Beholden by Jody Hedlund

Five stars

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.

Jody Hedlund’s YA books are ones that I can never fangirl about enough. Each one is so well done with such truth that this age category needs! Beholden especially is now a new favorite.

At the beginning of the book three princes are sent to three separate places for their “testing”. Each one has a different lesson to learn and the test is whether or not they will. Whoever succeeds becomes the next king.

Vilmar… Oh, he was amazing. Him and Gabriella made such an awesome pair! I loved the themes portrayed in this book so much! Now I can’t wait to continue the series and read the rest of the brother’s stories. I hope they’re just as amazing!

In all, Beholden was a wonderful story with action, fun characters, and heart break moments. Here you will learn the true meaning of being a “slave to all”. *Sigh* Such beauty. 

“Kindness can form the bridge that helps a person cross from pain to peace.”

― Jody Hedlund, Beholden

Your turn!

Do you enjoy non-magical fantasies? What do you think of Cinderella retellings? Have you read Beholden?

Blessings, Allyson

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