Monday, October 28, 2019

Review: "Hereafter" by Jody Hedlund

You a know a book is good when you pick it up to "read the first chapter" ... and you put it down at 12:30 a.m. after you've read the final page!

The third lost princess. The final key to the treasure. And a battle for the throne.

Growing up deep in the forest as a poor charcoal burner’s daughter, Emmeline has always known her identity as a princess of Mercia, and she lives in fear of being caught and killed. When her adopted father returns from town with news regarding the imminence of war, Emmeline has no wish to join the rebellion against King Ethelwulf.

Prince Ethelrex, the strongest warrior in the land, has done everything he can to prove his loyalty to his father, including searching for the last lost princess. When Ethelrex finally captures Emmeline, the king commands his son to marry the princess in order to win the support of the people and undermine the rebellion.

Forced into marriage, Emmeline has one goal—to escape. But Ethelrex takes his marriage vows seriously, including his promise to love and cherish his wife, and has no intention of letting Emmeline get away. As the battle for the throne rages, will the prince be able to win the battle for Emmeline’s heart?

After reading the previous books in Jody Hedlund's Lost Princesses series, I was highly anticipating Hereafter, the final installment in the series. Not only did the book live up to my expectations, but it also gave me some things to think about!

Hereafter reunites readers with Lance and Felicia, the main characters of Always, the series' prequel novella. They took Emmeline to raise as their own, while her sisters Adelaide and Maribel were taken to other places. Emmeline grew up knowing she was a princess, and Lance trained her to fight, should the need arise...which, of course, it does.

This book is different from the others in that the hero, Rex (Prince Ethelrex), is not at all likeable in the beginning. He had to win me over, just as he had to win Emmeline over. Also, Emmeline is forced into marriage with Rex. While I love marriage of convenience stories, I prefer the woman to have some agency in the decision, so I didn't love the forced marriage aspect of Hereafter. (I know it fit with the time period, though, and Hedlund did handle the relationship well, thanks to Rex's desire to be a man of character.)

There's action, adventure, scary creatures, and romance. And there are also lessons to be learned—about courage, obedience, and integrity. My favorite line from the whole series comes from this book; it really resonated with me:
Courage is not the absence of fear but the determination to persevere when circumstances are at their worst.
So good!

Actually, this whole series is so good. I've loved it from beginning to end, and I sincerely hope Hedlund keeps writing medieval YA. 5 stars.

Buy the book. (affiliate link)
Read my reviews of Hedlund's Always (4 stars), Evermore (4-1/2 stars), and Foremost (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. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. 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."

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