Book Review: The Fairest Beauty

5 Mar

724391A 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.

UnknownMelanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice and The Merchant’s Daughter, both Christy Award finalists, 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. She has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

My Impressions:

What girl doesn’t like the thought of her Prince Charming riding in to rescue her? Having grown up reading fairy tales, I knew I had to read Melanie Dickerson’s retelling of Snow White — The Fairest Beauty. I have to say I like her version better than my old storybook or Disney’s movie. Here is a tale in which the hero and the damsel in distress save each other. This book would be perfect for a youth girl’s discussion group.

Sophie is a scullery maid in Duchess Ermengard’s castle. Long the recipient of the Duchess’ hatred, Sophie’s kindness and beauty stir up Ermengard’s wrath. Meanwhile in another Duchy, Gabehart, the second son of the Duke, learns of Sophie’s plight and her true identity — the daughter of the dead Duke and step-daughter of Duchess Ermengard. Determined to make a name for himself and prove his worth to his parents and older brother, Gabe sets out to rescue Sophie. But there are lots of obstacles to his quest — his own missteps, along with Sophie’s disbelief and of course the evil schemes of the Duchess. But this is a fairy tale, so there is sure to be a happily ever after.

I mentioned that The Fairest Beauty would make an excellent choice for a discussion group. There are lots of things to discuss — what is true beauty, where do we find our true worth, how to block out the voice of the world, and how does God see us. I loved the transformation of the seven dwarfs into seven men who were shunned by the world, but found community with each other. I also liked the contrast of evil hearts and evil schemes with hearts and plans dedicated to God. And as a bonus, Sophie is much more assertive and attentive than Snow White — she doesn’t just sit back and let the Duchess have her way or let Gabe do all the heavy lifting. And for those who like romance, The Fairest Beauty has an abundance — another discussion point on the merits of keeping a sensible distance!

All in all, The Fairest Beauty is a book I highly recommend.

Highly Recommended.

Great for a youth girls book club. 

(Thanks to DJC Communications for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase The Fairest Beauty, click on the image below.

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2 Responses to “Book Review: The Fairest Beauty”

  1. Heidi March 5, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    I recently bought all her fairy tale retellings for my kindle but haven’t started them yet. I love when a retelling is done so well it’s better than the original 🙂 Thanks for your great review!

    Like

    • rbclibrary March 5, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your books!

      Like

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