About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now enjoy reading to my granddaughter and supporting authors through my reviews!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Beholden (The Fairest Maidens #1) by Jody Hedlund

Beholden (The Fairest Maidens, #1)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.

The real Cinderella story.


A handsome prince, a beautiful young woman, and an evil Queen are all featured in this story and I couldn't put it down! This new book by Jody Hedlund is labeled as young adult fiction but this shouldn't be a deterrent to older readers because Beholden is enjoyable reading for many different age groups! I grew up loving the story of Cinderella being saved from her wicked stepmother and step sisters by Prince Charming and Beholden is a play on this tale. This time, however, Gabriella is the young woman suffering mistreatment from her stepmother and instead of being forced to be a house servant, she is forced to slave away in the gem mines at Gemstone Mountain. Her mistreatment is often horrifying and Hedlund's description of some of the working conditions truly made me grateful for the life that I've enjoyed! When Gabriella meets Vilmar, another slave working in the mines, it appears that relief may be on the way but Vilmar is hiding a secret. Will Gabriella be rescued from further harm? Can she ever forgive Vilmar once she learns his secret?

One reason that I enjoy Hedlund's books is that she often includes inspirational messages and Beholden is certainly no exception. There are many references to kindness throughout this story and Gabriella displays it time and time again. Yes, it's easy to give kindness to those who've been good to you but what about someone who intends to harm you? Extremely hard to do, but Gabriella tries to live as her late father had always taught her. There is also the suggestion of learning to be a true servant and to be willing to sacrifice for others. Isn't this what we all need to work for?

Intriguing characters and a plot filled with danger, adventure, and sweet romance... all of these elements together make this an exciting and entertaining story. Jody Hedlund completely captivated me with Beholden and I'm eager to see what is ahead in book two of The Fairest Maidens series.

I voluntarily accepted a copy of this book from the author. There was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own thoughts. 

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Jody Hedlund is the best-selling 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. She lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy teens, and five spoiled cats.

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