“One day Alditha is content living with her family, the next she is taking her friend’s place to serve at the king’s castle. Her father’s final instructions, to keep smiling and to do what is right, will be harder to live out than she ever imagined. She will face a royal nephew who delights in making people miserable, an angry servant girl who will stop at nothing to get what she wants, and noblemen who plot murder. Will she be able to keep the promise she made to her father? Will she find the faith she longs for during all her Adventures and Adversities?” (from Amazon)
I picked up this book by Sarah Holman at the OCEANetwork Homeschool Convention’s Homeschooled Authors table. The cover wasn’t the most appealing or highest quality I had ever seen, but I had heard great things about this book and I decided it to try it. IT WAS AWESOME!
This story was set in the fictional medieval kingdom of Taelis. After a time of upheaval in their government, serfs are being sent to serve the new king by building his castle. I found it really interesting how the author managed to give her fictional kingdom a feel of authenticity. Reading it one almost feels as if this were really history. (Characters did come in contact with actual historical things such as the Vikings and Gaul.) Mentions of clothing and customs seemed historically accurate enough to me. : )
The storyline was so amazing! There were some loose ends, but I’m convinced that those are set up for the next book. (Hooray!) All the way through the characters had to learn to be grateful, to trust God, and to have faith. It was such a cool story–a real page-turner at some points!
The characters were delightfully real. The reader either extremely hates the characters or loves them to pieces! I, of course, like Alditha. She was such a sweet character, but not too perfect either! The lessons she had to learn really spoke to me as I read about them. The Captain was such a complicated, conflicted, and loyal character! I found him very real and very intriguing. Alditha’s friends (to name a few–Marian, Eleanor, Luke, Guy, Gregory, and so on) made a great “supporting cast”. Two other characters that I really enjoyed were the honorable stable boy William and the insightful hermit/priest.
Parents should have caution in considering this book for younger readers because of some mild romance (all friendship based with marriage in view and the utmost purity) and medieval torture. SPOILER ALERT–the penalty for stealing is the loss of a right hand which almost happens to one of the characters. (Everything turns out fine, but it is really tense for a while there.) Also, political usurpers talk about murdering the royal children in their beds which also doesn’t end up happening.
I found this book so fabulous! The romance was sweet, the characters and setting were very real feeling, the lessons were wonderful, and the story was compelling! Not to be missed!