. And suspended above the blazing heat was a large cauldron hanging from a metal tripod, with an old man cramped inside. The steam rising from the water told me it wouldn't be long before it began to bubble at an unbearable temperature. The old man's screams would soon fill the air as his skin blistered and flesh cooked. Even now, his exposed chest shone as red as freshly butchered beef. Beneath a mop of dirty gray hair, his eyes were wild.
To the side, another criminal was sprawled on the ground, his hands tied to stakes above his head. Ropes bound his feet, and the petty constable was cranking a lever that was slowly stretching the man, nearing the point where his arms and legs would pull from their sockets.
I spotted the dark cloak and hat of the bailiff, and found he was adding more kindling to the fire.
"Bailiff!" I shouted. "You must stop this cruelty."
Only the children on the steps heard me. They lifted their faces to watch me expectantly. I cupped the cheek of the nearest urchin and smoothed my fingers over his filthy skin. He peered up at me with adoration, and I managed a small smile for him. He shouldn't have to witness such a display of inhumanity. No one should. Ever.
With a shudder, I crossed my arms over my chest and attempted to ward off the dark chill that came from remembering the torture I'd witnessed four years ago after my parents' funeral. The gruesome picture was stitched into my memory like embroidery threads within a tapestry. I wanted no more memories like that one.
"Stop!" I yelled again. "As Lady Rosemarie Montfort, your ruler, I command you to cease. Immediately."
This time, my declaration caused heads to turn my direction. The women closest to the guildhall began to whisper and grab the arms of those around them. Some of the men bowed. But the petty constable continued to crank the rope, and the bailiff tossed another log onto the fire, sending sparks shooting high into the air.
I uttered an unladylike cry of frustration and raised my eyes to the grand castle on the bluff that towered as a lord over the town. The outer walls rose as if one with the rocky cliffs, making the fortress impenetrable on three sides. A moat and the town provided the defense on the fourth side.
If only I'd thought to bring one of my guards. Even now, I could make out the gleaming helmet of the soldier on duty at the gatehouse. But I'd never had need of protection in my town, among the people who loved me.
A glint of silver along the fringes of the gathering caught my eye. A short distance from the guildhall stood a war horse mounted by a knight. Dressed in his plate armor, the coat of arms on the horse's blanket was unfamiliar—red with a fire-breathing dragon emblazoned upon it.
How long had the warrior been watching the proceedings?
A shimmer of unease slipped up the veil trailing over my plaited hair and pricked the back of my neck. None of the neighboring lords had threatened Ashby. The land had been at peace. So who was this knight, and what did his presence in my town mean?
As if sensing my question, the knight shifted to face me. Through the narrow slit in his steel helmet, his eyes were dark and unreadable. Even so, there was something kind and respectful about his posture. He surprised me by bowing his head and paying me homage.
Then he lifted the long halberd at his side, dug his spurs into his horse, and charged forward toward the center green. At the heavy thudding of his steed and the sight of his weapon, those in his path fell back to make room for him. He thrust forward like a knight at a jousting tournament.
My muscles tightened. What did he intend to do? I wanted to call out, to question him, to demand that he explain his presence in my town. But as he made a direct path to the cauldron of bubbling water, I found myself praying he'd succeed where I had failed to bring an end to the torture.
With a precision and strength that no doubt came from years of training, the knight slashed the halberd's axe-head into the knotted rope binding the criminal on the ground, freeing first one hand then the other. Within seconds, the man was sitting and frantically working to unbind his feet.
The knight shifted to the bubbling cauldron. Again, he lifted his halberd, and this time swung around the fluke that hooked into the metal chain suspending the pot from the tripod. The knight gave his horse a kick that caused the beast to jolt forward. The swift jerk was all it took for the tripod to tip and then topple to the ground. As the cauldron crashed, boiling water splashed over the fire and onto the bailiff and other townspeople, who jumped back with cries. The poor old man who'd been inside, naked except for the breech cloth at his waist, rolled into a quivering heap.
"What do you think you're doing?" the bailiff called, brushing at the splatters of hot water soaking into his hose.
The knight steered his horse toward the newly freed criminal. The old man pushed himself up and held out shaking hands that were tied together at the wrist. His face was wreathed in gratitude. "Thank you, sir," he croaked.
Before the bailiff could protest further, the knight unsheathed his sword and slit the rope at the man's wrists. Then he reached down, clasped the old man's arm, and hoisted him onto the horse behind him. Though red and raw, the criminal wrapped his arms around the knight's armor and clung to him.
Only then did I dare to take a breath. The old man suffered burns and blisters from his ordeal, but he was free from his torture at last.
The bailiff pointed his dagger at the knight. "By whose authority are you disrupting this execution of justice?"
The knight said nothing. Instead he urged his horse away from the bailiff and trotted along the path he'd already made through the crowd. The townspeople were too stunned by his display of strength, just as I was, to utter a word.
With the pointed tip of his halberd, he caught the cloak of a merchant in passing, lifted the flowing garment, and held it out to the criminal so that the man could shield his unclad body from onlookers.
The bailiff's indignation rose in the now silent square. But the knight didn't stop until he reached the guildhall. Only then did he sidle his horse against the tall stairway and help the criminal dismount so that the old man slid to his knees before me.
At the sight of me standing at the top of the guildhall steps, gasps wove through the marketplace, and soon every person, young and old, bowed to one knee. From atop his steed, the knight, too, lowered his head.
"Thank you, my lady," the criminal spoke through cracked lips. I recognized him as one of the men I'd recently pardoned. He'd been accused of stealing out of the parish coffers so that he could pay his rent and provide food for the numerous orphan children he kept in his care. I'd determined then, as I did now, that he didn't deserve punishment but rather benevolence.
I tucked the cloak more securely around his shuddering body before rising to my full height and straightening my shoulders with frustration. Who had dared to override my compassion? And why?
I narrowed my eyes on the bailiff and constable, who had knelt along with the rest. "Bailiff," I called. "I shall require an answer for this blatant disregard of my laws."
He lifted his head, and fear flashed across his countenance. "I was only carrying out the sheriff's orders, my lady."
My frustration fanned hotter. I should have known. The sheriff hadn't approved of my leniency among the populace. But with two recent outbreaks of a mysterious illness in outlying areas, the poor were dying, and I had no choice but to bestow more compassion.
"Tell the sheriff I request his presence at the Great Hall this very day. And you will accompany him."
The bailiff lowered his head in acquiescence.
Inwardly, I sighed at the confrontation that was to come. The sheriff had never liked me, even though he'd saved me from a plague-stricken peasant several years ago. He was the kind of man who thought women were useless. And now that I'd inherited Ashby, his dislike had only grown, as had his resistance to taking orders from me. Of course, I hadn't yet become full ruler of my lands. I was still under the guidance and leadership of Abbot Francis Michael until my eighteenth birthday. But in a month, I would be able to rule on my own, even if it would be from the convent as a nun. The sheriff would eventually have to learn to accept my decisions. No matter how much he disliked the idea of having a female ruler, I was the only and rightful heir to Ashby.
The warhorse in front of me snorted, shifting my attention back to the knight, who was obviously waiting, as he should, for me to speak first and acknowledge his presence.
"Sir," I started. "I owe you my deepest gratitude." Only then did he straighten. Through the eye slits, his guileless gaze met mine and radiated with approval. And somehow I knew he was a friend, not a foe.
"My lady." His voice echoed behind the hollow metal. "You owe me nothing."
If only he would remove his helmet so I could see his mouth, to know whether he offered me a smile. Although I wasn't sure why that should matter.
He shifted in his saddle, his steed tossing its head and growing restless.
I was tempted to order him to dismount and show his face. Who was he? A lord from one of the neighboring lands? But before I could speak, he shied back a step. "For one as fair and kind as you, my lady, whatever you wish shall always be my command."
With that, he bowed one last time. Then, tucking his halberd under his arm, he gave rein to his horse, allowing the beast to twist and rear away. Before I could tell him to stop, he galloped across the square and veered down the main street that led to the city gates.
Like everyone else, all I could do was stare after him until he disappeared.CHAPTER 2
"The sheriff has gone too far this time," I said to the abbot, who stood by my side.
Abbot Francis Michael, taller than most men, bent low to speak into my ear, giving me full view of the bald spot on his tonsured head. "Don't be too harsh with him, my child. He's only attempting to keep order."
The sheriff and bailiff stood stiffly by the double doors of the Great Hall, flanked on either side by two of my soldiers. While the bailiff's expression contained the same fear I'd seen at the market square earlier, the sheriff's dark scowl reflected his irritation and none of the submission I desired.
"Think about the predicament from his perspective," the abbot continued in his calm and quiet tone. "If he allows a few to break the law without repercussion, then others will think they can do the same. Such lenience could lead to anarchy."
"You know I don't condone stealing," I said. "But if the poor are desperate enough to break the law, then we must increase the amount of their assistance."
The abbot rose and tucked his hands into the wide sleeves of his habit. Although a slender man from his many fasts, he was not weak. The reverent lines of his face radiated the strength I had come to rely upon over the past four years.
He didn't say anything for a long moment, and instead stared straight ahead thoughtfully and prayerfully.
I turned my own critical eye toward the view. The enormous hall with its high arched ceiling, palatial colonnades, thick tapestries, and glazed windows attested to my wealth. As did the elegant engraving on the golden chair in which I sat. What need did I have for such lavishness when my subjects languished? Selling or trading the opulent throne and tapestries could provide months of provisions for the poorest in the land. What need would I have for it anyway once I entered the convent next month?
The abbot finally sighed. "You have a soft heart, child. And you have already given more than you can afford."
My stomach cinched at the feeling of ineptness that weighed on me whenever I conversed with the abbot about the financial predicament of my lands. If there was one point of disagreement between the abbot and me, it was on the distribution of funds. Even though I supported the architectural plans for the cathedral and abbey he was designing, I wanted to remain generous to the poor. We seemed to be growing at odds on how to do so without draining the coffers.
"We must do more," I said more to myself than to the abbot. My parents had sacrificed their lives in order to help the people of Ashby. I'd vowed to do the same, to become the kind of ruler that my parents would be proud of, to do all I could so that their death wouldn't be in vain.
The abbot finally gave a resigned nod. He knew that I'd made it my life calling to rule my people with compassion. "In the meantime," he said, "you must show the same compassion to the sheriff that you wish to show to all of your people."
Excerpted from An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund. Copyright © 2015 Jody Hedlund. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Short and Sweet: Though the story line was predictable, I really enjoyed the writing and characters in this story. To Elaborate... Lady Rosemarie loves the people she partially rules over. She can't wait until her 18th birthday, only a month away, when she can take full ownership of her title, even if that also means entering the convent as her parents' promised her for. When a family friend and duke arrives, he tells Rose about a clause that will allow her a different choice than nunnery: if she weds before her 18th birthday, she may get out of her parents' promise without dishonoring them. The duke comes with three knights for her to potentially choose from, but as schemes start arising, one of the knights may be trying to win power instead of her heart. From the beginning, it was pretty clear where the story was going to go. The primary love interest and the villain were all very clear. However, the writing still made things interesting and enjoyable. Rose's character was lovely, and I enjoyed seeing how she believed in her people and wanted to do her best for them. I originally thought the three competing knights might be a little over the top, but I loved how real the situation felt. Rose didn't fall for any of them immediately, and the awkwardness of the situation was evident for all, even a little funny in parts. Rose always thought she was doing this for her people, and that showed really well. It reminded me a bit of the The Princess Diaries 2 movie in that aspect. With the rich writing and enjoyable characters, AN UNCERTAIN CHOICE turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The story has its flaws, but I'm definitely glad I read it. Fans of royal love stories and kick butt female rulers have a strong chance of finding a good read with Jody Hedlund's lovely book. 3.5 Hearts!
An Uncertain Choice is the first book in the An Uncertain Choice series by Jody Hedlund. This was a sweet story. With Rosemarie having a choice of three knights who take part in different activities with her each day to try to win her affections, it felt almost like a medieval Bachelorette episode. I thought that whole idea was cute. I had a favorite among the guys very early on. Sure, it was predictable (I knew who the bad one was the moment that person made an appearance), but it was a pleasant read nonetheless. I will be reading the next book, because sometimes, I just want to read something fun and lighthearted, and this book fits the bill.
It is very entertaining because the author hooks you in all the way through. The story is very good and the plot is not very slow or overwhelming. I would recommend this book if you like love stories.
Once I started I couldn't put it down!!!! Amazing love story, kept you on the edge.
Such a fun read! 100% clean romance, but not preachy. Loved it!
This story was ok.
After spending years preparing to become a nun, is there finally a chance that Lady Rosemarie can find true love? Lady Rosemarie finally has peace about her imminent future at the convent. But one month before her eighteenth birthday The Noblest Knight returns after his long absence and everything she knows is turned upside down. The Ancient Vow of Hannah, that Lady Rosemarie's parents made, has one exception: marriage of true love by midnight on the 18th birthday will end the vow. Three knights are presented to Lady Rosemarie who have a contest to win her heart. But is one month long enough to fall in love? When incidences arise, it appears one of the knights is to blame. Is the convent a better choice for Lady Rosemarie or will she follow her heart to her true love? Jody Hedlund's first YA novel did not disappoint! The medieval setting, the romance, the intrigue and the faith all met with my expectations. Lady Rosemarie's character is very naive and is swayed easily by other people's opinions. However, as the story moves along, she learns how to stand up for herself and finds what she truly believes. Although the story line was fairly predictable, I was thoroughly entertained. As usual with Jody Hedlund's books, I couldn't put it down (the laundry still isn't done). I am thankful to Jody for providing appropriate YA reading material. I strongly recommend that you read The Vow, prequel to An Uncertain Choice. Find it for free on bn.com
I received this book via Booklook Bloggers in exchange of an honest review. I'm in for anything that is categorized as reverse harem. (Definition of reverse harem: an ambiguously-defined subgenre of anime and manga characterized by a protagonist surrounded, usually amorously, by three or more members of the opposing sex and/or love interests.) As soon as I found out this book is about the main character finding true love together with three handsome knights, I knew I had to read it. Hmm I didn't love this book, but I didn't hate it either. It was just meh. Quick read, predictable, nothing unexpected happens. There are certain things I like about this book - the medieval setting, the interaction between Lady Rosemarie and the knights, the romance etc. Let's discuss about the characters, shall we? Honestly, they were such flat and uninteresting characters, especially Lady Rosemarie, as she's depicted as a very kind ruler of a kingdom who cares much of the poor. The love interests weren't that much attractive to me either, they seemed dull. Plus, there's not much character growth in this, I'm hoping to see more of that in the future books of the series. If you know me, you'll know I love romances. I'm a sucker for them (I like love triangles too!) The romance in this was pretty sweet and predictable. I was able to know who the main character was gonna end up with when the three knights were introduced. Although I enjoyed the romantic aspect, I thought it wasn't done that realistically as I couldn't bring myself to believe that one would sacrifice his/her life to save a person he/she fell in love with in merely a time period of a month. As I mentioned earlier, this book is very much predictable. I already guessed who the villain was while reading chapter two (yes it was that obvious). I would've like it better if it was more suspenseful and mysterious. Nonetheless, I still found myself turning the pages wanting to know what happen next. All in all, it was a really quick read which doesn't require much brainpower. Some might enjoy it for the romance, but if you're looking for a good mystery then this is not for you. Still, a well-written book which I might continue with the second book.
Jody Hedlund in her new book, “An Uncertain Choice” Book One in the An Uncertain Choice series published by Zondervan brings us into the life of Lady Rosemarie. From the back cover: One Month…One Decision. Due to her parents’ promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, a month before her birthday, a friend of her father’s enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents’ will left a second choice–if Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow. Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the convent is the best place after all. If only one of the knights–the one who appears the most guilty–had not already captured her heart. Medieval England, Tournaments, Knights and a Lady’s hand to be won. This is the recipe for success. Lady Rosemarie is going to become a nun unless she is wed before she is eighteen. Sounds as if she has a lot of time doesn’t it? Well actually she has a month. There are moments of true delight in this book and there are moments that tug at your heart. Ms. Hedlund is an excellent story-teller and she deftly plots our course through an amazing plot that will keep you flipping pages just to find out what happens next. Lady Rosemarie is such a wonderful character that you do not want the book to end so that you can continue to hang out with her longer. “An Uncertain Choice” is full of reputation, finding your place in the world and romance. This is an interesting story filled with lots of excitement and romance as well as history. I liked it a lot. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I would like to see a number two as it left you hanging at the end.
Like most girls I enjoy a good fairy tale. I like the story of princesses and castles, knights in shining armor swooping in to save the day, and of course the happily-ever-after endings. I just can't resist being swept up in the romance of it all for a few hours. I've been a fan of Jody Hedlund's historical fiction so when she released her first young adult historical fiction I just had to give it a try. It was everything that I had envisioned and more. The beautiful princess Rosemarie has lost her parents to the Plague but she is fortunate to have what she thinks is trustworthy mentors to guide her in ruling her lands. By the time we enter the story Rosemarie has come to terms with devoting herself to living out the rest of her life at the convent. But this is a fairy-tale so we have to have some dashing knights to woo the beautiful princess. Not one but three of the bravest and handsomest knights in the land come to Montfort Castle with the intention of winning the hand of Rosemarie. The story that proceeds is one of intrigue and romance. What appears to be the truth is a far cry from it. I enjoyed the journey through the unfolding story. I had inklings of what was happening out of eyesight but it didn't ruin the story at all, in fact it enhanced it. I would highly recommend this wonderful book to teens and older. There is nothing untoward in it but it does have subject matter that would be better understood by someone in their teens rather than younger. Remember that this is set in the Medieval period so torture was a very accepted form of punishment. Some of that is described in the story. As an adult I found it to be a great read. It moves along quickly and the vocabulary is rich. If you liked the current version of Cinderella that is playing in theaters I think you will be drawn to this as well. I'm looking forward to the future books in this series. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Guys, I loved this book so much. It was cute, sweet, and romantic. I love my medieval stories, and knights. I've heard this being called a "medieval Bachelorette" story, which kind of sounds terrible (since I hate the show) but it was actually a lot of fun. ¿ Rosemarie has been promised to the convent on her 18th birthday. Since her parents' deaths, she has been focused on ruling her people kindly and fairly, and not on suitors, since she is not allowed to marry. It's taken her years to come to peace with this decision, but she has. Until that is thrown in disarray by the discovery of a loophole: if she marries before her 18th birthday, she is saved from the vow. So, her father's friend the duke brings three of his noblest knights, and asks her to at least give them a shot. If, by the end of the month, she hasn't fallen in love with any of them, she can enter the convent as planned. And so, Rosemarie agrees. I loved Rosemarie. Although there was some question of whether historically, a underage girl would have been allowed to keep her lands and rule them, I did appreciate that the author tried to keep this historically accurate. She didn't have full power, and she had those that advised her, and we also saw those that did not believe she could rule, and would try to undermine her. But Rosemarie has a kind heart. She does whatever she can for the poor, even giving her own money. She wants to make life better for them. If anything, she is too trusting. I did enjoy the knights, although of course Derrick was my favorite. While some would say it is unrealistic to expect to fall in love in a month, these are people in times where most people wouldn't get the chance, since marriages were arranged among nobility. And I loved that their feelings for each other weren't instant, they developed over the month, and weren't based on shallow things. Derrick pushed her to be a better ruler. He was also kind, concerned for the poor, and selfless. While I did like the other two knights, it was mostly for the comic relief they provided. But everything isn't all roses and sunshine. While the guilty party was kind of predictable and easy to guess, it was still suspenseful and exciting. I managed to fly through the book, because it was well-written and kept my interest, but also had me needing to know what would happen next for Rosemarie. And hey, I would not mind a spin-off with one of the other knights as the main character.
I need the next book right now! Lady Rosemarie has a daunting task ahead of her, due to her late parent's vow, she must either join the convent or find a worthy husband before her 18th birthday, which is only a month away. The Duke bring 3 dashing knights to compete for her hand, the charming Collin, the confident Bennet, and the mysterious Derrick. When a mysterious illness plagues her kingdom, and the knights become the targets in a cruel scheme, Rosemarie is more conflicted than ever about who to turn to. Will Rosemarie find the right knight to protect her heart? I loved this book from the first, and the handsome hero that wins her heart. From what I've read online, this book is the first of what is sure to be a thrilling series, and I just can't wait, because I loved this one so much! It wasn't just Rosemarie and the knights that captured my devotion, but also the Duke and the jailer, Bartholomew, he was such a good man. This was a tale full of action, adventure, good old fashioned chivalry, and also a strong heroine. It just had the perfect balance of everything, and I loved how Rosemarie had such a tender heart, yet also was strong when she needed to sand up for herself. Overall, definitely a book I'll be recommending! The action was nonstop once it started in the last quarter of the book, it left me with a satisfying ending that had me wanting so much more! A well written tale sure to capture the hearts of old and young alike. Thank you Ms. Hedlund for letting me read your fantastic book!
Oh my, oh my, oh my! This was an excellent YA novel! I absolutely loved it! The storyline was fantastic and had the perfect amount of action, suspense, and lots of romance. Jody threw a good twist in the story and some edge-of-the-seat action at the end (I literally was on the edge of my seat when reading it). I most definitely could not pull myself away from reading because I HAD to know what was going to happen! Like the prequel, “The Vow,” this one was written in first person and again I enjoyed it. Rosemarie is such a sweet soul and I love her compassion for her people. She is so admirable in many ways and is not afraid to seek God’s counsel as well as truly reflect on her feelings. I also really liked the knights. They were very dynamic and each had their own special personality that helped bring some humor to the story as well as action. I very highly recommend this novel to YA readers because it has a wonderful message concerning love. I appreciated how Rosemarie didn’t recklessly walk into romance with the new emotions she was experiencing, but instead sought wisdom, prayed, and truly reflected on her feelings. I feel the message in “An Uncertain Choice” is one that many teens need today and Jody delivers it in a way that’s not only entertaining, but thought-provoking. The only thing I will warn readers about is that there is talk of torture as well as a few scenes. I did not find them gory or even overly descriptive, but just a heads up for readers who are sensitive to these things when reading. Again, I highly recommend “An Uncertain Choice” to YA readers and teens that enjoy a medieval romance, but are looking for a clean read that is about real love, not lust. *(I received an ARC via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.)*
Chivalry is not dead, at least not in Jody Hedlund’s latest YA fiction title, An Uncertain Choice. Prior to her birth, Lady Rosemarie’s parents battled with infertility. Desperate for a child, they prayed the Ancient Vow of Hannah, by which any child they conceived would be devoted to the service of God. In this novel Hedlund recaptures the thrill of courtship when the Noblest Knight, The Duke of Rivenshire, presents Lady Rosemarie with an exception to the vow. As the story goes, the vow is revocable if true love can be found prior to her 18th birthday. The Duke presents three honorable suitors who have the potential to win her heart. Will one month be enough time for Lady Rosemarie to discern God’s will for her life and find true love? – you’ll just have to read to find out! An Uncertain Choice is an intriguing story of romance with a perilous twist. Each of the three eligible knights are men of character, and each has his own unique quality that differentiates himself from the rest. One has riches, another an eye for beauty and art, and the third has a heart of compassion. In Rosemarie’s choice lies a valuable lesson for young women about selecting a lifelong companion. Teen readers will be thoroughly entertained by medieval castle life complete with lavish dinner celebrations, hunting parties, and jousting tournaments. As a mother and children’s ministry leader I am a huge proponent of wholesome Christian fiction for teens. Our kids are bombarded by unrealistic and often over sexualized depictions of love. An Uncertain Choice runs counter-culturally by placing the value of a person on their willingness to serve others, to stand up for the downtrodden, and for their obedience to God. The interactions between Rosemarie and her suitors are always done in the presence of a chaperone. Do not be mistaken, the romantic electricity is not lost because of their respectful boundaries — another valuable take away for young readers. I received this book from the author for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
For fans of fairytales and medieval adventure romances! Three noble knights vying for one beautiful young lady, who must choose one to marry or spend her life in a cloister as a nun. Some hard choices for Lady Rosemarie with rippling consequences for whichever direction she decides to take. When mysterious accidents begin to happen, she must also decide whom to trust. This started out good, got better and ended great. I love a good medieval tale, especially with a romance neatly woven into it. Figuring out what was going on behind the accidents, cloaked motives and the appearance of goodness hiding a villain, made this even more fun to read. The details of castle life, including the grungy dungeons and use of tortures, added grit, like one would expect in a medieval tale. Made me think of Ivanhoe and Robin Hood a few times. Recommend for a good "take me away, Calgon" escape read. Fans of fairytales, like Melanie Dickerson's, of all ages would probably enjoy this romantic adventure.
This is a great coming-of-age story with some great messages, and a great tale, for women of all ages. Rosemarie learned that she was bound to a convent when she turned eighteen. While she accepts her place, she also struggles with balancing how to rule her people even while being secluded from them. That is, until she learns that if she marries before her birthday she will be exempt from the vow. She is introduced to three amazing knights, each vying for her hand. Now she’s faced with some difficult choices: is God’s will for her to be in a convent or a wife, and if she’s to marry, which of the three should she choose? To this sweet romantic tale, you add a bit of suspense, a strange illness that seems to sweep across her lands, killing her people. When one of the knights is charged with some shocking crimes, Rosemarie must rely on others to help solve these mysteries, but with her birthday just over the horizon, can they solve them in time? This book definitely had me on the edge of my seat almost until the very end waiting to see how it would play out. (Did I mention that I didn’t put it down until I finished it at 2am? Lol) Along with the wonderful story-line, I love the messages in this book. For starters there’s the debate about whether she should be a nun or a wife. While convents and monasteries aren’t as widely popular today as they were in medieval Europe, the idea of serving in the ministry is still strongly encouraged in the Churches. That, along with becoming a missionary, is sometimes pushed as God’s calling to one and all. I love how this book shows that following God’s will doesn’t always have to mean serving in the ‘ministry’, how it could also be marriage, and even accepting a leadership position. The other message I love is concerning the knights. The three men are different in their wooing of Rosemarie: you have the one who enjoys giving her gifts, the one who speaks sonnets and enjoys the artistic world, and then you have the quiet, intellectual one. If you’ve ever read the children’s tales The Princess and the Kiss or The Princess and the Three Knights you’ll have a general idea about these three knights, but the best part of this story is how all three are good men, with high qualities. For instance, there’s a few tales that warn against falling for a man who showers you with lavish gifts. But, see, my love language is gifts, so it was so nice seeing the ‘gift’ knight as being just as noble as the others, and with a good heart. Then you have the one who spouts sweet words, and even he isn’t shallow as most of his character are depicted. He is kind and compassionate as well. I love that. It just shows how the inside is important, regardless how the knight comes across, and that every one of them can be a good man. The last message I love is watching Rosemarie become her own woman. Since her parents’ death, she relies heavily on so many others to help her determine what to do. In many ways, she is still a child at the beginning of the book. But I love watching her come into her own, to be able to stand up for herself, even against trusted advisors. It’s wonderful to see her become a strong leader herself, showing that she doesn’t have to be under a man’s supervision to be the ruler of her people. All together, this is a great story. It has such a sweet romance mixed with an edge-of-your-seat suspense. The setting is wonderful, the medieval castle and forests just jumping from the pages. The messages are clear and wonderful, great for a young woman, or any woman, in that time in her life where there’s more questions than answers. It is a book I highly recommend to anyone who wants a good read.
This book is full of adventure, danger, romance and courage. Lady Rosemarie is now an adult and is suddenly faced with a choice she didn't know she had. This is a great book for young ladies because it shows how you can come into adulthood with grace and wisdom. She was totally new to courting but handled herself well. Although young, she is not weak. She has compassion for the people that she rules and will not tolerate the cruel tortures of the times. The three knights are great, each in their own unique way. They are the best of friends that even courting the same girl did not destroy. Two are fun loving and one is more standoffish, but not because he doesn't feel drawn to her. I don't want to give away any spoilers but I can say that I love the one she chooses the most. I am looking forward to reading the other two knight's stories in the second and third books. I recommend this book to preteen and teen as well as any age above that. GREAT book!
I found Rosemarie to be a likeable character, even though she was naïve about many things. It made sense that she was naïve, however, and as she worked to come out of her shell, she grew into a lovely leader. I liked her compassionate heart and her willingness to give all three suitors an opportunity to win her love. One of Rosemarie’s weaknesses was her penchant for second guessing her leadership abilities and allowing others to persuade her to step back instead of standing up for what she believed in. I enjoyed watching her realize this weakness and begin to work to correct it. I found all of the knights to be charming in their own ways, and I definitely believe that Rosemarie’s heart made the correct choice regarding her true love. I also enjoyed that a new perspective was added toward the latter half of the book. The reader is then able to know the thoughts of one of the knights. This second perspective added another wonderful layer to the story. Attraction, romance, duty, and danger all add up to a very exciting book that can be enjoyed by both teens and adults. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
What a fun read! This young adult book should actually be a CERTAIN CHOICE for your reading library! Judy has written quite a few books, but this is the first I have read. I really enjoyed it. Super easy read, great characters that you fall in love with and an interesting plot line full of intrigue. Lady Rosemarie has been promised, by her long passed on parents, to become a nun when she turns 18. One month before her birthday, a clause is found stating that she has a chance to avoid it if she can find true love and marry before her 18th birthday. Of course, we then have a season of “The Bachelor” throughout the book (: She must decide what it is God really wants her to do and what is the wisest decision for her people. Like I said, it was a wonderful book. It did get a bit confusing because it was written in the 1st person, but then it would switch characters (that were also written in 1st person). It wasn’t too hard to figure out, but it came with no warning and took a good paragraph to un-confuse* myself. ha ha *I am a natural blond. Judy wrote a prequel, The Vow, (and it’s only $1.99!!) that I have not gotten to yet, The Vow: A novella but knowing about it makes more sense about the characters that kept getting mentioned in the book. I didn’t know who they were! So, pick up a copy of both books, grab a nice cup of coffee, sit back, relax and read this great little book(s). You can check out Jody’s website, or her Amazon Page if you want to see what else she has out there! Be on the lookout for my Jody Hedlund Face-Off! Will I ever win? Stay tuned… Thanks, netgalley, for this great read. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!
This was a nice quick story. Jody did a good job with the characters in this book. Lady Rosemarie is a very strong girl. This was written as a young adult book but is also enjoyable for adults. One of the things I liked about this book is that it has both mystery and romance in the story. Now just so you know the romance is not overwhelming so it is fitting for all ages. The mystery part of the story kept me turning the pages. The author also did a very good job with the historical aspect of the story, which I enjoyed being a historical fiction fan. There is a prequel to this book called "The Vow" now I have not read that yet but will be going back to read it. I have heard that you should read it first as it gives a little more information. All in all this was an enjoyable book. I recommend it for young teens and adults alike.
Although this story stands alone quite well, I recommend you first read The Vow, a prequel to this story. There was so much action and intrigue packed into this romance, it could easily fit into the suspense shelf. With twists and surprises throughout, Hedlund kept the tension mounting. I felt Lady Rosemarie's panic as she fought her way through the crowd at the square, hoping to save a man from being boiled alive! I could smell the stench as she wound through the dark and dank back alleys. My heart melted at the heroic action of the brave knight. And all this was just the beginning! Hedlund does not disappointed her fans in this new YA venture. The writing is impeccable, the story engaging, and the characters deep with conviction. I could not put this book down. A true joy to read!
Let me start by saying before An Uncertain Choice, I hadn't read a book by Jody Hedlund. Although, I do have several of them in my to-read list. I was excited to read this book because I'm a hopeful romantic and love the medieval era. And I was right to be excited as I was hooked after the first chapter. I can't think of a book that has grabbed my attention quicker than AUC. I connected with Lady Rosemarie.She desired to have a relationship that went beyond the surface of eloquent praise and lavish gifts. She wanted to be with someone who shared her compassion for people and who stand with her in her weaknesses and help her grow. Anyways, this was a great read. It had mystery, excitement, betrayal, and, of course, romance. It had that romantic renaissance way of speaking that just made the girly heart in me squeal and melt. Oh, I just enjoyed it so much. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a book that much in a while. I definitely recommend it.
When her parents died from the plague four years ago, Lady Rosemarie Montfort was left with no family. As the sole ruler of Ashby, she strives to become the type of ruler her parents would be proud of- compassionate, generous, and fair. Upon her parents’ death, she learned they vowed for her to enter the convent and become a nun on her eighteenth birthday. The vow, called the Ancient Vow of Hannah, seems pretty ironclad. If she doesn’t follow through with the vow, she will die. Although unhappy and confused about why her parents would do this, Rosemarie knows she must follow through. So, for four years, she prepares herself for the path set before her. One month before she turns eighteen, a dear family friend, The Duke of Rivenshire, travels to Ashby to tell Lady Rosemarie there is an exception to the vow. If she can find true love and marry before midnight on her eighteenth birthday, she will be released from the obligation. Along with this announcement, the Duke proposes an idea. He brought three of the finest, bravest knights in the realm along with him, and he wants Lady Rosemarie to allow the knights to court her and to try to win her hand. He hopes that by the end of the month, she will fall in love with one of the knights, and they can get married. This change of events completely stuns Rosemarie. She spent four years preparing for one path, and now she may have a choice of another? After much prayer and consideration, she decides to give the contest a chance. She realizes that perhaps taking the vow might not be in God’s will for her. Maybe He is giving her the choice to have a family-one of the deepest longings of her heart. Suddenly after never having suitors before, Rosemarie is surrounded by three brave, handsome, courageous knights, vying for her hand. As the courtships begin, Rosemarie struggles with her choice. How will she know if she is in love? Will she make the right choice? Or should she just take the vow? Once Rosemarie decides to go through with the challenge, things start getting crazy. Accidents happen. People get hurt. Is there a murderer loose? Will Rosemarie find her happily-ever-after? I loved An Uncertain Choice! It is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down. In fact, writing about it makes me want to read it again! First of all, the heroine is amazing. She is real and struggles with the same issues that everyone struggles with. What path shall I take in life? What choice should I make? She genuinely cries out to God and trusts Him as she tries to decide what He would have her do. Many outside forces attempt to influence her decision, but she really focuses on finding out what God would have her do. I also totally relate to the awkwardness she felt during the courtship. She asked some of the same questions I think every person who is single has asked him/herself at some point. I really loved this thought: And in a deep place, I had to admit I felt longings from time to time to have a family again, to have a husband and children of my own. I'd simply never allowed myself to dwell on such longings. I'd known that to do so would only stir up dissatisfaction with the course before me. Why think on what I couldn't change? Ms. Hedlund does an excellent job at bringing out these emotions and thoughts. The knights are awesome! What girl wouldn’t want a brave, honest, respectful knight vying for her hand? All of the knights were amazing, but I did have a favorite. I won’t spoil the story and say who it was, but I can point out his character traits. I loved that he pushed Rosemarie to become a better leader, while still respecting her opinions and thoughts. They didn’t always see eye-to-eye on issues, but that’s what made their banter so great. They challenged each other, and in doing so, helped one another become better people. They shared the same passion about worthy causes, like helping the townspeople, and this helped them form a common bond. While reading, I kept thinking about how much I would love to meet a knight like this! Maybe one day… The plot twists in the story are fantastic. I tried to figure out who the villain was, but I wasn’t sure until the very end. I definitely recommend this book. Read it immediately! I would give it more than five stars, if I could! I received a free copy of this book for my fair and unbiased opinion.