YA Medieval-Like Fantasy, Female Lead from early 2000s
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I'm looking for a book that I read sometime before 2010; I believe it was actually a series. I remember really liking it, and would love to reread and finish it now. Unfortunately, I don't remember much so I apologize for the sparse details. However, if this sparks anything in anyone's mind I'd be eternally grateful... Exhaustive googling has not helped!!
It was YA (I thinkkk) fantasy that was set in a typical medieval-like time. Female lead had magic of some sort, & was therefore important for a reason I forget. She grew up poor/malnourished -- I distinctly remember after she was "discovered" by an older male character and given proper meals, she had her first period. This male character had some sort of hidden past. There was also another character that was like a dark king (that came about much later in the series) who she was captured by (a little uncertain about this)??? And perhaps something romantic there (though I think this is about where I stopped reading)?
Trudi Canavan's Black magician series follows this storyline, but then it is a popular one!
Maybe something by Tamora Pierce. Some of the description sounds a little like the Immortals Quartet (https://www.librarything.com/series/The+Immortals+Quartet).
This is The Naming by Alison Croggon! It's one of my favorite books, the first in a four-part series called The Books of Pellinor. I actually just finished reading it again about a week ago!
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