Saturday, March 3, 2018

"A Loyal Heart" by Jody Hedlund

Last year, I finished (or so I thought) Jody Hedlund's delightful medieval YA romance trilogy ... so I was pleasantly surprised to learn she'd written a fourth book! I'd thought that no couple could top Bennet and Sabine from For Love & Honor, but Aldric and Olivia certainly give them a run for their money!

He’s taken her as his prisoner. But she’s holding his heart captive. In gaining their freedom, will they lose what matters most?

When Lady Olivia’s castle is besieged, she and her sister are taken captive and held for ransom by her father’s enemy, Lord Pitt. Loyalty to family means everything to Olivia. She’ll save her sister at any cost and do whatever her father asks—even if that means obeying his order to steal a sacred relic from her captor.

As Lord Pitt’s commander, Sir Aldric is in charge of the beautiful but feisty new prisoner. He has his hands full attempting to keep Lady Olivia out of trouble. When Lord Pitt throws her in the dungeon and threatens to hang her for stealing, Aldric conceives a plot to save Olivia’s life—betrothal to him.

Can Olivia give up the prestigious match her father has arranged with a wealthy marquess in order to marry a lowly knight like Aldric? And can Aldric move beyond his past mistakes to embrace love again? When loyalties are tested, they’re thrust into danger that could cost them their love and their lives.

This. This is the type of novel our teen girls should be reading! A Loyal Heart is gorgeously romantic. It features a strong woman and a swoony hero. And it brings up issues today's teens deal with like family loyalty, purity, and whether the ends justify the means.

I'll get to the plot in a minute, but first I have to tell you about the passage that made me want to stand up and cheer. While a prisoner of Lord Pitt, Olivia searches for a relic her father has commanded her to steal. She believes her father's motives for wanting the relic are pure, and she feels it's her family duty to obey him and procure the relic for him. Finally, however, she realizes what she is doing isn't right:
Where would the wrongdoing stop if everyone acted out whatever moral code felt right in the moment? If I felt I could justify stealing, then someone else might justify killing or lying or cheating. Where would the justifying stop?
Yes, yes, yes! Our entire culture would do well to consider this ... and I need to keep it in mind personally, as well. It's becoming far too easy to justify almost anything. Where will it stop?

Anyway, back to the plot 🙂. When Olivia and her sister Isabelle are taken captive by Sir Aldric under the orders of Lord Pitt, it's an attempt to bring her father back into line with the king. She assumes her father will quickly rescue them, and then she'll go through with his plan for her to wed Lionel Lacy and unite the families' holdings, but it soon becomes apparent that her father intends to use the captivity for his gain. Complicating matters is her attraction to Sir Aldric, the kindest, most thoughtful man she has ever met ... a man who believes he doesn't deserve to find love.

I loved reading Olivia and Aldric's love story. It's so romantic, yet so respectful. And by the end, I was absolutely dying for them to be together! As I said at the beginning, I didn't think anything could top Bennet and Sabine's story in For Love and Honor, but this story just might be my favorite in the series! Here's hoping Jody Hedlund decides to continue this series with Olivia's sister Isabelle's story—we certainly need more wholesome YA romances like those in this series! 5 stars.

Buy the book.
Enter to win a copy here and here. (These giveaways don't run much longer, so enter ASAP!)
Read my reviews of the other books in the series:  The Vow (prequel novella, 4 stars), An Uncertain Choice (#1, 5 stars), A Daring Sacrifice (#2, 4-1/2 stars), and For Love and Honor (#3, 5 stars).

Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and Christy Award, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Yes! Totally agree. These are the books to give our teens. Loved this whole series!

    1. It's so great! I read quite a bit of YA, and I hate how dark, depressing, and sexualized it has become (on the whole--there are authors who aren't doing this, thankfully). Jody's books are ones I can recommend to the teens in my life without hesitation, and I love that!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. ...yet another one I hope to read/review soon... but I'm so glad to spy that five-star review. Just got this one via Amazon the other day so hopefully soon. Plus, it was such a fun surprise to see Jody wrote another book in the series. :)

    1. Yes, what a great surprise! And the series isn't done yet--I'm pretty sure I read on another blog that Jody plans to write one more story. Enjoy :-)


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