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A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund

A Daring Sacrifice

by Jody Hedlund

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I had concerns about this book before even picking it up but I decided to give it a chance. In a way, I think my response reflects what I thought of the last one. It had the grain of a good story and content- but sadly this was surrounded by a hard shell of silliness. There were some important messages about redemptive love and overcoming selfishness and bitterness. The thing was even enjoyable in places, but once again there were too many negatives.

The heroine Julianna seemed rather too goody-goody, and her irrational prejudice against the nobility did nothing to endear her to me (her Uncle deposed her father, therefore all nobles are evil and corrupt). Admittedly, she did realise that her view was unreasonable by the end, but I think she could have taken a more sensible course of action a lot more quickly. Still, I guess without her unwise choices there wouldn’t be a story. Her pontificating at the beginning of the story also proved grating and annoying, it was almost a relief that she eventually stopped doing it.
Sir Colin was altogether more interesting, and a little more fun. The Romance often came across as mushy, and a little cheesy, but not necessarily entirely unappealing. One did get the impression that the two protaganists were right for each other, even when rolling the eyes at thier kissing.

On a more negative note, the characters speech was riddled with modern terms and phrases and Americanisms. Those who know me will realise that this is a particular niggle of mine in fiction. It was jarring, and did not fit in with the setting at all to have 14th century characters talking like modern Americans- saying things like 'pulling a stunt', 'spunky' or talking about going to the 'creek' to get water- what British people of the time (and today) would call a stream or brook.
Nor did the detail about the outlaws communicating with the call of a Bluejay help matters. The bird is indigenous to North America, so a Medieval European would not have known what one sounded like. Even Julianna's outlaw nickname 'The Cloaked Bandit' sounded like it could have come out of some spaghetti Western.
Its like no attempt was made to make the characters langauge authentic for the time, and little care was taken over the finer details, by an author whose lack of familiarity with the setting sadly showed through.

This was not the only way in which historical accuracy or credibility was lacking, however. Towards the end the whole thing resembled a collection of silly myths involving torture and horrible punishments. Yup, like in the last book there seems to be an unhealthy obsession with torture-and far too much emphasis is placed on it. So Julianna’s wicked Uncle (your fairly typical cardboard cut-out type villain) naturally has his own torture chamber in his castle complete with thumbscrews and other diabolical instruments that you see in movies.

The worst part for me was when he wanted to have Julianna burned at the stake- for stealing. Seriously, that has to have been one of the worst travesties against historical truth I have ever encountered in fiction. Now some might say that this was not inaccurate, as people were burned at the stake in the Middle- Ages. Indeed it did happen- but it was almost always the punishment for heresy or High Treason- not stealing or shooting squirrels. For the record, Hanging drawing and quartering was only ever a punishment for Treason too.
The whole passage was just so far-fetched and implausible. It's like the most extreme punishments ever devised in history have been found, and applied to the most trivial offences imaginable for the sole purpose of shocking the audience and creating drama.

Now it might be argued that I’m over analysing, and that the story is ‘meant to be a fairy tale- not set in a real country or the actual historical past. That may well be, although the use of sone place names, such as Wessex, Windsor and Maidstone, which are names of actual regions, towns or cities in England did make me wonder. Really, its the principle of the thing that made scenes like the above objectionable.
I can accept a certain degree of inaccuracy- but it saddens me that ‘M edieval’ fiction seems to be a licence to include references to unnecessary acts of violence and abuse- to depict all of the pre-American past as some quagmire of violence as lawlessness.
It’s also the fact that some are liable to take what they read in books like this as a true and factual representation of past reality. It is very far from that.

So in conclusion, the story had a few plusses, but overall it just seemed sloppy and rather OTT. A bit too much like a rip-off of various Robin Hood movies, and other girl outlaw spin-offs with the odd original scene or incident, but not a lot to distinguish it from others except the torture (not a good thing).
As YA Medieval Romantic Fiction goes, I prefer Melanie Dickerson and Dina Sleiman’s Dauntless- which is in a similar vein. I almost got the impression that perhaps not as much care was taken over this series as other titles by the same author- that perhaps it was churned out in something of a hurry to cater for popular demand.

I received a free e-book edition of this title from Zondervan via Booklook Bloggers for review. I was not required to write a positive one and all opinions expressed are my own. ( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
I had not read the previous book in this series, An uncertain choice, but a Daring Sacrifice proved to be a stand along book. I've read some of Jody Hedlunds historical novels in the past and have read more then my share of stories on the tale of Robin Hood. I wasn't disappointed with A Daring Sacrifice, a YA novel where Juliana Wessex steals from the rich to provide food and shelter to the poor peasants that have become her family since her uncle took over the rule of her family's land,killing her father. I certainly loved her tender and fiercely loyal heart toward her "family". She's smart and fast, and a little headstrong, but when it comes down to a choice, she'll lay down her life for those she loves.

Lord Collin is the proverbial knight in shining armor to be sure! Once he realizes that the Cloaked Bandit who robs him is Lady Juliana, he's determined to find out why she's in hiding and convinces her that not all nobility is bad. He's honorable, charming, funny and sweet! And also determined to keep Juliana safe even if he has to give his own life to accomplish that. It is Juliana, he realizes, who gives his life purpose.

I'd have to say that this book has it all with sparks of romance, action with heart pumping danger, victorious battles, sacrificial love, and a cliffhanger leading into the next book.
I certainly enjoyed this YA book and look forward to the next book in the series, For love and honor.
Jack Murphy ( )
  urph818 | Sep 24, 2016 |
A charming middle grades or YA Robin Hood adaptation that's more of a romance than adventure, but satisfying for readers of "clean" historical love stories. This novel is book two, but can be read as a stand-alone. The writing flows nicely and the setting is described very well. I will look for this author in the future. Suggested for Jessica Day George fans.

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  LibStaff2 | May 28, 2016 |
Reasons I quit this book:
1) First person narrator refers to her horse as her "steed" and her "mount" – in the same sentence. And giving it full rein means letting it "plod at a leisurely pace".

2) First person narrator doesn't let a medieval setting stop her from using modern terms like "ultra-soft" and "lifestyle". As long as she throws in the occasional archaic contraction – 'twas, 'twould, that sort of t'ing – it's all good, right?

3) First person narrator is adept at disguising herself not only as a man, but also as a wealthy young traveler, apparently completely accepted despite having no escort, no horses, no baggage, and no warning for her purported host. In medieval England. The ingrained dirt from having lived in the forest for literally years fortunately washes right off. I'm not sure if the lady she's pretending to be would actually traipse through kitchem, where "The blood from the butchering slickened the floor, along with feathers, and entrails the dogs hadn’t yet cleaned up"; that can't be good for the silk train she's dragging along behind her. But then I suppose that's what servants are for.

4) The spectacularly handsome hero is even richer than he is good-looking, and apparently read L.M. Montgomery when he was small – although he chooses to reference strawberries rather than carrots when teasing the red-headed (spectacularly pretty) heroine. (This being a medieval setting, she did not have a slate to crack over his head, so she kicked him.) Oh, and the touch of his fingers is "as soft as the feathers of a baby bird".

I just couldn't do it.

The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review. ( )
  Stewartry | Mar 30, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0310749379, Paperback)

In a reverse twist on the Robin Hood story, a young medieval maiden stands up for the rights of the mistreated, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. All the while, she fights against her cruel uncle who has taken over the land that is rightfully hers. Forced to live in the woods and hide with the poor people she's grown to love, she works to save and protect them, but she never anticipates falling in love with the wealthy knight who represents all she's come to despise.

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 01 Aug 2015 23:21:32 -0400)

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