Another Brilliant Fairy Tale Retelling from Melanie Dickerson
Ever since I was a young girl, I have always loved fairy tales. The romance, the intrigue, and the idea of good conquering evil has always appealed to me. So, when I first was introduced to Melanie Dickerson's books, which are grown up versions of beloved fairy tales, I fell in love all over again. Not only does Melanie take a childhood tale and make it into a grown up version of the same story, but she also adds depth to the characters as they walk through a spiritual journey. Her stories are just downright beautiful.
I recently had the opportunity to review her newest book (set to be released on November 4th), The Princess Spy. According to Melanie Dickerson's website, this story is a retelling of The Frog Prince. Although there is no frog in this story, there is the eldest son of an earl, Colin, who is mistakenly believed to be below his class because he is a stranger and is at others' mercy when he first arrives at Hagenheim Castle injured. With a nice touch of humor on the author's part, Colin, is called "frog boy" because of an incident where he ends up having to wear a hideous outfit that makes him look like, well, a frog. Even if I hadn't known this story was supposed to be a retelling of The Frog Prince, I still would have enjoyed it: unexpected twists and turns along the way made it almost impossible to put this book down.
Characterization was well done. I love how Melanie takes fairy tale personas and makes them into real live breathing people. They are definitely believable characters and reading about their journeys (physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual) is a real pleasure. Margaretha (obviously the "princess") walks through a beautifully orchestrated spiritual journey where she has to wrestle with her insecurities and what others say about her vs. who she really is in Christ. The author does a fantastic job of weaving this particular subplot throughout the main plot. Margaretha is not, however, the only character who walks through a life changing journey. As with all fairy tales, there is, of course, a love story. What I particularly enjoyed about this love story was that love came about because of virtue and character. Also, the two characters that fall in love clearly follow the expected societal mores of the day, which makes the story even more enduring.
Interestingly, at the end of this novel when there is a big celebration, there is mention of a Sir Gerek being there with a beautiful young woman who looked strangely familiar. I can't help but wonder if this is some kind of a foreshadowing of something yet to come...Nice strategy on the author's part, as I certainly look forward to reading more books from her.
If you want to read a beautifully written love story which chronicles the changes that the main characters undergo as they allow Christ to define and change them and their motives, definitely check out The Princess Spy.
Margaretha has always been a romantic, and she hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha—one of the few who speaks his language—understands the wild story.
Unable to pass his message on to her father, the duke, Margaretha convinces herself “Lord Colin” is just an addled stranger. But when Colin asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment for retrieving a lost heirloom, Margaretha discovers that she might be very wrong about both Colin and her potential betrothed.
About the Author
Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”