The Beautiful Pretender

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The Beautiful Pretender
Written by: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Month, Year: May, 2016

A brief summary from Melanie Dickerson:
What happens when a margrave realizes he’s fallen in love with a servant?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s 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. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?

My Thoughts:
That’s it – I’m done! I don’t think any fairy-tale will ever top Melanie Dickerson’s The Beautiful Pretender. It is one of the most beautifully written fairy-tales I’ve ever read. Love is too weak a word to describe how much I enjoyed reading this book!

Soon after beginning this book I got a sense that it was an adaptation of The Princess and The Pea, one of my all-time favorite fairy-tales as a child! And not too far after that I picked up on Beauty & The Beast, another amazing fairy-tale! I thought I was imagining things but the more I read the more it seemed like a wondrous cross between these two fairy-tales and upon looking at Melanie’s website, that’s exactly what she did! I would have never imagined to intertwine two tales like this, but she did and it works so incredibly well!

Oh my goodness Avelina is such an endearing heroine!! Her kindness, compassion, and strength of character go far beyond that of a servant and reveal that she is more noble in heart than the rich ladies who surround her. When the Margrave of Thornbeck summons a group of ladies to his castle in order to choose a bride, Avelina is threatened by the Earl of Plimmwald to act as his daughter, Dorthea, in order to save their countryside. If she doesn’t follow suit, the Earl will strike at her poor family. As Avelina does what the Earl bids, she struggles with having to lie to the Margrave of Thornbeck, Reinhart, and her new friend, Magdalen, on who she actually is, nothing but a humble servant. I rather enjoyed how she continuously denied her growing feelings for Reinhart and found it extremely amusing that she kept pushing Magdalen towards him.  Melanie – I can’t wait till next year to read Magdalen’s story!!

The “Beast” is certainly found in Reinhart, but much like the fairy-tale, love softens him.  As he searches for a wife, his gruffness is undeniable – he won’t even give the ladies the time of day until his close companions press him to begin spending time with them! Speaking of companions, I loved that we got to spend time with Odette and Jorgen again! I loved their story in The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest and was so excited when they made their entrance in The Beautiful Pretender.

I’m already antsy with anticipation for Melanie Dickerson’s next book – The Noble Servant – coming next year!! The great thing about Melanie’s Thornbeck series is that you can read them all together or as stand-alone novels. I highly recommend The Beautiful Pretender for adults and teens alike – especially if you’re in the mood for a whimsical fairy-tale!

I was graciously provided a free hard-copy of this novel from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. 

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