Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Review: "Beguiled" by Jody Hedlund

 Snow White reimagined by Jody Hedlund? Yes, please!

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

A princess rejected and hunted by her mother, and a prince who lives as a shunned outcast.

Princess Pearl flees for her life after her mother, Queen Margery, tries to have her killed during a hunting expedition. Pearl finds refuge on the Isle of Outcasts among criminals and misfits, disguising her face with a veil so no one recognizes her. She lives for the day when she can return to Warwick and rescue her sister, Ruby, from the queen’s clutches.

Amidst his royal testing on the Isle of Outcasts, Prince Mikkel of Scania has kept his identity a secret. Captured by a warring band of outcasts and condemned to die, he finds himself making friends with an intriguing but feisty young veiled woman. Intending to win her trust and gain her help to escape, he soon finds himself coerced to wed her.

Mikkel reluctantly agrees to the union to save his life, and Pearl hopes the marriage will provide protection for her and Ruby. But the queen is more determined to kill her daughter than either Pearl or Mikkel realizes and has a sinister reason neither expects—one that could rip their new love apart forever.

The real Snow White story.

Beguiled takes two of my favorite things - fairy tale retellings and marriage of convenience stories - and combines them into one stellar novel!

First, a note: To get the full understanding and impact of this series, you should start with book one, Beholden. That novel clearly explains the Testing that Prince Mikkel and his brothers are undergoing, and it gives valuable context. You could still dive right in with this book, but you might encounter some confusion.

Beguiled begins with Mikkel's capture by a rival band of outcasts on the Isle of Outcasts, and he meets "Veil," a young woman with a presumed blemish/deformity who always wears a veil over her face. This woman is actually Princess Pearl, daughter of Queen Margery (the series' villain), who fled after her mother tried to have her killed.

Soon, the leader of Pearl's band of outcasts decides that Mikkel and Pearl should marry - and Pearl realizes that marriage to a Scanian prince might be her only hope for saving her younger sister Ruby from her mother's evil clutches. Though it's a marriage of convenience, attraction and love soon follow.

I very much enjoyed this second Fairest Maidens novel! Though the beginning was a bit slow for me (and I never really did care much for the rival outcast groups and their fight against the Inquisitor), I loved the romance. Hedlund is a master at infusing chemistry onto the page, and I loved watching Mikkel and Pearl slowly fall for each other. And those kisses!!! The book also includes themes of inner vs. outer beauty and self sacrifice that we could all learn from. It's a great novel for older teens and adults! 4 stars.

Buy the book. (#ad)

Read my reviews of Hedlund's Fairest Maidens novel Beholden (4-1/2 stars); her 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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