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A Daring Sacrifice
Written by Jody Hedlund
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A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund
In a reverse twist on the Robin Hood story, a young medieval maiden stands up for the rights of the mistreated, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. All the while, she fights against her cruel uncle who has taken over the land that is rightfully hers. Forced to live in the woods and hide with the poor people she's grown to love, she works to save and protect them, but she never anticipates falling in love with the wealthy knight who represents all she's come to despise.
Prolific Hedlund is back with another tale of medieval romance, a sequel to An Uncertain Choice (2015). Lady Juliana of Wessex lives in the forest, disguised as a boy, stealing to provide for the remnants of her father's uprising against her vicious uncle. She doesn't want to steal but must even though she is the rightful heir to the rich Wessex lands. But she goes too far when she tries to steal from the lord of the neighboring Goodrich lands and is injured in the process. Collin Goodrich has seen through her disguise and takes her to his castle to protect her. Their friendship builds and warms into a budding romance...until Collin's sister invites the Wessex usurpers into the Goodrich home. Juliana's no longer safe---and now neither is Collin. Hedlund's light on historical detail and makes no apparent attempt to find a medieval voice to suit the 1390 English setting. Nevertheless, this narrative told from Juliana's and Collin's alternating points of view has engaging-enough characters and plenty of derring-do to entertain young romance enthusiasts. Formulaic but fun for genre fans wanting a quick read. (Historical romance. 12-16) Kirkus The Cloaked Bandit has been robbing the noble families of Wessex for years and has yet to be caught. Skilled at hiding in the forests, this bandit is able to conceal the fact that she is a girl, Juliana Wessex, and a member of the ruling family, who everyone believes is dead. Her talents allow her to feed and shelter the peasants of the land. While playing this Robin Hood-like role, she encounters Collin Goodrich, who recognizes her from years past. He encourages her to stay on his estate after she is injured, and teens will want to read on to find out if Collin is able to win her heart and if he will sacrifice everything for her. While Juliana and Collin are interesting characters and the action is easy to follow, the story is idealistic as opposed to realistic. While Juliana is 17, she doesn't sound authentically teen, though falling in love and resisting temptation will be themes that will resonate with some young adults. The book includes discussion questions in the back matter relating to its Christian motifs. VERDICT A great selection for collections looking for titles with strong Christian themes or for readers who enjoy fairy tales. School Library Journal Historical fiction author Jody Hedlund writes her second young adult novel about a fourteenth-century young woman living an unconventional life. In A Daring Sacrifice, Juliana Wessex is the rightful ruler of Wessex. But the current Lord Wessex (her uncle) believes she died three years ago when her father lost his life. Juliana hides in the forest and steals to provide a livelihood for the peasants on her land, impoverished by her uncle's harsh rule. It is a life filled with risks and danger, and she struggles with the justification of her actions. When she is forced to flee Wessex after escaping capture, Juliana makes the mistake of trying to rob Colin Goodrich, who recognizes Juliana by her red hair. Colin takes her to his castle after she is injured and introduces her as a distant cousin. But her uncle discovers her presence. To what lengths will her uncle go to keep Wessex for himself? Who makes the daring sacrifice? Different text fonts indicate Juliana's and Colin's points of view. The spiritual element is evident but not heavy-handed; Colin and Juliana ask for God's leading and try to live godly lives, which is especially hard for Juliana since she steals from the nobility. Filled with descriptive narrative and endearing characters, A Daring Sacrifice is an entertaining read-except for the necessary violence in the fighting scenes. Its believable plot has enough twists in the last third of the book to keep the reader up late! Fans of Lisa Bergren's River of Time series, Dina Sleiman's Valiant Hearts series, and Melanie Dickerson's medieval young adult books will also enjoy Hedlund's medieval trilogy. Readers may want to read Hedlund's An Uncertain Choice (reviewed in Christian Library Journal, Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr 2015). A third book is in the works. Recommended for teen collections in public libraries and school libraries. Carol R. Gehringer, worthy2read.wordpress.com Christian Library Journal
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