The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson (And a Giveaway!) | My Review

I've been a fan of this author for a few years now and never have I read more beautiful, rich and inspiring fairytale retellings such as hers. And I've read a lot.
According to the website, this story is a subtle crossover of two beloved fairytales: The Princess and the Pea and Beauty and the Beast. And ya'll--the last one is my favorite and I kept humming Tale as Old as Time as I read. That being said--this was not a fluffy happily ever after.
The setting of Thornbeck, the vivid characters--especially the rugged, wounded former knight and current Margrave, Reinhart, all swept me in instantly. He is under orders from the king to take a wife, and so summons ten eligible daughters of the lords of the land to evaluate and consider for marriage. This also reminded me of the Biblical Esther story now that I think about it. But of course, the road to marriage is never easy or simple. Avelina is a poor lady's maid, but when her lady runs off and elopes, the Lord she is employed by orders her to pose as Lady Dorothea to keep up appearances and his reputation in the country. Like Belle, Avelina knew her own mind, and her value despite the deceit she entered into in order to ensure a roof over her siblings' heads. Traits I so admired in this story--her strength was beautiful to watch unfold on the pages. What this romantic, passionate, and hard working heroine did not bargain on was to fall in love with the Margrave of Thornbeck--he himself torn between duty and heart. These two both kept surprising each other--both before and after Avelina's ruse was revealed and it was a beautiful love story to watch unfold.
Sometimes in fairy tales you read too fast to get to the happy ending. But with this story--Avelina and Reinhart's happy ending was a gloriously fitting one. It was hard-won at every turn as they worked through deceit, conflicting feelings, duties to family and country--not to mention vicious enemies trying to plunder and pillage the castle. And this, for me, makes for a five-star read. Two imperfect characters--a hero and heroine in their own right for sure--who finally get a happy ending and new beginning together after quite a few bumps along the road of love. Because that is art imitating life, even in fairy tale retellings.

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.

The Beautiful Pretender Melanie Dickerson


Melanie Dickerson is the author of Historical Romances, and her two favorite time periods are Medieval, which she has combined with her love of fairy tales, and Regency England, which stems from her enduring love of Jane Austen. 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.

*Disclaimer: I was given this book by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. I was under no obligation to give a positive review, all views within are my own*

Words, history, and grace color my days here in The Burgh where I seek out the perfect coffee and red lipstick.

1 comment:

  1. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I can't BELIEVE I mentioned "The Bachelor" and didn't mention ESTHER!! duh. It's only like my fave Bible story.


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