The Warrior Maiden (Hagenheim #9)
by Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: February 5th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Retellings, Christian Fiction
From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a fresh reimagining of the classic Mulan tale.
Mulan isn’t afraid to pretend to be a son and assume her father’s soldier duties in war. But what happens when the handsome son of a duke discovers her secret?
Mulan is trying to resign herself to marrying the village butcher for the good of her family, but her adventurous spirit just can’t stand the thought. At the last minute, she pretends to be the son her father never had, assumes his duties as a soldier, and rides off to join the fight to protect the castle of her liege lord’s ally from the besieging Teutonic Knights.
Wolfgang and his brother Steffan leave Hagenheim with several other soldiers to help their father’s ally in Poland. When they arrive, Wolfgang is exasperated by the young soldier Mikolai who seems to either always be one step away from disaster . . . or showing Wolfgang up in embarrassing ways.
When Wolfgang discovers his former rival and reluctant friend Mikolai is actually a girl, he is determined to protect her. But battle is a dangerous place where anything can happen—and usually does.
When Mulan receives word that her mother has been accused of practicing witchcraft through her healing herbs and skills, Mulan’s only thought is of defending her. Will she be able to trust Wolfgang to help? Or will sacrificing her own life be the only way to save her mother?
Hidden identity stories are so fun to do, and with a Medieval setting, it’s so much more believable. In a Medieval world, there are no IDs, no driver’s licenses, no fingerprint data, no DNA tests. There aren’t even any pictures to identify you. You can say you are whoever you want to say you are, and no one can fact-check it or make you show your ID.
In my newest story, The Warrior Maiden, my heroine pretends to be the son her father never had, quite literally. If she can disguise herself well enough, she can go to war in her father’s place and save her mother’s home. A few people seem suspicious that she’s younger than she says she is, but when she says she’s a man and that her name is Mikolai, everyone takes her at her word.
Telling someone that you’re a man when you are a woman is quite a risk. The challenges with these stories, to me, is that either they’re not very believable, or the heroine isn’t very likeable. So I knew I wanted to give my heroine a very good reason for pretending to be a man, and I wanted to make her spunky and tough while still being a woman who isn’t sorry she’s a woman, and who feels her own femininity in a healthy way. So I made Mulan tough and smart and yet very attracted to Wolfgang, the kind-hearted hero who becomes her friend and comrade in arms. Because to me, that’s believable AND relatable!
Once other people find out the truth about a woman masquerading as a man, there are bound to be sparks of some kind. That’s the part I like about these stories! People react in different ways, based on their characters and their motives. Wolfgang reacts in shock and dismay, remembering how he beat Mulan in a sword fight and actually injured her! Wolfgang’s wayward brother, Steffan, reacts with jealousy and ridicule. The evil villain Rusdorf . . . well, I should let you read it for yourself!
About the Author
Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author, a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing’s Best award, and her book, The Healer’s Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.
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