Jody Hedlund's first foray into the young adult genre is a definite success. With only one month left before Rosemarie takes a vow as a nun, suddenly an old family friend shows up with a clause that could get her out of her parents' vow - she need only fall in love and marry by her 18th birthday. And the Duke has brought along three fine candidates from among his knights for her to choose from. Rosemarie had finally made peace with the vow, but now she feels compelled to give the knights a chance, though her closest adviser is still pushing the church. Can someone actually fall in love in so short a time? Or will this sudden immersion in frivolity make her discontented with her future vows?
A little lighter fare than her novels for an adult audience, the subject matter and themes are definitely geared toward teens and lovers of young adult fiction. While there are no particularly surprising plot twists, there is plenty of action and suspense to hold one's attention in this wholesome medieval tale.
Throughout the story is a persistent but not overwhelming theme of purity, shown in how the men treat Rosemarie and do not expect her to give any sort of favors. They treat her honorably, and she is free to hold onto her standards. Also, it's wonderful to see examples of chivalry in action. It does in fact exist, and not just in fiction! Girls just have to watch out for it. Each of the three suitors cherishes Rosemarie in his own way, and while they cannot all win her heart, they irrevocably win her friendship.
And, of course, a teaser at the end leaves the reader hungering for the next book. Given how much I came to appreciate all three suitors, dare I hope the next books are to be about the two noble knights who do not win Rosemarie's hand?
Thank you Zondervan and NetGalley for providing an e-copy for review; I was not required to make it positive, and all opinions are my own.
0.5. "The Vow"
1. An Uncertain Choice
2. A Daring Sacrifice
3. For Love and Honor