The Captive Maiden / by Melanie Dickerson. 3.17.2014

Zondervan ISBN 9780310724414
HS (Adult) Grades 9-12 Rating: 5

Award-winning author Melanie Dickerson presents a young adult novel loosely based on the story of Cinderella.

In The Captive Maiden, seven-year-old Gisela meets Duke Wilhelm and his fourteen-year-old son Valten when they purchase a horse from Gisela’s father, a wealthy landowner. Observing Valten’s kindness to his new horse, Gisela remembers him with fondness, though she does not know him personally. Then her father dies and her life changes; she becomes a servant to her selfish stepmother Evfemia and to her stepsisters. Her memories of Valten dim over the years.

More than nine years later, she meets him again. Valten returns after a two-year absence, as a tournament champion, though weary of his fame and accomplishments. He does not recognize her when he rescues her from the unwanted advances of a tournament opponent, Ruexner. However, when his mother decides to host a ball after the tournament, Valten invites the pretty maiden.

As they begin to fall in love, others are bent on keeping the two apart. Ruexner tries to sabotage the tournament. Evfemia and her daughters help Ruexner to carry out his evil plans for Gisela. Will Valten be able to keep Gisela safe? Will true love overcome these obstacles? Will they live happily ever after?

As in her earlier books, the faith element is clearly evident but not preachy. Gisela prays to God regularly, even when her stepmother abuses her and aids her enemy. The medieval setting, rich narrative, and excellent character development make this a book worth reading by teens and adults alike.

Recommended for public and school libraries.

Carol R. Gehringer, CLJ

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