Thursday, March 5, 2015

Review of "An Uncertain Choice"

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: "An Uncertain Choice" is Jody Hedlund's debut novel in the Young Adult market.  The plot is a combination of traditional fairy tale meets "The Bachelor."  Lady Rosemarie is a young ruler bound by an ancient vow to enter a convent on her eighteenth birthday. Her only escape from such a solitary fate is finding true love and marrying before she turns eighteen. Enter three knights tasked with winning Lady Rosemarie's heart. The story has enough clean romance and adventure to grab the attention of young readers. Hedlund introduces some of the depth and historical detail that defines her adult novels, but in a manner that is more suited to younger audiences.

The story begins with a scene of Medieval torture and a valiant rescue by a brave knight. That sets the scene for the ribbons of danger and excitement that weave throughout the novel. True to any fairy tale, there are sinister characters carrying out dark schemes. It is quite easy to figure out the person behind various deadly and dangerous situations. The mastermind behind certain events isn't actually revealed until the end of the novel, but most readers won't be surprised by the revelation. The tension created by the events is engaging, and Hedlund gives glimpses into the horrors of Medieval life. Hedlund reveals realities of life beyond castle walls as Lady Rosemarie ventures into poor sections of her kingdom, mingling among the poor. Lady Rosemarie displays a compassionate heart, making her an admirable heroine for teenage readers.

Descriptions of starving citizens, punishment, and dark dungeons are tempered by a more lighthearted quest for Lady Rosemarie to find true love. Rosemarie is presented with three knights to save her from a solitary life. The knights' attempts to woo Lady Rosemarie add some fun and humor to the plot. For me, this aspect of the plot most defines "An Uncertain Choice" as a young adult novel. The concept of the ancient vow is also too much of a fairy tale concept for me.  Still, "An Uncertain Choice" is a quick, quality read. Readers who want to discover more about Lady Rosemarie's parents and the ancient vow can read more in the prequel, "The Vow."

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zonderkidz-Books through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. 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. 

Summary from Zondervan: Due to her parents’ promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, shortly before her birthday, a friend of her father’s enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents’ will left a second choice—if Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow. 

Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the knights’ arrival results in a series of attacks within her land, she begins to wonder if the convent is the best place after all. If only one of the knights—the one who appears the most guilty—had not already captured her heart.

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