Monday, September 28, 2020

Book Review: Beholden by Jody Hedlund

 About the Book

In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . .

A beautiful noblewoman with a terrible secret, and a prince subjected to slavery.

Upon the death of her wealthy father, Lady Gabriella is condemned to work in Warwick’s gem mine. As she struggles to survive the dangerous conditions, her kindness and beauty shine as brightly as the jewels the slaves excavate. While laboring, Gabriella plots how to avenge her father’s death and stop Queen Margery’s cruelty.

Prince Vilmar of Scania enslaves himself in Warwick’s gem mine as part of a royal test to prove himself the most worthy of three brothers to become the king’s successor. Amidst the hardships, he doesn’t anticipate his growing compassion for the other slaves, especially tenderhearted Gabriella.

As the annual summer ball looms nearer, Gabriella sets into motion her plan to end Queen Margery’s evil. When Vilmar learns of Gabriella’s intentions, he resolves to come to her aid and fight against Warwick’s queen. But doing so may require him to give up his chance of becoming Scania’s next king, perhaps even cost him his life.

My Review

Author Jody Hedlund's medieval Young Adult series have been fantastic, and this new series is taking off with a great start.

Amid the fallout from her father's death, Gabriella has gone from a life of leisure to a slave in the depths of the gem mines, where she endures danger and hard work each day.  But she shines among the other workers for her great kindness.

Vilmar expects to become king after his six months of testing are over, and takes the work in stride.  As the story unfolds, he learns to appreciate other people for their skills and loyalty, and he turns from the pride that has propelled his decisions.

I loved how in the midst of the desperate slavery situation, the people had formed a supportive community, and were helpful to each other.

I also really appreciated that in this clean YA romance, characters from two neighboring countries had been taught Scriptural principals by which to guide their decisions.

The story is told in a dual narrator fashion, and there is enough perspective from Vilmar, and enough action and adventure that the story may appeal to boys as well as girls.  I recommend it to all those who enjoy historical romance, especially in a medieval time period.

I received an e-ARC of this book from the author for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

JODY HEDLUND is a bestselling and award-winning author who loves fairy tales and happily-ever-afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI, with her husband and five children. When she's not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading.

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