The fourth book in Melanie Dickerson’s Hagenheim series, The Captive Maiden, is a retelling of Cinderella. The book is set in a house just outside of Hagenheim; the house where Gisela lives with her stepmother.
Gabe and Sophie are happily married and about to have a child. But Valten, Gabe’s older brother, is unhappy. He missed his chance to save Sophie and now has to look for his own “damsel in distress” to rescue. And with his jousting career nearly over, he starts looking.
Gisela’s childhood was a happy one… until her father died, leaving her in servitude to her horrible stepmother. Nobles like the duke and his son stopped visiting and Gisela is promised to marry a horrible man willing to pay for her. (Who also happens to be Valten’s worst enemy). So when she hears that Valten is throwing a ball, she is determined to go. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye. And even with his rough and stoic demeanor, Valten has captured her heart. But this venture will put Gisela in more danger than she realizes.
Out of the whole series, this book gave me the most anxiety. Typically, any Cinderella themed story gives me anxiety. I guess the mixture of “will the prince find the girl” and “oh no, the stepmother locked up the girl” makes my heart race.
My favorite part of the book is when Gisela is taken away and Valten determinedly goes after her. Both characters become so selfless and caring for one another in captivity. Although I ended up screaming at Valten when he kept leaving Gisela even for a few seconds.
Melanie Dickerson does a wonderful job putting in little references to the Disney movies: The evil stepmother and sisters, the single slipper on the stair, and a wonderful ball. And like so many fairy-tales, they get their happily ever after.
I highly recommend this book with two thumbs up! I love a good clean romance. And since this is Christian Fiction, I especially enjoy the religion aspect; the characters coming to know God and learning to let Him help them solve their problems. And don’t worry, this isn’t a “shove religion down your throat” style of writing. I gave this book 5 our of 5 stars.