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The Captive Maiden (THE HAGENHEIM FAMILY SAGA Book 3) Kindle Edition

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Length: 304 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6–10—Without magic dust or musical interludes, Dickerson delivers a wonderful spin on "Cinderella" that is full of engaging, thoughtful characters amid lively medieval pageantry. Gisela, 17, works as a servant for her wicked stepmother and stepsisters. When the Duke announces a grand tournament to celebrate the return of his oldest son, Valten, she risks everything to attend. A chance encounter with Valten changes their lives and sets off a dramatic chain of events. The measured pace incorporates suspenseful plot twists, keeping readers wondering if there will be a happily-ever-after ending. Readers of Dickerson's "Snow White"-inspired The Fairest Beauty (Zondervan, 2013) will recognize Gabe, Valten's younger brother, and Sophie, Valten's former betrothed. The character-driven story line focuses on Gisela's and Valten's individual growth as well as on their budding relationship. Detailed descriptions create a strong sense of a 1400s' medieval town, from the vibrant marketplace to the cold castles, to knights battling in front of a gallery of beautiful maidens in their finery. The setting emphasizes the limited options available to Gisela as a young maiden with no money or family. The inspirational and reflective tone shows her to be kind and forgiving despite her hardships, and Valten, brave and chivalrous, no longer seeks fame and glory, but rather welcomes the "idea of God-given purpose." This novel has lots of appeal for fans of fairy tales and of chivalry and knights.—June Shimonishi, Torrance Public Library, CA

From Booklist

Never was a Cinderella tale so fraught with menacing forces! Not only does Gisela have to contend with an evil stepmother and stepsisters who would move heaven and earth to prevent the local duke’s handsome son from pursuing her, but the evil knight Ruexner will stop at nothing to imprison the poor girl and force her into marriage. Ruexner is locked in a long-simmering grudge match against Valten, the duke’s son, who is equally smitten with our girl. Will Valten—attractive, honorable, and gifted with legendary fighting skills—overcome his nemesis to win his lady? How much luck can go Gisela and Valten’s way as they try to escape one calamitous tight spot after another? Expect high romance, melodrama, and Christian inspiration in a vivid medieval setting. Even when she seems doomed, Gisela will swoon at the thought of her handsome rescuer’s features: “How could he look so handsome with a bruised eye and dried blood at his temple?” Readers will appreciate Gisela’s pluck as she participates in her rescue—make that rescues—from Ruexner. Grades 7-10. --Anne OMalley

Product Details

  • File Size: 2299 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz (November 19, 2013)
  • Publication Date: November 19, 2013
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,505 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Melanie Dickerson is the author of Medieval fairy tale retellings, including The Healer's Apprentice and The Merchant's Daughter, both Christy Award finalists, winner of The National Reader's Choice Award for 2010's Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor's degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on the web at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Angela Bell on November 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of Melanie Dickerson and have read all four of her fairy tale retellings. This latest release inspired by Cinderella is one of her best yet!

The plot was well crafted and fast paced. In fact, with all the medieval jousting and sword fights, I think The Captive Maiden has more action than Melanie's previous books, making it quite the page-turner.

I really liked the two main characters and how their relationship developed. Gisela's knowledge of horses made her interesting, and her spunk in the midst of danger made me cheer her on. Her prince, Valten, may be Melanie's most romantic male protagonist yet! His chivalry and endearing desire to protect Gisela makes him worthy to be called a hero.

If you're looking for a fun story with action, sigh worthy romance, and a happily ever after, then you will also be captivated by The Captive Maiden!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rosie on November 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
Another excellent fairytale retelling from Dickerson!

I have been looking forward to Valten's tale ever since I read the final pages of The Fairest Beauty, and I was not disappointed in the least! Set two years after the closing of Gabe and Sophie's story, Valten has just returned home after a long absence. He meets a beautiful, charming, girl in the marketplace and even after so brief a meeting, he finds his heart drawn to her somehow.

I love Valten's integrity and his chivalry. He's simply the kind of hero you want to root for. Another character I really loved is Gisela. She's sweet, compassionate and has somehow managed to ignore or rebuff all the filthy lies thrown at her for almost a decade. The two together are an excellent pair.

If there's one thing that, as a writer, struck me, it's that nothing ever happened easily in this story. I don't want to give anything away, but it did seem like if something could go wrong it did. Though it sounds crazy, I like it when characters are faced with a challenge. After all, what is a story without an impossible task?

To sum up, I love what Dickerson did with her own Cinderella tale. I also enjoy any chance Dickerson offers to revisit Valten's family, and I hope we'll see them again. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great fairytale retelling with a Christian twist.

I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Diane Estrella on November 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My daughter’s thoughts: Melanie Dickerson has truly captured my attention with this outstanding story. Cinderella has always been one of my favorite princesses, but Melanie’s book proves fairy tales aren’t just for children anymore. Even grown-ups can enjoy these books.

Much like her other book, The Captive Maiden, it was very intriguing, and I found it near to impossible to put down. I loved how the story plot led up to the ending, keeping me thrilled to the very last page. The ending itself was amazing and I loved every single word of it. But what really drew my attention was the beautiful cover. It is absolutely stunning! The girl who posed for the cover is beautiful and so is the magnificent dress she’s wearing.

I feel both teenagers and adults would like this book as much as I did. Both this one and The Fairest Beauty were excellent books and I loved reading them. Having read them both, I must say that I cannot pick a favorite!

My thoughts: I would have to say, I agree with my daughter on this one.

When you have a cover that beautiful, the story had better live up to it and thankfully, this one does. The author captures the heart of Cinderella without overdoing it and making it cliche. I am also thrilled that we were able to see the older brother finally get his happily-ever-after too. This book does touch on sibling rivalry and jealousy which I think is normal for these circumstances and a lot of the time this can lead to insecurities. I love the emphasis that each of us needs to find our own way and make our own name in this world. What each of us determines to do, can make a difference in the entire world or even to one special person.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shanna on March 26, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While this is a handsome looking novel and is certainly a fairly decent enough read, I was a bit disappointed. I was expecting something more sinister- more lively to read. The story starts out decently enough, with Gisela living in the expected Cinderella squalor, hits a high note when Hamlin sees her for the first time, and then slows to a dull crawl with 1/4 of the book devoted to a jousting scene. It is far longer and far more drawn out than it needs to be. Despite that, I didn't have to struggle too much to work my way through it, since the book is written in a fairly easy, flowing style. Things pick up once the romance between Hamlin and Gisela picks up, but still, the book doesn't get that much more exciting.

Nothing came easily to the protagonists, which started out as a nice change, but then became confusing. Hamlin has a broken hand throughout half the story, and yet in several instances, he's lifting Gisela up onto horses and all over the place with that same broken hand. Even though they struggled over and over again (seriously, if anything could wrong in this book, you could be guaranteed that it would) it seemed that their struggles were somewhat easily overcome. Even the villain wasn't villainous enough to me. I was expecting a threat of ravishment or actual harm against Gisela from the villain, but he was actually insisting that he marry her first! The whole story was somewhat puritanical and completely genteel and polite. The deeper I got into it, the more it started reading like a Sunday school story, and as a religious person, even I was struggling with it, rolling my eyes and wishing that the author hadn't decided to slip a miracle play into the story. It wasn't even subtle!

It's a gentle fairytale retelling perhaps better suited to younger female audiences.
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