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Hagenheim #6

The Golden Braid

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The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.

Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel's hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.

The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel in turn rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to this knight than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?

As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery is about to be revealed after seventeen years of lies. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?

308 pages, Hardcover

First published November 1, 2015

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About the author

Melanie Dickerson

41 books5,536 followers
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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5 stars
3,325 (41%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 904 reviews
Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,592 reviews3,472 followers
February 6, 2016
GIF review:

Basically me the entire book:
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And my other emotions during this book:
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Actual review:

{Who am I kidding? There's GIFs in this review as well.}


About this book:

“The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.
Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.
Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.
The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel in turn rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to this knight than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?
As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery is about to be revealed after seventeen years of lies. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?”

Series: Ignore what Goodreads says, it’s book #6 in the “Hagenheim” series. {Reviews of #1 Here, #2 Here, #3 Here, #4 Here, and #5 Here!} {You do not have to read this series in order to understand it, but I highly recommend that you do read them in order.}

Spiritual Content- Many, many Prayers; Many talks about God & His love; ‘H’s are not capital when referring to God; Many, many Scriptures are read, remembered, & discussed; Learning to & reading (plus talks about) the Holy Writt; Monks & a monastery; Going to the chapel to pray; Mentions of excommunication; Many mentions of books & those in the Bible;
*Note: When mentioning watching a birth, Rapunzel says it feels like she’s in hell; A few mentions of ghosts & evil spirits.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: an ‘idiot’, a ‘stupid’, and two forms of ‘shut up’; Mentions of curses said not written; A but of sarcasm; Fighting, kicking, pain, blood & knives (semi-detailed); *Spoiler* *End of Spoiler*; Mentions of Gerek’s father who beat his family, servants & dogs (up to semi-detailed); Many mentions of killing & slitting throats; Killing a chicken (boarder-line detailed); Drinking wine (Rapunzel doesn’t like it).

Sexual Content- two check kisses, a head kiss; a not-detailed kiss, a barely-above-not-detailed kiss, a semi-detailed kiss; Wondering about a kiss; A mentions of a hand & check kiss; Mentions of stolen kisses; Touches & Embraces (up to semi-detailed); Noticing; Dressing an injured man (the top part only, barely-above-not-detailed); Gothel is always telling Rapunzel that men can’t be trusted, are evil, & that they don’t need them; Gothel tells Rapunzel stories about men who convince gullible women to lie with them or take them into a forest; Rapunzel gets paranoid about men after hearing Gothel’s stories; When Rapunzel is almost attacked, she stabs him (nothing happens); Gerek has “a vow never to know a woman before marriage” (that’s the Biblical know); A few mentions of chastity; A mention of a man showing a girl his love; Mentions of men touching & lying with women just to get what they want; Mentions of men taking advantages with women & forcing themselves on women; Mentions of when Rapunzel was almost attacked at age 15; Mentions of child births & labors (barely-above-not-detailed to semi-detailed); Many mentions of & having illegitimate children; *Spoiler* *End of Spoiler*; Love, falling in love & the emotions;
*Note: A couple mentions of revealing dresses.

-Rapunzel Scheinberg, age 19
-Gerek van Hollan, age 24
P.O.V. switches between them
Set in 1413 (Medieval)
304 pages

Pre Teens- One Star
New Teens- Two Stars
Early High School Teens- Three Stars
Older High School Teens- Four Stars
My personal Rating- Four Stars (and a half)
{Add half a star for those who have already read the previous books in the series.}
I am literally doing a jig right now. Ahh! I just can’t even. I’m trying to push my emotions for these characters down a bit, so I can give a proper review. But really, Melanie Dickerson is a great author. I just adore fairytales and to see them with a Christian twist is fantastic! I wasn’t sure if “The Golden Braid” would top “The Princess Spy” (because Rapunzel verses a Princess Spy .) but, oh. It was close. It was so close! Rating wise, “The Golden Braid” got a half-star higher, but that’s because of who Rapunzel is (ahhh! Still fangirling over that PERFECT plot twist!), I’m more familiar with the story of Rapunzel and this Rapunzel knows how to protect herself—with a knife, which is pretty cool.
I really can’t wait till the next book in this series, The Little Mermaid retelling, which, I am beyond stoked for.
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But have to wait till November of 2016 for.
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*le sigh*

But I'm still excited. :D
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Link to (less GIFs) review:

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
*I received this book for free from the Publisher (Thomas Nelson) through BookLookBloggers for this review.

Profile Image for Anne.
3,917 reviews69.3k followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
July 7, 2021
DNF 35% (ish) of the way in.
The story isn't bad, but I didn't realize it was Christian Fiction when I picked it up.


Which is totally my fault, because the library had one of those little crosses taped on the spine, and I just didn't see it. It was sitting on top of the shelf, and (while I read the back and inside) I never actually looked at the spine. So <--my fault.


This is (unbelievably) the 2nd time I've accidentally picked up this author, and I still wish that somewhere in the description the publishing house would see fit to sort of...I don't know...warn the reader that this stuff is more suited to a faith-based person.


Even though I didn't enjoy the Bible verse stuff, this one wasn't as preachy as the other book of her's that I DNF'd. In fact, I think I could have potentially overlooked the religious theme if the story had been a bit more to my taste. As it was, I thought I was going to be reading about an ass-kicking, knife-wielding, warrior princess kind of Rapunzel, and that's not really what was in between the pages.
I think this book could work for a lot of people.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,615 followers
December 5, 2016
I got this book because I loved the cover and it's a retelling of Rapunzel!

But . . .

I did love the parts with Rapunzel and Sir Gerek but there was too much with Rapunzel's supposed mom that got on my nerves. I think the retelling would have been great if the mom didn't get on my nerves. She was just on and on and on and on and on and on and on <---get it, about certain things that I wanted to throw the beautiful book! Sigh . . .

The 3 stars are for Rapunzel and Gerek and the idea. No stars for the mom ish!
Profile Image for Sarah.
237 reviews1,095 followers
November 2, 2018
Holy Roman Empire, 1413—

Rapunzel is the daughter of a travelling midwife. She knows she’s adopted, and the midwife, Gothel, has at least two incompatible stories of how Rapunzel came into her custody. This is highly suspicious to nineteen-year-old Rapunzel. Gothel also has an irrational hatred of all men and all written words, and she uproots the family and moves as soon as their neighbors notice they exist. Rapunzel is now quite certain that her mother is insane.

Yet like many victims of abusive parents before and since, Rapunzel is emotionally frozen and can’t run away. Much as she has come to loathe and distrust the woman who raised her, she still feels indebted to Gothel—and is sure Gothel would just track her down and treat her even worse than before.

On their way to the city of Hagenheim, Rapunzel and Gothel are beset by bandits. Here their paths cross with that of Sir Gerek, a troubled young knight in service to Duke Wilhelm of Hagenheim. Despite her adoptive mother’s attempts to keep them separate, Rapunzel is intrigued by the surly Gerek; he finds her very physically attractive but will not bother courting a peasant with no inheritance. Yet, at the prompting of a monk, he teaches Rapunzel to read, in both Latin and their native German.

Literacy gives Rapunzel the confidence she needs to finally break her chains and run. She reaches Hagenheim ahead of Gothel and takes a job as a kitchen maid. She’s in for angst, intrigue, and a great revelation…

Content Advisory
Violence: A battle in the castle results in a few (non-graphic) casualties. Rapunzel is repeatedly menaced by a particular bandit and has to fend him off with a knife.

The worst violence takes place in the past: a drunken man throws his wife down the stairs during an argument, then leaps from a fourth-story window when he sobers up and finds her dead. A boy beats his younger brother. A child is kidnapped and almost drowned by her abductor. A young woman is drugged, kidnapped and imprisoned by her deranged mother.

Sex: Gothel repeatedly tells Rapunzel that Men Only Want One Thing and will resort to violence to get it if sweet talk doesn’t work. .

Having grown up with only this person’s perspective, Rapunzel is terrified that every male she meets intends to either seduce or rape her. At first she’s not afraid of Gerek because he makes it clear he disdains her. But eventually even she figures out that he’s merely masking his interest, and this scares her—it takes her a long time to be certain that he's a good man who sincerely cares for her and would never cause her grief.

Language: None.

Substance Abuse: Claybrook and Co. are usually sloshed.

Nightmare Fuel: Everything about Gothel is terrifying…her use of physical violence on the defenseless, including children; her psychotic rants that splice mangled truths with outright falsehoods...

I have a hunch that Rapunzel might be Melanie Dickerson’s favorite fairytale, because she really gets this story. The Golden Braid is a fine adaptation of the original story and a rousing YA period romantic adventure in its own right. I’ve had my gripes with previous installments in this series, but with this one, I can finally see what the hype was about. I’m glad I stuck around.

Gothel is a rather brilliant villain. The other villains in this series have been either serious but underdeveloped (the Duchess in The Fairest Beauty and Ruexner in The Captive Maiden) or the type who twirl their capes and announce their evil plans to everyone within hearing distance (Moncore in The Healer’s Apprentice, the stepmother in Captive Maiden, Claybrook in The Princess Spy and this). Gothel is leaps ahead of any of them, a masterful portrait of evil. She’s the worst possible nightmare, the one that can come true. We all know people like her—paranoid, poisoned by hatred, victims who go on to victimize others.

Rapunzel is a believable abused child, badly damaged by Gothel, but too strong inside to be destroyed. Watching her and Gerek overcome their paralyzing fears, reject the past, and help each other forge a healthy adulthood is truly inspiring. They also have snappy conversations and tangible chemistry.

I really enjoyed this book. So, I suspect, will many of you.
Profile Image for Shantelle.
Author 2 books357 followers
June 19, 2016
So, I loved this book! Read it in one day! I adore Melanie Dickerson's medieval fairytale retellings, and should seriously think about collecting them all! ^_^ Anyway, The Golden Braid did not disappoint in any way. Another five-star rating for Melanie's sweet romances!

This one is a retelling of Rapunzel, one of my favorite fairytales. Rapunzel is a nineteen-year-old young woman living with her rather reclusive stepmother. Though innocent and a bit naive, she's skilled at knife-throwing and other odd hobbies; but nevertheless, her mother warns her again and again not to trust people; especially not men. And she must not show anyone her long, golden-blonde hair. It's simply indecent.
Devoted to the woman she calls 'mother' - who found her, abandoned, when she was just a baby - Rapunzel strives to please her, and turns away many a suitor.
But then, on yet another journey to a new home, they meet a brave young knight, Sir Gerek. He, along with many secrets, are about to change Rapunzel's life forever.

*Squeal* I just loved it! Fairytale retelling, adorable romance, wonderful heroine, heartfelt faith themes, exciting action ... eep! <3 I love it when I find a fairytale retelling like The Golden Braid. It keeps you smiling with lots of nods to the original tale, yet thrills you with spectacular additions and amazing characters, and pleases you with refreshing depth. Set in the medieval era (which is a favorite for me), Melanie Dickerson's stories need no magic. They are fairytale retellings at some of their best!

Let me take a moment to talk about Rapunzel. She is such a likable heroine ... and sometimes that's hard to find in books these days. At first, she's a little nervous, and attached to her mother. But over the course of the story, she learns new strength and independence. (And she's epic at knife-throwing. *grins*) But she's also very sweet, compassionate, and sensitive. She's courageous and has an admirable inner strength; but the thought to be "as good as the men" or belittle men doesn't cross her mind. She's just ... wonderful. I think she kind of exudes that gentle and quiet spirit that the Bible talks about, while still being strong in the Lord! I hope I can be more like Rapunzel! ^_^ Also, I found it rather funny how she wished a certain young man would stay grumpy, because she didn't know how to deal with her feelings for him when he was being extra gallant and sweet. Hehe. Rapunzel's innocence is refreshing. Seeing her "young love" story is so gently sweet.

Of course, this being part of the HAGENHEIM series (the 6th book), we see Rose and Lord Hamlin (from The Healer's Apprentice), and some of their children, including Margaretha (from The Princess Spy). Sir Gerek is one of Lord Hamlin's knights. I love the mysteries and everything, and how The Golden Braid is cleverly and closely tied in with the rest of the series. I guessed some things fairly early on, but that didn't lessen the thrill any! Also, The Golden Braid's story in intertwined with the story of The Princess Spy. Having recently read The Princess Spy, I was able to remember certain parts, and it was exciting to see it all from Rapunzel and Sir Gerek's perspective! What fun! This a lovely tale to be sure!

The romance, as I mentioned above, is adorable. I recommend for about fifteen/sixteen and up (because of some mature themes, not necessarily having to do with the main romance.) It was just, so sweet and beautiful! *huggles book* I love Rapunzel. And I love Sir Gerek. And I love them together. *grins* They're perfect. <3 And their story is just so ... ahhh. You must read it for yourselves! Probably my favorite romance from Melanie Dickerson yet! And the faith of each of these characters ... the lessons they learn. The trust they show. The putting aside of their own feelings to serve the other. It really had depth! Beautiful! There were so many good lines in The Golden Braid. I should write some down and start quoting this book! *grins* But truly, there were some profound moments.

That being said, I loved the faith aspect of The Golden Braid too!! I feel like these main characters really strived to know and love God, and His people! And to do what He would want them to do. They talked to Him, and trusted Him. There was uncommon respect and restraint in their love story that must come from a more godly outlook on romance. There was also a scene of miraculous spiritual intervention. All in all, the Christian part of The Golden Braid wasn't just a few preachy scenes added in ... it was a theme that enveloped the story. I really, really appreciate that.

Ah. What else? I simply loved this tale. It combines my favorite story elements: Faith, Romance, Action and Adventure in two of my favorite genres: Fairytale Retelling and Medieval Historical. A lovely novel! I'm so very excited to read more!
Profile Image for Jill Williamson.
Author 63 books1,438 followers
August 4, 2015
Readers who love getting lost in a fairytale romance will cheer for Rapunzel’s courage as she rises above her overwhelming past. The surprising way Dickerson weaves threads of this enchanting companion novel with those of her other Hagenheim stories is simply delightful. Her fans will love it.
Profile Image for Lilian.
68 reviews
March 24, 2016
I finally got around to reading the next book in this series, and I think it’ll be the last book in the series I read. I’ve read the previous 5 books in the series already and, after this 6th one, I’m finally giving up.

Literally every book in this series is practically the same, except the characters have different names. Seriously. It’s not even a good pattern. It’s an annoying stereotypical series and I’ve only partly enjoyed one of these books (The Fairest Beauty. It was the most original and a little better than the rest).

As I mentioned in my review of the The Princess Spy (the 5th book in this series), here’s the basic plot outline for ever single book.

A boy who comes in to rescue the girl, falls in love with her, tells himself she doesn’t love you so you can’t love her, and ends up with her.

A girl who is wealthy (whether she knows it or not), is strong willed, fights for her life, tries to avoid a man she doesn’t want to marry, falls in love with mysterious boy, tells herself she doesn’t love him, and ends up with him.

A villain, usually a guy (but not limited to being one), normally wants to marry the girl, the girl doesn’t want to marry the villain, he goes off and attacks, kidnaps the girl several times, and ends up losing to the boy in the end. (Though The Fairest Beauty is the only one that changes away from this plot. It has a female villain.)

I challenge you to read these books and try to find one WITHOUT these plot points. I know some people love these books and that is totally okay with me. But I’m just not one of those people anymore.

As for cleanliness, it’s a Christian book and its clean! Nothing inappropriate here.
Profile Image for Jaye Knight.
Author 10 books548 followers
February 2, 2016
I have very mixed feelings about this book. As a huge fangirl of Tangled, of course, I could hardly wait to get my hands on this Rapunzel retelling. Especially considering the gorgeous cover. However, though I dove in with gleeful expectations, the story just never fully captured my interest. It actually took me three months to finish reading it. There was just something about it . . . it just felt awkward and stilted much of the time. And I never grew to truly love the characters like I did in the previous books of this series. In fact, I was quite annoyed with them most of the time. For some reason, the story just didn’t satisfy the anticipation for the book.

That said, I did enjoy certain aspects of it. I would recommend reading or rereading The Princess Spy just before you start this one, since they parallel each other. I would have enjoyed that part of it more if I had read The Princess Spy more recently. I also do always love hearing more about Rose and Wilhelm’s family. That was probably my favorite part of the book.

I may not have enjoyed this book nearly as much as the ones before it, but I do recommend reading it to continue the story. There were some interesting bits of history tied together from the other books. So don’t pass it up based on my review.

I received a copy of this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for J.C. Morrows.
Author 32 books182 followers
November 30, 2015
Am I the only one or did anyone else find themself humming the theme from“Tangled” while reading the blurb for this book?

I know the blurb says “like no other” and that is true, but there are definitely bits of it that are reminiscent of Disney’s long-haired heroine. And – for me – those little tidbits just added to an already fantastic story!

Speaking of similarities… I LOVE… LOVE LOVE LOVE that Melanie makes her characters enamored with books and reading. Not only is it a wonderful addition to each story, it’s so very realistic – especially given that it’s usually her female characters who want to learn or have found a way, even though they really shouldn’t…

Now we just have to wait until May for her next awesome fairy tale retelling. And I’ll tell you a little secret. In February, Melanie is releasing a Regency Intrigue Romance! Exciting!

Review © JCMorrows 2015
Profile Image for Terry Bell.
46 reviews
August 9, 2015
When I read The Golden Braid I wasn't able to post my review on Good reads as the reviews weren't open just yet.
Since I couldn't share here, I posted in Melanie's Facebook page. Here is what I thought about her latest book.
If you have children, by all means read these books to them. They aren't gender specific as you will find from my review.

Melanie has out written herself! This book is by FAR her best work to date!!
When was the last time you began reading a book and found that you did not want to put it down at night? When was it the first thing you read right after you poured that first cup of coffee?
To be so engaged that you actually FEEL what the characters are feeling as you read?
That, people, is a true artist.
I found myself laughing out loud, crying in sorrow and at other times in joy, my heart raced as I held my breath waiting to read what would happen next! (This is a journey that has more unexpected twists and turns!)
A friend asked me what catagory her book falls into. I told him that this is a great story for both girls and boys. There is a hero and heroin each strong enough to stand on their own but don't. They stand with God.
They easily compliment each other while striving to become better people who love God and want to be obedient to Him (even during very real life struggles.) I told my friend it's also a mystery, an adventure and romance all rolled into one without being sappy. It's crisp!
Melanie has shared with us how romance can be Godly and beautiful. That love is attainable if we will only respect ourselves and keep God in the very center of our lives. I also love the scripture she shares in her books. (Please don't stop!)
In a word,The Golden Braid was... breathtaking.
Profile Image for Gabrielle.
437 reviews
November 29, 2015
Actual rating:2.5 buddy read with Stefanie!!:)

Plot: The plot was pretty predictable and had no set direction until later in the book. The plot was pretty dull and boring for the most part and I wasn't really pulled in or intrigued.

Characters: I feel like I never really connected with the characters I didn't really care what happened to them and I just for some reason didn't emotionally connect to them. Rapunzel really had no personality and she just didn't have a spine for most of the book and refused to stand up to her mother which I hated so much it frustrated me to no end.

Romance: The romance felt superficial and fake and I didn't really enjoy it I felt no chemistry between Sir Gerek and Rapunzel and I feel like Gerek was very superficial and a bit surface level especially in the beginning he was just ok nothing special.

Writing Style: The writing style was ok I feel like The Princess Spy and The Captive Maiden by her sucked me in way more and the writing style was just enough to keep me going it was easy to read but I just didn't really flow like her other books it felt more stunted and disconnected it was very strange since I've loved two of her other books so much

Overall, this book was disappointing I didn't enjoy it very much and if you wanna get into Melanie Dickerson I suggest starting with The Captive Maiden because that's in my favorites it was amazing way better than this and then my second favorite of her was The Princess Spy both of those better than this one even though I expected this to be just as good I will continue to read more of her works
Profile Image for Elizabeth Dragina.
586 reviews14 followers
January 2, 2019
Can I just say wow?

I mean I knew reading this book that it was a retelling of Repunzal so I knew that somehow she was the Duke's Daughter... duh.. it's obvious, but I was completely astounded as to how Melanie Dickerson made the reunion happen. It was so beautiful!! I cried and got all shivery by the feelings exchanged and the love shared. There was such wise advice given to her ( Repunzal ) by Lady Rose in the book and I found myself nodding with the truth of it. This is the most biblically profound book that I've read by Mrs Dickerson and I appreciated that. ( However, the Captive Maiden will forever be my favourite in this series.... 😊 )

The description was as charming as ever, but I did find the book a little slowly paced in the beginning. It came out wonderful though and I am once again reminded of why Mrs Dickerson is my favorite author!

Repunzal ~ I cried right along with her... I completely understand being one of the more emotional girls around. Plus the story of Repunzal has always been my second favorite story. Her hair was probably my favorite part of her features because I've always admired long hair, and the fact that it was blond. I loved [ although hated. ( .. ironically ) ] that she was so well guarded in her upbringing that men are dangerous. There was a good and bad side to that, but anyways... I liked that it was mentioned.

Gerik ~ I have to say he is one of my favorite male lovers... ( although Valten and Collin are competing with him for first on my list ) Definitely more of a scary but sensitive guy.... which is why I appreciate him so much. I loved his dark hair and the way he tried to hide his love for Repunzal....( she was just so innocent! )

This series has me all shivery and excited!! I can't wait to find out how it continues and who marries who and so forth... but now my legs are shaking!! These have got to be the best romance books I've read because the family just keeps growing and Duke William... he is such a good father! *beams* Anyways... now I have to have all of them in easy reach so I can reread them any time... now I'm rambling.

*cough* Let me make this clear... my review could have been done in fewer words... Pick / This / Book / Up ...... It / Is / So / Perfect .... You / Will / Enjoy ......

Trust me. *wink* * wink*
Profile Image for Dominique.
334 reviews60 followers
May 15, 2017
First off let me say that this cover is sooooo pretty! :) Ok now to the book review.
(Warning, spoilers in this review)

I received a free book from Thomas Nelson/Zondervan Fiction Guild in return for a honest review.
Profile Image for Rachelle Cobb.
Author 8 books288 followers
October 22, 2015
Melanie Dickerson has done it again with her latest fairytale retelling featuring the medieval Hagenheim. With accurate historical details that plunge you into the story world, this book is bound to please readers of medieval adventure stories (like me!). A sweet love story ties the characters together, and Christian themes tie the plotlines together.

The one thing I wish I would have known ahead of time is that this book's timeline runs concurrently with that of Melanie Dickerson's other book in the series, The Princess Spy. Slight confusion over events gave way to me going, ah, I see what's going on here. ;)

Those who enjoy Jody Hedlund's recent medieval series will love Melanie Dickerson's fairytale retellings, especially The Golden Braid.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Laura.
559 reviews90 followers
October 2, 2016
I have read all of the Hagenheim series except, The Merchant's Daughter. This one is my new favorite. It was hard to put down! Also, I didn't realize this when I began the book, but this story takes place during the same time as her fifth book. The plots actually mix in this book. Now I can't wait for her new release next month.
Profile Image for Caity.
Author 1 book18 followers
May 23, 2018
A beautifully spun retelling of the age-old fairy tale we all know well...
It's all here... the tower. The mother. The begrudging hero. Missing pieces and identities.
And, of course, the long-haired blonde.
This story is woven together like the most intricate braid, with so many threads all crossed over and under and finally
-in a satisfying and heartwarming climax-
pulled taught to complete a glorious masterpiece of creativity and beauty.
A tale of trust, betrayal, treachery, searching, true love,
and- above all- hope.
There were moments during this story that I was on the edge of my seat, other times I had that sappy "this-is-so-adorably-sweet" look on my face, and once when there were actually tears on my face!
Full of life, lessons, suspense, and pure magic, this is a sweet story that conveys the importance of entrusting your heart to the One who created it, and embracing His path for your life.
Profile Image for Hannah.
10 reviews30 followers
March 13, 2016
In this imaginative retelling of Rapunzel, Melanie Dickerson puts a unique spin on the  fairytale. In The Golden Braid, Rapunzel is not your typical damsel in distress. For instance, she can throw knives and paint very well.
The novel chronicalizes Rapunzel and her plight to learn how to read. Furthermore, her stepmother ,Gothel,  keeps her so sheltered from the world that the desire she has is difficult to accomplish, but when she meets a handsome knight everything changes. I won't give out major spoilers.
This novel was a fun read. Melanie Dickerson's writing style causes one to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next in the story's plot. 
One who loves fairytales and romance is sure to enjoy this book. 
Profile Image for Haley S.
385 reviews
May 11, 2017
Really good!! In my opinion, it was kind of slow at first but near the end, really awesome! The only thing I didn't get was that Rapunzel thought that Sir Gerek was arrogant. I didn't agree with that. I thought Sir Gerek was pretty awesome. The ending, I really liked.
Profile Image for Rissa.
1,396 reviews48 followers
August 25, 2017
A beautiful and unique take on Rapunzel!
Profile Image for Deborah O'Carroll.
477 reviews94 followers
June 6, 2016
Another excellent read from Melanie Dickerson! *huggles book*

I think it was the least standalone-ish of her books I've read so far, simply because it had so many delightful tie-ins to other books in the Hagenheim series. I loved that! :) It was also so so cool how it tied in with The Princess Spy and the events going on in that and even some of the things behind the scenes we hadn't seen before! So awesome. (Though a couple times it seemed like it was summarizing a bit too much and I would have liked more details/scenes sometimes. But that may also be because I don't remember The Princess Spy all that well since I read it awhile ago. *shrug*)

I also loved how the Christian theme was so well-woven into the plot--it was just a really strong part of it, more-so than usual in these books, and I just thought it was super lovely and incredibly well-done.

And I loved the retelling, how it had so many nods to Rapunzel (and maybe even Tangled...?). Awesome retelling! But also rearranged and different and unique enough that I never knew what was coming, which was really cool. :)

The romance, as always, was adorbz and awesome and I loved both the characters. Rapunzel was super likeable, and Sir Gerek was, naturally, fantastic. I loved his grouchyness. XD And just... yes, he was awesome.

AND THE TWIST. OH MY GOODNESS THE TWIST. Okay, so I was picking up on little subtle hints and totally guessed it before it came to light, but that only made the revelation even BETTER because I pieced clues together and came to the conclusion myself and was hoping and hoping and then it WAS and just ASLKDFJLDKJF it makes me so happyyyy! ^_^ I only wish that

I also got a little teary-eyed there at one point, at a certain beautiful scene, so gotta give it credit for that. ;)

Anyways, aside from a couple little things, I absolutely loved it and just THE TWIIIIST!!! *flails around* So so so awesome and automatically made it twice as wonderful as it could have been. :D

Overall, great book! <3
Profile Image for Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm).
630 reviews73 followers
October 25, 2015
Thanks to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for giving me this book to review.

Rapunzel is a sheltered young woman who lives with her protective mother. One day Mother Gothel decides they need to move again to protect Rapunzel from men who want to marry her. On the road they are rescued by a knight, Sir Gerek, but he ends up being injured, which is the opportunity Rapunzel has been looking for as her only desire is to learn the skill of reading, which Sir Gerek begrudgingly agrees to teach her. As Rupenzel gets used to her new city she discovers that her life is about to change forever.

The Golden Braid is a cute and enjoyable YA fairytale retelling of Rapunzel, but I was expecting more of a fantasy novel than a historical one. It is fast paced with a sweet slow romance but was predictable. I have not read The Princess Spy but I did not feel it affected the story as I did not know this book was sort of a sequel.

Rapunzel is a sweet, kind-hearted girl who has a thirst for knowledge, and because of her mother, is distrustful of men. Gerek was moody, brave and surly at the beginning of the book, but as the book went on we found he was thoughtful, smart and good, however, this backfired for me as I preferred the early gruff Gerek. Mother Gothel was unpredictable and until half way through I could not figure out is she was meant to be the baddie, like in the original story, or just trying to protect Rapunzel.

The Golden Braid was an enjoyable book and I would recommend to fans of fairytale retellings, and other books by this author.

This and my other reviews can be found at Amethyst Bookwyrm
Profile Image for Jenny Jo Weir.
1,545 reviews79 followers
April 29, 2020
This series is just so pure and sweet, I can't help but continue. I love how each book has it's own little inspirational tone and how each of them always read the bible. I think that's a wonderful common thread.
Profile Image for Natasha.
94 reviews4 followers
December 3, 2016
Rapunzel has moved from village to village all her life, never feeling like she belongs. Her mother treats her as though she weren't a young woman of 19, old enough to make her own decisions, and fills her with suspicion and distrust of men. But after being saved by Sir Gerek on the way to Hagenhiem, and coming to their new home, everything in Rapunzel's life begins to turn.

Overcoming unfounded fears, learning to trust, dangers, and unbelievable secrets revealed.

Oh my, I loved this The Golden Braid! :D It was very much Rapunzel, but unique as well. The only copy my library had was large print... but that was alright. :)

Rapunzel. She was a great, relatable character- her insecurities around others, wanting friends, her fears that her mother instilled in her. And then learning to break free from that, and from her mother's stifling. Not to mention her hardheadedness and those plain things she said to Sir Gerek. *grins* So funny! I loved the- what would you call it?- grumpiness and sort of teasing that went on when Gerek was teaching Rapunzel to read. :) And the blanket part! That was funny too! They're both so stubborn. :D

Sir Gerek. Yea, I already started talking about him. I love him! :) His nature... he's kind of grumpy and all at first, but he's also so kind and loving. <3 LOVE. I love that kind of guy. I love Sir Gerek! :D

Gothel. She was a lot like in Tangled. Seemingly not-so-bad. But then she turns ugly and hateful. She was a crazy woman, and horrible. I couldn't imagine being locked in a tower, with out a way to get down! Yikes. I'd probably do something dangerous out of panick. :P

It was nice to "see" some of the characters from The Captive Maiden, and get to know them better. :) Lady Rose is such a wonderful lady! Her talk to Rapunzel about how a man can't love you perfectly, but God can- that was amazing! Melanie Dickerson does such a good job of putting important lessons into her books. :)

The romance was great! The couple didn't fall in love at first sight. It took a while, at least for them to realize they loved the other person. I LOVE THAT. It's more real or something. When they start out not liking each other very much... then they're friends.... then... :) This romance was very sweet and adorable. <3 Sir Gerek comforting Rapunzel, all of it. They're the cutest.

There was plenty of adventure. The usual knight-in-shining-armor comes to the rescue. Rapunzel rescues him once too, but Gerek gets most of the rescuing. ;) Sleeping in caves, castle take-overs, creepy smiling criminals-eeek!-, and mad stifling mothers. The story was very interesting, and it didn't seem to go on with the same stuff like in The Captive Maiden. There seemed to be more of a variety of happenings in The Golden Braid. :)

Mystery was also in this book. Yes, yes. And there's this big secret that I suddenly "realized" (right before it was revealed, I think) that was like, woa! ;) Secrets and twists are great. :) And mysteries that you're wondering about throughout the book.


quote: "You're beard is coming in nicely. It doesn't look as terrible as most men's beards."
"Terrible? What kind of flattery is that?"
She shrugged. "It makes you look old and... lazy."
"That's the gratitude I get for teaching a maiden to read."

I don't know, but this was just hilarious to me. ;P That's what I'm talking about with the "grumpiness and sort of teasing" that went on between Rapunzel and Sir Gerek. :D I just love Rapunzel's personality. So funny. ;)

I reccomend The Golden Braid to ages 15+ This book seemed more for a mature audience than The Captive Maiden (the only other book I've read by Melanie Dickerson). It seemed to talk a lot about illegitimate children and all that sort of stuff. Rapunzel's mother told her men weren't trustworthy and they just tried to make you love them so they could get what they wanted from you and then leave you.
There was some violence, bot not that much.
Otherwise, to those who like fairy tale retellings, medieval, knights-in-shining-armor, Rapunzel, romance... :)
Profile Image for Raechel Lenore.
Author 3 books22 followers
October 30, 2021
2nd read through with my sister: I enjoyed reading this a second time, though had a bit of a hard time liking Gerek this time through XD He was quite rude and while he changed a little through the book, I don't know...he just wasn't my favorite hero.
Still, enjoyed it.

Such a lovely book!! It was a great retelling of the fairy tale, Rapunzel. I really really love how Mrs. Dickerson doesn’t have any magic or anything in her books.
This book was excellent, and I loved every page of it. It was exciting, and fun, and the scenery was delightful! It’s related closely to “The Princess Spy”, and sometimes that got a little confusing for me, because I hadn’t read that one in quite a while – but even so, it didn’t cause problems with this book. You can easily read “The Golden Braid” as a stand-alone. There are just ties to “The Princess Spy” – characters, setting, and such. I like when authors do that; it adds some fun!
Rapunzel was a fantastic character, and the whole story was just portrayed perfectly! Gothel was really well written. And I loved Sir Gerek.
The faith strand was pretty good, too. I really loved that Sir Gerek received instruction from the Lord. It gave me goosebumps. :)
Oh and I really adored what Lady Rose said about how only God can truly fulfil our every desire – not a man. And yet she said it with the conviction of still needing a man – yeah, it was really good!
Even though I know the story of Rapunzel, scenes in this book came as a delightful surprise! I really loved it. And her being able to knife-throw was quite nice. :D It wasn’t as prominent to the story as I thought it might be, but it was still good.
All in all, I loved “The Golden Braid” and am looking forward to reading more from the author!!
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
1,148 reviews
November 2, 2015
The Golden Braid
By: Melanie Dickerson

Wow, what a fantastic fairy tale Melanie Dickerson has weaved. She surely has herself a winner in The Golden Braid. I really love the story , the characters, and the way she brings them to life. The story is full of romance, mystery, revenge, forgiveness, and The Love of God. Rapunzel and her mother does not stay in one place very long. They are on their way to Hagenheim when they were attacked. Her mother has always told her to not trust men. She has always wanted o learn how to read and get married, but these are the two things her mother will not let her do . She has a beautiful voice and love to paint things, but something is missing in her life. Sir Gerek helps Rapunzel and her mother when they were attacked. Will he help save them? Sir Gerek needs to marry for riches. What is behind Sir Gerek’s past? What does he think of Rapunzel and her over protected mother? What is also behind Rapunzel’s past?
I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the author and the publishing company for my honest review.
Profile Image for Lou Allen.
178 reviews95 followers
May 22, 2023
Story Enjoyment Rating: 9.5/10 Christian Faith Rating: 3/3
The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson is a medieval, young adult, Christian, historical fiction book. The story is part of her Hagenheim series, and it is a retelling of the fairytale Rapunzel.

I loved this book. I loved getting back into the Hagenheim series, and I particularly loved that it took place at the same time as the previous book — The Princess Spy (I definitely recommend reading that one first, as this book has big spoilers for the plot of the previous story).

This book follows Rapunzel, who is living with her mother. Her mother is overly protective of her, and when a young man shows interest in Rapunzel, her mother takes her away to Hagenheim. On the way, they are attacked, and a knight called Gerek rescues them. Rapunzel then has to rescue him. She wants someone to teach her to read but is forced to do so secretly because of her overbearing mother.
I enjoyed revisiting the story of the Princess Spy again, seeing it from a different character’s perspective. I loved the two main characters and also the difficult relationship between Rapunzel and her mother.
The story was dramatic, full of action, and the pacing was good.

The faith content played a large role in the story. I enjoyed watching the characters develop throughout the book.
Profile Image for E.F. Buckles.
Author 1 book8 followers
December 17, 2019
While I've enjoyed Melanie Dickerson's books overall, some have been better (according to my personal tastes) than others. The book before this one (book 5) didn't quite click with me, so I was very happy to then read this sixth book and feel that it was one of the best in the Hagenheim series. Dickerson seems to really understand this fairytale and what it would be like for a young woman to realize that the person who raised her and had been at least somewhat loving toward her was not what they seemed. A story like this required a complex antagonist for it to be believable that Rapunzel would struggle with the choices she had to make, and Dickerson pulled that off. This was refreshing since so many of her villains tend to be either all-out-evil or sometimes mean, but not very effective. I'm actually okay with sometimes having a bwahaha-so-very-evil villain where you know exactly who's good and who's bad and why, similar to what you see in many of the original fairytales. However, it's great to see that Dickerson is able to pull off more complexity. The antagonist was not evil just for evil's sake, she had her own background that had let her to think and act the way she did. That didn't make her actions right, but it did explain them. Rapunzel herself was relatable in that anyone would feel trapped in her situation, where she was watching this person who was supposed to love her make more and more questionable, hurtful, and controlling choices and then try to make Rapunzel feel guilty for trying to get away from that. Unfortunately, such things do happen in real life, maybe not for the same reasons, but this book could be encouraging to someone in such a situation and help them realize that love has to be more than words, it has to manifest itself in actions, too. If someone says they love you but then turns around and keeps hurting you, that's not okay, and may even qualify as abuse (which is what it escalated to in this story when Rapunzel tried to push for more freedom). It doesn't matter if it happens in a marriage relationship, a parent/child relationship, or any other relationship. Abuse is wrong and it's okay to reach out to others and try to get help.

I thought the romance was handled well, too. Had Rapunzel and Gerek been romantically attracted to each other too soon, it might not have made sense given all the ways her "mother" had warned her about men. Instead, their love grew out of friendship. I liked them together and liked how, while they weren't trying to change each other, they were still what the other person needed and helped each other become better people just by being kind and loving.

No spoilers, but I loved, Loved, LOVED what was done with identity of one character. All of these books have involved members of Rose and Wilhelm's family in some way. At first I was thinking the connection to them in this book was a little looser than in previous books, but NOPE. I was wrong. And I am glad I was wrong. *does a happy dance and squeals because of all the things* It made me very happy to get more involvement from Rose and Wilhelm themselves, too.

I also thought it was a really unique twist that the storyline of this book overlapped with many of the things that happened in the previous book, yet it never felt repetitive because it from a totally different perspective. It was especially fun to realize what was intended with that little mention at the end of book 5 that she noticed a girl at her wedding who seemed oddly familiar. I'd been confused by that at the time and wondered if I'd missed something, but now it makes total sense and I love that Dickerson dropped that little hint of what was to come there.

This was definitely one of the best books in the series, at least as far as I've read up to this point. I hereby make this the third book in this series (next to "The Healer's Apprentice" and "The Merchant's Daughter") that I'm giving 5 stars.

Content Advisory:
Lindsey of "Books for Christian Girls" has already put together extremely thorough content reviews for all the books in the Hagenheim series, so to save myself some time, I will link to the review for this one. Thanks, Lindsey!
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