The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.
Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.
Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.
The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel, in turn, rescues him farther down the road. As a result Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to him than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?
The Golden Braid is one of Melanie Dickerson’s young adult fiction fairy tale retellings, and I’m sure you can guess which princess she’s focusing on with this one (wink wink). I have read her retellings of Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella—The Fairest Beauty, The Merchant’s Daughter, The Healer’s Apprentice, and The Captive Maiden (my favorite!!!), and I loved each one of them. Melanie is really a wonderful author who does an amazing job of weaving together her fairy-tale type stories with her medieval time period, and her novels are always captivating and full of suspense and just the perfect amount of romance. Clearly, I was looking forward to reading this book as soon as I heard she was writing it, and I am so glad I finally got to (I know, I know, it just came out, but I’ve been waiting ever since I heard about it months and months ago)!
Rapunzel is such a great heroine. Despite the fears that her mother instilled in her and the pain she continually caused her, Rapunzel is extremely brave and strong and kind, and not nearly as broken as one would expect, simply because she continually sees the good in her situation. Even though she has the right to be bitter and angry and scared of her own shadow, she continually embodies all the qualities one would expect a heroine to have. She still stumbles, however, which is perfect because it makes her relatable to those of us who aren’t fairy tale heroines. I just really love the way she cares for others, especially those in Hagenheim, and I absolutely LOVE the way she interacts with Sir Gerek, although I have to confess I liked Valten and Gisela (from The Captive Maiden) and their relationship just a little bit better.
Sir Gerek was a little difficult for me to like at first. Maybe because he wasn’t Valten, maybe because he was an arrogant and rude little knight, but whatever the case, I quickly grew to love him. Once he got past his own pain and fears, he became the perfect hero worthy of such a woman as Rapunzel. He was still a little surly at times, of course, but he learned to be nice and did lots of other things that I cannot tell you but that made him incredibly wonderful in my eyes, especially since he gave me quite a few reasons to get a little swoony.
I really loved the intense, action-packed elements to this novel, probably because it made me sit on the edge of my seat and bite my nails on a couple of occasions, and I enjoy when a book is suspenseful enough to cause me to do that. Even though I have mentioned that I like The Captive Maiden better multiple times, don’t let that discredit this novel. I really, really loved The Golden Braid; enough to give it five bookshelves in fact, and enough to place it on my all-time favorites list. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, suspenseful romance novel, but especially to all of those teens or their mothers who are looking for a clean, wholesome YA (young adult) novel that is interesting and action-packed and yet doesn’t make them blush or have to put it down.
I received a copy of this book from the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.
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All credit for the wonderful photo goes to my sister, Allie, whose blog you can check out here.