Jody Hedlund is an author I’ve always enjoyed. I’m glad she’s writing some YA now and finally got around to reading A Daring Sacrifice.
This book was…good. Not fantastic like some of this author’s others, but really good. It’s the story of Lady Juliana who is driven from her home by her uncle and cousin. To protect her people and herself, she hides in the woods, stealing from the rich to provide for the people. Obvious Robin Hood stuff, right? Next door, the landowner dies and his son returns to take his rightful place, feeling unsatisfied with his life. Then, of course, they meet and things get complicated.
I’m undecided about Lady Juliana. I liked her a lot, but found her to be really naive in a lot of ways. And a paradox. She’s really shortsighted and emotional while being duty-driven and logical. She was a fun character to read about, I especially liked the first chapter and her reactions. Overall, she just wasn’t as likable as most Robin Hood-type characters.
I loved Collin (the landowner son). He’s a tough guy, but thoughtful and thorough. Another male character with a great balance of ruggedness and kindness.
The relationship in this books is built well, but (dare I say it) gets a little too mushy at times. The violence of the story (people being drawn and quartered, torture, etc) made the overly sweet sentiments almost jarring instead of creating balance. BUT I did love lots of the romantic scenes and the drama of the whole story. Somehow, Hedlund keeps her book uplifting and perfect for YA audiences without lessening the brutality of the time.
Again, Hedlund wrote characters I really felt for. I worried about them and got angry with them. If that isn’t a sign of a good story, I’m not sure what is. Pick this one up if you love strong female characters and a story that stays true to the horrors and valor of men during medieval times. Happy reading, my friends!