Margaretha has always been a romantic, and 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.
Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin’s message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself “Lord Colin” is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook’s wicked plot.
About the Author
Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author and a Christy Award winner. Her first book, The Healer’s Apprentice, won the National Readers’ Choice Award for Best First Book in 2010, and The Merchant’s Daughter won the 2012 Carol Award. Melanie spends her time daydreaming, researching the most fascinating historical time periods, and writing stories at her home near Huntsville, Alabama, where she gathers dandelion greens for her two adorable guinea pigs between writing and editing her happily ever afters. Visit her online at MelanieDickerson.com; Facebook: MelanieDickersonBooks; Twitter: @MelanieAuthor.
Read an Excerpt
The Princess Spy
By Melanie Dickerson
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2014 Melanie Dickerson
All rights reserved.
April, 1413, Hagenheim Castle
Margaretha sat in the Great Hall listening to her newest suitor, Rowland Fortescue, Earl of Claybrook, who had cornered her after the midday meal.
Perhaps it was unkind of her to use the word "cornered." He was her suitor, after all, and she should be pleased that he wanted to talk to her. Some of her other suitors had barely said two words to her, but this man seemed to enjoy talking to her—in very fluent German for an Englishman, but his mother was from the German regions of the Holy Roman Empire.
Everyone, especially her brothers, accused Margaretha of talking too much, but Lord Claybrook often left her speechless. Could that be a good thing?
This morning, Lord Claybrook had been telling her of his prowess as a hunter, both with his falcons and his oh-so-remarkable hounds, a subject so boring that it wasn't her fault if she was distracted by his hat.
Truly, it was an astonishing hat. But then, all of his hats were astonishing. Every day since he had come to Hagenheim Castle, Margaretha had found herself staring at the man's hat.
Today's hat consisted of a gray fur band as wide as her hand and padded to make it twice as fat as his head, with a large jewel inset in the front, and folds of red cloth protruding from inside, draped over his right temple like the coxcomb of a rooster. A piece of matching cloth hung from the other side of the hat, reaching to his left knee.
While his hat's liripipe was ridiculously long, his tunic was scandalously short. He wore only tight hose underneath, so she was careful not to let her eyes stray too low.
But she must make allowances for him. He was a foreigner, after all. Perhaps everyone in England dressed that way.
Lord Claybrook described his favorite hunting dog, explaining how the animal had tracked a deer for three days while he and his guests had followed close behind. As he paced the room, his tunic, trimmed in fur at the cuffs of his sleeves, shimmered, as it was embroidered all over with an elaborate design of curly leaves done in shiny gold thread. She hated to admit it, but she was beginning to agree with her brothers—the man was overdressed even for an earl. Her oldest brother, Valten, was an earl, and he never dressed so elaborately. For that matter, her father was a duke and rarely wore velvet and silk except on special occasions.
But perhaps Lord Claybrook was only trying to make a good impression on her. After all, he had been very courteous to her, never complaining that she talked too much. Was he her perfect match?
Margaretha was good at choosing other people's perfect match. A few weeks ago she had noticed her maidservant, Britta, and one of the guards, Gustaf, eyeing each other. Margaretha inquired about the guard, discovering that Gustaf used his wages to help his sickly mother and two sisters. So Margaretha managed to arrange for the guard to accompany her, her sisters, and Britta on a picnic. Margaretha and her sisters went to pick flowers, leaving Britta and Gustaf alone together to guard the food. Later, she sent the two of them to pick apples. Soon her matchmaking was rewarded with seeing them smiling at each other and talking quietly.
Lord Claybrook seemed kind, and he wouldn't force her to go back to England with him. He had said he wanted to stay within the Holy Roman Empire, as he would inherit the nearby estate of his uncle, the Earl of Keiterhafen. If she married Lord Claybrook, she could stay close to her family.
As a duke's daughter, it was her duty to marry as advantageously as possible. How spoiled she would seem if she ignored her parents' wishes by refusing to accept a suitor who would advance their family's holdings and bring about peace and harmony to the people whose lives depended upon it.
She had already delayed the process so long, her younger sister was now of age to marry. It didn't seem too much to ask, however, that she be allowed enough time to get to know him. She must first believe she could love him and that he loved her. But if she could not find a good reason not to accept Lord Claybrook, he seemed her best choice.
Lord Claybrook, she realized with a guilty feeling, had stopped talking and was staring at her with a look of frustration on his face. Oh dear. She had insulted him by not listening to his long diatribe on hunting.
"Forgive me, Lord Claybrook. My mind wandered. What were you saying?"
"I was telling you about my hunting dogs. I thought you were interested in learning about me, Lady Margaretha. But I shall not bore you any longer."
"Oh no! You mustn't think—" That she wasn't interested in his hunting exploits? She couldn't lie. "I was rude, and I hope you will forgive me. I do want to learn more about you. Most people complain that I talk too much, and I didn't want to annoy you with too much chatter." She smiled, hoping to return him to a good humor.
Lord Claybrook smiled back and reached out a hand to her. Straight white teeth shone among his good-looking features—hard-planed chin and cheekbones, a prominent brow, and dark brown eyes that were perfectly spaced. Her maids all told her he was her most handsome suitor yet.
Margaretha allowed him to take her hand, and he raised it to his lips and kissed her knuckles. "You are much too beautiful to offend, Lady Margaretha. Of course, I must not expect a gentle lady to be interested in hunting. Although many ladies do go out hunting with their men. But your delicate nature becomes you." Still holding her hand, he bent to kiss it again.
Perhaps she should be moved, at least a little, by his gesture, but it didn't make her heart flutter in the least, the way Britta said hers did when Gustaf smiled at her. But perhaps it wasn't Margaretha's way to be moved to flutterings of the heart by a man's smile or kiss. Her mother said love grew out of mutual respect and friendship. So far, Lord Claybrook hadn't given her any reason to not respect him. Unless she considered his irrational choices in clothing.
Just then her father, Duke Wilhelm, and her eldest brother, Lord Valten, came into the Great Hall wearing leather tunics, leather breeches, and shoulder capes—their usual riding attire.
"Shall we hunt?" Lord Claybrook asked them, an eager glint in his eyes.
"Perhaps tomorrow," her father answered him. "I shall ask my falconer and the dogs' handler to be ready in the morning. For now, I thought we could take a ride around the town."
"It would be my pleasure, your Grace. Do I have time to change my hat?"
"Of course," her father said, as a flicker of amusement crossed his face. Her brother Valten's expression, on the other hand, was openly scornful.
Lord Claybrook made an elegant bow to his host and then turned to Margaretha. "Will you join us, my lady?"
"No, I thank you." She knew her father was still trying to make out the man's character, and he could do it better without her along. "Enjoy your ride. I will be here when you get back." She smiled, trying to seem amenable and friendly.
Lord Claybrook's gaze lingered on her before he bowed and strode away.
Her father smiled at her, looking pleased. Valten just scowled.
"How is my beautiful daughter this morning?"
"Very well, Father." Margaretha went forward and embraced him. If only she could find someone as perfect as her father. He made every other man she'd ever met seem unworthy.
Perhaps this was the reason she'd never found a suitor very appealing; she always compared him to her father.
She pressed her cheek against his shoulder. He would never force her to marry, but she also felt he had been a little disappointed that she had rejected the Duke of Beimerberg last fall, and the Earl of Rimmel last summer, both within the first week of meeting them.
Some others hadn't even lasted that long. Would he ask her how things were progressing with Lord Claybrook?
When she pulled away, he looked into her eyes. His knuckles grazed her chin and jawline, and he winked. Then he and Valten left.
Margaretha wandered through the castle, trying to imagine herself married with two children, like her brother Gabe's wife, Sophie. Or pregnant with her first child, like Valten's wife, Gisela. Her sisters-in-law both seemed content. Gabe and Sophie were perfect for each other, and Valten and Gisela were also well-matched and in love. But Margaretha didn't think she would be pleased with a man like either of her brothers. She wanted someone extraordinary, a man who was bold, fearless, and impulsive, yet humble, kind, and gentle. He should be intelligent and confident in his ability to love her and make her happy. He had to be passionate about right and wrong, and passionately in love with her, not her father's title and wealth.
All Lord Claybrook seemed passionate about was hunting ... and hats.
But after all, she barely knew him. Did she want him to behave unseemly, attacking her in his ardor?
She didn't know what she wanted.
She wandered through the outside door and into the courtyard, which was surrounded on three sides by the castle walls. To her right was the blacksmith's stall, which was always busy with people bringing work or retrieving mended tools and horseshoes. Straight ahead, three maids stood at the well, talking as they waited their turn to draw water.
To her left was the open door to the healer's chambers. Frau Lena left the door open in good weather to let out the bad humors. Margaretha could hear her singing, her clear voice carrying into the courtyard.
The early spring sun was more than halfway up the sky, but it was pleasantly cool, as the weather had turned mild. Only a few white clouds dotted the blue sky, but three vultures, circling lazily overhead, marred the perfection of her view. What were they doing here? Vultures only came around when something was dead—or dying.
A cart, pulled by a gray mule, rolled through the castle gate from the Marktplatz and headed toward Frau Lena's tower chambers. A long bundle lay on the otherwise empty cart. She stared absentmindedly at it, until she began to notice the angles and bulges of the cloth. Then, as it drew near the healer's open door, Margaretha realized—those were feet dangling off the end of the cart.
The motionless heap was a person.CHAPTER 2
Margaretha crept closer to the cart, trying to look inconspicuous. At any moment Frau Lena might notice her and warn her away.
The boy who had been leading the mule and potter's cart must be the potter's apprentice. He peeked into the open doorway of the healer's chambers in the southwest tower, then called, "Frau Lena? Are you here?"
Margaretha peered over the side at the unconscious body.
A young man, perhaps a little older than her own age of eighteen, lay motionless, his eyes closed. His black hair was plastered to his head above his right eye with what looked like dried blood, and dead leaves were tangled up in his thick, wavy locks. He had been beaten, as there were bruises over his face and on his collarbone, which she could see because his shirt was ripped and lay open, exposing his chest. In spite of the smudges of dust and grime on his face, his bleeding, swollen lips, and the dark circles under his eyes, he had noble features and might be considered handsome if he were cleaned up. His fine linen clothes were dirty and torn, his feet bare. Although he was thin, his chest and shoulders were broad. He must be cold, lying there with nothing warm to cover him.
She stared, trying to tell if he was breathing. Was he dead? Her heart squeezed painfully, as if trying to beat for him.
Frau Lena came out of the tower door and walked to the other side of the cart. She bent her face close to the unconscious man's.
"My master and I found him on the south road to Hagenheim." The lad who had brought him followed Frau Lena and stood beside her, staring down at the dark-haired man.
Frau Lena pressed two fingers to the side of his neck. She glanced up and her eyes locked on Margaretha, then widened, as though she was startled to see her.
"Is he alive?"
Frau Lena nodded. "He is breathing. I'll need help carrying him inside."
Margaretha turned and hailed one of her father's knights, who was strolling through the courtyard. "Sir Bezilo! Kommen Sie hier, bitte! Over here, please."
Sir Bezilo strode forward and slipped his massive arms underneath the body and picked him up.
The unconscious man opened his eyes—they were a stunning dark blue—and began trying to speak, but his voice was so hoarse and cracked that he sounded more as if he was croaking than speaking words. But even in his weak state, he struggled against the larger knight.
"Sei still," Sir Bezilo told him. "You are safe now."
But the poor man continued to struggle and try to speak as the knight carried him inside.
She asked the boy who had brought the stranger, "Did he tell you anything?"
"He never awakened until now. Did you understand what he was saying?"
"No. But now that I think about it, perhaps he was speaking another language."
The boy raised his brows. "No one around here knows how to speak other languages, only a few words of Latin or French. No one except some of the duke's family." His eyes fixed on her for the first time and his mouth fell open. "Oh. Begging your pardon, Lady Margaretha." He bowed to her, his ears turning bright red.
"Nothing to pardon," Margaretha said gently. "And thank you for being so kind as to bring the poor man to our healer. You saved his life, I am sure. Please inform the potter of my family's gratitude."
"Of course, my lady." He bowed again, then took his mule and led him away, the cart wheels rattling over the cobblestones.
Margaretha turned back to the open doorway. Frau Lena was rummaging through a basket by the sick bed, while her patient lay motionless and quiet once again, his eyes closed.
Margaretha stepped inside, not sure what she intended to do. She'd never entered the healer's chambers before, as Frau Lena always came to Margaretha's own chamber when she was ill. She was certain her mother and father wouldn't like her being here—she might see things a duke's daughter ought not to see. But curiosity compelled her.
Frau Lena pulled a cloth from the basket and glanced up. "Lady Margaretha." She seemed about to say something, then turned and dipped some water from the kettle over the fire in the fireplace into a bowl.
Margaretha took a deep breath, then said, "Please, Frau Lena, may I stay, only until I can see if the young man will recover?"
"Yes, you may stay and help me, if you wish. My apprentice has gone to the market and may not be back for a while."
Margaretha stepped closer. "Oh, thank you, Frau Lena. I would like to help. The poor man looks as if he was beset by robbers and left for dead. What should I do? Do you think he will live?"
She was asking questions faster than Frau Lena could answer them. She literally bit her tongue to stop herself.
"I think he will live." Frau Lena smiled as she handed Margaretha a wet cloth and the bowl of warm water. "Bathe his face with this while I make him a special herbal drink."
Margaretha sat on a stool by the narrow bed and began gently washing his face, which was so dirty she had to continually rinse out her cloth. "What do you think is wrong with him?" she whispered.
Excerpted from The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson. Copyright © 2014 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Melanie Dickerson has done it again! I was so excited to read this book, I preordered it (which I only do for favorite authors, and even then not very often), started reading it the day it came out and had it finished the next day because it was so riveting and I couldn't put it down! I love her fairytale retellings, every single one of them, and this one was no different of course! One thing I really like about this book is that it carries on with the family that has been present for her last few books (don't want to give anything away there), so readers get to see beloved friends from the past! Plus the historical look into the past is very enjoyable! Margaretha is a very curious, kind brave, courageous, likeable character with a take charge attitude, who loves to talk and fears that no one will be able to see through her constant chatter and love her. I enjoyed the fact that she wasn't completely perfect - I mean, spies usually equal silent chameleon! Then, the crazy stranger appeared and Margaretha's curiosity won the best of her. As she got to know Colin and discovered that her new suitor, Claybrooke, was a devious villain, she was thrown into quite the intriguing glue-readers-to-the-pages adventure that would turn her lily pad of life over! As Margaretha and Colin grow closer and get to know each other better, will they grow to love each other? And if they do, there's the dilemma of Claybrooke trying to force marriage on her, the easy (or not) matter of saving her family, and if they can get through all of that - the fact that she would have to leave her wonderful family and Hagenheim to live in England! As they learn to have faith in God and put their trust in Him, will they be able to get through all of this safely? If you love fairytale retellings, you will love this new spin on the Frog Prince! There's action, sweet romance, intriguing plot, likeable characters, faith growing - a little something for everyone! Feel the happiness and outrage of these characters as you go on this journey with them! Now, what will I do until Melanie Dickerson's next book comes out?
I loved it!!! It ha action and romance and was a great retell of the frog prince
In THE PRINCESS SPY, Melanie Dickerson delivers another wonderful book–beautiful inside and out! (That cover. Seriously. It’s one of my favorites.) I was a little worried the story inside could not live up to the gorgeous cover, but it did. Oh, did it ever. One of my favorite things had to be the fact that the hero is from England and speaks no German, but finds himself in medieval Germany where nobody speaks English–except the heroine, who only speaks a little. Everything resulting from that basic premise was alternately fun, hilarious, awesome, and sweet. I must say the author did a fabulous job of presenting the struggles of a foreigner in a land where he doesn’t understand anyone, and vice versa. Colin and Margaretha’s relationship having to do with the language barrier was absolutely adorable. I LOVED that aspect to the story! That alone makes THE PRINCESS SPY a favorite. As far as Margaretha herself, I enjoyed her as a heroine, which is a compliment to the author, who must be one of the best writers of girl main characters, because I actually like the heroines in all the books I’ve read by her. One of my main problems with reading stories with a romantic tilt to them (or, any book, actually…), is loving the male character but finding the girl annoying, unlikeable, or, in certain cases, hating her. So I’m glad that Margaretha was actually likeable, and fun, and it’s amusing how talkative she is. And then Colin. Yes, once again there is an awesome hero who we fall in love with a little… or more than a little… I think it took me a bit longer to get a feel for him as a character (instead of instantly knowing his character like with Gabe and Valten) but in another way I loved him from the first I saw him! So… I don’t know. Suffice it to say I loved every minute (page?) with him and wished the story was longer so I could read more about him! Now, I did feel like the fairytale-retelling aspect of it was not the strongest. In the other two books I’ve read by Melanie Dickerson, one of my favorite things about them was the fairytale part. As a retelling of the Frog Prince, it seemed to be grasping a little, almost as if it was forced into the story for the sake of being called a retelling. Yes, there’s a scene involving something dropped in a well, and the character gets called Frog-boy briefly because of some unfortunate green clothes, but that’s all I noticed (though I might be missing something). Then again, there’s not much to the original Frog Prince story anyway. The title seemed slightly forced as well. The spying wasn’t too much of a focus except very early on, and Margaretha is technically a duke’s daughter and not a princess… But at the end of the day neither of those nit-picks matters much because, regardless, the story is awesome. Even without a strong fairytale plot, the book was good in itself and I really loved it. The experience of reading THE PRINCESS SPY will be enriched by reading the other books in the series first–for instance I may have squealed in delight whenever there was a reference to Gabe from THE FAIREST BEAUTY, or whenever Valten (the hero of THE CAPTIVE MAIDEN) came on the scene… And I’ve yet to read THE HEALER’S APPRENTICE or THE MERCHANT’S DAUGHTER, but I can tell that they would add to the story if I had read them already (soon, I hope!). But really, I think THE PRINCESS SPY stands alone fairly well. Bottom line: With an interesting and exciting story, beautiful writing, and characters we love, THE PRINCESS SPY is thoroughly worth reading (as long as you don’t expect there to be too much of a fairytale retelling or a whole lot of spying). It’s a really good tale for anyone, but especially for older teens and lovers of a good fairytale-esque romance adventure in the forests and castles of medieval Germany. I enjoyed it a ton, and I can’t wait to read more by Melanie Dickerson! (I would like to thank the author and Zondervan for the copy of this book they sent me in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review; these opinions are my own.0
What a great adventure! I felt like the spying was only the first part, and then the journey Margaretha goes on is where the story really picks up. For an easy-going princess who has never been challenged in her priveleged life, she is likeable with characteristics of loyalty and compassion and even her flaws are endearing- very naive with a tendency to chatter (which she receives quite a bit of grief for from various family members). I found it adorable how proud she is of herself with each obstacle she overcomes, almost as if she is surprised at herself, but not really- somehow knowing she was that courageous all along. Colin also undergoes a character arc as his trials put him through a refiner's fire, changing from overly confident and also somewhat naive to humble, realistic, and protective. He never loses his zeal for justice- each beating he receives at the hands of various villains seems to make it stronger. I loved the humor in the story and the sweet slowly-built romance. I can't wait to read the first four books in this series now! (Thank you to Zondervan Publishing and BookLook Bloggers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
Love, Love, Loved this book!
This was a great week and i enjoy it very much..
Mararetha is a sweet girl who can't seem to find the right man. None of her suitors have measured up, yet she knows she must marry someone. Her current suitor is none other than Lord Claybrook, the arch enemy of the young man (Colin) she helps nurse back to life. When Colin reveals a terrifying secret about Lord Claybrook, Margaretha must decide who to believe and soon she is running for both her life and the lives of those she loves. I really liked this book. It was sweet and sincere. The romance was squeaky clean and the story focused on the characters' personalities. Margaretha and Colin were both good characters to have in the story and they played off each other well. I haven't read any of Melanie Dickerson's other books, but I am definitely planning on it. I really liked this story and I'm interested to read her other books as well. This is a good book for anyone that likes clean books, young adult fiction, or fairy tales where good always wins. Although the setting and some very minor characters carry over from other books, it is a stand alone novel that can be read on its own. Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the BookLook Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this story. Melanie Dickerson is a wonderful author who knows how to weave a beautiful plot full of romance and adventure. The words seemed to flow off the page which made this an easy read. Margaretha is a princess who doesn’t have much confidence in herself. She knows she likes to talk a lot and this can get her in trouble. It doesn’t help that her brothers tease her about this. She also doesn’t feel like much of a leader but what will she do when she is forced to be a leader and help save her fathers kingdom? You’ll have to read to find out :) Collin is a wonderful hero who becomes even more driven to nail Claybrook when he finds out that Claybrook is trying to woe Margaretha. I loved how Melanie worked a language barrier into the book as well, and Margaretha has to freshen up her English in order to even understand what Colin is trying to tell her. Overall, I think I enjoyed the adventure more than the romance in this book as the romance was a bit of a slower build for me. But a great read and highly recommended for anyone who loves princess and castle type stories for grown-ups :) A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review.
This was another great adventure story by Melanie Dickerson. Margaretha, a princess, is expected to marry well to strengthen her father’s and future husband’s land holdings. However, she is such a talker and busy young lady that she has scared off all prospects except Lord Claybrook. Though Claybrook appears very focused on his appearance, he seems to accept her for herself. Before their engagement is finalized, she meets Colin, an injured foreigner. Thanks to her tutor, Margaretha is one of the few in the land that can understand and speak with him. Colin claims to have been beaten by Claybrook’s men and warns her to be careful. As Margaretha takes it upon herself to spy on Claybrook in order to save herself and her kingdom, she and Colin experience countless risky adventures. I enjoyed seeing Margaretha’s confidence grow throughout the story, and was charmed throughout. I was provided an ARC of the book by Zondervan Z Street in exchange for my honest review.
Melanie Dickerson is an amazing author! If you've read any of her books you know that! She creates such realistic and loveable enviornments and characters that you can't help but be swept up into her books! This book is no exception and, in my opinion, her best so far! Margaretha is the character that I can best relate to in that she needs some help and some saving (because you can't have a fairytale without ANY saving) but she is also capeable of saving herself. This helps to carry the story and you see her grow throughout the book. Also, the mainmale character is amazing as well! Added in throughout the book are little surprises from previous books as well, so make sure you read the other books as well! It's hard to write a realistic Princess and The Frog type fairytale, but I say well done!
Margaretha is tired of the same type of suitor. They continuously treat her with no respect and hate how much she talks. Her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, doesn't seem quite as awful, but she still doesn't feel herself around him. When an English stranger named Colin stumbles into her home, injured and confused, he tells her of his mission to bring justice to a fallen friend whom he says Claybrook killed. Though she is hesitant to believe him at first, she soon discovers the evil Claybrook is hiding, and she must work with Colin to save her family. I've had my eye on Melanie Dickerson's novels for quite a while, and I was finally able to read this one! Though I had hoped to see a little more inclusion of the Frog Prince story, I still really enjoyed the new twists and turns this novel takes. The romance is slow, and while there were several times I just wanted to yell at Colin and Margaretha to kiss already, the slower pacing of their relationship made it so sweet. Because of Claybrook, they are both facing tough personal challenges, and their encouragement of the other to help them grow and face those challenges made me root for them all the way through. Their overall journey going against Claybrook is beautifully plotted. The climax builds tremendously, and all the big questions are answered at the end. For anyone looking for a more gentle fairy tale retelling, I would definitely recommend this one! 4 Hearts!
I really enjoyed this book. This book had good characters and a good plot. I had a hard time putting this book down.
What another delightful fairytale retelling by Melanie! I think this one is probably my favorite out of all the Hagenheim residents’ stories! I really liked Margaretha and am glad her story was told because there is so much more to her then the sibling who can’t keep a secret. She’s brave, loyal, and just plain awesome in so many ways. I also liked Colin and thought he was a great hero (not to mention attractive). “The Princess Spy” was fairly slow paced, but I wouldn’t say it was a bad thing. I greatly appreciated how the romance bloomed slowly and thought it was very refreshing. It was extremely respectful and set a great example for teenage girls. The message of the novel was by far very inspiring! To simply trust God at all times is something I struggle with and am grateful that Melanie gives readers characters who learn that truth as well as live it out. I deemed the book’s mantra Margaretha’s words “Nothing is too hard for God” and plan to adopt them as my own. This is a great YA novel that I would recommend! It will definitely not only entertain with the action, possibly swoon with romance, but also challenge to seek as well as trust God in every situation despite all odds. *(I received an ARC of this novel from the author. All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.)*
I FLEW through this one. The day I got it, I sat down and read it straight through. I can't even remember the last time I did that. I mean, I loooove my fairytale retellings. I actually couldn't tell what this one was from the description, but it hit me while reading. Yes, ladies and possible gents, this is a retelling of...The Frog Prince. Margaretha is the daughter of a duke, and lives a pretty naive and sheltered life. She is a romantic at heart, having rejected all of her suitors so far. But she is considering her current suitor, Lord Claybrook, even though she secretly desires a loving relationship. That is, until her world is thrown in disarray by the arrival of an injured Englishman. Margaretha is the only one who can speak his language, but the man seems addled. He tells her that Lord Claybrook is not who he seems, and asks her to spy on him. Which Margaretha does, to find out that the stranger is telling the truth. And it is up to Margaretha and Colin to save her family and the entire town. Margaretha's worst fault is that she talks alot. And she mentions this quite a bit. But she was easy to like. She was sweet and kind, if a bit naive. But as soon as she finds out that her family is in danger, her first and only thought is how to save them with no regard to herself. She was pretty selfless and brave. She spoke her mind and was pretty humorous. Colin himself was easy to like. Although a bit pigheaded, he really did care about these people that he had hardly met, and put himself in danger for them. He was adorable. This was pretty fast-paced. Like I said, I flew through it. There were not parts where the story lagged, or nothing seemed to be happening. It flowed naturally. The descriptions of the world and the castles were detailed and beautiful. I mean, I'm not entirely sure what things were like back then, but the author seemed to do a pretty good job of describing them so you could actually imagine what it was like. Also, the language barrier between Colin and everyone else was made clear. There wasn't any confusion about who was speaking what language, or what was going on. And thankfully, no insta-love. I loved how Margaretha and Colin slowly became allies, then friends, and then realized they loved each other. Was it still a bit fast? Yeah, they knew each other for barely weeks. But I was still rooting for them. This was a beautiful story, one that I thought was so well done. While I need to brush up on my knowledge of The Frog Prince to see how it actually matches up to the story, I thought this was a great story.
Melanie Dickerson is one of my favorite authors. I have enjoyed every one of her stories so far, and this one did not disappoint! This story is the final connection between all her stories before, and it was really cool watching it all come together. To begin, it’s hard for me not to like her style of stories. She does an excellent job researching the medieval era, and her settings are so vibrant and realistic. She makes it easy to understand feudal Europe, specifically the Holy Roman Empire’s Germany in this story. But she also brings in the beautiful ideals of fairytales, each with recognizable elements from the familiar tales, but also with great twists. She brings the heart of the story, the messages hidden within, and writes a unique tale that’s only hers. The Princess Spy utilizes that adorable tale of the frog prince, with the message of keeping promises, and reminding us that appearances can be deceiving. This book follows the tale of Margaretha, the eldest daughter of the Duke of Hagenheim, She is a sweet character, full of heart, but loves to talk. (Yes, I know, now comes the comments about women and their love of talking. lol) But she is intelligent, learning as much as she can. That desire helps when Colin appears, a man who only speaks English, and she is the only one who knows the language. The romance between these characters is adorable, even as they fight their connection. They are forced to team up, to unmask a man who is not what he appears. Even as they learn about each other, they also have to discover what is inside them. This book is full of suspense and intrigue, an adventure filled with action, classic sword fights, the enjoyable woman who discovers her own strength, and a man who changes from an utter toad to a true charming prince. Definitely one of her best works, and one I highly recommend.
Melanie Dickerson spins another amazing story. Following her other books, this story tells the tale of Margaretha. When an injured man comes to her home, Margaretha's family takes him in and cares for him. This man turns out to be an Englishman, Lord Colin. His accusations against Margaretha's current suitor, Lord Claybrook, causes her to think him mad. Yet, as the story progresses, things aren't always what the seem to be... Because of his desire for revenge, Lord Colin le Wyse finds himself at the mercy of strangers in a strange land. At first, he is annoyed at Margaretha's seemingly endless chatter. As the story progresses, he soon finds comfort in her talking. Neither of them thought they would end up working together, let alone fall in love, yet God had other plans. I absolutely loved this story. It not only combined my favorite genres but also fully showed that God's ways are higher than our ways. Can't wait for more from Melanie Dickerson.
Sings softly to herself in her isolated tower as she brushes her long blond hair. Her green eyes dart toward the door as a terrifying monster breaks it down.
Terrible writing. Bland. Poor development. So disappointing. The authors best book was her first one, The Healer's Apprentice.