the captive maiden by melanie dickerson

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.

Pre-order from Christianbooks.com.

Pre-order from Amazon.com.

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! 

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63 thoughts on “the captive maiden by melanie dickerson

  1. If I needed any more enticement to want to read this, that excerpt would do the trick! Now I’m just more impatient! 😉 I’m not sure which fairy tale is my favorite – they all have pluses & minuses, depending on which version you read, which spin each author gives them, etc. I really like The Light Princess & Little Daylight by George MacDonald. I love the Disney version of Beauty & the Beast (but strangely, I don’t care for the traditional version). Another lesser-known one I really like is Heart of Ice by the Compte de Caylus and adapted by Benjamin Appel. I liked that one enough to track down a copy years ago.

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      1. I never answered this because I was embarrassed to say, “not yet”. I’ve had The Healer’s Apprentice on my nook for forever but just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. And I snatched up everything else when it was on sale this month. See, I’ve been avoiding most books because I have so much other stuff to do and I know once I pick it up, I won’t be putting it down. And I was right – we visited the in-laws this weekend and I almost always break out a book at their home. (It’s such a nice place to relax.) Well, I started The Healer’s Apprentice early afternoon yesterday and didn’t go to bed till I had finished it. And I made the mistake of starting The Merchant’s Daughter just to whet my appetite before sleeping and had to force myself to put it down at 1am, about 5 chapters in. This is going to be a reading week, I can tell. 😉

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  2. I am so excited to read this book! I’ve read all of Dickerson’s novels, and have enjoyed each of them immensely. My favorite fairy tale is Disney’s version of Beauty and the Beast. It is such a sweet story, and definitely one of my all-time favorites.

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  3. My favorite princess is either Belle or Sleeping Beauty! I really like Princess Jasmine too though!

    Can’t wait for this novel! I have loved all of her books!

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  4. I pretty much love all fairytales Melanie Dickerson’s were the first adult versions I have ever read which lead me to search out and find the ‘ever after series’ so today at least my favourite story is Snow White, as it changes daily depending on what I read it could change tomorrow.

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  5. My favorite fairy-tale IS Cinderella. I haven’t read any of Melanie’s books, but love the storyline for this one, & would love to read it! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

    bonnieroof60@yahoo.com

    I signed up for your blog, & liked your Facebook page.

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    1. Thanks, Bonnie. This is a great adaptation of Cinderella. It reminds me a bit of the movie version that Drew Barrymore was in called Ever After. But it diverges so it’s fun to read to see how Melanie weaves in the fairy tale aspects.

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  6. Thanks for a great review. I loved reading the sneak peek. I can’t wait to read this book for myself. It sounds amazing! I have read all of Melanie’s books and they are amazing. I am pretty sure I will follow in your steps and finish this one in a day. 🙂 It sounds awesome!

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  7. Favorite fairy-tale, you say? I grew up on them, but I am indeed hard-pressed pick a favorite. I think Disney’s Beauty & the Beast was my favorite since I was about three years old, but the original tale didn’t hold as much interest. However, I love McKinley’s Beauty, Melanie’s The Merchant’s Daughter and another one out there that is also good. I love retellings, especially Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl and Edith Pattou’s East. Wild Jasmine, a tale of Mulan is up there with Hale’s A Book of a Thousand Days, The White Cat, and loads more. I too love MacDonald’s Light Princess and Little Daylight, with the addition of M.M. Kaye’s The Ordinary Princess..hehe..;) I’d have to settle for the last one as my favorite(followed by East). I’ve certainly read it enough times. I have enjoyed all of Melanie’s books and my favorite is The Healer’s’s Apprentice. I cannot wait to read The Captive Maiden!! Thank you for sharing! ~ Juli

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    1. I forgot about The Ordinary Princess – it is the cutest book! I love fairy tales that don’t take themselves too seriously. Gail Carson Levine’s fairy tales tend to be that way, too. And Diana Wynne Jones. I only recently discovered Hale’s The Goose Girl and was blown away. Now I need to read all her others!

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    2. Juli – Robin McKinley is one of my favorite authors. I love her fairy tale retellings, Beauty especially. But my favorite book of hers is The Blue Sword.

      I love Shannon Hale. The other books I’ll have to check out. We agree that fairy tales are wonderful reads. 🙂

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  8. I can’t wait to read her fourth book… I loved the first three… As a little girl I loved fairy tales… Cinderella was my favourite though! 🙂

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  9. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! I loved the Healers Apprentice, the Merchants Daughter and Fairest Beauty. Thanks for the excerpt!! I’ll be on edge waiting for it. God bless.

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  10. Disney version fairy tale? I would definitely say Tangled <33 It's so cute

    But actual fairy tale? Hmmm… I like the story of Sleeping Beauty and the Little Mermaid. And the idea of Cinderella's step-sisters cutting of toes and heels to fit the shoe is quite interesting, though I find the rest of the story "too happy". 🙂

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  11. I have given all of Melanie’s books to my daughter. We both love them! It would be wonderful to win a copy of The Captive Maiden. One of my favorite fairy tales is Beauty and Beast, especially Melanie’s version told as The Merchant’s Daughter. We read that book for book club in September and really enjoyed it.

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  12. My favorite fairy tale is definitely Beauty and the Beast! By far the best ever! Thanks for this chance to win! I am a huge fan of all of Melanie’s books!

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  13. Favorite fairy tale? Cinderella all the way! That’s why I think this book of Melanie’s sounds so great! I loved The Healer’s Apprentice and The Merchant’s Daughter! Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

    Stephanie
    admin AT acoookingbookworm DOT com

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  14. I have two fave fairy tales–East o’the Sun and West o’the Moon (Norwegian) and then Snow White and Rose Red. I would love to win–nice to “meet” you online. Just followed you all over the place, Lisa!

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  15. I have read all of Melanie’s book and I am anxious to read her newest novel. So far my favorite still is The Merchant’s Daughter…but I have a feeling after reading The Captive Maiden, I’ll have a new favorite.

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  16. My favorite fairy tale … maybe The Princess and the Pea? I loved reading “A Grain of Rice” as a child, though it’s not actually a Chinese Folktale (as I originally thought) but written by Helena Clare Pittman. “A clever, cheerful, hard-working farmer’s son wins the hand of a Chinese princess by outwitting her father the Emperor, who treasures his daughter more than all the rice in China.”
    I also love the Disney version of Rapunzel! =)
    Thanks for the chance to win! I’m a huge fan of Melanie Dickerson’s books –my friend and I were just talking about how we’d love it if she did one based on Hua Mulan someday.

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  17. Looks like everyone loves Melanie’s books. I’m not sure if I have a favorite fairy tale – if I had to choose one – just can’t do it. I like them all. LOL Congrats Melanie on another great book.
    Deborah Malone
    debbiejeanm at gmail dot com

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  18. I’ve been reading Melanie Dickerson’s books ever since the Healer’s Apprentice and when each one comes out, I’m finished in a matter of hours if no one stops me! My favourite fairytale is probably Cinderella because I must have watched it a million times on my VCR when I was younger, never got tired of those mice! 🙂

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  19. Wonderful review. Sounds like a fabulous book. Looking forward to reading this book. I’m following your blog and on Twitter. I liked your Facebook page and also tweeted about the giveaway. Last but not least, my favorite fairytale was Cinderella. Thank you for the chance to participate in this giveaway. Please enter my name.

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  20. Hi! I have thoroughly enjoyed Melanie’s first three books and look forward to this one! I’ll have to say that Cinderella is one of my favorite fairy tales, mainly because we used to watch it over and over when my daughter was very little. Then her brother came along and we still watched it. It was one of the few fairy tales, in my opinion, that shows such a humble attitude by the heroine. Cinderella is always submissive and doesn’t complain…even when she is treated unfairly. What a great lesson for my kiddos….and me, too! Does Tangled count as a fairy tale (Repunzel)? That is a very close second favorite! Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. Tangled absolutely counts! It’s funny how when you ask people what their favorite fairy tale is, they all automatically think of Disney princess movies. 😀 That’s some great marketing on Disney’s part.

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  21. I am a nerd lover of fairy tales. Melanie does an extraordinary job bring them all to life. To me, I love the Healers Apprentice the most, followed by Snow White. I cannot wait to read her next masterpiece!

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  22. Love Melanie’s Books! I’ve been a huge fan since The Healer’s Apprentice. Haven’t missed one since. I love the “what if this really happened” quality that Melanie puts into all of her books. My favorite fairytale must be Beauty and the Beast, which is why The Merchant’s Apprentice was my favorites of Melanie’s so far. I think Valten may give Ranulf a run for his money, though. 😉 Thanks for posting!!

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  23. Love Melanie’s Books! I’ve been a huge fan since The Healer’s Apprentice. Haven’t missed one since. I love the “what if this really happened” quality that Melanie puts into all of her books. My favorite fairytale must be Beauty and the Beast, which is why The Merchant’s Apprentice was my favorites of Melanie’s so far. I think Valten may give Ranulf a run for his money, though. 😉 Thanks for posting!!

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