The Fairest Beauty
By Melanie Dickerson
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 336
Date Started: January 3, 2016
Date Finished: January 5, 2016
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.
I’ll start by saying that this is part of a series of fairy tale retellings and I started in the wrong order. If you want to start in the correct order, I believe the first on is The Healer’s Apprentice.
From the moment I started reading this book, I was enthralled in the world. I wanted to know if Sophie really was who Pinnosa claimed her to be. There were so many amazing twists and turns in this book, and although there was almost a dystopian feel, I absolutely adored it. Although this book it very obviously marketed and listed as a fairy tale retelling, when wrapped deeply in the story and continuing on, I had forgotten that it was supposed to be a fairy tale when Gabe and Sophie reach the Cottage of the Seven, and it took me a few minutes to recall. The fairy tale itself is expertly entwined with Dickerson’s plot, making this book a quick page turner, and hard to set down.
Again (and as I now suspect, in all of Dickerson’s Fairy Tale Romance stories) religion played a large role. This time, religion almost played the part of a parent to Sophie, reminding her of morals and values, and that although she had been treated quite unfairly, she should not seek vengeance or harbour hatred in her heart. Gabe also helped remind her of what God wants– for you to let go of all of your pain, and give it to him. Everyone needs to learn, at some point, that no one is meant to weather everything alone, and sometimes it is easier to let things go, forgive, and try to forget.
The one inconsistency that drew me out of the novel was the mention of how having a crossbow meant that there would be no reload time versus a long bow. A crossbow would be more deadly, and likely more accurate (easier to aim) especially on horseback, however, all traditional bows do need to be reloaded. More importantly, traditional crossbows generally need to be either stepped on or cranked to set the draw string back, which means there would be a bit more time between each shot than if someone had a long bow. Another inaccuracy mentioned is the arrows that Gabe would use for his crossbow– crossbows use bolts, which while comparable, are slightly different in that they are smaller and don’t have feathers.
Author Bio: (From Amazon)
Melanie Dickerson is the author of Historical Romances, and her favorite time periods are Medieval, which she has combined with her love of fairy tales, and Regency, which shows her love for Jane Austen and the fact that she has memorized the Pride and Prejudice movie–the one with Colin Firth, of course. She is a 2-time Christy Award finalist, a 2-time Maggie Award winner, winner of The National Reader’s Choice Award for 2010’s Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing, hanging out on facebook, and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on the web at http://www.MelanieDickerson.com.
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