The Fairest Beauty
by Melanie Dickerson Published by Zondervan
on January 8th 2013 Genres: Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
, Young Adult Fiction Pages:
A daring rescue.
A difficult choice.
Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother's jealousy, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be Sophie's one chance at freedom—but can she trust another person to keep her safe?
Gabe defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the girl's inner and outer beauty has enchanted him. Though romance is impossible—she is his brother's future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else—he promises himself he will see the mission through, no matter what.
When the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help—but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Now both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them—they must also protect their hearts.
You get exactly what you would expect from Melanie Dickerson in her Hagenheim series. Fairytale retellings, cute romances, determined heroines, and handsome heroes. These books are light-hearted and, of course, fun to read with a wholesome message of faith.
I keep reading all these books out of order, but each is technically standalone with mentions of previous characters in earlier books and those who will have their own stories later. The Fairest Beauty is a Snow White retelling about a young woman named Sophie and her rescuer Gabe. I liked the relationship between the two. The ending was satisfying. I like Valten better.
I didn’t love this book. There was nothing that wowed me. I got what I expected and nothing more than that. There are two reasons: sometimes the couples’ relationship sounds the same or has the same scenario as well as the villains not being fleshed out enough. I would have liked to have more scenes with the Duchess in this book. I get her motive, but I wanted to know more about her past or what/if something made her that way.
The Beautiful Pretender
by Melanie Dickerson Published by Thomas Nelson Inc
on May 17th 2016 Genres: Christian
, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
, Romance Pages:
After inheriting his title from his brother, the margrave has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise? The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble born ladies who meet the king’s approval to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character. Avelina has only two instructions: keep her true identity a secret and make sure the margrave doesn’t select her as his bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea. Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences
Avelina is a young woman with romantic dreams which she weaves into her own private stories, but in reality she serves dutifully to provide for her family as a maidservant for the Earl of Plimmwald’s daughter. Soon Avelina is given a potentially dangerous task too important to fail, not only for her own sake but for the sake of the very lives around her. Posing as Lady Dorothea wouldn’t be so difficult if the Margrave of Thornbeck wasn’t so drawn to the very girl he’s not supposed to love.
Melanie Dickerson never fails to write cute, heartwarming fairytales. She also never fails to bring to life swoon worthy and mysterious men like the Margrave of Thornbeck. Avelina was an enjoyable, quirky young woman with a reasonably good head on her shoulders. I adored these two together and that last chapter was fluffy enough to melt ice. With that said, there aren’t many plot twists and some things were really predictable, but I feel like this book was satisfying enough for me because the cuteness was all I needed.
Helen of Sparta
by Amalia Carosella Published by Lake Union Publishing
on April 1st 2015 Genres: Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
, Literary Pages:
Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war--a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers--violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war--thwart Helen's plans and bar her path. Still, she refuses to bend to the will of the gods.A new take on an ancient myth, Helen of Sparta is the story of one woman determined to decide her own fate. The sequel to Helen of Sparta will be published by Lake Union Publishing in May 2016.
An ethereal beauty born of Leda and Zeus, Helen of Sparta is a young princess famed for her magnificent features which no other mortal woman can rival. To onlookers, it seems Helen has everything she could ever want. However, Helen suffers from mistreatment and bitterness from her own mother and is expected to marry Menelaus even against her will. Worse yet are the nightmares of a foreign prince and a war at her expense. A famed hero by the name of Theseus seems like the answer to all her problems, perhaps even her loneliness, but life with him is not without new troubles.
I found Helen of Sparta to be an interesting read since I’ve never before read anything to do with Helen as a central character. This book gives us a look into how she might have felt and what she might have wished for in her life before Paris and the Trojan War. I’ve never really considered what she was like before becoming Helen of Troy. I liked seeing her as a person rather than an attractive prize to be fought over. As for how she is portrayed, I think I liked her character and she is not as perfect in personality as she is in beauty. She is both strong and at times weak, but admirable in her struggles.
I’m still contemplating over the book and the characters, but Theseus was another one that I liked. He was also perfectly flawed in that there were moments I wanted to tell him that he was too old for his own selfish, reckless decisions. I’m back and forth with my attitude about their relationship, some moments I like their relationship and other times it’s just ‘iffy.’ Overall, I did like them and I’m dreading what will eventually come next for the two. On a side note, Theseus should pick better friends.
I’m looking forward to reading book two, By Helen’s Hand, but at the same time dreading what will happen next.