I absolutely loved this book (and isn't its cover just stunning?). Melanie Dickerson always does an outstanding job of weaving captivating, suspenseful romances, and The Captive Maiden is no exception. With its Cinderella themes, dashing hero, and dangerous rescues, this novel was absolutely impossible to put down. I just couldn’t get enough of it, and finished it in a matter of hours (even though I had to stay up late to do so). Since Gisela is the ‘Cinderella’ of this adventure, it was extremely easy to love, admire, and pity her, though Valten is another story. I know, I know if he’s the ‘Prince Charming’, then I must love him, right? Don’t worry, I do. I just fell so, so much harder for him than I ever did for Charming.
Valten—Lord Hamlin, to be exact—is absolutely, positively wonderful. Although he is apparently incredibly handsome, that has nothing to do with my feelings for him (yes, you can have feelings for fictional characters; wink, wink). Vulnerable, yet strong, Valten is the picture of the perfect hero. The way he chases after and protects Gisela no matter what is completely and utterly adorable, and his determination to trust God despite his fears is just as sweet as it is inspiring. I absolutely loved watching him compete or interact with his sisters and, as always, I enjoyed his and Gisela’s interactions. Their attraction is palpable, and seeing them fall in love was beautiful to behold.
Gisela is so strong! I cannot imagine facing everything she faced at the hands of her stepmother and sisters and still remaining aloof, claiming not to care. Yet Gisela does so with practiced ease, though I know her heart hurts inside at their ill treatment. The way she hangs on to the picture of Valten she has in her head even after all the years that pass is by far one of the sweetest things I have ever heard, so you can imagine my excitement as things started to work out between them. Although her life was far from easy, Gisela continued to trust in the Lord and look for His guidance in her life, and her constant faith and determination were absolutely inspiring. From the very first page, I felt as if Gisela was one of my very closest friends, and I cheered with her as her life become more like the ‘Happily Ever After’ part of the fairytale.
Since I loved The Captive Maiden so very, very much, I obviously cannot help but give it all five bookshelves. This is far and away my favorite of Melanie Dickerson’s books that I have read so far—and I have loved each of them so, so much—and it has a permanent place on my ‘favorite books of all time’ list. I would recommend it to absolutely everyone, and I am so very glad I bought it, as I am sure I will be reading this wonderful tale again and again.