Ah, Melanie, Melanie. Your stories never disappoint.
The Beautiful Pretender is the latest wonderful reimagining of a classic fairy tale from Melanie Dickerson. If you’ve never read one of Melanie’s novels, well, all I can say is – What are you waiting for?
This story is a medieval retelling of The Princess and the Pea, with elements of other fairy tales mixed in. When the margrave of Thornbeck must marry, he invites the eligible maidens of the region for an extended visit to choose a bride (think Prince Charming’s ball to select a wife in Cinderella). Avelina’s master sends her to impersonate his daughter in Thornbeck – and to not be chosen as the margrave’s bride.
Avelina is astonished to find that the margrave is a good man as kind as he is reserved. And amidst a crowd of nine other potential brides, they begin to fall in love. But there is also subterfuge and mystery afoot, and both Avelina and the margrave are in danger. They must trust one another to survive, despite uncertainty and the discovery of Avelina’s deception.
I loved this story. Gentle Avelina only wants to complete her task and go home to her little sister and brother; the margrave is only marrying at the king’s command. Neither expects to find love, nor to be faced with enemies around every corner. While you can guess where the story is going – it is a fairy tale, after all – the constant surprises and the developing romance between the margrave and Avelina are delightful.
Don’t miss this charming tale from Melanie Dickerson!
My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Recommended for: fans of Melanie Dickerson’s fairy tale retellings; those who enjoy medieval romance; those who love fairy tales with a bit more realistic happy endings; those who don’t mind some license being taken with the beloved classic fairy tales
Note: I received a copy of this novel via NetGalley.