Review: The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

September 30, 2013

Title: The Captive Maiden
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Zondervan
Pages: 286
ISBN: 978-0-310-72441-4
Publication Date: November 19th, 2013 (Expected)

Happily Ever After ...Or Happily Nevermore?

Gisela's childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father's death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela learns the duke's son, Valten---the boy she has daydreamed about for years---is throwing a ball in hopes of finding a wife, she vows to find a way to attend, even if it's only for a taste of a life she'll never have.

To her surprise, she catches Valten's eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.
I just want to start off by saying, "Thank You!!" to Melanie Dickerson. In every Cinderella tale I have seen or read, there is always been one thing that has driven me nuts. Cinderella has always been introduced to the Hero as the servant of the house or she tells him, she is a servant in her stepmothers house. With that, there will always be misunderstandings and "Cinderella" never mentions that she is related to her stepmother, at least not till the end and everything resolves with that. Melanie Dickerson has fixed that issue in this story and it made my heart happy!

Gisela was just two-years-old when she lost her mother, then she was seven-years-old when she lost her father. He had remarried not long before his passing, so the house and his horses he prized and sold were passed on to his new wife, Evfemia. Evfemia only cared about her two daughters Irma and Contzel and forced Gisela to a small room to live in, never allowed a fire in winter, and made Gisela care for her father's prized horses, which wasn't a punishment to her, since she loved the horses.

Valten, Lord Hamlin, the eldest son of the Duke Wilhelm and eldest brother to Gabe (The hero from The Fairest Beauty), is back in Hagenheim after being away for a couple of years participating in tournaments around the kingdom. One of his first days back, Valten decided to see how things in the town where he and his family lived and so not draw attention to himself, dressed as a commoner. It was in this visit he spots a horse that looks like his horse's twin brother and goes to investigate, only to find that the horse belongs to Gisela. After visiting with her for a short time, Valten invites Gisela to the three day tournament and ball his family is hosting in his honor. It is then that Valten watches as Gisela is treated horribly by her stepmother and regrets that she has to go with her supposed family.

Gisela doesn't have the help of a fairy godmother in the story, just a friend that hates that she is mistreated by her family. Gisela's friend Ava does her best to see that Gisela has a way to the tournament and to make sure Gisela's favorite horse is safe while she is away. At the tournament, Gisela is able to visit with Valten and even his family, but the happiness that Gisela is short lived when her stepmother, stepsisters, and a friend of theirs interferes, trying to keep her from festivities. What follows are chases, fights, thirst for revenge, and more fights.

Melanie Dickerson presents such an interesting twist to the Cinderella story. It is refreshing!  The Captive Maiden was a book that was hard to put down, but so easy to pick back up and immerse yourself in again! Evfemia, Gisela's stepmother has the right amount of nastiness about her, she makes Lady Tremaine seem civil. There is also another force going against Valten and Gisela and he is one who is easy to loath.

The Captive Maiden is such a fun and fast paced story!
Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.

Thank you to Zondervan, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


  1. This looks like a great book, love the cover :)

  2. Sounds like a great read - love it when author's re-imagine "classics" like this and it's wonderful to know Melanie uses some new twists. :)

    Great thoughts, Kate. :)

  3. Elin, it was a fantastic book! The cover is beautiful! I think it's my favorite in the series.

  4. Rissi, Completely agree! Melanie uses wonderful twists and turns. It still has the feel of a classic, but it also feels new.


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