Zondervan ISBN 9780310749370
HS (Adult) Grades 9-12 Rating: 5
Historical fiction author Jody Hedlund writes her second young adult novel about a fourteenth-century young woman living an unconventional life.
In A Daring Sacrifice, Juliana Wessex is the rightful ruler of Wessex. But the current Lord Wessex (her uncle) believes she died three years ago when her father lost his life. Juliana hides in the forest and steals to provide a livelihood for the peasants on her land, impoverished by her uncle’s harsh rule. It is a life filled with risks and danger, and she struggles with the justification of her actions.
When she is forced to flee Wessex after escaping capture, Juliana makes the mistake of trying to rob Colin Goodrich, who recognizes Juliana by her red hair. Colin takes her to his castle after she is injured and introduces her as a distant cousin. But her uncle discovers her presence. To what lengths will her uncle go to keep Wessex for himself? Who makes the daring sacrifice?
Different text fonts indicate Juliana’s and Colin’s points of view. The spiritual element is evident but not heavy-handed; Colin and Juliana ask for God’s leading and try to live godly lives, which is especially hard for Juliana since she steals from the nobility.
Filled with descriptive narrative and endearing characters, A Daring Sacrifice is an entertaining read–except for the necessary violence in the fighting scenes. Its believable plot has enough twists in the last third of the book to keep the reader up late!
Fans of Lisa Bergren’s River of Time series, Dina Sleiman’s Valiant Hearts series, and Melanie Dickerson’s medieval young adult books will also enjoy Hedlund’s medieval trilogy. Readers may want to read Hedlund’s An Uncertain Choice (reviewed in Christian Library Journal, Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr 2015). A third book is in the works.
Recommended for teen collections in public libraries and school libraries.
Carol R. Gehringer, worthy2read.wordpress.com