Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Dashti has only just started her service as Lady Saren's lady's maid when Lady Saren is condemned to seven years bricked up in a tower for her refusal to marry a man she despises. Seven years shut in away from the sky and fresh air, seven years of rationing food and fighting off rats and cold and loneliness, is more than Dashti signed up for. But she is determined to keep her oath and remain at her lady's side.
But life in the tower soon turns from miserable to life-threatening, and it is up to Dashti to make the choices that will save or damn her and Lady Saren both. And before she knows it, it seems her choices will not only determine the fate of herself and Lady Saren, but that of everyone in her country as well.
I really loved this book, and it's all because of Dashti. She is just one of those characters you want to hold onto tight and tell her that things will be okay, even when there is no logical reason that they will. She is brave in the face of odds. She is determined and loyal and clever very human and so very brave and I adore her.
The bits in the tower are okay, but it really gets good in the second half of the book. This is one of those rare books where the romance really really works for me and makes sense, and every time a niggling objection arose in my head, it was dealt with and answered in a really satisfying way.
Also, the ending made me cry. In a good way.