The Fairest Beauty

Title: The Fairest Beauty
Author: Melanie Dickerson

Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 3
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: January 21st, 2013

Note: Even though The Fairest Beauty is the third in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of Snow White.

Sophie is held captive by her evil stepmother, the duchess, after the death of her father. Assumed to be dead all these years, she has been forced to live the life of a lowly servant. When Gabe gets word that his older brother’s betrothed is not only alive but held captive by a cruel duchess, he immediately sets out to help rescue her, since his injured brother cannot go himself.

Gabe does everything he can to rescue Sophie and bring her back to his home in Hagenheim. He wants to keep her safe and protect her, but as they spend more and more time together, he begins to see that what truly needs protecting is his own heart. Even though they both know that Sophie must marry his older brother, they find themselves deeply attracted to one another.

Let me just say how much I love this book! The story is a classic fairytale story of rescue and romance, and the characters are hard not to love. I did read this book out of order (oops, again), so I have to admit that I favor the older brother over the younger… who we get to follow in the next book, The Captive Maiden.

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The Merchant’s Daughter

Title: The Merchant’s Daughter
Author: Melanie Dickerson

Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 2
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: December 4th, 2011

Note: Even though The Merchant’s Daughter is the second in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

England, 1352 

After the downfall and death of her once wealthy father, Annabel finds herself working as a servant to Lord Ranulf, as a way of helping her struggling family. She has no idea what to expect of her new master, since she has heard rumors of his beastliness. But underneath his gruff exterior, she discovers a man she did not expect, one who is kind and fiercely protective.

Annabel is continuously threatened by the bailiff, a man with no good intentions. She does not want to involve Ranulf in the situation, but he may be the only one who can make everything right in the end. The two of them find themselves not only in physical danger, but also the danger of the heart as they wrestle with feelings that should not exist between a servant and her master.

This was the first Melanie Dickerson book I ever read! (Out of order, yet it didn’t matter one bit.) After I read this book, I immediately looked up the other books in the series, which I found that I liked even better!

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The Healer’s Apprentice


Title: The Healer’s Apprentice

Author: Melanie Dickerson

Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 1
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: September 15th, 2010

Note: Even though The Healer’s Apprentice is the first in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in rest of the series, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of The Sleeping Beauty.

Hagenheim, 1386

Rose has become the apprentice of the town healer. This is her chance to make something of herself, despite her lowly upbringing. When the future Duke of Hagenheim, Lord Hamlin, comes to the healer injured, Rose has the chance to prove herself – but she doesn’t expect to fall in love along the way.

The future Duke cannot, of course, marry so far beneath his elevated position – which is exactly why we know that he, too, battles feelings of his own for the lovely apprentice. But they both know that they cannot be together, no matter how much they may want that. Is the love developing between them enough to make a way?

Let me start by saying that I love Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale retellings overall. Unfortunately, this book was not a favorite of mine. It was a little hard to get into, especially compared to some of her other books.

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The Noble Servant


Title: The Noble Servant

Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Thornbeck / A Medieval Fairy Tale series, book 3
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: May 9th, 2017

Note: Even though The Noble Servant is the third in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other two books in the series, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (book 1) and The Beautiful Pretender (book 2). However, the characters that are in this book are featured in rest of the series, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of The Goose Girl.

Barony of Mallin, 1365.

Lady Magdalen is summoned to Wolfberg Castle after being informed that the Duke wishes to marry her. Two years have passed since Magdalen and Steffan have spoken, and even then, they had only spent a few hours together at a dance. It seems too good to be true for him to be requesting her hand now, after hearing nothing for so long. During the two-day journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen is betrayed by her own servant. The servant forces Magdalen to switch places with her, believing her treachery will go unnoticed since Magdalen and the Duke have not seen each other in years. But they have a surprise waiting for them at the castle – the Duke has secrets of his own.

Magdalen goes along with the guise, hoping to keep those she cares about from harm. As she works as a goose girl, she befriends a shepherd, who is strangely familiar. Together, they risk everything as they begin a plan of their own to save Wolfberg and themselves from the devious plot from within the castle.

I liked getting to see Magdalen have a story all her own, after meeting her as Avelina’s friend in the last book. However, it sort of dragged on. Things picked up toward the end, but it wasn’t as action-packed as some of her other books that I can’t put down.

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The Beautiful Pretender

Title: The Beautiful Pretender
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Thornbeck / A Medieval Fairy Tale series, book 2
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: May 17th, 2016

Note: Even though The Beautiful Pretender is the second in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other two books in the series, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (book 1) and The Noble Servant (book 3). However, the characters that are in this book are featured in rest of the series, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling in which Princess and the Pea meets Beauty and the Beast.

Germany, 1363

Dorothea is one of ten ladies invited to the home of the margrave of Thornbeck for a two-week stay, after which he will choose a suitable bride. During the two weeks, the margrave secretly tests the women, hoping to find one whose character matches her beauty and status. He cannot help but be drawn to Dorothea, even though she does everything in her power to remain unnoticed.

But Dorothea is not who she claims to be, and she knows it is impossible for her to end up with the margrave, despite the connection they have. She is not actually a lady, but a servant, Avelina, posing as her lady under the orders of the earl she serves. Her situation worsens when she realizes a plot is underway to remove the margrave from his position. It may be up to her to set all things right in the end.

I liked how this book told the story of the margrave we met in The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest. (Odette and Jorgen also make a few appearances!) Dickerson has a theme of overlapping characters and their stories, and this book is no exception. If you are a fan of fairytale retellings, I definitely recommend giving this book a try!

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The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest


Title: The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Thornbeck / A Medieval Fairy Tale series, book 1
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: May 12th, 2015

Note: Even though The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest is the first in a series, it can also be read as a stand-alone story, as with the next two books in the series, The Beautiful Pretender and The Noble Servant. However, the characters that are introduced in this book are featured in rest of the series, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of Swan Lake.

Germany, 1363

Odette is a respectable young maiden by day, and a stealthy poacher by night. She knows it is wrong to hunt in the margrave’s forest, but she does it to feed the poor of the village, especially the children she teaches to read. Her life gets even more complicated when she begins to develop a relationship with Jorgen – the margrave’s forester. It is his duty to catch the poacher and turn “him” over to the margrave. Little does he know that the poacher is the very same woman that he is beginning to fall for.

Rutger, Odette’s protective guardian, thinks the margrave’s forester is far beneath Odette to even consider as a suitor. Instead, he pushes her towards Mathis, a rival to Jorgen who is better off. Odette doesn’t want to disappoint her uncle, but she also doesn’t want to attach herself to someone she doesn’t love. But what kind of future could she possibly have with the man who is hunting her for her crimes?

This first book of the Thornbeck / A Medieval Fairy Tale series became an instant favorite of Dickerson’s retellings. It was not hard to fall in love with Odette – a strong and fearless heroine – and her romance with Jorgen. The story felt fresh and unique, as Swan Lake retellings are not the most common.

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A Court of Wings and Ruin


Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses series, book 3
Genre: Fantasy, NA, Romance, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s 
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017

Note: This post reviews the third book of the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series. You may like to read the first two books in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury, before reading this review. 

Additional Note: I would like to emphasize that this series is written more toward the New Adult genre than the Young Adult genre. Because the NA genre focuses on protagonists in the 18-30 age range, the content, especially the sexual content and the language, is much more mature than the average YA novel. 

Feyre is back in the hands of Tamlin. In his rage and desperation, Tamlin made a deal with the King in exchange for Feyre, as if she were a possession he was trying to get back. Feyre plays the part of the submissive female at Tamlin’s side, all the while working as a spy. She cannot stomach how he stooped so low as to work with the King of Hybern (previous book), and then involved her sisters, Nesta and Elain.

Feyre returns to the Night Court with Rhys, where they prepare for war – Hybern is coming to Prythian. Feyre continues to train with Cassian, and to learn to fly with Azriel, but her sisters refuse to join in. They hate what has been done to them, hate that they are now Fae. A resistant romance develops between Cassian and Nesta (in between their verbal sparring) as well as a could-be romance between Elain and Lucien. The Archeron sisters become more important than ever in the war against Hybern.

I love this series as a whole. Sarah J. Maas is a captivating writer, despite her love scenes feeling a bit on the redundant side.

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A Court of Mist and Fury


Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses series, book 2
Genre: Fantasy, NA, Romance, YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

Note: This post reviews the second book of the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series. You may like to read the first book in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, before reading this review. 

Additional Note: I would like to emphasize that this series is written more toward the New Adult genre than the Young Adult genre. Because the NA genre focuses on protagonists in the 18-30 age range, the content, especially the sexual content and the language, is much more mature than the average YA novel. 

Feyre is not the same girl we met in A Court of Thorns and Roses. She committed unspeakable horrors when she went Under the Mountain to save Tamlin. And even though she was able to free Tamlin from Amarantha’s curse, something in Feyre broke. She is unhappy with her life at the Spring Court, and cannot forget what she has done. It doesn’t help that Tamlin, afraid of losing her again, practically keeps her under lock and key. He does so out of an overwhelming need to protect, but ultimately drives her away – to the last place, and person, she thought she would find refuge.

Her agreement to spend a week of every month with Rhysand, the High Lord of the Night Court, turns into so much more than their original bargain. Instead of the selfish, arrogant monster that she had always thought him to be, Feyre finds a selfless, kind High Lord who will do anything to keep his court – and the one woman he can’t live without – safe. And with the impending attack from the King of Hybern across the sea, all seven courts have reason to be protective of what is theirs.

Feyre, no longer a weak mortal, but a Made fae, comes into her own in this book. She is no one’s pet, and no one is her master. She finds her strength in equality. Because she was Made from the powers of all seven High Lords, she possesses some of each of their individual powers, making her, perhaps, the most powerful Fae of them all.

It took me a very long time to accept the new direction of this sequel, but in the end it was impossible not to approve of the shift in Feyre’s emotions and beliefs. We see an even truer love story in the second book than we did in the first, and it satisfies the reader in every possible way.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses


Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses series, book 1
Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy, NA, Romance, YA 
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Release Date: May 5th, 2015 

 

Note: I would like to emphasize that this series is written more toward the New Adult genre than the Young Adult genre. Because the NA genre focuses on protagonists in the 18-30 age range, the content, especially the sexual content and the language, is much more mature than the average YA novel. 

Feyre supports her struggling family by hunting for meat and skins to sell. But now it seems she has gone too far. Feyre must answer for the life she took, even though it was only the life of a wolf. But when another wolf comes to claim her life in exchange for the life she has taken, she realizes it was not only a wolf, but one of the faeries from north of The Wall.

Her captor, Tamlin, turns out to be not just another faerie, but the High Lord of the Spring Court, one of the seven courts of faeries: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Dawn, Day, and Night. This High Lord, like the others, can shape-shift from human to animal form whenever he wishes. Even though Feyre has been raised to hate the faeries, after their long history of violence and cruelty toward humans, Tamlin shows her that not all faeries are alike. A friendship slowly forms between Feyre and Tamlin, and it does not take long for them to be swept off into a passionate romance.

But all is not well in the Spring Court. Feyre sees that some kind of curse hangs over Tamlin and the faeries of his court. She desperately wants to help him, but does not know how. By the time she unravels the mystery hanging over the Spring Court, it may be too late to break the curse. Will Feyre be able to save Tamlin? Will she find a way to break the curse over him and his court?

In this breathtaking, heart-racing retelling of the classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast, Sarah J. Maas grabs ahold of you and doesn’t let go till the end.

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