The Captive Maiden: Happily Ever After …Or Happily Nevermore? by Melanie Dickerson, published by Zondervan is an action-packed romantic teen fiction – a retake of the Cinderella story with another twist – a good story (unfortunately weakened by poor editing).
Gisela, an orphan, is the victim of her wicked stepmother and stepsisters who use her as a maid and treat her cruelly. Gisela dreams of her “prince” and sneaks out to tournament where Valten, the duke’s son, will choose a queen of love and beauty to invite to the ball. Gisela’s beauty does not go unnoticed but the forces of evil personified in her stepmother plot not only to destroy Gisela’s chances with Valten but also to destroy her life.
Gisela soon finds herself prisoner to Valten’s worst enemy, Reuxler. And although Valten sets out to rescue her, the situation goes from bad to worse. Mentions of God, prayer, and salvation are creatively woven into the story and boosted by the presence of a delightful traveling evangelist.
As a romantic fairystory of times-gone-by when ladies wore extravagant long gowns and men entertained themselves by jousting and sword fighting, The Captive Maiden will likely appeal to most young women and teen girls. Some might find the protagonists’ frequent kissing a distraction, but the tale is nonetheless entertaining.
The overall writing, however, is poor. Some sentences are hard to understand or illogical. Others have silly mistakes such as “a door creaked opened” (page 243). The word “but” is often used where “and” would seem appropriate. This book could have benefited from a few more times around the editing block. Let’s hope Zondervan takes this into account before releasing a sequel in the series.
If you live in San Diego and want to learn more about writing and editing, check out the San Diego Christian Writer's Guild.
A similar version of this story will also appear in Assist News Service.
Janey DeMeo M.A.
Copyright © January 2014