The Fairest Beauty

( 45 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310724391
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 1/22/2013
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 85,958
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet 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.
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Read an Excerpt

The Fairest Beauty


By Melanie Dickerson

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2012 Melanie Dickerson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-72439-1


Chapter One

Sophie kept her head bowed as she waited for the duchess to speak. She started to clasp her hands together but stopped. Clasped hands presented an image of idleness, the duchess often said, and the gesture sent her into a rage every time. Sophie let her arms hang limply at her sides.

Carefully, she peeked through her lashes at Duchess Ermengard. The woman's skin was unnaturally white, her hair dyed ebony using black hickory hulls. Her lips were stained red from berries, and her teeth were so white they made Sophie want to shade her eyes. Did the duchess ever think of anything besides beauty? The irony was that she was naturally beautiful and would look better without all the powder and dye.

The duchess stood unmoving, not making a sound. The silence began to crowd against Sophie's ears. Duchess Ermengard liked to draw out the waiting, knowing it only increased her victims' apprehension. Having to stand and wait to hear what her punishment would be was perhaps the worst part.

At long last, when the duchess addressed Sophie, her hoarse voice sent a chill down Sophie's spine.

"So this is how you repay my kindness to you? You, an orphan, and a girl at that. I could have let you starve by the roadside. Others would have done so in my place."

No one but you would be so cruel. Sophie's breaths came faster—she was dangerously close to speaking—but she forced the words down.

"How could you be so audacious as to think ... when I rightfully punish one of my servants ... No. No, I want you to confess what you have done. You seem to enjoy prayer. Surely you enjoy confession as well. Now confess." Sophie's skin crawled as the duchess's voice lowered to a slow, quiet whisper. "What ... did ... you ... do?"

Sophie almost wished the duchess would scream instead. A dark feeling of oppression, of an evil presence in the room, came over her, as it often did when the duchess was interrogating her. Jesus, help me. Take away my anger.

The oppressive feeling subsided.

Following the rote formula required by the duchess, Sophie began, "Duchess Ermengard, your servant Sophie confesses to sneaking food to your servant Roslind while Roslind was being punished in the dungeon." Sophie curtsied humbly. Oh, God, please, please, please let it be enough. Let my confession be enough to appease her. And let me appear meek before her.

Silence. Again. With a churning stomach, Sophie waited for the duchess to speak. Her hands trembled but she dared not hide them behind her back. The duchess had a rule against that as well.

Sophie waited so long for the duchess's next words that her mind began to wander, imagining what her friends, the other servants, would be doing now. But she pulled herself back, bracing herself for what the duchess would say or do next.

"You confess as though you're not truly sorry for what you did."

"Please forgive me, Duchess Ermengard." Sophie suppressed a shudder. This was not going well. It was no longer a matter of if she'd be punished, but how severely. She bowed her head lower, hoping to appear truly repentant. Even though she wasn't.

"And there is more, isn't there?" Once again, the duchess let the silence linger.

What would the duchess accuse her of now? Sophie searched her mind for things she had done that the duchess may have uncovered. She had given food to some starving children who had come begging at the kitchen door, but that had been days ago. She searched her memory for something else ...

Then she remembered. Yesterday she had followed a guard into the woods, and after he'd heaved a sack of squirming puppies into the river, against her better judgment, Sophie had dived in after them. Dragging the heavy cloth bag from the bottom of the shallow river, she'd dumped out all five creatures on the riverbank, wet but alive. Someone must have seen her and told the duchess. She couldn't read minds, could she?

"Nothing to say? You know what you did. You defied me." The duchess's voice sounded like the hiss of a snake. "You followed the guard to the river in order to save those worthless, mongrel puppies. You are a disobedient, deceitful, horrible little wretch." She spat out the words as if they were venom.

Sophie's mouth went dry. Duchess Ermengard hated dogs, especially lap dogs. Anything small and helpless incited her hatred. And these puppies would never grow anywhere close to the size of hunting dogs, which the duchess gave to Lorencz the huntsman to use in his deer hunts.

"I expect my orders to be obeyed. I don't expect my scullery maid to defy them." She said the words scullery maid the way she always did, as though they were a curse.

Sophie thought about the tiny dogs she'd saved and remembered their soft fur and the way they'd whimpered and licked her hand. For a moment she could almost feel the little brown-and-white one snuggled against her cheek. The feel of his furry little face against her skin had made her feel loved, as if he knew she'd saved him.

"You are a wicked ..." The cold, hard edge of the duchess's voice tore Sophie out of her pleasant memory.

Sophie closed her eyes. I will not listen. I will not listen ...

"... rebellious, disrespectful girl. You will learn to respect me. You were nothing, a changeling orphan, an ugly child. You wouldn't even be alive if it weren't for me."

I am not wicked. I am not ugly.

The duchess was snarling now, her voice growing louder. "You will learn not to treat my rules with contempt. You will be disciplined."

Sophie didn't have to open her eyes to see the malicious glint in the duchess's eyes or to see her lips pressed into that tiny, pinched, cold smile, the smile she always wore when doling out punishment.

I am not wicked. I am not rebellious ...

Sophie longed to touch the wooden cross that hung from her neck, to squeeze it and feel comforted by the thought of her Savior's suffering, his compassion and forgiveness. But she didn't dare. If the duchess found the cross that was hidden under her dress, she would tear it away from Sophie and destroy it.

"For your wickedness," the duchess went on, slowly, as though savoring each word, "you shall spend the next two days and nights in the dungeon with no food or water."

Two days and nights. Sophie's heart seemed to stop beating. But at least, maybe, the duchess was finished with her.

Sophie curtsied, keeping her head low. She focused on replying according to the duchess's rules. "Let it be as you say, Duchess Ermengard. I am your servant Sophie."

Two soldiers came forward and grabbed her by her arms.

Just as she relaxed slightly, Sophie heard, "Wait! Bring her here."

Sophie's stomach dropped. What would the duchess do now? Sophie determined not to show panic as the two guards dragged her forward. Any expression of fear would only make things worse.

"Look at me," the duchess ordered.

Sophie lifted her face, preparing herself for the black emptiness of the duchess's eyes.

As soon as their gaze met, the duchess lifted her hand and slapped Sophie across the face.

Stunned, Sophie closed her eyes against the sting, tasting blood on her teeth. Her eyes watered but she refused to cry. She took deep, slow breaths to drive away the tears as the duchess kept up her cold stare. I mustn't show weakness.

Time and silence hung heavy in the air. Then Duchess Ermengard ordered, "Take her away."

The guards pulled Sophie, stumbling, across the stone floor toward the dungeon.

* * *

Gabehart hurried down the corridor with his father, Duke Wilhelm. The slap of their boots on the flagstones echoed against the walls. An old woman had been brought in the day before, feverish and unconscious. Gabe had paid the visitor little mind until their healer, Frau Lena, sent for him and his father, saying the woman had awakened and was telling a tale they needed to hear firsthand to believe.

Of course, if his older brother Valten hadn't broken his leg a few days ago, keeping him confined to his chamber, she wouldn't have sent for Gabe at all.

Gabe and his father entered the healer's tower and strode across the room to the sickbed. The mysterious traveler lay still, her white hair plastered to her head, her wrinkled eyelids closed. Her lips were white and her cheeks gray. Is she already dead?

Frau Lena, their tall, red-haired healer, curtsied to Duke Wilhelm. "Your Grace"—a nod to Gabe—"my lord. Thank you for coming."

"Are we too late?" Gabe glanced from the healer to the old woman on the bed.

Frau Lena smiled. "She's only sleeping." The healer's expression grew thoughtful as she stared down at her. "She'd been mumbling since she was brought in, but her words made no sense—something about saving someone before the evil one kills her." Frau Lena shrugged. "She was so feverish I didn't pay attention. But this morning, she awoke. Her fever had lessened, and she begged me to send for 'the young lord who is betrothed to Duke Baldewin's daughter.'"

What? Gabe glanced at his father. Duke Wilhelm's forehead creased.

"Go on," Duke Wilhelm said.

"When I told her Duke Baldewin's daughter died as a small child many years ago, she said, 'No, it's a lie. She lives. Tell the young lord to go to her, posthaste, and save her from ...'" Frau Lena hesitated.

"From?" Gabe found himself leaning toward the healer.

Frau Lena let out a deep breath, then whispered, "From Duchess Ermengard."

Gabe sank back on his heels. Visiting merchants often told stories about the queenly duchess, claiming she never left her castle in Hohendorf, dabbled in black magic to the extent of placing curses on those who crossed her, and even poisoned people. But Gabe had never seen her. Rumors said she never left her castle.

If Duke Baldewin's daughter were still alive, it made sense that she could be in danger from the shadowy Ermengard; Duke Baldewin's daughter would be sixteen, maybe seventeen years old, making her a threat to the duchess's rule. Though surely someone would have corrected the erroneous report of her demise by now. The truth would surely have leaked out and spread to Hagenheim. Or so one would think.

And if Duke Baldewin's daughter were still alive, that would mean Valten was still betrothed. His brother was going to be awfully surprised to find out he had a bride.

A strangled croaking sound came from the bed. The old woman's faded blue eyes opened and locked on Gabe's face. She lifted an emaciated hand toward him, beckoning him closer with a crooked, skeletal finger.

"Come here."

He looked back at his father, who nodded, so Gabe stepped forward and dropped to one knee by her bedside.

* * *

He was handsome, though he looked quite young. There was something so pleasing in his features. Such gentleness, an earnest look in his eyes. If only he were strong enough, clever enough ... God, help him.

Pinnosa's voice was weak, along with the rest of her, and she willed her words to reach the young man's ears. He was Sophie's only hope. "My lord, I am an old woman, soon to look my last on this earth." She paused to breathe. She was here. The one she had journeyed to find knelt before her, and she would soon impart her secret to him. If she weren't so feeble, she'd laugh with joy.

The man picked up her limp hand and pressed it gently. Such kindness to a poor, old woman on her deathbed.

"And you are Duke Wilhelm's son?"

"I am."

"The secret I have to tell you has cost the lives of more than one person." Pinnosa spoke haltingly, stopping frequently to draw in another shallow breath. "You must be brave, strong, and highly favored by God to escape the same fate. Are you willing to hear my tale?"

"Aye, frau. Proceed."

"I was a servant in Duke Baldewin's castle when his daughter was born. The poor mother died, and His Grace was heartbroken. His wife had been exceedingly fair—her skin, pure and perfect as new-fallen snow; her eyes, the bluest blue; and her hair, black as ebony and silky as a waterfall. The baby girl was the very image of her."

Pinnosa closed her eyes to rest for a moment. Her strength seemed to be ebbing away with every word she spoke. She must impart only the most pertinent information. After managing to take in a little air, she opened her eyes and continued.

"The duke remarried. His new wife was beautiful, but heartless and cold. I believe she killed the duke."

Shock flickered over the young lord's face. He was sheltered and seemed inexperienced, but at least the surprise was quickly replaced by anger. Stoke that fire inside him, that sense of outraged justice I see in his eyes.

"People would tell me I shouldn't say such things. But I am old. It doesn't matter what happens to me if I can save Sophie."

"Did you walk all the way from Hohendorf?"

Pinnosa tried to laugh, but all she could manage was a wheeze. "You can look at my feet and legs if you don't believe me." They were swollen to twice their normal size. "I would walk much farther for Sophie."

The only way she'd been able to get away without raising the duchess's suspicions was by faking her own death. She'd taken a bit of one of the duchess's sleeping potions, which slowed her heart and breathing until people thought she was dead. She had bribed the mute son of a farmer to dig her back up after dark. It had been risky and terrifying to be buried alive beneath the cold earth, but if Pinnosa had left the castle any other way, the duchess would have sent her men after her to kill her. Duchess Ermengard was too powerful, too clever. Pinnosa was one of only two people still alive who knew that Duchess Ermengard had faked the death of her stepdaughter. The duchess had long ago killed everyone else who could have revealed this secret.

"Who is Sophie?" the young lord asked.

"Sophie is a servant in Duchess Ermengard's service. A scullery maid. But the truth is she is the duke's daughter." Pinnosa managed to squeeze his hand. "I saw in a dream that the duchess will kill her soon if someone doesn't intercede. Please ... save her. If you don't hurry, Duchess Ermengard will destroy her. She delights in tormenting her. Sophie ... so kind and gentle ... may God ... watch ... over her."

It was done. Now she could sleep.

Chapter Two

The moment the woman stopped talking, her hand went limp in his. Gabe waited as Frau Lena examined her. After a few minutes, Frau Lena shook her head.

"Her heart has stopped. She's gone."

A chill passed over Gabe's shoulders and he shuddered. What if it were true? A beautiful girl, born to be a duchess but being used as a scullery maid, tormented by her own stepmother. How would he feel if such a thing happened to one of his sisters? His chest tightened at the cruel injustice.

He couldn't stop staring at the old woman's body, trying to divine the truth from her features. But what reason did she have to lie? Someone had to at least investigate the old woman's claims and attempt to help this Sophie.

Valten should save her. His brother Valten was the warrior, always excelling in tourneys, in jousting and sword fighting with the best knights of the Holy Roman Empire and beyond. But right now, Valten couldn't even walk without help.

"Gabe." His father touched his shoulder, pulling his gaze away from the face of the dead woman. "Come. We must discuss this with Valten."

Gabe followed his father through the castle corridor to Valten's chamber. What would his brother think of this woman's claim? Would he believe it? And who would their father send to uncover the truth in Hohendorf?

Gabe should go. His father had too many concerns and duties at home to go cantering off on a wild chase after a kitchen maid who may or may not be a dead duke's daughter. And Gabe couldn't imagine his father sending one of the knights out to handle something so intimately connected to their family.

He also had to admit that the thought of saving this girl himself was strangely appealing. No one thought of Gabe as a warrior. He was a rambler, a fun-loving friend, but certainly not a knight. He had never cared for fighting or jousting and left the tournaments to his older brother and his father's knights. As the second son, Gabe should have trained as a knight or applied himself to a trade such as a master mason or even joined the church. But none of those things appealed to him—a life of chastity least of all. He preferred roaming the countryside with his friends, sometimes drinking too much and doing other activities he was glad his parents knew nothing of. His few skills included flirting with fair maidens, playing the lute, and archery. In fact, archery was the only war sport in which he could best Valten.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson Copyright © 2012 by Melanie Dickerson. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 45 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 18, 2013

    This book was a lovely surprise! I was quite sure from reviews

    This book was a lovely surprise! I was quite sure from reviews of Melanie’s other books, and also from the back cover, that I would enjoy this book…I just didn’t know how much! This is a delightful retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. But it isn’t really a fantasy book…everything that happens really could have happened! There isn’t any “magic” like you usually see in these retellings. However, it is easy to see how in later retellings (I’m pretty sure this is the TRUE story) magic was worked in. The characters depended on God, making them clearly Christian. However, this didn’t detract from the delightfulness of the story in the least! The dwarves were changed, but recognizable…and that’s all I’m going to say about that here. Go buy a copy. :) Oh, also, if you’ve read The Healer’s Apprentice, I’m pretty sure you’re going to find a character or two to recognize! I haven’t, but I caught the reference through pure luck. Definitely want to read more by Melanie

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 21, 2013

    Enchanting! In The Fairest Beauty, Melanie Dickerson





    Enchanting!








    In The Fairest Beauty, Melanie Dickerson sweeps us away on an enchanting, whimsical journey set during the medieval era in a captivating spin on the alluring classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The reader is immediately transported to another time and place -- one of lords and ladies, exotic castles, a wicked Duchess, and a lovely, charming cottage hidden deep in the forest...the Cottage of the Seven!






    Our beautiful 17 year old heroine, Sophie, is trapped in the clutches of the abusive and evil Duchess Ermingard -- destined to spend the rest of her life in Hohendorf castle as little less than a servant. The duchess is envious of the maiden's enchanting beauty, and keeping Sophie's identity a secret from all, makes it her lifelong pleasure to torment and abuse her.






    A mysterious, handsome nobleman, Gabehart, comes to Sophie's rescue, and whisks her off to safety -- to the Cottage of the Seven, narrowly escaping the duchess and her henchmen. Sophie and Gabe must fight off a budding romance because he informs her that he is already betrothed and shockingly so is Sophie -- to his brother. But just as Gabe and Sophie are being well taken care of by the seven dwarfs, new and life threatening danger appears and long buried secrets arise as darkness threatens to envelop the lovely lass.






    Will the two make it to Sophie's betrothed's castle safely...or is there to be no happily ever after in her destiny? For even should they make it to Hagenheim, can Sophie even dare to think about life without Gabe in it? Will she be able to give up love for the sake of tradition? And will Sophie and Gabe allow God to heal their hearts of past wounds and hurts?






    Melanie Dickerson is one of the finest writers in Christian fiction today. Her stories are filled with adventure, suspense, romance, twists and turns, and heart pounding action! Inside of every woman is still that little girl who once dreamed of her Prince Charming and "happily ever after", and Melanie satisfies that need in each of us to become that young lass again...even if only for a short while. This is a fantasy and the reader should regard it as such. The characters are very endearing...especially the delightful seven dwarfs...and I just love how much Gabehart evolves throughout the book! I really enjoyed this novel and could barely put it down once I got into it...very nicely written, Melanie Dickerson!






    I received an ARC of this novel from Zondervan in exchange for my honest opinion.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This book is for fairy tale lovers. Sophie has been a scullery m

    This book is for fairy tale lovers. Sophie has been a scullery maid all her life, a prisoner in Honhendorf Castle. Her evil stepmother, Duchess Ermengard, hated Sophie due to her beauty. Sophie had black hair, pale skin, natural red lips and big blue eyes. The duchess throws Sophie into the dungeon for every little thing. Sound familiar? Yup, this story is based on Snow White. When a stranger named Gabeheart comes and tells her she is royalty, betrothed to his brother,Valten, she decides to run away with him. What she didn't expect, is that she would fall in love with Gabe. Can she break her betrothed to Valten, and still live in a loving family, which is all she ever wanted? 
    If you like romance, action, suspense, and fairy tales, then this book is perfect for you. I am not a huge fan of historical fiction, but this book was still really good. The beginning was a bit boring to me because I'm not a Snow White fan, but I still decided to give it a chance. It was so good after the first few chapters! I will tell you guys out there in advance, there is some religious points in the story, as both the main characters, especially Sophie, believe strongly in God and Jesus. Anyway, the book was pretty amazing, and I might even read it again. The flow was smooth and easily understandable to me. 
    I think my favorite part was when Sophie first met Gabe. I thought it was interesting to see how the would react to each other, like a cat reacting to a strange new animal. I didn't know what she would do next. Would she stay? Would she call the Duchess, who murders every trespasser who doesn't come to please her? I couldn't tell and the suspense was killing me!! Nothing from the book really annoyed me. I thought it was a good book. 
    The writing style was actually a favorite of mine. Every chapter or 2, she would switch points of view, so in one chapter, I was Sophie, then in another, I was Gabe. I like that writing style. This is a wonderful book. I totally recommend it to 7-11 graders. The Fairest Beauty is for fairy tale lovers who always want a happy ending. 

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    Best Book In The World!!!

    Sweet sweet romance, Love for God, a total must read

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Enchanting!

    I've read the Healer's Apprentice and the Merchant's Daughter and loved them, the Fairest Beauty didn't disappoint! I highly recommend it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Janessa, Age 15 Yet another fantastic twist on the f

    Reviewed by Janessa, Age 15
    Yet another fantastic twist on the fairy tales we have all grown up on but with a tantalizing twist! The Fairest Beauty is about a girl named Sophie, whose father is murdered by her stepmother, Duchess Ermegard, which I must say at first it threw me into a fit of laughter as I read it as the notorious meme’s “Ermergerd” aka- OMG. If this was intentional, I give her so mad kudos for sliding this into the book.
    “”You look as b-b-beautiful as a s-s-s-s-sunrise,” Siggy said.”
    I was hooked by page one and could hardly put it down as Sophie suffers at the hands of her stepmother, as she has been raised no better than a house servant, unknowingly rightful heir to the estate and her title. After sixteen years held captive as a measly servant, one of the hired help fakes her death and escapes to Duke Wilhelm, whose eldest son was betrothed to Sophie as an infant. Since the eldest son’s leg is broken, Gabe, the younger son, goes to rescue her and they quickly find themselves entangled in a forbidden romance. The book just keeps getting better from here on out, and so many twists and angles that it truly deserves six stars!
    *This book was provided in exchange for an honest review* 
     *You can view the original review at Musing with Crayolakym and San Francisco & Sacramento City Book Review

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    Melanie Dickerson: Best Author EVER!

    Melanie is my favoritest author! I've read all the books she has published and I absolutely love them all. I think this one is my favorite though. Did you know she is writing a new book called: The Captive Maiden? I can not wait for this one. I LOVED the Fairest Beauty and I can not wit for th next book. Definately a 600 star book. :D

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2013

    I was so excited to read this book¿the cover is just gorgeous an

    I was so excited to read this book—the cover is just gorgeous and that was the sole reason I was compelled to read this book. Well, I won’t lie; I am a huge fan of fantasy, fairy tales and the show Once Upon a Time. So, when I saw this cover I had to have this book and luckily my dad got it for me for my birthday. I enjoyed the book well enough though I do wish there had been less realistic situations and more fantasy. Really, despite this being a retelling of a fairy tale there wasn’t a fairytale element to it at all and I really missed that. A fairy tale just needs a good dose of magic in my opinion and that was seriously missing in this story. Otherwise it was pretty good!

    About the Story:
    Sophie has been raised as a lowly scullery maid for an overbearing and evil duchess. She wishes for nothing but to please the Lord and to live her life serving others and being a blessing. Now, I really thought this was an unusual element to this story. I knew going into it that it was Christian fiction but I’m used to Christian fantasy using allegory rather than actually saying “Jesus Christ” or quoting the scripture. I’m not sure why but this element just didn’t seem to flow with the theme. Perhaps that’s just because I have a preconceived notion of how a fairytale typically reads…

    Anyway, Gabe is nobility from a neighboring kingdom and he learns of Sophie’s plight and of her true origin as the daughter of the late Duke and though she was betrothed to his older brother in her infancy—Gabe is determined to rescue her and steal the glory that would belong to his brother.

    However, it was never Gabe’s intention to fall helplessly in love with Sophie and when they find themselves in the Cottage of the Seven while Gabe recovers from an injury—Sophie finds she can no longer deny her attraction to the handsome Gabe. This provides quite a problem as Gabe is already engaged to another and of course there is the problem of the legally binding betrothal of Sophie to his brother.

    As always the story wraps up with a fairytale ending but I thought this one was almost a little too clean of a wrap up. I can’t quite put a finger on what I would change as I really did enjoy the story but there were little things I felt made the story disjointed or perhaps out of place? As a Christian I really do enjoy a book that pulls in a Christian element but it just didn’t seem to fit in well in this story. Otherwise, it was a really good read and I do think I’ll pick up a few more of her books to check them out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    Pretty great

    This book was preety good,ut it was confusing and some times. It was a reampped version of Snow White. I thought it was pretty cool. Good buy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    The Fairest Beauty was a fantastic, enchanting, and wonderful bo

    The Fairest Beauty was a fantastic, enchanting, and wonderful book. I had read The Healers Apprentice and was really looking foward to this book, and I was definitely not dissapointed. This book was written so beautifully and I was  captivated from the beginning.  Melanie Dickerson has a true gift for writing wonderful books with interesting relatable  characters, and making the reader feel what  the characters are feeling.
    I loved the characters in the book especially Sophie and Gabe and the 7.  I also loved that Sophie and Gabe asked God for help and strength, more YA books need to be like that.  It was really nice that Gabe was Rose and Wilhelms son from The Healers Apprentice, and got to hear about them as well.
    This is one of my favorite books!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2014

    Love of a teen that never reads

    I never read but when i got this book for a school book report i couldent put it down ! I acually like the prayer cause it shows to trust in God and allways take His way before yours:)
    LOVE U ALL
    A teenager girl Christian
    God loves you to the moon and back infinity times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Have a nice day and tell someone u love them and this book:) :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    Great retelling of snow white!

    I love fairy tales and I love to read how different authors spin the stories I grew up reading. I read the reviews on this book before deciding to purchase and as one of the reviews says; this book was a complete surprise! I loved it so much I purchased another book by the author and am now on my 3rd book from Melaine Dickerson. So far these re- tellings have been great reads. I highly recommend them

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Good, positive read

    I read the author's first book and loved it. The story of Rose and Wilhelm (the parents in this story). I appreciate how the author keeps the reading both romantic and rated G. You can still feel the romance without explicit detail...it is about emotion.

    My only reason for giving the story three stars is because while i understand it is the author's goal to evangelize about God and His grace; i do feel most of the time she portrays God as a magician. If you just pray in earnest His will accommodate your desires -- and that is not real. Life is not about getting what you want because you pray in earnest. It is about God's will and being open to it even when you do not want to. Praying is great, but the way she portrays it feels almost like superstition...and that's not how it works.

    So, on a positive side it was a light, feel good romance with a predictable ending...but i encourage the author to rethink how she promotes the power of prayer and doing God 's will. Life is not that simple. Faith is not that simple nor God's plan that predictable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2013

    Good start....

    It started off great. I was excited for the different take on Snow White. Then halfway through I was forcing myself to continue reading. Too much prayer and gushy love...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Let me repeat...Loved it, loved it, loved it!! Melanie Dickerso


    Let me repeat...Loved it, loved it, loved it!! Melanie Dickerson has done it again! The Fairest Beauty is a wonderfully written new twist on Snow White and the Seven Drawfs. Melanie has such an amazing ability to pull you into the story, and keep you there from the very beginning of the book until the very last line. Once I started reading it, I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! I highly recommend this book, I would give it 10 stars if I could!!! Melanie is truly one of my favorite authors. Keep 'em coming, Melanie, Keep 'em coming!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    Could hardly wait for this book!

    I llllllllllloooooooovvvvveeeeeedddddd this book ss much as the last one! Sophie and gabe are so sweet! I couldnt stop reading it from the minute i started! I need to read the next book as soon as it comes out!!!!!

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  • Posted April 10, 2013

    Award-winning Melanie Dickerson pens her third young adult novel

    Award-winning Melanie Dickerson pens her third young adult novel loosely based on the story of Snow White.

    In The Fairest Beauty, Duchess Ermengard fakes the death of her stepdaughter Sophie, driving her husband, Duke Baldewin, to disappear in despair. For over fifteen years, she convinces everyone the scullery maid Sophie she torments, is only an orphan girl. Even Sophie is unaware of her true identity. A former nurse, the only one left with knowledge of the deception, fakes her own death and travels to Sophie’s betrothed. But Valten is laid up with a broken leg and unable to come. His impulsive younger brother, Gabe, decides to rescue Sophie on his own.

    He tells Sophie of her true identity, and convinces Sophie to escape with him because her life is in danger. When Gabe is severely injured by pursuing guards, they take refuge in the Cottage of the Seven. While he recuperates, Sophie and Gabe discover they are falling in love, but they are both betrothed to others. News reaches Gabe that Sophie’s father is not dead but alive, and he leaves to find out the truth. While he is away, the Duchess, in the guise of an old woman, visits Sophie in the Cottage of Seven with the intent of killing her.

    Like her earlier books, the faith element is clearly evident. Sophie prays for her stepmother instead of hating her. Both Gabe and Sophie struggle with past hurts needing God’s healing. They also struggle to seek God’s will and act honorably with others.

    Dickerson is a masterful storyteller with a carefully crafted plot, richly drawn characters, and detailed medieval setting. The reader is pulled into the story, forgetting it is based on a familiar tale. All of her books are a delightful retelling, but this one is her best so far!
    Disclaimer: Book reviews are my opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2013

    The retelling of fairy tales is not new. It¿s tradition, passed

    The retelling of fairy tales is not new. It’s tradition, passed down from generation to generation, certain aspects may change, ways of thinking may influence certain outcomes but on the whole, the message remains the same. The good guys win, the bad guys lose, the beautiful princess meets her prince and they live happily ever after. There are cynics that will tell you this is wrong. Children shouldn’t grow up with such hope, life is hard and stories should reflect that. Life is hard but the ease with which one can escape into a heart warming story of love and goodness makes that life easier to cope with. Happily Melanie Dickerson is on the same page and has retold a classic that has compelled readers for years.


    The past couple of years has seen Snow White reimagined in all mediums of books, TV (Once Upon A Time) and Movies (Snow White and The Huntsman). Dickerson sticks to the formula we know best and concentras on rounding out the characters and breathing life into a stereotypical beauty and giving her some backbone.

    When an old lady arrives at Hagenheim Castle and delivers news to the Duke Wilhelm that the daughter of his old friend and the girl bethrothed to his eldest son, his family are stunned. With his son Valten in bed with a broken leg, the task falls on his second son Gabehart to travel to Hohendorf Castle to seek out the mystery girl, prove her background and rescue her for his brother.

    Sophie is a kitchen maid in the house of the tyranical Duchess Ermengard. Sweet and beloved by her fellow servants, she cannot understand why the Duchess bestows such cruelty upon her at every opportunity. When Gabe arrives from a castle far far away with news that she is not simply a servant girl but a Duchess and heir to the castle she has spent her life serving, Sophie must decide whether to trust this stranger and meet her destiny.

    I really enjoyed this story. It had been a long time since I read a classic fairytale and was pleased the Dickerson didn’t mess around with the plot or add in salacious material in order to titillate a potentially jaded audience. Instead she gives us a sweet, compelling story of love, honour, loyalty and friendship.

    Sophie is kind and gentle but at no times saccharine. She is capable, endearing and not afraid to ask questions or challenge those around her. Her rescuer Gabe is michevious but steadfast. Eager to prove his worth and show he is not simply the “spare” son. As the intrepid twosome escape the clutches of the Duchess and set on the road to present Sophie to her bethrothed, the two grow close, their friendship deepens and despite their best efforts they fall in love. This story is beautifully told, chaste to the point that when the Kiss finally came, I breathed a sigh of relief louder than expected.

    The familiar elements of the classic pop up throughout the story. The Huntsman, The Seven Dwarves now called “The Seven” a rag-tag group of men with familiar personality traits we’ve come to know and love. The poisoned apple…It’s all there but feels new which is a credit to the author.

    Religion is woven heavily through the story but never feels oppressive or dogmatic. God is not vengeful but kind and presents hope for the triumph of good over evil. The subplots of who exactly the seven are, the story of Sophie’s father and the women she grew up with are all interesting to read and are never distracting from the main plot. They help to give a little breathing space so the story is strangled by the love story.

    It wasn’t a book I probably would have picked up due to my current obsession with dystopian but I am so glad I did. Everyone needs a little fairytale in their lives and while I won’t totally spoil the ending, I’ll give you a little hint…It’s a Happily Ever After

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  • Posted April 3, 2013

    Sweet historical romance When Gabe Gerstenberg learns that his

    Sweet historical romance

    When Gabe Gerstenberg learns that his brother's fiance - who everyone thought had died - was very much alive and being held hostage by an evil duchess. Gabe's brother is down with a broken leg, and his father is busy, so he decides to rescue her himself. He bites off more than he can chew with this rash act, and ends up running desperately from the duchesses men - with a woman that he finds very attractive and very unavailable. 




    This sweet Christian historical fiction retelling of Snow White, has all the recognizable elements of the fairy tale, but is set in a realistic world. There were a few really creative twists - like the "seven dwarves" that made this story a fun creation. There were a lot of ethical questions brought to light - the main theme was: when do you know you're following God's wishes rather than your own? This is a good book for readers of fluffy/sweet romance, fairy tale retellings, or Christian historical fiction. Personally, I found Sophie's character to be just a little too sweet and perfect, but I think that's the nature of the snow white fairy tale. As far as I'm concerned, that was the only flaw in this cute retelling.

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  • Posted March 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    THE FAIREST BEAUTY by Melanie Dickerson is an interesting inspir

    THE FAIREST BEAUTY by Melanie Dickerson is an interesting inspirational Young Adult Romance/Teen Fiction. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" retelling and brilliantly done,if I must say so myself and I do. What an intriguing story of Sophie and Gabe. Follow them as they journey to the Seven Dials,escape Sophie's evil step-mother,oh wait,Sophie doesn't know the evil Queen is her step-mother,and find love along the way. A brilliant retelling of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". Go on a journey to the Seven Dials,Hagenheim Castle,where an evil Queen resides,"Mirror,Mirror, on the wall,whose the fairest of them all" and Hohendorf Castle. Any teen is sure to love this story. With two betrothals,danger,deceit,faith,an evil Queen,a lost child,a father who thought his beloved daughter was dead and love. Well written with a great cast of characters,an engaging plot and oh did I mention an evil Queen. A delight to read with a few surprises,and lots of twists and turns. Received for an honest review from the publisher.
    RATING: 4
    HEAT RATING: SWEET
    REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction Reviews

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