The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson – Book Review, Preview

Posted February 7, 2019 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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How did she have the courage to do it? Did she fear that he would know what she was thinking? Figure out her plan? Afterward, did she cry and shake like a leaf?

There is so little mentioned about Jael in the book of Judges. Just a handful of verses about how she lured Sisera, the general who was attacking the Israelites, into her tent so she could murder him. While he slept. With a tent peg!

Did you know she wasn’t even an Israelite? She was a descendant of Moses’ father-in-law. And apparently, her family was friendly with Sisera. He trusted her enough to allow her to lull him to sleep. (Though why he was sleeping in the middle of a battle is a question we may never know the answer to!)

This amazing woman bravely played a role that even Barak, the Israelite general, shied away from. And because of this, she was credited for the victory instead of him. She was memorialized Scripture and in song. (You can read about Jael in Judges 4 and 5)

Standing up for what is right is not always easy. Yet when the Lord directs our path, we can be certain that He will walk with us through it and will give us the strength we need to follow it.

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson – Book Review, Preview

The Warrior Maiden

by Melanie Dickerson

Series: Hagenheim #9
Series Rating:
Published by Thomas Nelson
Publication Date February 5, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction, Action/Adventure, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance, Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling
Setting: Poland, Lithuania Middle Ages - 400 to 1600
Main Character Ages: 18-24
Written for: High-School/Young Adult, Middle School
Pages: 320


She knows women are expected to marry, cook, and have children, not go to war. Can she manage to stay alive, save her mother, and keep the handsome son of a duke from discovering her secret?

When Mulan takes her father’s place in battle against the besieging Teutonic Knights, she realizes she has been preparing for this journey her whole life—and that her life, and her mother’s, depends on her success. As the adopted daughter of poor parents, Mulan has little power in the world. If she can’t prove herself on the battlefield, she could face death—or, perhaps worse, marriage to the village butcher.

Disguised as a young man, Mulan meets the German duke’s son, Wolfgang, who is determined to save his people even if it means fighting against his own brother. Wolfgang is exasperated by the new soldier who seems to be one step away from disaster at all times—or showing him up in embarrassing ways.

From rivals to reluctant friends, Mulan and Wolfgang begin to share secrets. But war is an uncertain time and dreams can die as quickly as they are born. When Mulan receives word of danger back home, she must make the ultimate choice. Can she be the son her bitter father never had? Or will she become the strong young woman she was created to be?

This fresh reimagining of the classic tale takes us to fifteenth-century Lithuania where both love and war challenge the strongest of hearts.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

Also in this series: The Orphan's Wish, The Piper's Pursuit

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A retelling of Mulan in Medieval Europe

There is an ancient Chinese ballad about a maiden who takes her father’s place in the Chinese army and saves the day. You are probably familiar with the story from the Disney movie. (I’ve attempted watching the movie twice but fell asleep both times!)

Author Melanie Dickerson places Mulan in Europe and instead of battling the Huns, she joins the army of a Duke to fight against the Teutonic Knights, a group of militaristic monks. I really appreciated how the author showed who these monks were in such an interesting way that integrated into the story so well.

I don’t always relate to strong women characters. Do I believe women should be shy and retiring? Absolutely not! But I don’t get women trying to be like men in every way. Mulan was very relateable, though. While she disliked the “womanly” arts of cooking and cleaning, preferring to be outdoors and learning archery, she was still very much a woman. She only joined the army out of necessity, to save her mother from eviction. Her strength in the face of fear was very admirable as was her compassion and kindness.

I loved Wolfgang! He is a younger son in the family of the Duke of Hagenheim, the family involved in all the stories of this series. He struggled with feelings of guilt related to an incident in his childhood and subconsciously tried to earn forgiveness. His love for his brother caused him to make some choices that almost got Mulan hurt, and that broke his heart.

There were some beautiful spiritual truths that came out through this narrative as both Mulan and Wolfgang sought to figure out their place in the world.

Most of the story was wonderful, with fun situations and a great picture of what it would have been like for a woman to attempt impersonating a man at that time in history. There was a section, however, pertaining to one of the battles, that seemed to lack some details and appeared a bit abrupt.

If you enjoy young adult fairy tale retellings or even just medieval fiction, I recommend this for your library.

Melanie's Medieval Pinterest Board

(click here to go directly to the board on Pinterest) [gs_pinterest user="dickerson3046" board="medieval"]

About Melanie Dickerson

Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama.

She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine.

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

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