The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson is the last book set around Hagenheim. This time the author concentrates her story around Rapunzel, a free spirit who loves to learn anything. I highly recommend that you read The Princess Spy before this story because both stories are intertwined. That was one of the best parts of the book to me because I loved seeing the other side to the previous story. It definitely made the book more interesting.
Rapunzel's mother decides it's time to move on from their little village and travel to Hagenheim. Rapunzel iso excited to finally see what a big, bustling city is like. Maybe there she can finally learn to read. But on the way there, they get attacked by two men. Sir Gerek gallops in to rescue them, but when fighting starts out again, he becomes hurt. Rapunzel manages to convince her mother to care for him and get him to help. They drop him off at a monastery near Hagenheim and continue on to their little home. Rapunzel is surprised that they don't live far from the monastery and an idea begins to bloom. Maybe someone there could teach her to read.
Sir Gerek is not happy that he is forced to teach Rapunzel to read. He doesn't want to have anything to do with a peasant girl, but he has no choice since he's confined to bed to heal. Slowly, the two become friends, and Gerek realizes she is much more than he ever thought.
I did not like this book as much as the earlier ones. It didn't have as much tension or spark. It just felt flat and contrived to me. I know these stories are marketed to YA, but this last one really felt like it was written to a younger audience. It was too simplistic without a lot of depth. The characters didn't grab my attention, and the story line was slow and boring. I wish I could say something different because I do love this author's stories. Maybe it's just me, though, and I wasn't in the mood for this kind of story or something. But anyway, I'm really hoping her next books are better!
Now on to what I did like. I liked the concept of who Rapunzel really is. For some weird reason, I didn't expect that, but it was perfect. I do wish there was a better epilogue afterwards just so I could read about everyone's reactions! I thought it was funny that Rapunzel liked to sing and paint like in the movie Tangled. I kept expecting a chameleon to pop up, though. haha Plus, I loved her desire to read and how excited she was over a Bible. It's so commonplace for us to have a Bible we don't appreciate it as much as we should, and I'm always thankful when authors remind us what a gift we have in reading God's word any time we want.
Overall, I wish I could have liked Rapunzel more, but if you are a fan of Melanie Dickerson you will probably enjoy this story. Especially since it fits in so well with the previous book, The Princess Spy.
I was given this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Let me know what you think about this story. :-)