Saturday, April 2, 2016

Book Review: "A Daring Sacrifice" by Jody Hedlund


A Daring Sacrifice
Jody Hedlund

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The only thing harder than fighting for what’s right…is fighting their feelings for each other.

For three years, the Cloaked Bandit has terrorized Wessex, robbing the nobility by knifepoint and a well-placed arrow. But little dos anyone know, this bandit is in fact Juliana Wessex, the rightful ruler of the land and a girl her tyrannical uncle—the current Lord Wessex—believes was killed along with her father.

Juliana has become skilled at hiding from Lord Wessex in the forest, using her stolen goods to provide food and shelter to the peasants her uncle has taxed into poverty. But when she robs Collin Goodrich, her red hair betrays her true identity. Lord Collin remembers Juliana from their childhood—and challenges her to stay on his estate for a week in hopes she will leave her thieving ways and become a proper lady once more. Juliana is intrigued by Collin and his charms, but only time will tell if he can overcome her distaste of the nobility—as well as win her heart.

About the Author

Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves fairy-tales and happily-everafters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five children. When she's not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading.

Contact Jody:
I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com
For lots of fun pictures, follow me on Pinterest: pinterest.com/jodyhedlund
I get personal on Instagram: instagram.com/JodyHedlund/
Or you're welcome to email me at: jodyhedlund@jodyhedlund.com

Author Interview

Before we begin, I, the blogger, want to thank Jody Hedlund for answering these questions. I did not write these questions, but she answered ones that I would have written, especially the one about love at first sight. In that question, she addressed things that I have mentioned as negatives in other reviews for her books, so I am extremely thankful for the excellent job she did in answering it and now have a greater appreciation for her and her writing.

I hope you enjoy the interview, and please do not forget to check out my review at the bottom!

Why Middle Ages/Medieval Times? What draws you to that particular era?

I’ve always loved fairy tales, castles, knights, and damsels in distress. I love the chivalry, honor,
and courage that are so often displayed during that time. And I really like how stark and
different their way of living was. It’s SO different than how we live that it’s fascinating.
Additionally, I love that the Middle Ages was filled with so much danger not only from wars and
battles among kings and lords, but also due to the elements, harsh living conditions, and
diseases. It was a time for plagues, dungeons, torture, and all the stuff that makes for a good

How do you keep a faith focus in A Daring Sacrifice without becoming "preachy"?

It’s definitely tricky to keep a faith focus without becoming preachy.
One of things I try to do is intertwine the characters’ emotional and spiritual arcs, so that they are
closely related. I start off by giving my characters flaws or weaknesses that they must work
through as the story progresses. As they wrestle through issues, they don’t end up perfect. But by
the end I try to bring about some emotional and spiritual growth with their story flaw.

For example, in A Daring Sacrifice, Juliana harbors a great deal of bitterness toward those
who’ve hurt her family and her people. She’s resorted to stealing from wealthy nobles and
justifies what she’s doing. Obviously, this is her flaw. As the story unfolds, she must learn some
lessons about acting with integrity, even if it requires great sacrifice.

Another way that I add in the faith aspect to my stories without being preachy is by having the
characters pray, go to chapel, and or draw comfort from God in a historical context. People
during the Middle Ages were extremely religious and so it’s only natural to add this aspect into
the story to remain true to the times.

How is writing for a YA audience different than writing for an adult audience? What are the

The Differences:
While many of my adult readers have enjoyed my YA books just as much if not more than my
adult novels, I do get adult readers now and then who are surprised, maybe even disgruntled,
with the fact that my YA books are slightly different than my adult novels. And I try to gently
remind them, that they’re supposed to be different.

First, my YA books are shorter, crisper, and less historically detailed. In fact, I’d almost go as far as
saying that my YA are more fairy-tale world than true historicals. They contain enough detail to
give a “flavor” of another place, but not too much to bog down younger readers.

Secondly, my YA books are more plot driven than character driven. I’ve included battle scenes
as well as some of the seat-of-your pants danger that appeals to the modern teen reader. I
plunge my characters into desperate, life-threatening situations which, in the era of books like
The Hunger Games, is appealing to modern readers).

A third difference is in how I'm approaching the heroine and the romance. My YA heroines are a
bit younger and so they are more of a coming of age story where the heroine must grapple with
some "growing up" issues. I’ve also tried to keep the romance very sweet and tender (as
opposed to my adult novels that while clean, are more passionate in nature).

The Similarities:
Whether my adult novels or YA, I simply want to tell a compelling story. I hope that I’ve been
able to entertain and perhaps even inspire in both of my markets.

The hero and heroine aren’t together very long before “falling in love.” Do you believe love at first sight is possible?

Of course working within the parameters of 200 pages is as constricting as the two hour movie
romance development. It’s not ideal and couples often get together more quickly than in real

I actually don’t advocate the idea of falling in love at first sight. I think there are some dangers
that come with that kind of thinking:

We don't have time to test character. When we rush into a relationship, we may not take the
time to really get to know the person, especially their inner qualities. It's easy for anyone to put 
up a facade for a short while, but it's only after time and trials that a person's true colors shine
through. If we don't take the time to test another's character, we may get into difficult or even
dangerous situations.

We get caught up in feelings. Everyone enjoys the physical rush of a new relationship. And it's all
too easy to get caught up in those tingling wonderful emotions and let them dictate our actions
instead of operating with sound logic and thinking. That magical quality of love, while nice, can
lead to rash and sometimes foolish decisions.

We neglect a solid foundation of friendship. When a couple jumps into a relationship based on
feelings and physical attraction, that often comes at the detriment of forming a friendship first.
Without a friendship to glue a relationship together, we're left with a shallow relationship when
the feelings and physical attraction fades.

What did you have the most fun with when you were writing the book?

Of course, since this is a series involving knights, I had to have those knights engaged in various
battles. So I had a lot of fun writing the sword-wielding, arrow-shooting, death-defying scenes. In
addition, I always have fun figuring out how my heroine can help save the day (because while I
like having the knight come to the rescue, I also like being able to have the heroine do some
rescuing too!).

The concept of sacrifice is a big part of the book. Why did you choose to focus on that?

Most of the time, we’re conditioned by the world around us through advertisements,
commercials, magazines, movies, TV, and even social media to focus on ourselves. We’re
bombarded with messages that draw our attention to what we should buy next, what we should
wear, how we should feel, where we should go, etc.

It’s all about making sure we get our needs met. First. And foremost. The world tells us our
personal satisfaction is the most important thing and that we should do whatever it takes to be

Unfortunately, that kind of mindset follows us into our dating relationships. All too often we want
to have a boyfriend to make us happy. We want someone to make us feel good, look popular,
or keep us company.

Even more unfortunately, when that type of self-centered mindset follows a couple into
marriage, wedded bliss soon turns into a wedded battle as each person vies to get his or her
needs met through the other person.

A Daring Sacrifice is my attempt to re-introduce this long-forgotten and little-used idea of self-sacrifice back into dating relationships. 


Ever since her father’s death, Juliana has hidden in the forest disguised as the Cloaked Bandit. When she was a little girl, her uncle took over her father’s lands, becoming Lord of Wessex and terrorizing the peasants with harsh punishments and high taxes. Juliana fights back by robbing the nobility and using the money to feed herself and her friends. But every time she steals, the chances of her getting caught and executed rise dramatically. Then, the neighboring lord, Collin, returns to his land and determines to capture this Cloaked Bandit. Juliana just might have met her match. But what will he do when he catches her?

A Daring Sacrifice was awesome! It is absolutely the best book I have ever read by Jody Heldund! I cannot stop saying how amazing and romantic and sweet it is! First the Robin Hood retelling, then the challenge to spend a week in each other’s homes, then the romance and the epic battle at the end! And you will not believe what Collin did! I was astounded! And after everything, too! I highly, highly recommend this Christian, historical, YA romance as one of the best books I have ever read!

And now for the why. Yes, what Collin did was the best part of the entire book. I seriously could not believe it, did not expect it, and think it is the best thing ever. But I cannot say what it is or it will ruin everything. I also loved the characters. They were flawed, but they were learning. Collin was so sweet and flirty and Juliana so fiery and determined. They were both terribly stubborn, too! They were the perfect, swoon-worthy match. The humor was another amazing thing about this book. So many times the dialogue made me laugh aloud.

A Daring Sacrifice—I absolutely love it and definitely recommend it.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review, but I would never say so many amazing things about it without being entirely honest. 

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