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The Fairest Beauty (Hagenheim Series #3) by Melanie Dickerson: A Book Review

The Fairest Beauty (Hagenheim Series #3)
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Christian 
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 334
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: Sophie has long wished to get away from her stepmother’s jealous anger, 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 her chance at freedom—but can she trust another person to keep her safe?

     Gabe knows he defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the orphan girl has stolen his heart. Though romance is impossible—she is his brother’s future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else—he promises to himself he will keep her safe, no matter what.

     When the pair are forced to run to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help—but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Can they find a way to protect Sophie while also safeguarding their hearts?

     My Review: During her infancy, Sophie has been betrothed to Rose and Wilhelm’s son, Valten. However, Sophie’s stepmother has faked Sophie’s death and forced Sophie to be a scullery maid. Years later, an old woman who has worked under Sophie’s household, tells Duke Wilhelm’s family that Sophie is alive and that she is cruelly treated by her stepmother. Valten, Sophie’s betrothed, must rescue her. However, Valten had just broken his leg. His younger brother, Gabe, who has been jealous of Valten because he has all the attention, decides to rescue Sophie so he can have all of the glory and attention shine on him should he be successful. When Gabe and Sophie meet, they soon fall for each other. Can the two be together, even though they are both betrothed to another?

     The Fairest Beauty is not only a fairy tale retelling of Snow White, but it is also a sequel to The Healer’s Apprentice. So, a Snow White fairy tale that centers on the children of the main couple Wilhelm and Rose is a perfect combination! It was a delight to revisit the old characters in the first novel along with being introduced to new, exciting, likable, and interesting characters.

     Sophie is a naive and kind young girl. Yet she is also clever and observant. She is also tough, strong, and can take care of herself, particularly during the apple scene between her and her stepmother. Thus, Sophie is definitely not a damsel-in-distress. Gabe at first is jealous of his brother, not really responsible, and loves to have fun. Yet, over time he grows to be mature and responsible. He is willing to put aside his love of glory and to do what is right. Thus, Sophie and Gabe make a great pair.

     Overall, this book was a very fun read. The tale was faster-paced than Mrs. Dickerson's previous novels. It is filled with romance and faith. The message of the book is that no matter how many obstacles you have, trust in God and he will help you with your problems. All the characters were interesting and the villain was very complex. This book was filled with action and adventure. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a light, fairy tale retelling with a powerful Christian message.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is the official book trailer to The Fairest Beauty:

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