This story is a new retelling of an old, old story. Avelina is a servant and companion to the earls daughter, lowly in standing, but very smart and clever on the spur of a moments notice as she is always needing to aide and cover up Dorotheas misdeeds.
When its discovered that Dorothea has run off with one of her fathers knights- just as word comes of the Margrave of Thornbeck holding a search for a bride- a bride that will help ally and strengthen neighboring regions- Avelina has little choice but to obey the earls command and take his daughters place!
Avelinas one job if she is to keep her family safe and well cared for is to get into the margraves good graces for the sake of her region- but not get herself noticed too much- and certainly not allow herself to fall in love with the margrave! With a serious of odd and dangerous occurrences keep happening around the castle Avelina however, may be in danger of failing her mission- and falling in love with a man she can never marry!
I read this book over the course of a couple of weeks as I sat in and out of doctors appointments and waiting rooms- and boy was I glad to have this book as companion! I really enjoy old themes and stories being retold in new ways and enjoy the medieval time period this book is set in! Its a nice change of pace from more modern books and settings, and from some of the same-old, same-old historical eras and settings that flood the market today.
I really love reading YA fiction from time to time and usually find that the storylines are more interesting and the plot is more detailed with more twists and turns than your average novel. This is the case of this book by Melanie Dickerson. As in her previous works I found myself drawn right into the story and swept along to enjoy every minute of it! I cannot remember anything that I found objectionable content wise, though if you are sensitive to kissing scenes and talk of attraction there is some of that in the latter portion of the book. I didnt find this overly or soppily done (as I do in many books) but felt it was in keeping for the situations and relationship point where they take place. Frankly, I was more interested in at last solving the whole of the mystery that is throughout the story, and was glad to see it come to a satisfying conclusion!
I would recommend this book for yourself or for a mid-teen reader that you may know!
Final Rating: 4.5
I have been given a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and opinion of the product.
Ahh yes, another heart-warming tale by Melanie Dickerson filled with sweet romance and happily-ever-afters. For me, I love the medieval time period, its so nice to read something not set in the 1800s or in present day. Id say that Melanie Dickersons books are geared toward more of a teenage crowd, but anyone can read them! I certainly enjoyed it.
But...🙂 just a couple of things. Melanie Dickersons storylines are always the same, and you can bet that after reading so many of her books, it gets a little predicable. Halfway through the book, I already knew the ending! It made reading the second half boring and dull.
Her characters have the same problem. The problem isnt that theyre too boring or dull but too perfect. Theyre sweet, gorgeous, and smart. You guessed it, they will probably find out that they happen to be a princess. I dont know about you but I cannot relate to them. (For once I would like to read about a peasant marrying a peasant) This makes them dull and boring to read about.
I think Melanie Dickerson is such a gifted writer, she can do so much more with her abilities! She just needs to explore what she is capable of.
This book was still a good read. If you have a teenage daughter or never read a Melanie Dickerson book, then give it a try! Youll find her stories will sweep you up into a whirlwind of mystery, romance and a happily-ever-after.
Melanie Dickerson has taken elements of two fairy tales, the Beauty and The Beast along with The Princess and The Pea, and crafted a wholly new tale of Historical Fiction. Had I not known that this was somewhat a fairy tale retelling, I might not have identified these elements so readily, or the feeling that it was ever so slightly reminiscent of The Goose Girl.
The Margrave, Lord Thornbeck, is the gruff and difficult but attractive Beast/Prince, masking his wounded heart. Avelina is adorably plucky and self-sacrificing, a lovely heroine forced into a difficult situation. The forces that come between them add to the tension and the fun of seeing these two attractive people find their way to each other, overcoming the obstacles of evil intentions and class divides as the "beauty" helps to heal the "beast."
This is the second book I have read by Melanie Dickerson and I hope to read more. These are some of my favorite fairy tale based YA reads so far and I greatly enjoy the way that they blend in the faith journeys of the characters. Highly recommended.
This review refers to a review copy received, for free, from Thomas Nelson's Fiction Guild. All opinions expressed are my own.
When the Margrave of Thornbeck Forest is charged by the king to choose a wife from among the neighboring estates within the next month, he takes his huntsmans advice to invite all the potential young women to his estate for two weeks to test their character. Unbeknownst to them all, one of the ladies is but a servant in disguise. Too bad she seems to be the only one with the kind of character worth his consideration
The Beautiful Pretender is yet another of Melanie Dickersons fairy tales rewritten in medieval Germany. This one, like the other in this new series, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (and, yes, Odette and Jorgen make cameos!), wasnt too clear on what the fairy tale was but seemed a very loose combination of The Princess and the Pea and Beauty and the Beast mixed with almost an Esther theme. And it was amazing! One of the better books from Melanie Dickerson that I have read.
How can you fall in love when you know you are deceiving the one you care about? And would they love you back if they found out? Talk about an awkward situation, but certainly one that novels have covered many times. The Beautiful Pretender portrayed the situation very well with the added danger of a spying contestant and her father determined to destroy both the Margrave and the deceptive lady-in-waiting. But they are certainly up to the task of conquering their foes and falling in love. And, who would have thoughta woman who knows how to pick locks in the Middle Ages! I certainly wouldnt have.
The Beautiful Pretender was a lovely historical romance that I would highly recommend to those who enjoy a sweet fairytale romance.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
What a wonderful story! I think The Beautiful Pretender is my new favorite Melanie Dickerson novel! I think I fell in love with Avelina's wit and candor even faster than the Margrave did. This was one of those rare stories that I became so totally immersed in that I felt like I was right there experiencing everything alongside the characters.
Reading book one in the series, The Huntress Of Thornbeck Forest, will definitely give some background to the story but I felt that The Beautiful Pretender could be read standalone as well. If you haven't read book one yet, by all means do, but don't let it stop you from reading this book. Melanie Dickerson is very good at connecting her stories while still making each one complete on its own.
I honestly can't say enough about The Beautiful Pretender and how much I enjoyed it. Melanie Dickerson has a real winner in this one. It is a truly delightful and satisfying story. One that is richly detailed and with enough danger and romance to keep any reader completely enthralled. From its gorgeous cover to the very last page you just won't want to miss The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson!
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.)