REVIEW: THE FAIREST BEAUTY

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BOOK: THE FAIREST BEAUTY

AUTHOR: MELANIE DICKERSON

PUBLISHER: ZONDERVAN

 

5 enchanting stars for this one!

 

 

BOOK BLURB:

 

A 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.

 

Not all books are all unicorns and rainbows.  Some, more than most, have cruel villains that you absolutely loathe. Some have characters that you fall in love with and cannot stop thinking about.  This book was a pure delight to read. It has it all… action, adventure, torment, villains, love, an irresistible hero, a heroine that you find yourself cheering on, and so many wonderful secondary characters too many to name.

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The book blurb basically covers all the story so I’ll try my best not to repeat what it says.  This book is Teen Fiction but I’m in my thirties and thoroughly  enjoyed it. This is the kind of book you wouldn’t mind your teenage kids reading or would be perfect to give as a gift.

And I love the fact that it has the whole Snow White vibe to it! I love, love, love it.

The story starts off with Sophie being sent to the dungeon for disobeying the duchess.  The duchess is extremely jealous of Sophie  (who is really her stepdaughter but Sophie isn’t aware of that fact until later on) and means to kill her in due time.

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“You wanted to see me?”

“Yes. I need you to do something.”

“Anything, Your Grace.”

…”I want you to kill someone for me.”

Lorencz did not look away from her direct gaze, a quality she admired in a man.  

“I have just sent the scullery maid, Sophie, to the dungeon.  I want you to gain her trust. Then, when she gets out, I want you to take her somewhere in the woods and kill her.”

There, the look on his face…. was that disgust? Or merely distaste? Her huntsman wasn’t going soft on her, was he?

“You will have to bury her afterward. I don’t want anyone finding her body. We’ll say she ran away, and no one will be the wiser.” And no one will ever know who she truly is.

Unless she was mistaken, Lorencz had turned a shade paler.

“It shall be done as you say, Duchess Ermengard.”

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Gabe, the second son of Duke Wilhemlm, listens patiently as an old woman arrives at their doorstep and  tells them tale that Duke Baldewin’s daughter is alive but will soon die at the hands of her stepmother if someone doesn’t rescue her. The poor girl had been subjected to the horrors of living underneath the duchess’s thumb her whole life. Gabe shouldn’t have been concerned about this situation, except that the girl, Sophie, was his brother’s betrothed….but Valten was in bed with a broken leg and couldn’t rescue her.  It was up to Gabe to rescue Sophie and bring her back safely to his brother. So, defying his parents, he snuck away and set out to find Sophie. When he finally does find her and makes sure that she is indeed his brother’s betrothed he thinks of a plan for them to flee. Except Duchess Ermengard has other plans.  

With the help of an unlikely source (Lorencz, Duchess Ermengard’s huntsman), Gabe and Sophie escape.  Traveling for days until they reach the Cottage of the Seven.  This would be the part where they meet seven men of all shapes and sizes.  Outcasts. Misfits. And completely perfect to befriend.  It doesn’t take Sophie long to love the Seven… and she finds it hard not to have feelings for another certain person.

No matter how hard they try not to be attracted to each other, the harder it is to resist these feelings… And even something simple as washing and drying dishes together becomes difficult.

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His upper arm was rock solid against her shoulder.  His face hovered just above hers and his warm breath brushed her temple.  Her knees were like pottage.  His nearness made her want to press her closer, but if Bartel were to walk in now, she’d be even more embarrassed than when Siggy and Heinric had walked in on them before the midday meal.  But Gabe’s arm pressing hers was so exhilarating, and the gentleness of his hands sent pleasant shivers all through her, and when he started rubbing his fingertips inside the cocoon of the towel…

His warm breath loosed a strand of her hair and it brushed her cheek.  She desperately  wanted him to kiss her.

“Someone needs to take out the dishwater.” Sophie’s voice sounded strained and breathless, betraying just how his touch was affecting her.  She stood still as a stone, afraid to move, her head bent, as he took the towel off her hands and threw it to the counter. 

“I’ll take it out in a moment.” His voice sounded gruff.

She waited for him to move away.  Instead, with slow and deliberate movements, he placed one hand on her shoulder and he cupped her cheek with the other as he turned her body to face him.

She placed her palms against his chest, feeling as if she were in a slow-moving dream.  She couldn’t avoid looking up at him any longer.  She met his smoldering eyes, the golden flecks all but swallowed up in the dark irises.  In their depths, there was only a solemn tenderness as he drew her nearer.  He bent his head and pressed his lips to hers.

The world vanished.  She was engulfed in warmth and exhilaration and strength–and guilt.  But she pushed the guilt away. Her hands slid up his chest and around his neck.  he pulled away slightly, then kissed her again. 

The events of the last few days flitted through her mind. Gabe, looking so noble and sure of himself when he’d lifted her onto his horse the day they left Hohendorf. Gabe, so sweet and vulnerable when he’d stared into her eyes after taking the arrow in his shoulder to save her. Now he was kissing her.

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This story does have verses of the Bible quoted throughout the book and thoughts such as: 

God, protect us today.

Thank you, God, for freeing us and keeping us safe.

I found the whole thing to be refreshing. I love that this story doesn’t have sex, curse words, or anything else I would have to worry about with my daughter about to read it.  

I love that Sophie doesn’t throw herself at Gabe like most romances would have the heroine do, and that Gabe is respectful of Sophie.  You just don’t find good romances like this anymore. Seriously. 

 

The secondary characters are a real treat.  The author created them with unique personalities and emotions and you cannot help but fall in love with them. All the Seven will have you smiling.

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I highly recommend this book if you love fairytale stories or if you just want to read a good wholesome book that will have your heart smiling in the end. 

Brava, Ms. Dickerson! I’m hooked.

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