As you know, I follow many author blogs. One of the ones I’ve followed for several years is written by Jody Hedlund, a Christian historical romance writer. I recently read her first YA book, An Uncertain Choice.
I’m not much of a historical fiction reader. The only other Hedlund book I’ve read is a novella introducing her series about lighthouse keepers.
Why did I pick up this book then? Two reasons: 1) it’s young adult and 2) it’s set in one of my favorite historical periods, the middle ages. Who doesn’t love knights and tournaments?
Yes, you will get your share of both of those in this book. You’ll also get a story that builds your faith while entertaining you. Oh, and it makes you sigh in the end.
Lady Rosemarie is nearing her eighteenth birthday when she will enter a convent, pledging her life to God. All this is because of a vow her parents made. (I highly recommend reading the free novella telling this story: The Vow).
The Noblest Knight, a friend of her deceased father, arrives with a solution to her vow – if she wants to get out of it. Can she fall in love with one of the three chivalrous knights he brings, marrying before her birthday? If so, the vow will be annulled.
She agrees to the attempt, much to the chagrin of her most trusted and beloved adviser, the abbot. The men begin wooing her. She enjoys all of their attentions, but finds herself strangely drawn to the one who refuses to compete with his best friends.
Strange accidents occur. One of the young men is injured and another evades an attempt against him, at peril to a bystander. Meanwhile, the local sheriff tries to undermine Rosemarie’s authority with her people.
Will she be strong enough to resist his pressure? Can she fall in love with one of the knights? In the end, someone wants to control her badly enough that no one is safe – not even our lady.
With a solid suspense plot undergirding the romance, this book earned four out of five stars from me.
Lady Rosemarie evolves from a pliable woman to one who thinks independently. Unfortunately, her open and harsh resistance to torture at the beginning of this book made me wonder why she had been naive for so long. Her strong convictions about torture seemed contradictory to her overall compliance.
Each of the knights is well-drawn. Each has his own strengths and weaknesses. Her attraction to all of them made sense given her sheltered existence. Still, I like my romance heroine to have a more definite attachment to the hero.
This story was predictable. I called the villain from the first scene, and I was slightly discouraged that this individual was chosen. It seemed anti-thesis to the strong Christian themes, as well as conforming to long-held stereotypes.
I enjoyed this book more because I read The Vow first. I don’t think I would have understood the significance of the vow as well if I hadn’t. So I suggest readers claim the free novella.
This is a clean read with compelling characters and realistic reactions. The plot moves along steadily. I never felt bored or like I wanted to stop reading.
Parents searching for something to entices their daughters with should pick up a copy of Hedlund’s book. It’s a story that encourages a personal relationship with the Lord.