A little smile graced Magdalen’s lips. “I think he favors you.”
“Truly, Magdalen, I wish you would not say so.” The sinking feeling grew more pronounced. “I cannot marry the margrave.”
Book: The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2016
Genre: Fairy Tale
Target Audience: Girls 16+
Subjects: Social classes, prayer, love, deceit
Summary: Being a lady’s maid to a rebellious lady can be rather difficult but Avelina never imagined it would be THIS hard, and in fact, downright dangerous! When Lady Dorthea runs off with her lover, it is right before she is to appear at the Margrave of Thornbeck’s castle. He is in need of a wife and has sent for the ladies the king recommends in hopes of getting to know them well enough to determine which one to marry. The Earl doesn’t dare not send Dorthea, so when Dorthea isn’t there to send, he sends Avelina in her place! Avelina’s job has two jobs, one she believes will be rather difficult and one she believes will be quite easy. She must not let anyone find out she is not actually Lady Dorthea and she must make sure the margrave does not choose her to be his bride. Avelina does her best at the second! From the first interview where she informs the margrave that she wishes to marry for love rather than position, to declining to participate in many of the scheduled activities, she shows herself to be everything a proper lady is not. However, it seems the margrave is actually attracted to the outspoken, opinionated, unconvential woman! If he picks Avelina though, her future career, her family’s financial situation and possibly the whole region are doomed. She absolutely must convince him to pick someone else… mustn’t she?
Notes: The Beautiful Pretender is the second in the Medieval Fairy Tale series for a slightly older audience. Melanie Dickerson’s previous books are targeted at teens. This series is also appropriate for adults as the characters are a little bit older. This book gives the story of the margrave who appeared in book one. Both of the two main characters of the story are Christians and show it in their choices. One of the margrave’s preferences for a wife is that she share his faith. One of the observations he makes of the ladies is how they view the poor. When the characters are in trouble, they turn to prayer – not just for getting out of danger, but also for wisdom and guidance. There is not an overarching spiritual theme throughout the story, just a portrayal of two characters who do various things to demonstrate their faith. There is a big issue throughout the story of the social classes – whether or not a mere servant has a right to be loved by a margrave or even befriended by a lady. Avelina wrestles with feelings of equality, having been told all her life that such feelings are wrong. Multiple characters have to make a choice about how much they will let social classes separate them.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 4/5
James 2:1-5 –My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
Thank you to Celebrate Lit for providing me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I enjoyed reading it!