Book Review #5

The Fairest Beauty (Fairy Tale Romance Series #3)

By Melanie Dickerson

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Genre: Christian, Fantasy, Historical, Medieval, Romance, Young Adult

Pages: 326

Chapters: 30 (including the epilogue)

Point of View: Third Person

Published: 2012

Back Cover Summary:

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.

Themes:

Trust in God, Forgiveness of Self, and Overcoming comparison.

Background:

Similar to The Healer’s Apprentice, what drew me to The Fairest Beauty was the premise that this book is based loosely on a classic fairy tale. As a reminder, the author’s books are not exactly like the fairy tales that you may have read or watched; the author reimagines the classic fairy tales in creative ways one of which is that many of her characters believe in God and/or talk about God.

The Fairest Beauty is the third book within the author’s Fairy Tale Romance Series, (this book can be read as a standalone), and it is loosely based on Snow White. I’ll start by saying that, as a child one of my favorite Disney movies was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The things that I loved most about the movie were the music, the animation, the seven dwarves and Snow White’s animal friends. Do not get me wrong, I liked Disney’s original princess, but I cannot say that she’s the reason that I watch the movie. Upon discovering that this book was a reimagining of the tale, I thought I would check it out.

Analysis:

This book review will have NO SIGNFICANT SPOILERS. The setting for The Fairest Beauty is Germany like The Healer’s Apprentice. Moreover, as Rose was on the cover, for she was the female lead in The Healer’s Apprentice, seventeen-year-old Sophie appears on this book’s cover. However, Sophie and twenty-year-old Gabehart “Gabe” share the spotlight throughout the novel.

Sophie and Gabe come from two different backgrounds; Gabe grew up in a two-parent home with parents who adored each other and loved their children. Sophie did have love, but it was not from her parents, she got it from a few fellow servants that she considered her family. The love from some of her fellow servants is important, for Sophie has to deal with the woman who hates her: Duchess Ermengard, and the emotional and physical pain she puts Sophie through consistently. It came as no surprise that there was this dynamic between Sophie and the Duchess, and consequently, that did not maintain my interest in the book.

What kept me reading were the internal struggles that Gabe experienced not just during the book, but years prior to the book’s start. Regardless of whether a child grows up in a two-parent home, or a single parent home, when a child experiences something painful, it can influence how they see themselves. One of the moments that I found Gabe most relatable happens early on in the book. It says,

Gabe didn’t like remembering his sister’s death. He’d been playing nearby when she’d fallen into the lake. Elsebeth had been splashing at the edge of the water, and he’d assumed she was enjoying herself on the bank. He hadn’t even noticed when the splashing stopped…He’d been very young, only six years old, but he recalled the heavy weight inside him, a feeling he now knew was guilt. At the time he’d felt as if he’d been bad, as if Elsebeth’s death was his fault. After all, he was her older brother” (98).

After reading that passage, one would agree that Gabe was a child and in no way was his little sister’s death was his fault. One could say that because they have an objective view on the matter. Still, sometimes it is difficult to hear the truth when there are lies on loop going through the mind. There are days where those lies are louder than other days—all of us have experienced it. Lies like, “I’m not pretty;” “I’m not smart;” “I’m not thin enough;” the list goes on, you know what negative internal dialogue plays in your mind about yourself.

Many people in the Bible struggled with this, and Moses is a prime example. You’ve heard/read the story about Moses and the burning bush. Regardless of Moses’s doubts about being the one to free the Israelites, God responds to Moses with the truth:

11The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.’” (Exodus 4:11-12)

No matter what the enemy tries to make us believe about ourselves, what God believes about us and says about us should have the final say because what God says about us and sees in us is the truth. Therefore, in those moments where we struggle with our thoughts, it is important that “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). In addition, it is important that like Gabe we have people who care about us, know us, and recognize what God sees in us to help refute the lies that the enemy feeds us.

Once I completed the book, the highlights are the scenes between Rose and Sophie; it gives readers a peak into a friendship those two might have after this book’s conclusion. Another highlight is the creative ways in which the familiar red apple and the eternal slumber are executed.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5    

  • Are You A Fan of Melanie Dickerson?

  • What’s Your Favorite Fairy Tale?

Feel Free to Comment Below!

Bible Verse from Holy Bible: New International Version

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