Author: Melanie Dickerson
Genre: Christian, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: 2015
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: A beautiful maiden who poaches to feed the poor.
A handsome forester on a mission to catch her.
Danger and love are about to unite in Thornbeck Forest.
The margrave owns the finest hunting grounds for miles around—and who teaches children to read, but by night this young beauty has become the secret lifeline to the poorest of the poor.
For Jorgen Hartman, the margrave’s forester, tracking down a poacher is a duty he is all too willing to perform. Jorgen inherited his post from the man who raised him . . . a man who was murdered at the hands of a poacher.
When Jorgen and Odette meet at the Midsummer festival and share a connection during a dance, neither has any idea that they are already adversaries.
The one man she wants is bound by duty to capture her; the one woman he loves is his cunning target . . . What becomes of a forester who protects a notorious poacher? What becomes of a poacher when she is finally discovered?
My Review: The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest is a crossover between Robin Hood and Swan Lake. Odette is the niece of the wealthiest merchant in Thornbeck Castle. She spends her days teaching poor children to read. At night, she poaches deer in the Margrave of Thornbeck’s forest to feed the poor. One night at the midsummer festival, Odette falls for Jorgen, the forester of Thornbeck Forest. Odette knows that Jorgen wants to capture the poacher. Unbeknownst to Jorgen, the two of them are enemies. Yet, they are still drawn to each other. Can they find a way to be together or will Odette’s secret tear them apart forever?
Odette is a hard character for me to like. She is compassionate towards the poor and wants to help them. She is also tough with the bow. While I did find Odette to be a strong character, I still could not fully justify her actions of stealing from the Margrave. Yes, I understand that she did it for the poor, but I believe that there were other ways that she could have helped the poor without having to steal. So, she did not really make wise decisions. It was not until later that she realized the consequences of her actions. Even though I did not approve of her actions, she was still an interesting character. She is very naive and gullible. Her naivety is often a disadvantage to her because she can be easily manipulated. Still, she can be headstrong and determined. She can make some bold decisions on her own. She is also very kind, understanding, and selfless.
I could relate more with Jorgen than Odette. He is bound by duty and the law. He makes smart decisions. He is also ambitious and wants to rise above his lowly status. Thus, he is very hard-working and takes his job very seriously. He is also very compassionate, and willing to help the poor. One of the things that I really like about him, and is the complete opposite of Odette, is that he helps the poor without having to break the law. Jorgen is also driven to do the right thing. Therefore, I really liked Jorgen because he is an honorable man.
Overall, this book is about friendship, love, duty, choices, and responsibility. The message of the book is to trust in God for he can solve all your problems. While I did not really like Odette, I found all the characters likable on the whole. I did find the forbidden love aspect to be really intriguing, and it kept me interesting in the reading the whole book. The novel was very fast-paced, filled with action and mystery. This was a very sweet love story, and it left me excited to read The Beautiful Pretender so that I can revisit Thornbeck Forest and the characters again! I recommend this book to anyone interested in forbidden romances, morality tales, and cross-over fairy tales.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars