The Captive Maiden is the latest book by Melanie Dickerson. The cover is amazing, don’t you think? And the story is as well.
Just like her last three novels, The Healer’s Apprentice, The Merchant’s Daughter, and The Fairest Beauty, The Captive Maiden is a fairy-tale retelling. This time, it’s the story of Cinderella, set in Germany in the early 1400’s against the backdrop of castles, nights, and jousting. The hero of the novel, Valten Gerstenberg, is my favorite of Melanie’s heroes so far. There’s just something about his physical strength contrasted against his emotional vulnerability that makes you love him.
And to make the book even more refreshing, there’s a villain besides the evil step-mother, so while you expect that there will be a happily ever after, you’re not exactly sure how it will come about.
Here’s a sneak peek at the book just for you!
When Valten turned around, the girl was staring at him.
No wonder Ruexner had noticed her. Her eyes were a clear blue, without a hint of gray or green. Her features were bold and generous—long, thick eyelashes, a straight, proud nose, a full brow, a gently squared chin, and high, prominent cheekbones. Her skin fairly glowed, and he had to remind himself to breathe.
She seemed to be studying his face too. “Thank you.” She abruptly turned away and continued on her way as if nothing had happened.
He stood stunned. Should he call after her? He only knew he couldn’t let her walk away, so he followed her.
As she turned down the narrow street to the blacksmith’s, she looked over her shoulder. “Do you want something, my lord?” She added the last phrase with a bit of slyness in her voice, it seemed. She must realize who he was.
Never good at making conversation with maidens, he ransacked his brain for something appropriate to say. Another way Gabe had been better than him—talking with women. His brother always knew what to say, and it was always something charming or clever. Valten’s experience was much different. He’d had little time for women due to his travels and training, and most of the ones he’d met he’d only spoken to briefly. Their fathers had paraded them before him at balls given for the tournament knights, but he’d never known them long enough to feel comfortable. He had not been ready to marry, and therefore he had no interest in showing them how lacking he was in the art of conversation.
He hoped he didn’t sound like Ruexner as he said, “A fine destrier you have. He looks very much like my horse, Sieger.”
She turned and gave him her full attention. He marveled at her self-reliant expression, a unique trait in a woman, especially one who was less than twenty years old and obviously poor. Or maybe she was only eccentric, wearing ragged clothes to disguise herself, as he was doing.
“Thank you. He is a great horse.” Then she turned and continued walking.
He still wasn’t ready to let her go.
Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.
The great thing about The Captive Maiden and all of Melanie’s books is that they appeal to a wide variety of readers – fantasy buffs who like fairy tales, historical/romance readers, young adults, adults. If you’ve read any of Melanie’s previous books, you know you can expect a great story. It’s not like the tale of Cinderella is new, but I finished the book in 24 hours anyway because I didn’t want to put it down.
So, dear readers…who wants to win a copy?
To support Melanie, I’m giving away one copy of The Captive Maiden, for every 20 new followers on my blog, Facebook, or Twitter. (Outside the US, ebooks only). Giveaway ends October 13th. To enter to win you can: tell me what your favorite fairy tale is, follow me on Twitter, tweet about this giveaway, or “Like” my Facebook page. Good luck!