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The Silent Songbird #7, Fairy Tale Romance series, By Melanie Dickerson
Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not an arranged marriage. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.
To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to the castle.
Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn’t even a servant.
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2016
|Dimensions: 8.40 X 5.50 (inches)|
Series: Fairy Tale Romance
From New York Times bestselling author comes The Silent Songbird!
Evangeline is gifted with a heavenly voice, but she is trapped in a sinister betrothal until she embarks on a daring escape and meets brave Westley le Wyse. Can he help her discover the freedom to sing again?
Desperate to flee a political marriage to her cousin King Richard IIs closest advisor, Lord Shiveleya man twice her age with shadowy motivesEvangeline runs away and joins a small band of servants journeying back to Glynval, their home village.
Pretending to be mute, she gets to know Westley le Wyse, their handsome young leader, who is intrigued by the beautiful servant girl. But when the truth comes out, it may shatter any hope that love could grow between them.
More than Evangelines future is at stake as she finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue that threatens Englands monarchy.Should she give herself up to protect the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?
Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author of The Healers Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on line at melaniedickerson.com Facebook: MelanieDickersonBooks and Twitter @melanieauthor
Mrs ARS4 Stars Out Of 5Secretly SilentMay 24, 2017Mrs ARSQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson was a very interesting take on the classic tale of The Little Mermaid. I was quite curious to see where author Dickerson would take the tale without using magic, or without Evangeline being a mermaid. She did a very good job with the premise and I could see many Little Mermaid elements woven in, but by the time I got halfway through the story it took a life of its own and didn't seem so much like a retelling anymore.
The medieval setting was fascinating, and I could tell that the author had put a lot of research into what it was like back then.
The characters were interesting in their own rights. Evangeline was a sweet, kind heroine, if a little naive; and I believe the same could be said for Westley. They were perfect for each other, really. The other characters were nice, and I thought it was interesting to see how Dickerson wove her characters from The Merchant's Daughter into this story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Fiction Guild. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.
JessicaAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5A good read.May 7, 2017JessicaAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0After the death of her parents, Evangeline is left in the care of her cousin, King Richard II. When she learns that the king has promised her as a wife to his advisor, Lord Shiveley, Evangeline runs away.
Knowing that they will come after her, and that she is known for her beautiful singing voice, she pretends to be mute and joins a group of servants who are journeying back to their village.
Westley is leading the servants, and he takes the mute young maiden under his protection. They grow closer, finding ways to communicate other than speaking, but when the truth comes out it could tear them apart.
As events unfold, Evangeline's future, Westley's life, and the fate of England hang in the balance.
This novel is part of Melanie Dickerson's Fairy Tale Romance series. It's a retelling of The Little Mermaid, minus the mermaids and magic. It's a light read that will keep the pages turning with action and romance.
My only negative with this one was that the characters' thoughts often summarized events that just occurred within the last few pages. It wasn't necessary, as the action played out well, and this retelling took away from it.
Other than that, it's a good read for those who lovea clean, action-filled romance.
I received a copy of this book from BookLook in exchange for an honest review.
Becky4 Stars Out Of 5Beautiful, Unique, and Creative Retelling of The Little MermaidFebruary 25, 2017BeckyQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Fairy tale retellings are popular right now. I love these retellings, especially those written by Melanie Dickerson. Most of us know the tale of The Little Mermaid, but youve never heard it told this way before. Oh and not to mention that this is a world that is all human and magic doesnt exist set in Medieval Times.
Where do I even begin?! I enjoyed The Silent Songbird so much! When I first found out this was a retelling for The Little Mermaid, I wondered how Melanie Dickerson was going to pull that off without mermaids and magic. I mean, thats what I usually think of when I think of this classic fairy tale. Melanie Dickerson will never cease to blow my mind because she pulls it off fantastically. How she does it, I have no idea. This girl has a gift!
While this is the seventh book in the Hagenheim series, you dont have to read them in order. Ive only read The Golden Braid and this one so far. Each book is about a different character from a different fairy tale, but they all tie in so its probably more fun to read them in the order. In fact, I heard that the le Wyse family appear in another book, The Merchants Daughter. Im definitely going to have to find that one because I loved that family so much! This time we find the setting to be partly in Berkhamsted Castle and Glynva in England.
Not only is the cover gorgeous, Dickerson immediately drew me in the story from the very beginning. The pages just kept on flying until I found myself at the very end.
Evangeline has her mind set not to marry the old disgusting King Shiveley so she runs away. She is bold, fierce, and brave. She believes that she needs a man or a friend to protect her but then realizes that she needs God to fill that role. She stands out from most a lot of female characters in young adult fiction because she is independent. She doesnt need a man to protect her. In fact, she ends up saving a handsome young mans life twice! She will do anything to protect those she cares about and perseveres through her tasks even when she finds that she is terrible at them. She is far from perfect, but thats what I loved about this redhead. I loved seeing how real, vulnerable, and honest she was in her faith journey. Her role was refreshing.
Then theres Westley. Sigh. Ive got a crush on him. Hes not a peasant, but he has no title. His father is the Lord of Glynval. He is kind to his servants, making sure they have fair wages and everything they need. He goes above and beyond. Hes the kind of guy that would literally give the shirt off his back if someone needed it. He will do anything to make sure those he loves are safe. Hes a wonderful and Godly man.
The writing was wonderfully done. Dickerson draws you into her world where the characters become friends. Its like youre actually there. You can feel everything theyre feeling. Youll laugh, cry, cheer, get angry, and all of the feels!
Its cheesy and some spots are quite predictable, but I really enjoyed this one. Its a clean wholesome read where theres romance and sword fighting. While the story is completely different, there are some nods to the original fairy tale. Dickerson also does not fail to point her characters and readers towards God in a non-preachy way.
The biggest topics that pop up are deception/deceiving and forgiveness.
There were even a few references, including Westleys name, that made me think of The Princess Bride. Super cute!
Highly recommended for anyone and everyone who enjoys a fun fairy tale retelling. Perfect for those seeking a fun and light read.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
CallieAge: 18-24Gender: female2 Stars Out Of 5It Wasn't GreatFebruary 10, 2017CallieAge: 18-24Gender: femaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 02/5 stars.
I picked The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson because I love a good fairytale retelling, and I had never read one of Dickerson's before. However, I have to admit, I skimmed the second half of the book because it just didn't grab me and I found myself getting annoyed at a few things.
I really liked the idea of this story, which was somewhat of a fairytale retelling...the main character was like a mix of Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Merida from Brave (let's just ignore the fact that both of those are at the bottom of my list of favorite Disney Princesses). The bones of the plot had a lot of potential. The part I liked best about this book was that I thought the author did a pretty good job of incorporating faith into this book in a really natural way, including a brief presentation of the Gospel. A lot of times this feels forced into Christian fiction, but I thought it was done pretty well in this book.
There are a few reasons I wouldn't recommend this book.
(One) - I didn't like the way this book represented men. For the most part, all the male characters were either villians, had questionable character, or were made to look ridiculous or unreasonable at some point. This was also reflected in the way some of the female characters talked about men. The only man who was not portrayed negatively was Westley, and even he was made to look occasionally clueless.
They also made him apologize to Eva a little excessively, in my opinion. Why does he have to apologize for not unquestioningly accepting her word? He didn't even know her!
(Two) - I also found many (really, a lot) of the situations in this book really not believable. If Westley was supposed to be some sort of a noblemen, I just don't think he would be fraternizing so much with the servants in his house. Whenever anything happened to Eva, he was always right there.
One particular scene stood out as a little ridiculous to me. Eva is practicing her archery (and of course Westley happens to be there), and a friend of Westley (who Eva saw trying to kill Wesley earlier in the book), comes up and greets them in a friendly way. Eva swings her arrow around and points it at the man, to "protect" Westley, and accuses and threatens the other man.
Let's go over why this bugged me: 1) In the real world during this time, I'm pretty sure she would have been fired on the spot for the way she handled that, even if she was right about the man. 2) I hate how this situation made Wesley seem clueless and helpless. Once again, it felt like a negative view of men being reflected in this scene. 3) I have a HUGE pet peeve about women "protecting" men in fiction or film, with the clueless man standing there doing nothing. This always seems to me like a cheap ploy to make the heroine seem strong and "empowering", and it just really irks me. It's a lazy way of making a woman seem "strong". And I don't know what's particularly strong anyway about foolishly threatening to shoot a nobleman and accusing him without any proof!
And finally, I just have to mention how at one point the characters end up walking, eating food at a festival, and laughing together about how they just fended off the bad guys who almost murdered them. Like they had just finished watching a movie instead of fighting for their lives! Oh boy.
(Three) - On top of all that, the writing in this book left much to be desired. The characters felt really one-dimensional, and the plot didn't have a lot of internal tension, it was mostly driven by external situations. It felt like the author just thought of a bunch of characters and events, and wrote it all out linearly without taking time to paint the scene or develop the characters or relationships. Many of the scene-shifts were jarring (like the above scene for an example - one minute we're practicing archery, the next we are threatening to shoot somebody, with no real transition or glimpse into Eva's thought process for this rather foolish move). It also felt like there was a lack of historical research for a book that was supposed to be set in 1300's England. Dickerson threw in a couple nods to history and a few old English words, and seemed to think that was good enough, but I think even the intended audience of teenagers appreciates a well-researched and well-thought-out book.
Bottom Line - Though this book had the potential to be a cute story, the writing was not great, and the portrayal of men was troubling to me. I wouldn't recommend this book to adult women because of the lack of depth, and I wouldn't recommend it to the intended audience (preteen/teen girls) because of the (in my opinion) generally negative portrayal of men.
Note: I received a digital copy of this book for free in exchange for a review. This is my honest opinion.
Chas Ray5 Stars Out Of 5Loved it!February 10, 2017Chas RayQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I have to admit, I wasn't sure that I would like The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson. I was hooked withing the first few pages and I couldn't put it down. This is the first book I've read by Melanie, but I can promise, it will not be the last. Set in England in the late 1300's ,Melanie Dickerson takes the readers on a journey they won't soon forget!
Evangeline is the illegitimate daughter of the late Duke of Clarence and therefore a ward of the king.
She and Richard grew up together and were close childhood friends, but when she hears that Richard, the king, has decreed she marry Lord Shiveley, she questions their friendship. Shiveley gives her the creeps and she hopes that she can appeal to King Richard and get him to agree she doesn't have to marry the man. When her talk with the king doesn't go as planned Evangeline decides she must run away to be free.
Running away when you're the ward of the king isn't easy. Everybody knows who you are and would be all to happy to return you to his castle to receive his favor. When Muriel, Evangeline's friend and closest confident sees Evangeline preparing to run away she makes the fateful choice to follow her. She figures she can take care of Evangeline should she get into any trouble, besides she figures after a day or two of hard work Evangeline will come running back.
Westley le Wyse is on his way home after selling his grain and wares at the castle when he runs into a beautiful red haired maiden and her friend. Could she be the woman he heard singing from the window of the king's castle? Unfortunately, she's mute but he's willing to escort her and her friend on their journey and make sure no harm comes to her. Little does he know, the maiden he's escorting is Evangeline and her friend Muriel.
The Silent Songbird is a tale of love and loss and following one's heart no matter what society tells you to do. It would have been easy for Evangeline to marry Lord Shiveley, even though he gave her the creeps, just to make the king happy and secure her future. She knew deep down however, that she couldn't do it. She wanted to marry for love. Even if she had to take on the life of a peasant and work chores that are way beneath her station. She is willing to fight for what she believes in.
I was skeptical of Muriel at first, she complained, a lot! I figured she would take the first opportunity to rat Evangeline out and send her back to the castle. Muriel is also a ward of the king and she thinks Evangeline is crazy for wanting to work as a servant and refusing to marry Lord Shiveley. It seems she underestimated her friend and her determination. Muriel seems flat out unhappy, she never smiles, she gripes, complains and tries to convince Evangeline to go back to the castle. I wondered why on earth she demanded to accompany Evangeline in the first place. It doesn't take long to figure out that Muriel was only looking out for Evangeline and has her best interest at heart. The reason Muriel is so miserable, besides doing harder work that she has ever done in her life, she left the love of her live back at the king's castle and she figured they would have long returned by now.
Westley was my favorite, he is an all-around good guy. He and his father try to treat their servants as fair as the other villagers. They don't lord their money over people. They aren't fake, they genuinely care for others. Despite Evangeline not being able to speak, well pretending to be mute, she and Westley find themselves enjoying each others company and building a relationship. Will he still feel the same when he finds out she has lied?
I absolutely LOVED The Silent Songbird. The old saying is true, "Never judge a book by its cover". Although the cover is beautiful I still had my reservations about the book. I'm so glad Melanie Dickerson proved me wrong! I fell in love with the story and the characters and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.
*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.
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