The Fairest Beauty

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Title: The Fairest Beauty
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Zondervan
Published: January 22, 2013
Pages: 336

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Sophie has grown up believing she is an orphan and was only going to be a servant to Duchess Ermengard her entire life. She longs to get away from the duchess’s hatred and jealousy, but she knows that the duchess would never let her leave ever. Her future seems bleak until a man arrives from Hagenheim Castle claiming that she is the daughter of a duke and engaged to his older brother. Now Sophie’s life is turned upside down and she doesn’t know what to do or whether or not to even trust this man. But she has to try if it means she’ll finally get out of the duchess’s clutches.

When Gabe heard that the daughter that was supposed to marry his brother might still be alive and is in danger, he knows that they have to go soon. But his brother has a broken leg from a battle and his father has too much going on to go. His family knows he’s not a fighter and doesn’t want him to go thinking he’ll get himself and her killed. Defying his family, he sets out to rescue the duke’s daughter and possibly gain some glory and gratitude in the process. He has no intention of falling for his brother’s fiancé, but her inner and outer beauty captivates him and he can’t help but falling for her.

As they run from the duchess’s minions and from dangers outside the castle, they start to fall in love, but Sophie is still engaged to Gabe’s brother and Gabe is unofficially engaged to someone as well. The impossible is happening, they are falling in love and they have no way of rectifying that. Gabe is determined to break both engagements as Sophie struggles with trust and the disbelief that it will be as easy as Gabe wants her to believe.

Will Sophie and Gabe be able to conquer the things blocking their path or will they be ton apart by obligation? Will Sophie be able to trust Gabe and realize that it might happen as Gabe says or will she be too skeptical? Will Gabe be able to keep his promise and fix everything or will he fail when it matters most? Will Gabe and Sophie’s fiancés understand or will it ruin everything
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This is the second book that I’ve read from this author and having loved the first one, I jumped at the opportunity to read this one. I love retellings of anything from biblical stories to modern events, but I think my favorite retellings are classic fairytales and that is something this author has claimed for herself. This author stuck with her niche and rewrote the story of Snow White into a story of love and rescue and I loved it. I also loved that she used the children of the couple from one of her other novels. This author has improved as a writer since her previous novel and it shows.

The romance in this novel is perfect for a teen. Teens love forbidden love as well as love triangles. Though this book wasn’t a love triangle it was a forbidden love story and it was pretty good. There wasn’t a lot of physical touches, like kissing or hugging, but I felt it was appropriate for teens and the author made up for the lack of physical contact by making an emotional connection between the characters and I never felt like the romance was rushed or nonexistent, except I did feel like the time that elapsed before they said “I love you” was too short. This romance was intended for teens and it’s perfect for them, but I also feel like adults could read and enjoy this book too.

The storyline of this book is perfect. The author took the classic Snow White tale and revamped it and made into something that I think teens will love. Though the conflict was resolved maybe a little too easily, the storyline was a nice one and despite its flaws, it’s made it up onto my favorites list and it’s definitely one I’d read again. I loved how the author made this story new, yet kept the major elements the same and added Christian elements to it, making it a perfect clean version of the classic fairytale.

The characters were developed reasonably well. I felt that the Cottage of Seven inhabitants and Sophie’s friends back at the duchess’s castle were nice and improved the story. I also felt that Sophie, though a great character, was maybe a little too perfect but she did have some legitimate doubts about everything and did struggle with trust issues throughout the book because of that it made her perfectness a little less noticeable. I also felt that the Duchess Ermengard’s jealousy and outright hatred was extreme, but somewhat understandable, not to mention it kept with the classic story. The character I liked the most and saw the most growth, though, was Gabe’s, he started out looking for glory and recognition and instead realized he just wanted Sophie. I think the characters were reasonably well developed though some were extreme and some were overly perfect but it somehow worked.

I love this author. I love her fairytale retellings and I love the fact that they are made for teens. Though this author’s books aren’t perfect, they are enjoyable to read and I look forward to seeing this author hone her skills as a writer. I think this book is a book almost every teen will love and possibly most adults as well and I highly recommend this one to anyone young and old. This is an author that I fully intend to read more from because I’m a fan and have been since that first book.

Overall, this is a great book that thoroughly enjoyed reading and I think you will too. I think this book is perfect for those who like retellings and for those who like medieval fiction. This book is perfect for people from Tweens to adults. I highly recommend tis one. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through The Christian Manifesto in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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