I’m a firm believer that adults can learn from and appreciate middle grade and young adult novels as well as the intended audience. Good middle grade and young adult focus on growth, observation of the world around, reflection on one’s place and how to affect that world, and the heart. They’re powerful genres.
I particularly love how Jody obviously researches every time period she writes about, so I’m going to highlight a few historical facts she incorporates into the story throughout this post.
Only on her parents’ deathbed does Lady Rosemarie find out about an ancient vow her parents promised in order to receive special blessing from the monks to have a baby. She must enter the convent at age eighteen and live a life of celibacy and service.
When her father’s most trusted friend enters her kingdom just one month before Rosemarie’s 18th birthday, he brings news of a second option within that ancient vow – if Rosemarie falls in true love and marries before her 18th birthday, she is excused from the convent vow. With this news, he brings three of the bravest knights and challenges her to give them each a chance and see if she falls in love. As the month progresses, foul play and conflict escalate, and Rosemarie battles with which choice she should pursue: marriage and possible betrayal of a faithful vow or true love with a husband to serve God jointly.
From the first chapter, Jody incorporates specific historical setting details, like “fresh rushes strewn across stone floor.”
Did you know? “Fresh rushes” were long green stems covering the floor and usually sprinkled with herbs to aid cleanliness and insulation in wealthy person’s castle. The stems may have been loose or some may have been woven into mats. Rushes may have been left for up to three months, which would have made truly “fresh” rushes to be particularly pleasing. (Sources: here and here)
In classic Jody Hedlund-style, numerous conflicts are present throughout the entire novel, keeping the reader turning pages to find out what happens. Jody successfully offers three varied personalities between the three knights, and allows the reader to learn about all three and watch Rosemarie’s growth.
Did you know? Marriages in medieval times were often arranged, though some were chosen by one of the spouses. Several components of wedding ceremonies practiced in medieval times are still common in traditional Christian marriages today, like the exchange of rings and the woman standing on the left, the man on the right. (Source)
Jody keeps the reader guessing for a while on the identity of the main enemy, as well as what Rosemarie’s final choice will be.
Did You Know? Monks practice tonsure – or shaving their heads – likely for a variety of reasons, including to show their renouncement of modern fashions and concerns, to emulate possible practices of Christ’s disciples, and to affirm their commitment to the monastery. (Source)
Jody includes conversation on marriage, choosing your own path, reflecting on God’s purpose for you, and living truthfully. Teens and young adults will enjoy reading this book for the topics, character emotion, and history.
“Marriage doesn’t put an end to one’s ability to serve God and bring him glory. In fact, I’ve seen many married couples who have done more for God together than was possible as individuals.” – p. 98, An Uncertain Choice
Jody also prefaces An Uncertain Choice with a novella titled The Vow. I definitely suggest reading this brief story first to get acquainted with Lady Rosemarie’s world, meet her parents, and understand the background of the circumstance she finds herself in when An Uncertain Choice opens. Even in a short novella, Jody knows how to ramp up the internal and external conflict!
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Now, a giveaway! Jody is graciously offering one signed copy of An Uncertain Choice to one of you! (US residents only, sorry!) Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms of giveaway: This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end at the end of the day (Eastern) April 2, 2015. All entrants must be 18 years old or older. Enter through the Rafflecopter widget above. Incomplete entries will be deleted. Once a winner is selected, I will contact them via email. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, I will select another winner.
What medieval story do you know most about? What fascinates you about this period in history?
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as a part of Jody Hedlund’s launch team. All opinions expressed are my own, and this is an honest review.
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