Title: The Golden Braid
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Hagenheim #6
Genre: Historical/Fairy Tale
Audience: Young Adult
~ MY REVIEW ~
So I loved this book! Read it in one day! I adore Melanie Dickerson's medieval fairytale retellings, and should seriously think about collecting them all! ^_^ Anyway, The Golden Braid did not disappoint in any way. Another five-star rating for Melanie's sweet romances!
This one is a retelling of Rapunzel, one of my favorite fairytales. Rapunzel is a nineteen-year-old young woman living with her rather reclusive stepmother. Though innocent and a bit naive, she's skilled at knife-throwing and other odd hobbies; but nevertheless, her mother warns her again and again not to trust people; especially not men. And she must not show anyone her long, golden-blonde hair. It's simply indecent.
Devoted to the woman she calls 'mother' - who found her, abandoned, when she was just a baby - Rapunzel strives to please her, and turns away many a suitor.
But then, on yet another journey to a new home, they meet a brave young knight, Sir Gerek. He, along with many secrets, are about to change Rapunzel's life forever.
*Squeal* I just loved it! Fairytale retelling, adorable romance, wonderful heroine, heartfelt faith themes, exciting action ... eep! <3 I love it when I find a fairytale retelling like The Golden Braid. It keeps you smiling with lots of nods to the original tale, yet thrills you with spectacular additions and amazing characters, and pleases you with refreshing depth. Set in the medieval era (which is a favorite for me), Melanie Dickerson's stories need no magic. They are fairytale retellings at some of their best!
Let me take a moment to talk about Rapunzel. She is such a likable heroine ... and sometimes that's hard to find in books these days. At first, she's a little nervous, and attached to her mother. But over the course of the story, she learns new strength and independence. (And she's epic at knife-throwing. *grins*) But she's also very sweet, compassionate, and sensitive. She's courageous and has an admirable inner strength; but the thought to be "as good as the men" or belittle men doesn't cross her mind. She's just ... wonderful. I think she kind of exudes that gentle and quiet spirit that the Bible talks about, while still being strong in the Lord! I hope I can be more like Rapunzel! ^_^ Also, I found it rather funny how she wished a certain young man would stay grumpy, because she didn't know how to deal with her feelings for him when he was being extra gallant and sweet. Hehe. Rapunzel's innocence is refreshing. Seeing her "young love" story is so gently sweet.
Of course, this being part of the HAGENHEIM series (the 6th book), we see Rose and Lord Hamlin (from The Healer's Apprentice), and some of their children, including Margaretha (from The Princess Spy). Sir Gerek is one of Lord Hamlin's knights. I love the mysteries and everything, and how The Golden Braid is cleverly and closely tied in with the rest of the series. I guessed some things fairly early on, but that didn't lessen the thrill any! Also, The Golden Braid's story in intertwined with the story of The Princess Spy. Having recently read the latter, I was able to remember certain parts, and it was exciting to see it all from Rapunzel and Sir Gerek's perspective! What fun! This a lovely tale to be sure!
The romance, as I mentioned above, is adorable. I recommend for about sixteen and up. It was just, so sweet and beautiful! *huggles book* I love Rapunzel. And I love Sir Gerek. And I love them together. *grins* They're perfect. <3 And their story is just so ... ahhh. You must read it for yourselves! Probably my favorite romance from Melanie Dickerson yet! And the faith of each of these characters ... the lessons they learn. The trust they show. The putting aside of their own feelings to serve the other. It really had depth! Beautiful! There were so many good lines in The Golden Braid. I should write some down and start quoting this book! *grins* But truly, there were some profound moments.
That being said, I loved the faith aspect of The Golden Braid too!! I feel like these main characters really strived to know and love God, and His people! And to do what He would want them to do. They talked to Him, and trusted Him. There was uncommon respect and restraint in their love story that must come from a more godly outlook on romance. There was also a scene of miraculous spiritual intervention. All in all, the Christian part of The Golden Braid wasn't just a few preachy scenes added in ... it was a theme that enveloped the story. I really, really appreciate that.
Ah. What else? I simply loved this tale. It combines my favorite story elements: Faith, Romance, Action and Adventure in two of my favorite genres: Fairytale Retelling and Medieval Historical. A lovely novel! I'm so very excited to read more!