“Beholden” by Jody Hedlund is the first book in the “Fairest Maidens” trilogy. It is related to Ms. Hedlund’s “Lost Princesses” trilogy (all of which I have read and loved). This series is almost like a prequel to the “Lost Princesses.” The newest installment can be read as a standalone.
“Beholden” is a Cinderella retelling, with its own unique voice and a fresh spin on the original story. Gabriella, or Gabi, is our heroine with a heart like gold and bravery to match. Gabi tries to practice kindness, even though she has lost everything and is forced to be a slave in a mine, doing manual labor because of the Evil Queen. Even when in a horrific situation, she focuses on others and does not lose heart. I often find “Cinderella” characters one dimensional, but Ms. Hedlund writes Gabi as a much more complex and relatable heroine. Gabi has had so much taken away from her by the Evil Queen. Will she let her need for revenge or kindness win?
Vilmar is the hero of the story. He must go through a Testing to prove himself worthy to be the next king. He works undercover in a mine, where he meets Gabi, and learns to be a slave to others. As Vilmar becomes more and more involved and invested in the plights of Gabi and the townspeople, he starts to realize maybe there are things more important than his Testing and becoming king. Will he give it all up to help others?
This story reads like a Disney movie. I could picture the events in my head as they played out. I especially love the ending, which has such a beautiful message! I will let you read it for yourself. Fans of Melanie Dickerson, fairy tale retellings and happily ever afters will love this book!
Content: This is a clean read. The only content is a brief reference to men drinking and gambling.
Rating: I give this book 5 stars.
I want to thank Jody Hedlund and Northern Lights Press for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
About the Author:
Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.
Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).
When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.
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