Review: The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

Series: Fairy Tales #4

the captive maiden -melanie dickerson 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 meets the duke’s son, Valten–the boy she has daydreamed about for years–and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye.

Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.

4 Drink Me Potions

Fairy tale retellings are a favourite of mine (and if you look at more of my reviews, you’ll really see what I mean by that). So I may get critical at times when it comes to fairy tales, as there are essentially so many of them out there, but especially when the retelling is on the most well-known fairy tale of them all – Cinderella.

Dickerson doesn’t disappoint. It was evident that her story weaved elements of the traditional tale, but it wasn’t so redundant and stuck on that plotline that it made it predictable and boring to read. With descriptions of the world back in the 1400s told through both Gisela and Valten’s POVs, it was remarkably easy to get enthralled and captured by their story.

Gisela was a fine heroine. The way Valten described her as how he saw her was truly accurate. She was beautiful but didn’t flaunt it like some other girls. She was brave and courageous in the sight of danger, willing to do anything for someone she loves. And most importantly for me, I found I could see parts of me in her. Psh, and no, not the part about being beautiful and having to work as a servant-slave girl to her stepmother. More like, she loved Valten even when she wasn’t sure he could or would ever love and marry her back. That isn’t easy. And that’s what I wish to be more like in character.

As for Valten, he grew and found his purpose over the course of the book. He had let the fame get to his head, winning tournament after tournament (which by the way, the descriptions of the jousting tournaments were very detailed – in a good way). Of course, all he needed was some danger and a girl he was willing to do anything for, and presto! The pride was eventually humbled.

All in all, it was a sweet retelling. I kind of wish I read the series in sequence order, but thankfully not a lot was spoiled from previous novels.

Overall Recommendation:
For a Cinderella retelling, Dickerson added her own umph and character to it. Our heroine wasn’t just some damsel in distress, and both she and her love interest Valten had a lot to learn about letting go of harmful things in their past. It wasn’t just the fairy tale that we all know and love. It was a story that chronicled their growth in character as well as their love.

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