The Betrothed

by Kiera Cass

“Within days, my world had changed. Jameson was still sending flowers and trinkets to my room anytime he seemed to see something he thought I’d like, but now nobles left gifts for me as well. With all the new jewelry at my disposal, I truly was as Jameson said: as radiant as the sun. I had two chambermaids assigned to me, and when I walked through the palace, people would smile at me in passing, if sometimes a little tightly…I had thought nothing could be as fun as winning over the heart of a king, but I was wrong. It was much more thrilling to win over the hearts of countless people at once.”

Ratings & Reviews

Book Grade: A+

I must admit, I really wasn’t sure about this book at first. I saw where it was going, and I wasn’t sure that I would like it. The fairly predictable romance between Hollis and Jameson was sweet and charming. When a bit of a surprise was thrown in with an unexpected attraction, I still wasn’t totally hooked. I had a hunch how this would turn out. Then, a huge twist came along…

When a certain event took place, I was totally not expecting it and I had so many questions. And I was officially hooked. Hollis suddenly went from a charming and sweet teenager to a strong and determined woman. I had to know what would happen next. The last quarter of the book was filled with twists and turns and Cass absolutely leaves readers with a cliffhanger. As the beginning of a series The Betrothed leaves lots of questions unanswered and ensures Hollis a place in your heart.

I will echo that it is not the same style as The Selection – it is much slower and elegantly unfolds in the world of the 1500s, not a timeless dystopian era. Readers who dive in expecting to see an America-style heroine may be disappointed with Hollis who is a lovely girl caught between two worlds, but not the determined heroine that America is right off the bat. Hollis is intelligent and insightful, but readers may be distracted by the emphasis on her beauty, and not see the strength that slowly builds. Don’t let this deter you – I persisted past the lukewarm beginning and came to appreciate the story and how Kiera Cass created a whole new world to fall in love with.

Movie Rating: G

Kiera Cass is a master storyteller and imbues each of her stories with romance and lush settings. Her romance, though, is sweet and clean. There are no sauce scenes in The Betrothed. There are some tame kisses and lots of deep gazes, but this book is appropriate for all readers. There are kingdom politics and there are some brutal attacks, but readers are spared the graphic details. This book is charming throughout and a must-read for YA romance fans.

Would I Buy This for My Library: Yes!

With Kiera Cass’ reputation and the broad appeal of her books, you may want to purchase a few copies of this book. You will need to encourage readers to persist as the beginning half of the book seems entirely predictable. The second half of the book, though, is a whirlwind and will keep readers engaged. This is a fun, lighthearted read that will fly off the shelves – in part because of the plot and in part because of the beautifully detailed cover. This book has no scandalous material, making it a great recommendation for all YA romance fans, and the plot is inventive and unique suggesting it will be a hit with readers.

Summary:

Kiera Cass changed YA literature with The Selection series, and over a decade later, she has released The Betrothed which once again proves she is a queen of this domain. Both stories feature royalty, love, and a strong female protagonist, but that is largely where the similarities end. The Betrothed focuses on Hollis, a member of the king’s court who catches the young royal’s fancy. Over a series of weeks, King Jameson – the young and handsome ruler of Coroa – falls for Hollis and reveals that he will has selected her for his bride and the kingdom’s future queen.

While she waits for the official proposal, Hollis learns about royal life and helps to negotiate on behalf of Coroa’s people. Just as she thinks she can handle all of the responsibilities of being a queen, she learns (from the young queen of a neighboring kingdom) that royal life is not all it is cracked up to be. Oh, and she also starts to have feelings for a handsome young stranger just as Jameson begins to show some of the less attractive aspects of his character. Acting on her doubts or attraction would bring shame to her family and uncertainty to her life, but can she ascend the throne knowing some of the challenges that face her and doubting her true feelings for the king? Ahh, if only all of life’s problems were so simple: to marry the king or not?

Book Talk Questions:

  1. Why does Hollis not get too excited about her prospects with King Jameson? When does she realize things have changed?
  2. What does Hollis ask the Eastoffes to do to prepare for the visit of King Quinten? Explain how the presentation to the kings goes.
  3. Describe the agreement that King Jameson and King Quinten come to regarding their kingdoms. What does Hollis realize? How have her conversations with Queen Valentina clarified this?
  4. Describe the wedding day and the events that unfold.
  5. What does Hollis say in the last letter she writes to Jameson? What does she do afterwards?

A Perfect Read for Fans Of…

  • The Selection by Kiera Cass
  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
  • The Traitor Prince by C.J. Redwine
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