*Daughter of Arden Trilogy by Loren Warnemuende

The Daughter of Arden Trilogy is an epic retelling of an older fairy tale; in its new version, strong echoes of Christian faith mingle with a romance, a war, and a quest.

Daughter of Arden Trilogy by Loren Warnemuende. Bandersnatch Books.

  • Exile, 2022. 296 pages.
  • Wandering, 2022. 500 pages.
  • Promise, 2023. 657 pages.

Reading Level: Teens, ages 12 and up.

Recommended For: Teens, ages 12 and up. (See below)

The Daughter of Arden Trilogy takes a source tale (of Maleen) and expands it to fill a generous trilogy, complete with warring kingdoms, a princess who learns to trust the Maker, a full cast of supporting characters, and a happily ever after ending. Although based on a secular fairy tale, Loren crafted a transparently Christian fairy tale in her expansion. I interviewed Loren about her process for our November, 2023, issue of the Redeemed Reader Quarterly. If you’re a member, you might want to refresh your memory!

Daughter of Arden #1: Exile

cover of daughter of arden exile

Princess Maleen knows what she wants and it’s not marriage to some prince her father (the king of Arden) wants an alliance with. No thank you. She’d rather be sealed up in a tower with only a maidservant for however long is necessary. Spoiler alert: that’s what happens! Proud and defiant, she marches to the tower in full view of her father’s subjects, the people of Arden. She’s wearing a dress that sets her loveliness off to best advantage. Surely her father will relent. Surely Prince Melanor (not her father’s chosen prince) will rescue her!

It takes a skilled author to write a volume that takes place almost entirely within a tower that is nonetheless absorbing reading. But Loren succeeds! Maleen is walled in with a woman named Marietta who had cared for her when she was a baby. Marietta is a woman of great faith who treasures the Writings and teaches Maleen much in the way of character, trust, and obedience. Gradually Maleen matures, both as a young woman and a believer in the Maker. As the two women become close in their forced companionship, they wonder what is happening outside. There’s obviously a war going on, but who is winning and who, even, is fighting, is something at which they can only guess.

Daughter of Arden Trilogy #2: Wandering

cover of daughter of arden wandering

Astute readers will realize from the titles of the individual volumes that Maleen and Marietta are no longer trapped in the tower in this volume. I won’t spoil the manner in which they exited the tower, but volume two finds them wandering in a desolate Arden. Pillaged by war, overrun with the enemy, and struggling for survival, Arden and its people are destitute. Maleen can only assume her father was killed in battle; otherwise, wouldn’t he have set the country back to rights? Wouldn’t he be on the throne?

Maleen hears rumors that the princess survived and that the enemy is looking for her. Since she is the princess, and because she doesn’t know who the victor is, she and Marietta travel as inconspicuously as possible. Villainous men and distrustful fellow travelers keep them constantly on guard. Sickness, kidnapping, near-drowning, hunger dog their steps. Maleen even contracts the dreaded Dragon Fever. Traveling as two females without any security attachment is risky, and it’s only through the aid of people clearly put in their path by the Maker that the two women fare as well as they do.

Maleen ends this book nearly despairing that she can help her people. She knows she will have to assume the throne as her father’s heir, but she is utterly unsure how that can ever come to pass.


  • Sexuality and Violence: at one point, Maleen is at the mercy of two soldiers who are clearly bent on assaulting her. She is rescued, but older readers will have no trouble reading between the lines about what might have happened to her.

Daughter of Arden Trilogy #3: Promise

cover of daughter of arden promise

It’s a fairy tale, so we’re fairly sure Maleen’s story will end happily ever after. But what a journey! Truthfully, this third volume could have been a little shorter, but I still found it absorbing.

Maleen and Marietta have taken refuge in a neighboring kingdom, the same neighboring kingdom with that eligible young prince Maleen’s father wanted her to marry. How convenient. But neither Maleen nor Prince Jared intends to re-instate that arrangement. He’s due to marry her cousin, and she intends to rally her people and re-take Arden.

In the midst of relationship troubles, a troubling issue arises related to certain Dragon Fever survivors. It seems that there’s a strange power they have; it manifests itself differently in different people, giving each individual unique, powerful gifts. When Maleen discovers her gift, she’s baffled—and afraid. What if she uses it in such a way that it not only destroys her but hurts those she loves? The Writings Sage (like a priest) is even afflicted. On top of this, Prince Melanor (yes, the same Prince Melanor a younger Maleen mooned over) is a constant threat at the borders. His father’s kingdom is the victor over Arden, the army decimated that once lovely country.

Because this is a fairy tale, we assume that the main characters will end up in a wedding. And that does happen. But what I loved about their union was the way both Jared and Maleen are stronger both as individuals and as a team than they ever were before the wedding. I won’t go into details because I don’t want to spoil it, but they don’t simply complement one another, they truly magnify the other. It’s a beautiful picture of a marriage and the title Promise seems apt.

All’s well that ends well, but do be sure you read this trilogy all together. This third volume brings in characters that haven’t been mentioned since early in book 1 along with all the main characters from book 2 and a host of new characters in book 3. It will be challenging to keep up with them all if you’ve let too much time lapse between volumes.


  • Sexuality: A young Ardener, a friend of Maleen’s from book 2, was assaulted by Melanor’s troops and her parents were killed. She arrives on the scene in book 3 deeply traumatized. No details are given, leaving readers to imagine what they will. Astute older readers will have no trouble filling in possible scenarios; younger readers will probably not pick up on it.
  • Romance: This one ends with a wedding! (A great ending to this trilogy.) But along the way, there are a few kisses. And there are some comments regarding the wedding night. Everything is discreet and in good taste.

*Daughter of Arden Trilogy as a Whole

The Daughter of Arden trilogy is a significant work, both in its length, its cast of characters, its scale, and its depth of insight. Maleen’s faith journey in the book is believable and relatable. And, because it is her journey, the series doesn’t come across an evangelistic tool couched in fiction (like much Christian fiction from my own teen years). The faith in the books isn’t officially Christianity, but the Maker and the Writings are clearly connected to the Lord and the Bible. Much of the Writings that Marietta and the rest quote will remind readers of the Psalms; that is both intentional on Loren’s part and inescapable since she has spent so much time in the Word herself.

When we started reviewing books here at Redeemed Reader, more than a decade ago, Christian fiction—especially Christian fiction from small, independent presses—had a hard time competing with traditional publishing houses. Writers may have been talented, but they suffered from a lack of editing resources and robust editorial processes in general. We’re delighted to see books like this Daughter of Arden series appearing on the market from presses like Bandersnatch Books. The writing is lovely and the print production quality is good. These will be hard to find in your local library, and they will be hard to find in bookstores. We encourage you to consider buying them directly from Bandersnatch. Another option worth considering if finances are an issue is the Kindle version. You can purchase all three on Kindle for much less than three hard copies. I haven’t seen the Kindle version, but books like this usually translate just fine to that medium. Loren’s daughters designed her book covers and did the art at the beginning of each chapter; the chapter art is black and white and should show up in digital format well.

Overall Rating: 4.75/5

  • Literary/Artistic Rating: 4.5
  • Worldview Rating: 5

Read more about our ratings here. *indicates a starred review

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Consider buying this series directly from Bandersnatch Books!

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Betsy Farquhar

Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Southeast.

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