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In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . . A young queen trying to stay alive until she comes of age to rule, and a prince turned into a pauper. Queen Aurora of Mercia has spent her entire life deep in Inglewood Forest, hiding from Warwick’s Queen Margery, who seeks her demise. As the time draws near for Aurora to take the throne, she happens upon a handsome w In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . . A young queen trying to stay alive until she comes of age to rule, and a prince turned into a pauper. Queen Aurora of Mercia has spent her entire life deep in Inglewood Forest, hiding from Warwick’s Queen Margery, who seeks her demise. As the time draws near for Aurora to take the throne, she happens upon a handsome woodcutter. Although friendship with outsiders is forbidden and dangerous, she cannot stay away from the charming stranger. Only two months away from completing his royal testing, Prince Kresten of Scania is ready to be finished with the poverty and hardships of being a woodcutter. When he meets a beautiful peasant woman, he doesn’t plan to fall in love, especially when he must soon leave and return to his homeland. As Queen Margery’s forces close in, Aurora finds herself in mortal danger. Kresten knows a future with Aurora is impossible, but he is desperate to save her and bring an end to the queen’s threat. To do so, he joins the ultimate battle against the evil queen, risking everything, including his chance at true love. The real Sleeping Beauty story. The Fairest Maidens Book 1: Beholden (Sept 2020) Book 2: Beguiled (Oct 2020) Book 3: Besotted (Nov 2020)


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In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . . A young queen trying to stay alive until she comes of age to rule, and a prince turned into a pauper. Queen Aurora of Mercia has spent her entire life deep in Inglewood Forest, hiding from Warwick’s Queen Margery, who seeks her demise. As the time draws near for Aurora to take the throne, she happens upon a handsome w In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . . A young queen trying to stay alive until she comes of age to rule, and a prince turned into a pauper. Queen Aurora of Mercia has spent her entire life deep in Inglewood Forest, hiding from Warwick’s Queen Margery, who seeks her demise. As the time draws near for Aurora to take the throne, she happens upon a handsome woodcutter. Although friendship with outsiders is forbidden and dangerous, she cannot stay away from the charming stranger. Only two months away from completing his royal testing, Prince Kresten of Scania is ready to be finished with the poverty and hardships of being a woodcutter. When he meets a beautiful peasant woman, he doesn’t plan to fall in love, especially when he must soon leave and return to his homeland. As Queen Margery’s forces close in, Aurora finds herself in mortal danger. Kresten knows a future with Aurora is impossible, but he is desperate to save her and bring an end to the queen’s threat. To do so, he joins the ultimate battle against the evil queen, risking everything, including his chance at true love. The real Sleeping Beauty story. The Fairest Maidens Book 1: Beholden (Sept 2020) Book 2: Beguiled (Oct 2020) Book 3: Besotted (Nov 2020)

30 review for Besotted

  1. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    A satisfying conclusion to this beautiful trilogy of fairy-tale re-tellings. Kreston doesn't consider himself a serious contender to the throne, as his two elder brothers are the heavy favorites. While serving out his testing in the Inglewood forest he comes across an enchanting beauty, who is captivating in a way unlike every young woman he has ever met before. Aurora has lived a sheltered life, hidden away in the Inglewood forest until the moment when she can claim her throne. Kreston is charmi A satisfying conclusion to this beautiful trilogy of fairy-tale re-tellings. Kreston doesn't consider himself a serious contender to the throne, as his two elder brothers are the heavy favorites. While serving out his testing in the Inglewood forest he comes across an enchanting beauty, who is captivating in a way unlike every young woman he has ever met before. Aurora has lived a sheltered life, hidden away in the Inglewood forest until the moment when she can claim her throne. Kreston is charming, and forbidden, making her long for both more than her quiet life in the forest, and less than the heavy mantle of royalty. As their time in the forest draws to an end, their bond is tested as they fight for their countries, freedom, and love. Recognizably based loosely on Sleeping Beauty, this third and final book in the Fairest Maidens is my favorite of the series. I loved how it creatively re-invents the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty in a way that is fresh, but honors the original story. One of the main reasons I loved this book was because of Kreston's character arc, and how he grows from a young man not taking his Testing very seriously to a man willing to risk his life for what he loves and believes in. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, with its strong, protagonists, the return of familiar faces, fantastic plot and climactic conclusion. Aurora is curious about the outside world, she is kind, and a problem solver. I loved her aunts doting and Chester's gruff protectiveness. A worthy conclusion to this wonderful series! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Angeline

    I was so looking forward to this book and it was incredible! Besotted is the third book in Jody Hedlund’s Fairest Maidens series. I was so excited to see the final book in the series, we finally got to read about the youngest brother, Kresten. Prince Kresen of Scania is ready to be finished with his royal testing. However, he meets a beautiful peasant who turns his life upside down. Aurora is so different then he expected but she has a secret of her own that doomed their relationship from the st I was so looking forward to this book and it was incredible! Besotted is the third book in Jody Hedlund’s Fairest Maidens series. I was so excited to see the final book in the series, we finally got to read about the youngest brother, Kresten. Prince Kresen of Scania is ready to be finished with his royal testing. However, he meets a beautiful peasant who turns his life upside down. Aurora is so different then he expected but she has a secret of her own that doomed their relationship from the start. Kresten didn’t plan to fall in love, but as Queen Margery’s forces close in he finds himself desperate to save Aurora and bring an end to the queen’s threat. Okay first thing first, I really liked Kresten. He was nice and I liked how he was different from his brothers. He was kind and worked hard, however, he did not think that he could ever beat his older brothers in the testing. Kresten gave off the appearance of being a flirt, but then he met Aurora and she changed everything. I liked how Kresten started to fall for her, but how he still tried to be true to the testing. He was such a noble man. He had to figure out how much he was willing to risk for Aurora. Aurora was tired of hiding. She wanted to be a good queen, but she didn’t feel like she would be up to it. Her mother was a great queen and she felt the weight of caring for people who didn’t really know her. She was compassionate and noble. I really enjoyed reading about her with Kresten. They were so cute. However, Aurora had to figure out if she should follow her heart or do her duty as queen. It was so thrilling to see everything come together. Aurora finds herself in more danger than ever as Queen Margery gets closer to finding her. It was fun to see Aurora and Kresten fall in love, but I didn’t know how they were going to end up together. They both thought that the other was a peasant and they knew that they could never be together. I loved when Mikkel and Vilmar made appearances, that was very exciting. The side characters were so fun. My favorite side characters in this book were Chester and Jrog, they were very cool. I loved how Ms. Hedlund weaved aspects of Sleeping Beauty throughout the book. The ending was amazing, it made me so happy. One of my favorite quotes was “Tis never too late for any of us,” I added softly. “As long as we have today, we have the opportunity to choose rightly and walk a better path.” It is never too late to turn to God and make amends. You may have to live with the consequences of your actions, but God will always accept you. I can’t believe that the Fairest Maidens series has ended. Besotted was a great book and I loved the cover. I would definitely recommend Besotted and the first two books. Besotted was a different look at Sleeping Beauty and yet it was breathtaking and amazing! I am so excited to see what else Ms. Hedlund writes! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, I was not required to write a positive review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Connie Saunders

    Jody Hedlund has given readers a fantastic book to conclude her Fairest Maidens series. Besotted is a re-telling of the beloved fairy tale Sleeping Beauty and Hedlund has been able to add some surprising twists while still remaining true to the original story. Soon-to-be Queen Aurora (Rory) and Prince Kresten are two young people who face evil and danger at the hands of the evil Queen Margery and their efforts to stay safe enable both of them to become stronger, better people. They also find a s Jody Hedlund has given readers a fantastic book to conclude her Fairest Maidens series. Besotted is a re-telling of the beloved fairy tale Sleeping Beauty and Hedlund has been able to add some surprising twists while still remaining true to the original story. Soon-to-be Queen Aurora (Rory) and Prince Kresten are two young people who face evil and danger at the hands of the evil Queen Margery and their efforts to stay safe enable both of them to become stronger, better people. They also find a special connection that has nothing to do with their royal status. In fact, neither of them knows who the other truly is! Their initial attraction deepens into friendship and then love, and their romance will simply take your breath away! Besotted has intrigue, deception, and a touch of humor, but it also has wonderful supporting characters and, yes, the famous "true-love's kiss". Besotted is the third book of this series and I highly recommend it. The romance is clean and the themes of kindness, loyalty, and self-sacrifice provide inspiration for all ages. Hedlund has once again proven her exceptional writing abilities! I received a complimentary digital copy from the author. There was no obligation to write a positive review. These are absolutely my own thoughts.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Harris

    The series is over. And, my heartbreaking worry of what may happen is over. I'm also sadly leaving the series behind. This is a for sure favorite fairytale retelling. Jody Hedlund has a way with words that I lose myself in her stories and don't even know I've left my real life for a fantasy land with characters that would be your best friends in real life -- like if they weren't, um, well, character. ;) These books I have found are best for older teens/young adults just due to kissing. The romance The series is over. And, my heartbreaking worry of what may happen is over. I'm also sadly leaving the series behind. This is a for sure favorite fairytale retelling. Jody Hedlund has a way with words that I lose myself in her stories and don't even know I've left my real life for a fantasy land with characters that would be your best friends in real life -- like if they weren't, um, well, character. ;) These books I have found are best for older teens/young adults just due to kissing. The romance in "Besotted" was so adorable, and just so plain cute, like really, the way the story twisted and turned with surprises along the way and an ending that wasn't expected, and quite different from other fairytales. Of the brothers in this series my favorite is Kresten, he was just so... Um, kinda full of himself, and seeing how he changed, learned, and grew in his story was just so wonderful. Aurora, my goodness, my heart broke for her! I was delighted to see how they fell in love and the way the story ended. Content: Some kissing, an evil queen trying to murder another queen, and normal medieval things like battles, war, wounds, and some killing though not shown violently. I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Ulferts

    With this retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Jody Hedlund gives readers more than they could ask for in a series ending. I was swept off my feet in the first chapter of Besotted. Kresten is a dream of a hero. Aurora is a captivating heroine. Together they are perfect. Their sense of duty to others and belief that you must do what is best even when you don’t want to is a refreshing difference to see in young people. This is my favorite book in the series, but they are all outstanding. They have the pe With this retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Jody Hedlund gives readers more than they could ask for in a series ending. I was swept off my feet in the first chapter of Besotted. Kresten is a dream of a hero. Aurora is a captivating heroine. Together they are perfect. Their sense of duty to others and belief that you must do what is best even when you don’t want to is a refreshing difference to see in young people. This is my favorite book in the series, but they are all outstanding. They have the perfect mix of action and romance for younger readers. I would say ages 14 and up. I will be adding this to my daughters’ literature curriculum and I can’t wait to go through it with them. I received an advance copy of the book and all opinions are my own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nicki Chapelway

    Out of the trilogy, I think this one was the closest to the fairy tale it was based off of, and had many similarities to the Disney Sleeping Beauty as well, with characters dancing barefoot in the forest. Where the others had usually one or two elements loosely based on the fairy tales of Snow White and Cinderella, this one had a lot more focus on the fairy tale. And I liked that, a lot. I also enjoyed seeing how the main plot of all three books came to a head, with guest appearances of other ch Out of the trilogy, I think this one was the closest to the fairy tale it was based off of, and had many similarities to the Disney Sleeping Beauty as well, with characters dancing barefoot in the forest. Where the others had usually one or two elements loosely based on the fairy tales of Snow White and Cinderella, this one had a lot more focus on the fairy tale. And I liked that, a lot. I also enjoyed seeing how the main plot of all three books came to a head, with guest appearances of other characters, and resolutions, while still keeping this strictly Kresten and Aurora's story. Aurora was a tad wishy washy at the beginning, but I definitely enjoyed watching her character develop. She had a certain naivety to her, which I enjoyed because she was raised in seclusion and I think it would have been unrealistic for her to be world wise if she was. Kresten was charming but flawed and impossible to not like, and the supporting cast was fun. It was nice seeing that Kresten and his scribe had become good friends, as opposed to the more serious relationships the other brothers had with their scribes. All in all a solid conclusion. I can't wait to see what the next series Jody Hedlund releases will be about! I received a copy of this book from the author, all opinions, however, are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    MJSH

    "She was humble and yet confident, shy and yet bold, lighthearted and yet serious, amiable and yet reserved. The dichotomy of her character resembled the rings of a tree, each one built upon the previous, lending her a depth that never failed to fascinate me." Oh, what a stunning conclusion to The Fairest Maidens series! Jody Hedlund's trademark of fast-paced plot brimming with action, filled with beautiful characters, and girded with hope, loyalty, faithfulness, and self-sacrifice truly shines t "She was humble and yet confident, shy and yet bold, lighthearted and yet serious, amiable and yet reserved. The dichotomy of her character resembled the rings of a tree, each one built upon the previous, lending her a depth that never failed to fascinate me." Oh, what a stunning conclusion to The Fairest Maidens series! Jody Hedlund's trademark of fast-paced plot brimming with action, filled with beautiful characters, and girded with hope, loyalty, faithfulness, and self-sacrifice truly shines through in this book. There is never a dull moment as Kresten, the youngest of Scania princes on the Great Isles for the Testing for kingship, falls in love, gets into scrapes, and learns the true meaning of "deny thyself." Even during the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual molding and refining, Kresten still maintains his charm, tender heart, passion, and fierce loyalty. Aurora is the sheltered true queen of Mercia who's been in hiding from Warwick's Queen Margery's grasp. She's a sweetheart who is loving and dedicated to being the best queen for her country. This is a series that must be read in order to fully appreciate the overarching theme and plot. If you haven't already, you have to read The Lost Princesses series, too, after reading this one. If you enjoy medieval YA fiction, you will absolutely love this book and series. There are plenty of battles, monsters, and emotional struggles as well as triumphs, spiritual and personal epiphanies, and solidly bonded friendship. I can't wait to see what's coming next from Jody Hedlund. I received a copy of the book from the author and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Moseley

    I have loved Jody Hedlund’s “The Fairest Maidens” series, but I was still not prepared for “Besotted,” the final book in the series. I lack the words to express how much I enjoyed this novel. Princess Aurora is the type of character that a woman would really desire to become, and Prince Kresten is the type of man a woman wants to have by her side. Prince Kresten has almost completed his testing when he first meets Princess Aurora. Queen Margery has been trying to find Princess Aurora, for whom s I have loved Jody Hedlund’s “The Fairest Maidens” series, but I was still not prepared for “Besotted,” the final book in the series. I lack the words to express how much I enjoyed this novel. Princess Aurora is the type of character that a woman would really desire to become, and Prince Kresten is the type of man a woman wants to have by her side. Prince Kresten has almost completed his testing when he first meets Princess Aurora. Queen Margery has been trying to find Princess Aurora, for whom she has the worst intentions. The fact that neither Prince Kresten nor Princess Aurora recognizes who the other actually is adds an element of anticipation for the reader. Hedlund includes so many twists, turns, and literary devices that it is all but impossible to put the book down. I really loved the ending. I can’t believe that the series has come to an end. I look forward to the author’s future offerings. I also hope that she continues to retell fairy tales in a way that only she can. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and was not required to write a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    What an exciting finale to the Fairest Maidens series! Aurora and Kresten's story just might be my favorite of the set. Kresten's growth during the book was very cool and by the end he was definitely my favorite of the three brothers. Aurora and Kresten's romance was fun to read and the twists that Jody had up her sleeve for the story made for exciting reading. Jody does fairly tale stories extremely well and I highly recommend them! I received this book as a member of the launch team and was not What an exciting finale to the Fairest Maidens series! Aurora and Kresten's story just might be my favorite of the set. Kresten's growth during the book was very cool and by the end he was definitely my favorite of the three brothers. Aurora and Kresten's romance was fun to read and the twists that Jody had up her sleeve for the story made for exciting reading. Jody does fairly tale stories extremely well and I highly recommend them! I received this book as a member of the launch team and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my honest opinion.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan Snodgrass

    This wonderful series is brought to a close with Besotted, the last of the Fairest Maidens. I love this author's work and her YA medieval stories are just great! Princess Aurora has been kept hidden all her life in the woods but Prince Kresten accidentally stumbles upon her hiding place. Now they must be careful not to let the evil Queen Margery find her, for Aurora is doomed if she does. Don't miss this lovely series. I devoured all three books as soon as I got them. I was given a copy by the pu This wonderful series is brought to a close with Besotted, the last of the Fairest Maidens. I love this author's work and her YA medieval stories are just great! Princess Aurora has been kept hidden all her life in the woods but Prince Kresten accidentally stumbles upon her hiding place. Now they must be careful not to let the evil Queen Margery find her, for Aurora is doomed if she does. Don't miss this lovely series. I devoured all three books as soon as I got them. I was given a copy by the publisher and received no compensation. The opinion here is my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amy Grochowski

    Besotted brings together The Fairest maidens Trilogy with a perfect ending! I enjoyed all three books and maybe this one the most.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ochegba

    A beautiful conclusion to a wonderful series. I loved this final part of the series with Kresten and Aurora. From the beginning, it was a push and pull not sure of what may be the outcome. The fear of Queen Margery. Being pulled apart in different directions due to misunderstandings, they end up fighting for the same cause. A beautiful twist on sleeping beauty. This was a beautiful tale for all lovers of YA fiction. Will definitely be re-reading this in the future again. I received a complimentary A beautiful conclusion to a wonderful series. I loved this final part of the series with Kresten and Aurora. From the beginning, it was a push and pull not sure of what may be the outcome. The fear of Queen Margery. Being pulled apart in different directions due to misunderstandings, they end up fighting for the same cause. A beautiful twist on sleeping beauty. This was a beautiful tale for all lovers of YA fiction. Will definitely be re-reading this in the future again. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. All opinions expressed are solely those.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Edward Arrington

    The story opens with Prince Kresten two-thirds of the way through his Testing. He and Jorg were sent to work as woodcutters in the Inglewood Forest of Mercia with a special lesson for Kresten to learn - deny thyself. Having had minimal contact with the outside world, they know nothing of what has been happening in the lives of his two brothers who are also going through their own Testing. When Kresten falls into a cavern one day while seeking to elude an angered boar, he finds his way through to The story opens with Prince Kresten two-thirds of the way through his Testing. He and Jorg were sent to work as woodcutters in the Inglewood Forest of Mercia with a special lesson for Kresten to learn - deny thyself. Having had minimal contact with the outside world, they know nothing of what has been happening in the lives of his two brothers who are also going through their own Testing. When Kresten falls into a cavern one day while seeking to elude an angered boar, he finds his way through to a secluded area where a beautiful young maiden is living with her two aunts and her guardian. Although Kresten and Rory are the main characters, the story is only made complete by the other characters who are all strong in their own right, each one having their own special role. Neither Kresten nor Rory reveals their real identity to the other. One can only guess at how the story may have played out if they had known sooner of the identity of the other. But that would have spoiled the excitement in all likelihood. The reader quickly learns that Rory is actually Aurora, soon to be queen of Mercia, who has been hiding from Queen Margery of Warwick. Margery is one of those characters that the reader has no trouble disliking immensely. Even her closest advisers fear her because of her evilness. Is she going to ultimately win at her deadly attempt to secure the heart of the fairest maiden in the land, or can she be stopped? I urge you to read the books in sequence to get the full effect of the suspense as it builds. I received an advance copy of this book from the author. This is my honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Besotted by Jody Hedlund is the final book in The Fairest Maidens trilogy. This is an epic final chapter in an awesome historical fiction/fantasy series. This last book starts off where the last, Beguiled, ends. While Mikkel and Princess Pearl and Vilmar and Lady Gabriella are on the run from the evil Queen Margery and attempting to locate Kresten, Aurora, and rescue Princess Ruby, we get to meet the youngest of the three Princes, Kresten. Kresten has always been the youngest, most jovial, and lea Besotted by Jody Hedlund is the final book in The Fairest Maidens trilogy. This is an epic final chapter in an awesome historical fiction/fantasy series. This last book starts off where the last, Beguiled, ends. While Mikkel and Princess Pearl and Vilmar and Lady Gabriella are on the run from the evil Queen Margery and attempting to locate Kresten, Aurora, and rescue Princess Ruby, we get to meet the youngest of the three Princes, Kresten. Kresten has always been the youngest, most jovial, and least serious of the three brothers. While he feels the other two were born to be leaders, he receives the impression from his family that he is not of the same caliber and is not truly wanted for a potential spot for the next King. He decides to go through the motions, serve his six months in Training, and plans to move on afterwards. He is placed with his assistant/bodyguard/scribe into The Inglewood forest in Mercia as woodcutters and lives off the land. His motto "Deny thyself". Eventually we find that he stumbles upon Aurora within the forest in hiding for many years with her two aunts and bodyguard Chester. They have been attempting to hide away from Queen Margery until Aurora becomes 20 and then can rightfully claim the throne of Mercia. Her father has been regent in her name since her mother, the great Queen Lenora, passed. If Aurora can make it only a few more months alive, she will succeed in her quest of keeping Queen Margery of Warwick from taking her rightful kingdom, and most likely her life. It is love at first sight between Kresten and Aurora. Both feel that they have to keep their true royal identities hidden for their own safety as well as for the betterment of both kingdoms, as they both assume that they will be forced to be betrothed to another in respective arranged marriages. We then get to experience the pull and tug of the characters as they fight against their true feelings, and what they feel are appropriate sacrifices for the greater good of their own countries. Through several twists, turns, and miscommunications, both are pulled in different directions to ironically end up trying to solve the same problem: making sure Queen Margery does not take the lives of any more Royal and Fair Maidens as well as take over Mercia. I will leave many of the surprises within the action-filled plot for the reader to experience themselves, but let me just say that it is exciting, it is unpredictable, and it is romantic. I love a happily ever after for everyone. I truly loved this book, as well as this whole series. I loved each individual romance and fairy tale, and I thought it was so ingenious how the author was able to weave together so many different stories into an overarching theme and plot to create the ultimate fairy tale. This series has it all: historical fiction, excellent plot, excellent character cast and development, surprises, action, romance, and mystery. It also has a very perfect ending. I truly loved this series, and I highly recommend it. I cannot wait to see what Ms. Hedlund comes up with next. 5/5 stars Thank you to the author for this awesome and unforgettable ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR, Bookbub, and Instagram accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 11/17/20.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heather Clark

    A hunted queen and a reluctant prince. The final novel of the Fairest Maidens trilogy might be the story of Sleeping Beauty, but I definitely stayed up far later than I should have to finish it! Heir to the throne of Mercia and almost old enough to take the throne, Queen Aurora is living out a few more months hidden away from the forces of Queen Margery of Warwick, who seeks to take the throne of Mercia for herself and reunite the two kingdoms under her cruel leadership. But her reclusive existe A hunted queen and a reluctant prince. The final novel of the Fairest Maidens trilogy might be the story of Sleeping Beauty, but I definitely stayed up far later than I should have to finish it! Heir to the throne of Mercia and almost old enough to take the throne, Queen Aurora is living out a few more months hidden away from the forces of Queen Margery of Warwick, who seeks to take the throne of Mercia for herself and reunite the two kingdoms under her cruel leadership. But her reclusive existence in a charcoal burner’s cabin in the forest is interrupted by a chance meeting with a young woodcutter. A woodcutter who, unknown to her, is Prince Kresten, the youngest prince of Scania, finishing his testing for the throne. When an injury forces Kresten to spend several weeks recovering under the care of Aurora’s healer guardian, the two become close, although each is certain that the relationship can never survive. Aurora’s future is clear to her, to take the throne, marry and forge an alliance, and protect her people. A poor woodcutter offers nothing her role requires, despite her affection for him. And Kresten’s marriage has already been arranged by his country’s council. He is no freer to marry for his heart than Aurora. But as Queen Margery’s forces close in, and Kresten and Aurora learn just how deeply the queen is driven to take not only the throne, but Aurora’s life as well, they may not have to worry about their futures at all. Futures that will only exist if they can survive the battle to come. I’ve been eager to see how this series would conclude, and this final book did not disappoint! Watching the storylines of Beguiled and Beholden woven together to finish the intertwined stories was delightful, and I also deeply loved the way Kresten and Aurora were written. Both characters were unsure of themselves and their capabilities to succeed in the leadership that would fall on their shoulders. Watching them wrestle with their own feelings of inadequacy, as well as the struggles between their duty and their hearts, was just as engaging a narrative as the climactic action of this story. The emphasis on unique gifts that this story focused on was beautifully represented in its main characters. Kresten, while completely unlike both his brothers, was a character that I found myself cheering on as he grew and matured throughout the story. And Aurora’s grace and quiet inner strength made me feel, along with her, a deep need to look for the potential best in all the story’s characters. In her eyes, there was still potential to hope, even in the worst circumstances, and her determination to hold out the possibility for change, even to those who had wronged her, was inspiring and humbling. This was a truly timely and resonating lesson, one that I wish there were many more stories that celebrated. I’m sorry to be leaving behind the world of Mercia and Warwick for a second time, but I can’t wait to reread the Lost Princesses with this rich history of their world and their family in mind!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Amey Madjeski

    Besotted is a beautiful conclusion to Jody Hedlund’s Fairest Maidens trilogy! Retelling Sleeping Beauty with a fun twist, Besotted brings the whole three-book story into a rewarding conclusion. At the start we are introduced to youngest brother Kresten, who expects nothing out of his Testing, as both of his brothers are far more suited to be King of Scania than he is. A bit of a romantic, when the prince-turned-woodcutter finds a beautiful girl dancing with herself in a hidden meadow... he is ca Besotted is a beautiful conclusion to Jody Hedlund’s Fairest Maidens trilogy! Retelling Sleeping Beauty with a fun twist, Besotted brings the whole three-book story into a rewarding conclusion. At the start we are introduced to youngest brother Kresten, who expects nothing out of his Testing, as both of his brothers are far more suited to be King of Scania than he is. A bit of a romantic, when the prince-turned-woodcutter finds a beautiful girl dancing with herself in a hidden meadow... he is captivated. As he gets to know Rory, he finds himself falling in love swift and hard... but he knows he has an arranged bride waiting. But he soon finds he can’t stop dreaming they could be together. Surely this lovely girl could be turned into a princess, couldn’t she? Aurora, Queen of Mercia, is hiding out from her diabolical aunt, Queen Margery of Warwick, until her 20th birthday, when she can officially take her throne. Until her coronation, she knows she’s in grave danger because Margery wants both kingdoms. What no one realizes is Margery’s search for Aurora is much more sinister. Obsessed with alchemy, Margery needs the literal heart of the fairest royal maiden to complete her quest to make her own gold with the White Stone. With her daughter Pearl safely married, Aurora is her last hope. And she has tripled her desperate efforts to find her in time. When Aurora meets Kresten, she’s fascinated. He’s charming and handsome and cares for her as the poor girl he thinks her to be, not royalty. When he is severely injured and makes it to her doorstep, she gets a glimpse of how wonderful it would be to have him in her life forever. But how can a queen marry a poor woodcutter when she has been raised to know she must make an advantageous match? With huge secrets still between them, Kresten and Aurora unwillingly separate to fulfill their duties. Kresten’s reunion with his brothers leads to the discovery that Rory is actually Queen Aurora! That fact doesn’t do Kresten any favors, because he also realizes his brothers’ actions have made him king-to-be by default. Though they are destined to be rulers of two separate kingdoms, nothing will stop Kresten from going to rescue Aurora when she is captured by Queen Margery and in mortal danger. I won’t give away any spoilers to the ending, but this conclusion is surprising and perfect!! Kresten’s quest to learn to “deny thyself” is the central lesson. He thinks he’s following his Test first by living in poverty, second by leaving behind Rory to honor his duty. But truly, it is the third act that brings this lesson into clarity. With scriptural undertones and all the trappings of a fairy tale, Besotted checks all the boxes. This is the perfect clean YA romance. I loved Kresten and Rory’s story and was so glad for an ending that brought the whole trilogy together. My thanks to Jody Hedlund for once again allowing me to read this wonderful story early to review it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beth Glass

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book just sweeps you off your feet just like Kresten's dancing did to Aurora. I 💙LOVE how this book had what I considered to be a dinosaur like creature, called the basilisk. It was so interesting, especially the way it acted. I💙LOVE the quotes in this book. Their was so many it was almost hard to choose a favorite, Almost. I also 💙LOVE the twist the author gave to the Sleeping Beauty story. It was so different and unexpected. This is one that could indeed become a classic and it is even be This book just sweeps you off your feet just like Kresten's dancing did to Aurora. I 💙LOVE how this book had what I considered to be a dinosaur like creature, called the basilisk. It was so interesting, especially the way it acted. I💙LOVE the quotes in this book. Their was so many it was almost hard to choose a favorite, Almost. I also 💙LOVE the twist the author gave to the Sleeping Beauty story. It was so different and unexpected. This is one that could indeed become a classic and it is even better than the original story. I 💙LOVE the scenes with Kresten and Aurora. They make such a sweet couple with their banter and love for each other.  Kresten is such a ladies man and Aurora keeps him on his toes with her wisdom she doesn't believe she has. Aurora is so honor bound and has such self doubt. After falling in love with Kresten she was finally able to overcome it with Kresten's support and personality. Kresten and Aurora just complimented each other so well. Oh I almsot forgot to mention how much I 💙LOVE her nickname, Rory, I would never have thought of it for Aurora . It is so perfect though and suits her really well. I also 💙LOVE that characters from the other books were in it, especially Mikkel and Pearl. I have yet to read that story, and this book makes it sound like it will be more than worth the wait. This was SUCH a perfect ending to the series. I don't want to spoil anything, but I must say again I 💙LOVED the twist to this story. Especially concerning the stone and Kresten. It was so unexpected, but it was so like his character. I very highly recommend this. You don't need to read these in order(I didn't), but I would recommend reading them all at some point. Especially this one💙💙💙💙💙 **** Disclaimer I recieved a free copy of this book to review from the author. All opinions and thoughts are my own and I was not obligated to like or dislike this book.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

    In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . . A young queen trying to stay alive until she comes of age to rule, and a prince turned into a pauper. An inspirational, magical retelling of Sleeping Beauty! Besotted is a wondrous, romantic, thrilling conclusion to Jody Hedlund’s Fairest Maidens series. Knowing the original fairytale, I had some idea of what would happen, but just like the other two retellings in this series, Hedlund’s version is unique, exciting, and fresh. I can’t say en In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . . A young queen trying to stay alive until she comes of age to rule, and a prince turned into a pauper. An inspirational, magical retelling of Sleeping Beauty! Besotted is a wondrous, romantic, thrilling conclusion to Jody Hedlund’s Fairest Maidens series. Knowing the original fairytale, I had some idea of what would happen, but just like the other two retellings in this series, Hedlund’s version is unique, exciting, and fresh. I can’t say enough good things about this series. Hedlund’s books always make me feel, and Besotted is no exception. Rich with compelling characters and relevant lessons, Besotted is another example of Hedlund’s incomparable talent. The most poignant and valuable lesson present in this retelling is that of the role of selfishness in our lives, and how we all have a responsibility to help others, even at the expense of ourselves in some way. Kresten and Aurora are both wonderful examples of this, and I never wanted their story to end. Besotted is incredibly, sweetly romantic, and Hedlund excels at writing stories that stick with the reader long after the final pages. I can’t recommend this series enough. 5/5 stars I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Once again Hedlund has allowed me to travel into a world that has awesome characters and a cool plot to make you forget what is going on with this world for awhile. Believe me, I didn't want to return because it was very exciting from the opening page! There are many twists and turns along the way for Aurora and Kresten. I think for me, I like Kresten best. He seems like your down to earth young man who wants to complete his tasks along side his older brothers. He's kind, caring and seems to like h Once again Hedlund has allowed me to travel into a world that has awesome characters and a cool plot to make you forget what is going on with this world for awhile. Believe me, I didn't want to return because it was very exciting from the opening page! There are many twists and turns along the way for Aurora and Kresten. I think for me, I like Kresten best. He seems like your down to earth young man who wants to complete his tasks along side his older brothers. He's kind, caring and seems to like helping others along the way. I like some of the supporting characters too. This is a wonderful conclusion to this series and in my opinion the best story ever! I didn't want it to end. I really love it when Hedlund leaves my heart feeling full and satisfied. I highly recommend this series even though it's geared towards YA but anyone can read them! My thanks for a copy of this eBook. I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Bochman

    I feel so sad writing this review because it means that Jody Hedlund’s Fairest Maidens series is over. And I could stand at least 3 additional books – or more! The entire trilogy has been nothing short of delightful. Romantic, moving, intriguing, inspirational, and enthralling, these books have it all. In this final instalment, Besotted, we have a twist on the story of Sleeping Beauty. And what a fabulous twist it is. More than a classic fairy tale, this story contains layers of depth that hold I feel so sad writing this review because it means that Jody Hedlund’s Fairest Maidens series is over. And I could stand at least 3 additional books – or more! The entire trilogy has been nothing short of delightful. Romantic, moving, intriguing, inspirational, and enthralling, these books have it all. In this final instalment, Besotted, we have a twist on the story of Sleeping Beauty. And what a fabulous twist it is. More than a classic fairy tale, this story contains layers of depth that hold an air of poignancy. Moving beyond a surfacy, light-hearted romance, Hedlund has given her readers a story that will please both teens and adults alike. As for me, I will most definitely be returning to these books again and again. I received this book from the author. All opinions are my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lifeofliterature

    What an exciting end to a fantastic series! I have enjoyed every one of these stories, rich with enchanting settings, captivating characters, and clean romance. This novel also incorporated sweet moments of faithfulness and hope woven among the suspense of the evil Queen determined to harm Princess Aurora. The characters once again were easy to love and it did not take long for me to develop a fierce loyalty to the sweet Aurora and the arrogant but tender Kresten. This story is based on the Slee What an exciting end to a fantastic series! I have enjoyed every one of these stories, rich with enchanting settings, captivating characters, and clean romance. This novel also incorporated sweet moments of faithfulness and hope woven among the suspense of the evil Queen determined to harm Princess Aurora. The characters once again were easy to love and it did not take long for me to develop a fierce loyalty to the sweet Aurora and the arrogant but tender Kresten. This story is based on the Sleeping Beauty fairytale but with a surprising twist! I greatly enjoyed the novel and have truly loved every one of these stories. I am sorry to see the series end! This book is highly recommended not only to young adults, but also to readers of all ages! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Nelson

    This is the third and final book in Jody Hedlund’s latest series, “The Fairest Maidens.” It is set in the same story world as her Lost Princesses series, only at an early time. Once again the action is fast-paced, and the characters are great. There were plot twists that left me holding my breath to find out what was going to happen, and I loved the twist on true love’s kiss awakening the beloved. There’s good depth in the characters learning to turn from selfishness to living a life of self-den This is the third and final book in Jody Hedlund’s latest series, “The Fairest Maidens.” It is set in the same story world as her Lost Princesses series, only at an early time. Once again the action is fast-paced, and the characters are great. There were plot twists that left me holding my breath to find out what was going to happen, and I loved the twist on true love’s kiss awakening the beloved. There’s good depth in the characters learning to turn from selfishness to living a life of self-denial for the benefit of others. It’s great that Hedlund is releasing all three books quickly so that you don’t forget who the characters are and what has already happened. You could read this without reading the first two, but it’s much more fun to read all three. She wraps up the series nicely without leaving threads hanging. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chantel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Hands down, this is my new favorite series for YA. Every book builds on the one before it while also standing out as it’s own unique story. And Aurora’s story was just so incredibly perfect. As a slight reverse to the beloved tale of Sleeping Beauty, it was only fitting that Aurora and Kreshen danced in the forest when they met. Each detail of their romance was so sweet and I fell in love with their story right away. The bravery of Kreshen to bring down evil at the cost of all that he dreamed of Hands down, this is my new favorite series for YA. Every book builds on the one before it while also standing out as it’s own unique story. And Aurora’s story was just so incredibly perfect. As a slight reverse to the beloved tale of Sleeping Beauty, it was only fitting that Aurora and Kreshen danced in the forest when they met. Each detail of their romance was so sweet and I fell in love with their story right away. The bravery of Kreshen to bring down evil at the cost of all that he dreamed of and of the power of love over evil made it the perfect ending to the series... one that I will fully admit I am sad to see go, but will enjoy revisiting in the years to come.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    What a wonderful conclusion to a beautiful Fairy tale series! Besotted is a book that leaves you with all the feels! I loved each book in this series but I particularly loved how Besotted wrapped up all the loose ends from the first two books leaving every reader very satisfied. Sleeping Beauty has always been one of my favorite fairy tales and so I was really excited to read a retelling of it! I loved the fact that there were many instances of the classical story/movie -e.g a dance in the woods What a wonderful conclusion to a beautiful Fairy tale series! Besotted is a book that leaves you with all the feels! I loved each book in this series but I particularly loved how Besotted wrapped up all the loose ends from the first two books leaving every reader very satisfied. Sleeping Beauty has always been one of my favorite fairy tales and so I was really excited to read a retelling of it! I loved the fact that there were many instances of the classical story/movie -e.g a dance in the woods- but I also really loved the unique twists and turns this book took! The characters development and lessons learned were beautiful and I loved the theme of denying yourself for the ultimate good of others. All in all a lovely book and I'm giving it 4.5/5 stars. Disclaimer: i recieved an advanced copy if this book and all opinioms are strictly my own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    Jody Hedlund does a great job with this story, it was very sweet and wholly satisfying to read. The story started off a little slow for my liking but the beautiful ending more than made up for that. I loved Aurora's aunts, they had that touch of quirkiness that brought to mind the beloved fairies in the Disney film. Not gonna lie, Kresten and Aurora were kinda adorable! At first I thought they were a bit weak and simple as characters and I didn't like them as much as the two couples from the two Jody Hedlund does a great job with this story, it was very sweet and wholly satisfying to read. The story started off a little slow for my liking but the beautiful ending more than made up for that. I loved Aurora's aunts, they had that touch of quirkiness that brought to mind the beloved fairies in the Disney film. Not gonna lie, Kresten and Aurora were kinda adorable! At first I thought they were a bit weak and simple as characters and I didn't like them as much as the two couples from the two previous books. But they grew, matured and delveloped so much during the story that by the end they were my favourite couple of the three! Perfect is the only word I can use to describe the ending to this book and series!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Leann Arave

    The perfect title for this story because I was totally besotted with it. Wonderful conclusion to this fairytale series. I loved Aurora and Kresten’s story. The plot is well developed and keeps you on the edge of your seat. So many twists and turns. I just love Jody Hedlund’s imagination and story telling talents. It ties in with the series so well. The characters are perfect for each other. Watching their love grow and blossom was lovely. Both are strong and determined yet humble and caring. I w The perfect title for this story because I was totally besotted with it. Wonderful conclusion to this fairytale series. I loved Aurora and Kresten’s story. The plot is well developed and keeps you on the edge of your seat. So many twists and turns. I just love Jody Hedlund’s imagination and story telling talents. It ties in with the series so well. The characters are perfect for each other. Watching their love grow and blossom was lovely. Both are strong and determined yet humble and caring. I was at the crucial part of the story (93%) when my phone died! Don’t let that happen, it was excruciating waiting to finish! This trilogy is best read in order and I highly recommend It.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    What a fantastic conclusion to this series. Each brother is going through a testing, to see who would become King. We finally find out who gets the kingship. But before that happens, Kresten and Aurora’s story is told. Each brother has a unique journey and this one is no different. Danger, suspense, heartbreak are all included. Will they save Princess Ruby? These questions are all answered! I received a copy of this book from the author. All views stated here are my own.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Besotted was a lovely story based on Sleeping Beauty - with a twist! I liked that many elements of the story I know and love were represented, although in a non-traditional way. I loved that the characters from all 3 books in the series were able to reconvene, for a true series ending. In the end, Beholden was my favorite story, Besotted my second favorite, and Beguiled the third. All 3 were magical YA romances with a fairy tale feel and a common enemy. All were beautifully written, and had valu Besotted was a lovely story based on Sleeping Beauty - with a twist! I liked that many elements of the story I know and love were represented, although in a non-traditional way. I loved that the characters from all 3 books in the series were able to reconvene, for a true series ending. In the end, Beholden was my favorite story, Besotted my second favorite, and Beguiled the third. All 3 were magical YA romances with a fairy tale feel and a common enemy. All were beautifully written, and had values that I hold in high regard.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paty

    This is the final installment for “The Fairest Maidens” Series, and WOW! This Series is a new favorite of mine! Besotted is a unique Retelling of Sleeping Beauty, the best one I’ve read yet! Can’t praise it enough! And this last story that concludes the series is Queen Aurora’s story, the hidden Queen of Mercia that has lived her whole life in the midst of the Inglewood forest, living with her two doting aunts, and bodyguard and friend Chester, hiding away from Queen Margery, her mother’s sister This is the final installment for “The Fairest Maidens” Series, and WOW! This Series is a new favorite of mine! Besotted is a unique Retelling of Sleeping Beauty, the best one I’ve read yet! Can’t praise it enough! And this last story that concludes the series is Queen Aurora’s story, the hidden Queen of Mercia that has lived her whole life in the midst of the Inglewood forest, living with her two doting aunts, and bodyguard and friend Chester, hiding away from Queen Margery, her mother’s sister, who wants to end her life so she can have the Kingdoms of Mercia and Warwick to herself. She has lived a simple and sheltered life, unknown to anyone else, wating for her twentieth birthday, a couple months away, so she can rightfully claim the throne of Mercia, that her beloved mother Queen Lenora left. Her father has been Regent in her name, waiting for her to reach the age in which she can begin to reign. At the same time, this is Kresten’s story, the youngest Prince of Scania (we have seen Vilmar and Mikkel’s story, the eldest brothers, in Beholden and Beguiled), who is doing his Testing as a woodcutter in the Inglewood forest. Kresten is the lighthearted and less serious of the brothers, which, aside from being the youngest, makes him think he is the least suited to be a King, and that he’s a disappointment to his father, never matching up to his brothers worth. But he is sent to do his six month long Testing and is given a special sword with the motto “Deny Thyself” engraved on it. What does it mean? At first, he thinks it means to step out of his comfortable life and live as a pauper and work hard to earn his living. But maybe the phrase has a deeper meaning that he has to discover and live himself more deeply? Traipsing in the forest he accidentally meets Queen Aurora, thinking her an impoverished beautiful and enchanting woman. He’s immediately besotted with her beauty, innocence and sweet -yet strong- personality. Aurora also falls in love with Kresten in a matter of days. Both thinking the other is anything but royal. What they do know is that their love can’t be, yet they can’t help themselves falling hard for each other. Until Kresten hears that his brothers interrupted their Testing and got married. Now he’s the only one to finish the Testing and possibly be chosen as a King. And they want to meet him. Before leaving, he promises to return to Aurora in one month. But Chester is mad and afraid they might be exposed, so after Kresten leaves, he convinces Aurora to escape in order to avoid getting caught before her twentieth birthday. And when Kresten meets his brothers, they tell him of Queen Margery’s plan to kill Aurora and they device a plan to end Queen Margery’s evil reign and save Ruby, Pearl’s sister (both daughters of the evil Queen). But the plan means putting Aurora at risk. Can he go through with it? Is it too late to save Aurora or is she already in the Queen’s evil hands? You’ll have to read this book to live this journey with them and see how the story unfolds! It’s a great adventure, a total page turner and intriguing, yet beautiful and inspiring all the time! For me, the best part of the story, aside from the captivating plot, was the characters. Kresten is a true hero. His lighthearted character makes him charming, but beneath that lies a generous and compassionate man, capable of sacrifice, loyalty, and ultimately, denying himself and giving up what he loves more for the Greater Good, for others. I totally fell in love with him. I loved his fierceness in trying to save and protect Aurora. And Aurora is a wonderful character too, sweet and kind to the core, yet strong and determined to fulfill her duty over what her heart yearns for. There is so much to learn from the characters. The main and secondary too. And I loved that this story brings Vilmar, Mikkel and Kresten together and how they bond deeper in this mission than they ever had before. They have all grown in their Testing. Who will be the King of Scania and will Aurora claim her throne as Queen of Mercia? The ending was amazing and so genuine! As I said, with a beautiful and inspiring message about unconditional love, sacrifice, forgiveness and selflesness. You shouldn’t miss this story! It can be read as a standalone but I strongly recommend to read it from the start with the first book! An epic, worthy and delightful read! I received a complimentary copy of this book but wasn’t required to post a positive review. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Myhren-bennett

    Besotted The Fairest Maidens #3 By Jody Hedlund In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . . Queen Aurora of Mercia has lived in hiding for all of her life, hidden away from her aunt. Queen Margery of Warwick seeks her niece, needing to find her before her twentieth birthday and before she assumes the throne. But the deeply hidden isolation of Inglewood Forest has proven a safe place. At least until a young woodcutter stumbles upon it while escaping a wild boar. Warned to flee all stran Besotted The Fairest Maidens #3 By Jody Hedlund In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse . . . Queen Aurora of Mercia has lived in hiding for all of her life, hidden away from her aunt. Queen Margery of Warwick seeks her niece, needing to find her before her twentieth birthday and before she assumes the throne. But the deeply hidden isolation of Inglewood Forest has proven a safe place. At least until a young woodcutter stumbles upon it while escaping a wild boar. Warned to flee all strangers, Aurora is unexpectedly drawn to this young man. But Kresten offers her a secret glimpse into a world she knows nothing of. And he makes her happy, but she knows if her guardians discover her secret not only will she be in trouble but Kresten will be in danger. Kresten has two months remaining in his testing to determine his eligibility to be named king of Scania. Being named king is not his desire. And he is sure one of his two brothers is more than likely to be named king. But tradition demands this of him. But a living as a woodcutter is no easy task and the poverty he and his scribe Jorg live in is definitely in keeping with his task - deny self. A chance meeting with a beautiful young woman is about to test him in ways he never imagined. But Rory is unlike any young woman he has ever met, but a pauper would never be an acceptable match for a possible King of Scania. Denying self is much harder than he thought it would be. Besotted is the third book in the Fairest Maidens series and it focuses on the youngest Scanian prince Kresten and Mercia's hidden Queen Aurora. One can connect with the characters and empathize with their plights. And then there is Queen Margery who is the ultimate villain, who has no redeeming qualities. Mother or Aunt of the Year she is not. This is yet another delightful clean YA read from Jody Hedlund and a perfect series conclusion, though I have to admit I'm sorry that this series is ending. And the covers for this series are gorgeous making them a must for any bookcase. I like that there is a tie-in to Jody's previous series The Lost Princesses, which can be read before or after this series. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own

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