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The Beautiful Pretender (A Medieval Fairy Tale #2) by Melanie Dickerson: A Book Review

The Beautiful Pretender (A Medieval Fairy Tale #2)
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Christian
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: 2016
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. 
Synopsis: What happens when a margrave realizes he’s fallen in love with a servant?

     The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

     Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s 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?

     My Review: Reinhart, the Margrave of Thornbeck, is advised by a king to find a wife. He invites noble women from around the country to come to his castle to which which of them will be his wife. Avelina is a maidservant of Lady Dorothea of Plimmwald. When Lady Dorothea is summoned to go to Thornbeck Castle to be a possible bride for the Margrave, she flees with her lover. Not wanting to offend the margrave, the Earl of Plimmwald orders Avelina to stand in his daughter’s place. Avelina doesn’t wish for anyone to find out her real identity and tries to linger in the background so she wouldn’t be notice. However, due to her wit and compassion, Avelina stands out among the crowd and catches Reinhart’s eye. What will happen once Reinhart discovers Avelina’s secret? Will they learn to love each other despite her deception? Could Reinhart marry for love instead of duty?

   Avelina is a loveable character. She is caring, compassionate, and a loyal friend. She is very romantic and naive. She is very opinionated and cares about women’s rights. I found her character to be very similar to Odette in how they both share their compassion for the poor and are very loyal friends. I like how Avelina doesn’t wish to fall in love with Reinhart, but she unexpectedly does anyway. She loves him unconditionally and is willing to go to many lengths to save him. 

   Reinhart, on the other hand, I did not like him. I thought he was a jerk, and he did mean things to Avelina once he learned her secret. I didn’t see how Avelina could still love and forgive after the things he has done. Honestly, I think that she deserved better. Throughout, the novel, Reinhart comes across as snobby. He was also a very weak character and was blind to the villains throughout the novel. 

   Overall, this book was about love, friendship, and trust. Avelina’s character was fleshed out, but Reinhart needed more development to make me like him. He didn’t completely changed after falling in love with Avelina. While the plot was fast-paced, the action was lacking. There was no action in this book. While the bad guys invaded his home, the two main characters both hid until they were rescued. The author gave the characters a safety net and didn’t put them in the throw of the danger. Thus, I found the climax of the story to be very weak and a letdown. The relationship between Reinhart and Avelina seems to be very unconvincing. I did not like them as much as Jorgen and Odette for they were a much more believable couple. While I did not like the main couple, I did like the supporting characters. Jorgen and Odette were fun characters and very mischievous. I loved their schemes in helping Reinhart choose his perfect bride. Magdalen, Avelina’s friend, was a very caring woman who did not care about people’s station in life. I look forward to reading the next novel, The Noble Servant, because it will have Magdalen as its protagonist. Thus, I recommend this to fans of Kiera Cass’s The Selection, Jody Hedlund’s An Uncertain Choice, and Richelle Mead’s The Glittering Court. However, The Huntress of Thornbeck is a stronger novel than The Beautiful Pretender for it has a believable romance and engaging characters.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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