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New Book Release: October 2020


Are you ready for a Snow White retelling? If so, then dive in to BEGUILED, the second book of my Fairest Maidens series!  It’s now available in both paperback and ebook!

 

To be honest, Snow White is one of my least favorite fairy tales, particularly the Disney version, mainly because the romance feels underdeveloped. After all, Snow White barely meets the prince at the beginning and then doesn’t see him again until he gives her true love’s  kiss at the end.

 

The brief interactions just aren’t enough. Their relationship is too shallow. I never understand why they like each other and what qualities draw them together. They don’t have enough time together to get to know each other much less fall in love. And at the end, I’m left feeling like the prince is attracted to her primarily because of her beauty.

 

So, in rethinking the Snow White story, I wanted to give the hero and heroine plenty of time to get to know each other, develop a friendship, and learn to appreciate each other’s inner qualities more than the outer.

 

Here’s what a few readers said about how those things play out in BEGUILED:

 

Friendship: “Romantic novels that include a solid foundation of friendship between the two main characters are elevated stories in my eyes, and Pearl and Mikkel’s friendship is strong and deep.”

 

Friendship: “The notion that you should marry your best friend is very appealing to me and so the fact that Mikkel and Pearl are friends first then later become romantically interested in each other is very sweet and fulfilling.”

 

Beauty: “I loved the underlying message that the beauty on the inside of a person is what truly matters and not outward appearances.”

 

Beauty: “The theme of looking past outward appearances and finding a person’s worth in their heart and character is both timeless and timely. Pearl’s hope that her veil would cause others to love her for her heart and not her beauty, and Mikkel’s growing hope to see her as she was, even though he expected her to be scarred or damaged, were beautifully portrayed.”

 

I invite you to give this retelling of Snow White a try! To find out more about BEGUILED head over to my website page here: http://jodyhedlund.com/books/beguiled/

 


 

New Book Release: September 2020


Do you like fairy tales? I’m a huge sucker for them! I’ve watched just about every fairy-tale retelling out there, including Disney’s latest version of Mulan.

 

It should come as no surprise, that with my love of fairy tales, I wanted to give them my own spin, and I did just that with my newest series, The Fairest Maidens!  The first book, BEHOLDEN (just released!) is loosely tied to Cinderella. BEGUILED (releasing in October) is developed around Snow White. And BESOTTED (releasing in November) is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. 

 

After reading and watching so many fairy-tale retellings over the years, I realized I had a huge challenge ahead of me in making The Fairest Maidens series unique enough that the books would stand apart from other retellings. Now that reviews are coming in, readers are weighing in on how the first book, Beholden, compares.

 

One reader said: With sweet romance, powerful sacrifice, and amazing inspirational characters and lessons, Beholden is a wonderfully unique take on the classic Cinderella story.”

 

Another said: “Containing many elements from the classic fairytale Cinderella, Beholden goes above and beyond adding adventure and plot twists while keeping the love-conquers-all theme that we all love.”

 

And here’s another: “Cinderella is not my favorite fairytale, but this story is a completely new take on the classic tale and is better for it.”

 

If you love fairy tales, I invite you to give the series a try and let me know what you think!

 

To find out more about BEHOLDEN head over to my website page here: http://jodyhedlund.com/books/beholden/

 


 

 


New Book Release: August 2020



ALMOST A BRIDE, the fourth and final book in my bride-ship series, is now available!
I’ve loved hearing what early readers are saying about the series:

“I am sad to see the series come to an end, because I’ve enjoyed them all so much. Almost a Bride is no exception.” ~Alyssa

“I have to admit the arrival of this final book in the Bride Ship Series was bittersweet for me. Jody Hedlund has done a fabulous job telling stories of young woman leaving England to find a new life but I wasn’t ready for these stories to end.” ~Jennifer

“When I end a book in tears, I know it's a good one! I've read all the Bride Ship series, and Almost a Bride was just as engaging as the first three.” ~Kate

After the many, MANY hours of work I put into crafting, writing, and editing the book, I’m happy (and relieved!) to know that readers are breathing a satisfying sigh when they close the last page of the last book.

Thank you to everyone who has gone on the bride-ship journey with me over the past year! It’s been a delight to share this voyage into the past with so many awesome readers!

If you haven’t yet read the previous books in the series, A RELUCTANT BRIDE, THE RUNAWAY BRIDE, or A BRIDE OF CONVENIENCE, what are you waiting for?!? ;-)

To find out more information on ALMOST A BRIDE, visit my website here:    http://jodyhedlund.com/books/almost-a-bride


New Book Release: June 2020


A BRIDE OF CONVENIENCE, the third book in my bride-ship series, is now available!

In A BRIDE OF CONVENIENCE, my hope is to show the perspective of one of the brides who came on the second bride ship that sailed to Victoria. This ship, called the Robert Lowe, left approximately four months after the Tynemouth (the bride ship highlighted in the first two books in the series).

While the women aboard the Robert Lowe were sponsored by the Columbia Emigration Society the same as the Tynemouth women, a distinct difference exists between the two groups. The group on the first ship came largely from the London area and was comprised of wealthy middle-class women as well as the poor plucked from orphanages and slums

The Robert Lowe women, however, were from the cotton manufacturing districts in Manchester, England. The calamity in the midlands was widespread, with tens of thousands of cotton-mill workers suffering from unemployment as a result of the cotton shortage brought about by the American Civil War. The women chosen to immigrate aboard the Robert Lowe were among the many who’d lost their jobs. In light of the bleak conditions in their homeland, the three dozen Manchester mill girls were happy to be offered the chance at a better life in the colonies where work and husbands awaited them.

The Robert Lowe arrived in January after three months without any stops. After spending a weekend of rest and quarantine aboard the Robert Lowe, the women were ferried to Victoria aboard a steamship. Before they could go to shore, however, two ill women were taken to the hospital with what was believed to be consumption or Mill fever, an illness common among mill workers. Since the lung ailments can lie dormant, the women may have already had the disease, and the damp sea voyage may have allowed it to progress. Whatever the case, the two women died shortly after arriving in Victoria.

The rest of the brides came ashore to great fanfare. With the arrival of another bride ship, the excitement of the men in the colonies escalated. With not nearly enough women for all the eager men, the women (similar to the Tynemouth women) had to run a gauntlet through the mobs hoping to find brides. While the heroine of the book, Zoe, isn’t based on any real person in particular, I did hope to portray her bride-ship experience through the eyes of a mill woman.

If you haven’t yet read the previous books in the series, A RELUCTANT BRIDE and THE RUNAWAY BRIDE, don’t worry. A BRIDE OF CONVENIENCE can be read by itself as a standalone (although I do encourage you to read it as well for the perspective of one of the poor working class women aboard the bride ships).

To find out more information on A BRIDE OF CONVENIENCE, visit my website here: http://jodyhedlund.com/books/a-bride-of-convenience/


New Book Release: March 2020


THE RUNAWAY BRIDE, the second book in my bride-ship series, is now available!

Bride-ship series, you might be asking? What exactly is that?

In the 1860’s dozens of women sailed from England to the Pacific Northwest with the destination of Victoria in Vancouver Island (which was at that time still a colony of England and not yet part of Canada). As strange as it may seem to us today, these women went for the purpose of getting married to the men who lived there on what became known as “bride ships.”

When I first heard of the concept of bride ships, I was utterly horrified and fascinated by the idea that women would actually willingly leave everything they’d ever known behind and sail to a strange land in order to become a bride.

I couldn’t help but ask myself what kind of woman would do such a thing and why?

Before we can answer that question, we need to know a little bit about what was going on in England at that time. In the decades before the bride ships, thousands upon thousands of young men had left England because of a depression. By the early 1860’s, one statistic stated that there were 600,000 more women than men in England.

With the shortage of men, many young marriageable women, even among the wealthy middle class, had no chance of finding a spouse. Such women also had almost no employment opportunities since wealthy, educated women generally did not work outside the home. With so few options, many women were destined for a life of spinsterhood.

The possibility of traveling to one of England’s colonies must have held some appeal to spinsters, especially those in their mid-twenties and older, who’d already passed the ideal marriageable age.

In addition, an 1861 census of Vancouver Island and British Columbia revealed that females comprised only 11% of the total population, which meant that men out-numbered women approximately 10 to 1. With this ratio, it seemed only reasonable to begin sending England’s surplus of marriageable women to the colonies to provide wives for the many men who wanted them.

Imagine being one of those women. Imagine arriving to Victoria after months at sea to find the shore lined with hundreds of men waiting and cheering and eager to pick a bride. And imagine walking through the crowds of men, knowing you’re expected to choose a husband from among the hordes.

How would you feel? Overwhelmed? Frightened? Excited? I know I’d feel all of that and more!

I invite you to read about the experience through the eyes of one bride, Arabella Lawrence, the heroine of A RUNAWAY BRIDE. I invite you to join her as she arrives in Victoria and begins the process of trying to pick her husband from among the many men vying for her attention. Although Arabella is fictional, her account mirrors those of real women aboard the bride ships.

If you haven’t yet read the first book in the series, A RELUCTANT BRIDE, don’t worry. THE RUNAWAY BRIDE can be read by itself as a standalone (although I do encourage you to read the first book as well for the perspective of one of the poor working class women aboard the bride ships).

To find out more information on THE RUNAWAY BRIDE, visit my website here: http://jodyhedlund.com/books/the-runaway-bride/

New Book Release: October 2019


It’s here! HEREAFTER, the last book in my Lost Princesses series is now available!

Since this is the first time I’ve written books that are contingent upon one another for an overarching plot, I’ve been wondering how readers will like the ending I crafted. After all, it’s no easy feat to wind a plot through a novella and three books and bring the entire saga to a satisfying conclusion.

Honestly, as I sat down to write HEREAFTER, I didn’t know how I was going to wrap up the epic battle for the throne. I knew my heroines had to come out the winners, and I had some thoughts on how that might happen, but I didn’t really know how I was going to pull it all off. It was kinda scary!

As I started writing, thankfully the creative neurons started zinging. And I was able to pull all the loose threads together into a grand finale. When I finished, I put it aside with some trepidation thinking to myself: I like how it turned out, but will my readers? After all, I didn’t want to disappoint those who’d invested their time and emotional energy into the early part of the series. I hated the thought of them loving the series and getting excited about the final book, only to read it and feel let down.

When early readers started reading the book, I crossed my fingers and waited anxiously. I was delighted when positive reviews started rolling in. The first few said this:

“Jody Hedlund definitely saved the best for last in her Lost Princesses medieval series.”

“I loved it! My favorite book of the series!”

“A heartwarming and thrilling conclusion to a captivating series.”

Now that the final verdict is out and it’s positive, I’ve heaved a huge sigh of relief. And I’ve rolled up my sleeves and started work on the next series, which actually takes place in the same story world as the lost princesses, but about a century earlier. So for those of you familiar with the story, I’ll let you speculate who the antagonist will be!

If you like fairy tales and medieval times, then what are you waiting for? Give the Lost Princesses Series a try! All of the books are now available, so no waiting required!

To find out more information on HEREAFTER, go here: http://jodyhedlund.com/books/hereafter/

To find out more information on all the books in the Lost Princesses series, go here: http://jodyhedlund.com/series/the-lost-princesses/

New Book Release: September 2019



FOREMOST, the second full length novel in my new medieval YA Lost Princesses series is hitting shelves!

For those of you worried about a second-book-slump—the point in a series where you hit the doldrums and have to force yourself to keep going—well, let me put your mind at ease. Reviews are rolling in and readers are declaring that the second book is exceeding expectations!

One reader said: "Okay so wow. I wasn't sure if I would like this one as much as the first. I mean how could I? I loved the first. I thought this would be the slow story of the series that I would have to suffer through. I readily admit it. I WAS WRONG. I loved this book a bajillion times more than the first."

Another reader said: "Wow! Jody Hedlund has outdone herself with this one! Each book in this series just keeps getting better and better."

Here’s one more review: "I didn't think you could top the first two books and yet you DID. I stayed up late to read the whole book in one sitting! I couldn't put it down and I was squealing with excitement by the end!"

When an author hears praise for a second book in a series, let me tell you, she releases a huge sigh of relief. That middle book is always the toughest because an author faces the danger of slowing down the momentum of the larger series’ plot, leaving too much dangling, or veering off on tangents.

The other thing that’s tough is being able to write a complete love story in and of itself while also moving the series forward to its conclusion. Yes, each book in the series is interconnected to a larger plot, but each is also an independent love story that finds resolution by the end of each book.

Finally, the second (and third) book are more challenging, because a writer has to continue to relay backstory (history, family genealogy, etc.) as a memory refresher and just in case a reader doesn’t start with the first book. For some readers, that information simply becomes repetitious.

Whatever the case, I’m relieved to know that readers are enjoying FOREMOST as much or more than the previous books! To find out more about FOREMOST head over to the website page here: http://jodyhedlund.com/books/foremost/

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