A Worthy Rebel is the fifth installment in Jody Hedlund’s young adult medieval romance series (whew!). A Worthy Rebel centers on the story of Olivia’s younger sister, Lady Isabelle, who is being forced into an arranged marriage to save the people of her village. When she realizes what a cruel man she is being forced to marry is, she runs away. A young peasant rescues her, and she thinks she has escaped successfully, but she doesn’t realize is the danger she has put herself and everyone around her in.
I’m usually a big fan of Jody Hedlund’s novels, both her “regular” ones and her young adult ones, but this one didn’t really make me fall head over heels like her books normally do. Sure, it had some great adventure, and medieval stories are always fun, but the way this story progressed just left it feeling a little cliche and predictable. I got tired of the if-you-really-knew-who-I-was-you-wouldn’t-love-me-anymore, *gasp*-I-found-out-who-you-really-are-and-you’re-right-I-will-never-forgive-you, oh-wait-I-really-do-love-you storyline. I also generally like how Mrs. Hedlund, particularly in her young adult romances, puts an emphasis on purity and developing the relationship before physical contact, but this was, in my opinion, over-stated in this book and under-applied. The characters had a moment where they just decided to themselves to save their kisses until they knew they were going to get married, and to me, when they did kiss, marriage really wasn’t a viable option for them yet. That just made it seem a little preachy and then still fell into the “oh but I love him so it’ll be okay” pitfall anyway. Normally I wouldn’t really go off on something like that, but because the author specifically put in the whole part about waiting until the characters were ready for marriage and then went against that, I wanted to mention it.
Overall, it was a good story, but it didn’t really stand out from previous ones in this series. It was predictable and forgettable, not terrible but not extraordinary either. I would recommend it for someone looking for an adventure, and younger teens than I would probably judge it less harshly.
Thank you to the author, Jody Hedlund, for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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