Monday, September 28, 2020

Review: "Beholden" by Jody Hedlund

Even though I left my teen years behind long ago, I adore YA romance ... but much of what's popular is more adult than what I'd want the teens I know to read. That's why I love Jody Hedlund's medieval YA novels - they feature chaste yet swoony romance, and they always have positive themes. Her latest series, which begins with Beholden, offers more of the same. 

In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . .

A beautiful noblewoman with a terrible secret, and a prince subjected to slavery.

Upon the death of her wealthy father, Lady Gabriella is condemned to work in Warwick’s gem mine. As she struggles to survive the dangerous conditions, her kindness and beauty shine as brightly as the jewels the slaves excavate. While laboring, Gabriella plots how to avenge her father’s death and stop Queen Margery’s cruelty.

Prince Vilmar of Scania enslaves himself in Warwick’s gem mine as part of a royal test to prove himself the most worthy of three brothers to become the king’s successor. Amidst the hardships, he doesn’t anticipate his growing compassion for the other slaves, especially tenderhearted Gabriella.

As the annual summer ball looms nearer, Gabriella sets into motion her plan to end Queen Margery’s evil. When Vilmar learns of Gabriella’s intentions, he resolves to come to her aid and fight against Warwick’s queen. But doing so may require him to give up his chance of becoming Scania’s next king, perhaps even cost him his life.

The real Cinderella story.

With themes of kindness and selflessness, Beholden gives an enjoyable twist on the Cinderella fairy tale while setting up what is sure to be an engaging series! Gabriella is such a noble heroine, one who is willing to give up her own life in order to save others. And Vilmar, while he has some growing up to do, turns into a wonderful hero. This is a romantic and engaging novel that's perfect for older teens and adults, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series! 4-1/2 stars.

Buy the book (affiliate link).

Read my reviews of Hedlund's Lost Princesses books Always (4 stars), Evermore (4-1/2 stars), Foremost (5 stars), and Hereafter (5 stars); and her An Uncertain Choice novels The Vow (4 stars), An Uncertain Choice (5 stars), A Daring Sacrifice (4-1/2 stars), For Love & Honor (5 stars), A Loyal Heart (5 stars), and A Worthy Rebel (5 stars).

Jody Hedlund is the award-winning author of multiple novels, including the Beacons of Hope and Orphan Train series, as well as Captured by Love and Rebellious Heart. She holds a bachelor's degree from Taylor University and a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Jody lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. Learn more at

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 I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links; this means if you click the link and purchase an item, 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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