“Jorgen kissed her like a man dying of thirst and she was the only source of water.”
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
Feelings: I’ll be straight with you…I chose this book because of the cover art. So beautiful!
I understand that Melanie Dickerson is known for her fairy tale retellings, but this is the first of her books that I’ve read. Shocking, I know, considering how much I love a good fairy tale adaptation. This book had some Robin Hood notes in it, with a reference to the Swan Princess. There weren’t any magical elements, just small references and themes related to these stories.
You guys…I power read this. I was reading during every spare minute I could get…for real. I really liked these characters and I was SO rooting for them. To me, that’s what powerful writing is – getting your readers to really catch what you’re throwing.
Issues: There were a lot of obvious hints at what was coming. Granted, there was actually a twist or two at the end that I didn’t see coming, but for the most part…I had it figured out early on. My (ironic) favorite was when she was all, If only he were wealthy and wanted to help the poor *cue imagined exaggerated sigh*. Come on, now.
Repetition, for the love of literature…so much repetition. We were reminded multiple times what he was risking, what she was risking, what they’d both been through when they were youngerIGETITALREADY. Obviously I get a little annoyed and eye-rolly when I read the same things over and over.
Characters: I was surprised by how much I liked Odette. She had a lot of reasons to be ridiculous – wealthy and privileged with a boo-hoo background. Yet, she was strong and confident, sure of herself and what she wanted. She had heart and strength of character, firm in her faith and trusting. I get that she was being led to make certain decisions, but we also knew that she struggled with right and wrong. Odette ain’t nobody’s pawn!
As for our male lead, Jorgen…all I can say is this: marry me. Mathias is a little snivelly nobody and Jorgen was all man, all YES. He’s the kind of male lead character that I absolutely adore – he was kind, patient, considerate, strong, loving…are these men even real, or do they only exist in literature?? Because I want one, stat.
Genre: This book is classified as Christian Fiction, which is typically a genre that I enjoy. However, the Christian elements felt preachy and out of place. Verses were randomly quoted and it just felt detached from the heart of the story. After I got about halfway through the book, though, it felt more organic and fitting. I ended up enjoying the Christian tie-ins.
Final thoughts: Is this the next great American novel? No. Was it action packed? No. But you guys, I was invested and I really enjoyed this book. I really want to read Melanie Dickerson’s other books…and that’s a win, in my opinion.
Pick this up if you liked:
The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Goodreads rating: 3.83/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.4/5
My rating: 4/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn