Friday, February 8, 2013

The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson

TheFairestBeauty Teen Talk: Melanie Dickerson, The Fairest Beauty; Lisa Orchard, Super SpiesA 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. 


Melanie does a fantastic job of taking a fairy tale and turning it into a "real" story. What I mean by that is she takes some of the most memorable parts of a fairy tale and puts them into a historical where they seem believable and even possible.

Sophie is a beautiful, caring person. She does something we should all do but often fail at; she prays for the one that hurts her most. Even though she has grown up with the duchess treating her terribly, she does her best to be happy and follow the things she has learned about the Bible and what God wants her to do. Her "family" consists of the head cook and another maid. Only a few of the servants are willing to be nice to her, fearing what the duchess will do to them if they find out. When Gabe arrives and starts talking about being betrothed to his brother she starts to dream about a different kind life. 

Gabe is young and impetuous, living under the shadow of an older brother. Because he wants to prove himself to be as brave and courageous as Valten, he often gets into more trouble than he intended. This time is no exception but he rises to the occasion and is the hero Sophie needs. Through this experience he finally grows up and is ready to be the man God intended him to be. 

The Seven are a great addition to the story. Each one has a special quality that makes them lovable but the story is set in a time period where those characteristics make them outcasts and feared by some. I loved how she made some of them fit the description of the "seven dwarfs". 

Her fairy tale series is a wonderful set of stories for any age. I am saving a set for my preteen so that when she is ready to read at that level she will have some great books to read. I recommend this book to anyone who loves historicals and fairy tales. I can't wait for her "Cinderella" story that comes out in October. I hope she continues to write fairy tale stories. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melanie Dickerson's 2010 debut novel, The Healer's Apprentice, was named the Best First Book by the National Readers' Choice Awards and was both a Christy and Carol Award finalist. The book also earned the HOLT Medallion Award of Merit and was a Maggie Award finalist. Dickerson's follow-up book, 2011's The Merchant's Daughter, was also a Christy Award finalist. She lives in Huntsville, Alabama, with her husband and two daughters. 


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The Captive Maiden  Coming October 2013