This book was provided to me by the author. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. All opinions are my own.
Series: An Uncertain Choice #2
Published by Harper Collins on March 1st 2016
Source: the author
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, General
The only thing harder than fighting for what’s right…is fighting their feelings for each other.
For three years, the Cloaked Bandit has terrorized Wessex, robbing the nobility by knifepoint and a well-placed arrow. But little dos anyone know, this bandit is in fact Juliana Wessex, the rightful ruler of the land and a girl her tyrannical uncle—the current Lord Wessex—believes was killed along with her father.
Juliana has become skilled at hiding from Lord Wessex in the forest, using her stolen goods to provide food and shelter to the peasants her uncle has taxed into poverty. But when she robs Collin Goodrich, her red hair betrays her true identity. Lord Collin remembers Juliana from their childhood—and challenges her to stay on his estate for a week in hopes she will leave her thieving ways and become a proper lady once more. Juliana is intrigued by Collin and his charms, but only time will tell if he can overcome her distaste of the nobility—as well as win her heart.
I thought I loved an Uncertain Choice but honestly, this is probably the very best YA book I’ve EVER read. You read that right…the BEST YA book I’ve ever read. Everyone knows that I don’t read YA fiction very often but when I do, I love it. The Hunger Games and Anomaly for example both pop into my mind as books I loved but A Daring Sacrifice just blows those out of the water.
I hate to gush in reviews, it makes me sound juvenile and like I’m fangirling but it cannot be helped with this book. The characters, the writing, the romance…absolutely every detail about this book is amazing.
I don’t know how to describe the emotions I had while reading this book. They ranged from scared for favorite characters to total book crushing on Collin. I really loved the characters even though there were times I wanted to scream at Juliana to not shut Collin out. I can understand why she did but oh, I just loved Collin so much.
If you’re looking for a quick read that is enjoyable, clean and on the young adult level, look no further. Jody Hedlund really has written a fantastic set of books that can be enjoyed by both young adults as well as older adults such as myself. This is a fun series to read alongside my daughter so we can exchange thoughts and dialogue about the characters. I really cannot wait to see the continuation of this series.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this review and as an added bonus I’ve included a short Q&A with the author as well as additional links to other reviews in this blog tour!
Q: You’ve based A Daring Sacrifice a little bit on the Robin Hood story. What drew you to this medieval tale?
A: I’ve always loved tales about underdogs rising up against injustice. The story of Robin Hood encompasses such an element, where the poor are unfairly cast from their homes, forced into hiding, and must rely upon their fearless leader to fight for their rights.
Instead of a nobleman leading and fighting for the needs of the underdogs, I decided to add a twist and have my heroine, a displaced noblewoman, be the leader of a band of poor outcasts. As a skilled archer, she’s gained a reputation as the “Cloaked Bandit” doing her best to protect and provide for the people she’s grown to love.
Q: How is writing for a YA audience different than writing for an adult audience? What are the similarities?
A: The Differences:
While many of my adult readers have enjoyed my YA books just as much if not more than my adult novels, I do get adult readers now and then who are surprised, maybe even disgruntled, with the fact that my YA books are slightly different than my adult novels. And I try to gently remind them, that they’re supposed to be different.
First, my YA books are shorter, crisper, and less historically detailed. In fact, I’d almost go as far as saying that my YA are more fairy-tale world than true historicals. They contain enough detail to give a “flavor” of another place, but not too much to bog down younger readers.
Secondly, my YA books are more plot driven than character driven. I’ve included battle scenes as well as some of the seat-of-your pants danger that appeals to the modern teen reader. I plunge my characters into desperate, life-threatening situations which, in the era of books like The Hunger Games, is appealing to modern readers).
A third difference is in how I’m approaching the heroine and the romance. My YA heroines are a bit younger and so they are more of a coming of age story where the heroine must grapple with some “growing up” issues. I’ve also tried to keep the romance very sweet and tender (as opposed to my adult novels that while clean, are more passionate in nature).
Whether my adult novels or YA, I simply want to tell a compelling story. I hope that I’ve been able to entertain and perhaps even inspire in both of my markets.
Q: How do you keep a faith focus in A Daring Sacrifice without becoming “preachy”?
A: It’s definitely tricky to keep a faith focus without becoming preachy.
One of things I try to do is intertwine the characters’ emotional and spiritual arcs, so that they are closely related. I start off by giving my characters flaws or weaknesses that they must work through as the story progresses. As they wrestle through issues, they don’t end up perfect. But by the end I try to bring about some emotional and spiritual growth with their story flaw.
For example, in A Daring Sacrifice, Juliana harbors a great deal of bitterness toward those who’ve hurt her family and her people. She’s resorted to stealing from wealthy nobles and justifies what she’s doing. Obviously, this is her flaw. As the story unfolds, she must learn some lessons about acting with integrity, even if it requires great sacrifice.
Another way that I add in the faith aspect to my stories without being preachy is by having the characters pray, go to chapel, and or draw comfort from God in a historical context. People during the Middle Ages were extremely religious and so it’s only natural to add this aspect into the story to remain true to the times.
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