Book by Melanie Dickerson. Book # 2 of A Medieval Fairy Tale Series
After inheriting his title from his brother, the margrave has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise?
The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble born ladies who meet the king’s approval to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.
Avelina has only two instructions: keep her true identity a secret and make sure the margrave doesn’t select her as his bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.
Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences.
Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?
The Story :
The Beautiful Pretender is basically a story set in the medieval times and based on two fairy tales, according to the author, The Princess and the Pea and Beauty and The Beast. Avelina, a maidservant of Lady Dorothea of Plimmwald, is forced to take the place of Dorothea and go to Thornbeck as a guest of Reinhart, the Margrave of Thornbeck, after Dorothea runs away with her father’s knight, leaving Avelina alone to clean up the mess. Avelina is not supposed to be chosen by the margrave but only engage in the selection to strengthen the alliance between Plimmwald and Thornbeck and she will be free to marry whom so ever she wants and her family will be provided for.
Reinhart is expected to choose his bride from 10 noble ladies, as an order from the king, the Holy Roman Emperor. But the people still rumour about his role in the death of his brother. On top of that, he has a limp since the night of his brother’s death and has left him depending on cane, restricting his movements. If not for his title, his history and his grouchy nature has defamed him and he has no interest in getting a bride. Yet, Avelina, pretending to be Lady Dorothea seems to be having an effect on him and it seems like she is pushing him away.
Also, not everything is at it seems on the surface. Some people have their own ulterior motives and Avelina’s secret is not as safe as she is trying to keep. And can her secret be used against her as well as be used as a weapon to harm Reinhart?
The Review :
The Beautiful Pretender is the second book in the series, but I read it before the first one and it is as good as a stand alone. It has some reference to the first book The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, but other than that I had no problem understanding this story. It is a very sweet sort of romance novel, with very medieval German names like Avelina, Dorothea, Magdalen, Reinhart, etc. It reminded me of a book I recently read and reviewed, The Selection, in terms of inviting ladies for a marriage selection process and testing them. If in The Selection it was about the lower caste being in the process, in The Beautiful Pretender, it was the servant girl participating the process.
The story itself was beautifully put together. Elements like Avelina’s nature or her friendship with Magdalen (another lady invited over for the selection) or how she keeps battling her feelings are described in such a way that you can actually feel it while reading. The story is not dragged on for several chapters, on the contrary, it is written in a very concise manner and yet it left me feeling like I had read several chapters but instead it had been hardly a couple of chapters and the story had already progressed a lot without giving the feeling that it had been rushed through.
The characters are also lovable. while rooting for Avelina, I was also enjoying the way the character of Magdalen was described. She was believable as a friend who believed and supported Avelina, no matter what. Odette and Jorgen, though are the protagonists of the first book, their role in this book is small and yet satisfying.
It is book, you can start without needing any background, and it leaves you feeling satisfied with a smile on your face.
Oh I totally recommend this book to all of you, readers!
Disclaimer : I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.