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“The most valuable thing you can own is the assurance of your place in someone’s heart. It is far better than any necklace, far better than any apartment,” Hollis. –The Betrothed  

The Betrothed

by Kiera Cass 
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The King of Corona, Jameson, is young and handsome, but he is not the type to settle down. Everyone has watched him flirt his way from girl to girl. So when Hollis catches the King’s eye, she assumes that Jameson will quickly lose interest and move on.

Hollis has grown up at Keresken Castle among other daughters of nobility, most of whom hope to catch the King’s eye. So when King Jameson declares his love for Hollis, she is shocked. Hollis soon realizes that along with the extravagant presents and fawning attention, this new life brings expectations—expectations that make her wonder if she’s really cut out for life as a royal.

With a visit from the King of Isolte on the horizon, Hollis sees a chance to prove to Jameson—and herself—that she has what it takes to be queen. But when she meets an Isolten stranger with the mysterious power to see into her heart, she realizes the future she wants is one she never dared dream of.

Even though the story is told from Hollis’s point of view, it is hard to understand why King Jameson would want her as his queen. Hollis’s behavior is immature and self-serving. She doesn’t want to be a good queen for the sake of the country. Instead, she wants to be a good queen so others will admire her. This is reinforced when several characters, including Hollis’s parents, do not believe Hollis’s behavior is fit for a queen. Hollis’s self-serving nature makes it hard to relate to her struggles.

While The Selection Series by Kiera Cass is an engaging, action-packed series, The Betrothed has a weak plot and underdeveloped characters. For example, masked men kill everyone at a wedding. However, the murders are never investigated and the only death that seemed to matter was the death of Hollis’ husband. In addition, the conclusion is anticlimactic and unbelievable. The Betrothed is appropriate for middle school readers who may find the simple romance entertaining. However, most readers will want to skip The Betrothed for a more compelling romance such as What Light by Jay Asher or Pugs and Kisses by J.J. Howard.

Sexual Content

  • While on a boat ride, Hollis believes the King thinks she is “irresistible.” Since there are other people around, the prince “was forced to settle for placing a warm kiss on my cool forehead. It was enough to send new waves through my stomach, and I wondered if every moment with him would feel like this.”
  • Hollis knows the King has kissed other girls and wonders, “if his not kissing me yet was a good sign or a bad one.”
  • The King kisses Hollis. She “leaned into it. To finally be kissed was a wondrous thing, and to be kissed by a king was even more thrilling. Jameson drew me close, holding my chin and pulling away when he deemed the kiss long enough.”
  • While alone, Hollis and Silas kiss. “Silas cupped my cheeks, holding me with such tenderness that I felt everything inside my body melting. I could feel the calluses on his fingers as they traced the edges of my face, and I couldn’t help but compare the feeling to that of Jameson’s perfectly smooth hands.” They break apart when they hear footsteps coming.
  • Hollis and Silas kiss again. “It was so easy, like falling into the rhythm of a dance or taking a deep breath. Kissing Silas was like something that had always been waiting for me, something I knew how to do without thinking. His hands went up into my hair, holding me tight, and his lips moved feverishly. . .”
  • Hollis and Silas kiss and she thinks “it was the most beautiful thing, to be free and alone with Silas.”


  • At a wedding, masked men come and kill everyone in the house. One girl survives. She tells her mother, “They came with masks down and swords drawn, stabbing at anyone in their way, even the maids.”

 Drugs and Alcohol

  • Hollis invites some friends to her apartment. Wine is served and Hollis “picked up a glass of ale.”
  • During a festival, wine is served. The king is seen with “the chalice in his hand, amber ale spilling from one side.”
  • At a wedding, the guests have “goblets of ale.”


  • A girl whose parents are divorced, is called a bastard. The girl tells Hollis, “When everyone was muttering that I was a bastard, you ignored them.”
  • When Hollis decides to marry Silas, Hollis’ mother calls him “your pig of a son.”


  • When Hollis leaves the king to marry Silas, some believe she is a witch. “With the way the king was acting, someone said you must have cast a spell on him to drive him to such madness.”

Spiritual Content

  • The King asks Hollis, “Do you ever thank the gods that you have me for a king and not that grouch, King Quinten?”
  • When King Quinten comes to visit, the King says, “The Lady Hollis and I welcome you as my father did, as a fellow sovereign, placed by the gods, and as a dear friend.”
  • During a celebration, someone says, “Let us today renew our devotion to King Jameson and pray for his life to extend for many years, and for his heirs to be plenty!”
  • During the celebration, the King says, “I pray for our kingdom to prosper.”
  • At a wedding, masked men kill everyone present. Later, Hollis says, “I am grateful. I know that living through a situation where I surely ought to have died is a gift but I cannot think of why in the world the gods would spare me.”
  • When Hollis goes to look for Silas’s mother and sister, she “prayed that if I stayed on this course, I’d find them.”


Other books by Kiera Cass 
Other books you may enjoy

“The most valuable thing you can own is the assurance of your place in someone’s heart. It is far better than any necklace, far better than any apartment,” Hollis. –The Betrothed  

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