Book Review: The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson

A daring rescue. A difficult choice. Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother's jealousy, 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 Sophie's one chance at freedom---but can she trust another person to keep her safe? Gabe defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the girl's inner and outer beauty has enchanted him. Though romance is impossible---she is his brother's future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else---he promises himself he will see the mission through, no matter what. When the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help---but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Now both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them---they must also protect their hearts.

Release Date: January 8, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher

I'm a big fan of Melanie Dickerson, and love her historical Christian fiction retellings of classic fairy tales.  If you're interest, read my reviews of The Merchant's Daughter here and The Healer's Apprentice here.  Having loved both of her previous books, I happily accepted The Fairest Beauty for review, expecting another great read.  And Dickerson did not disappoint me: I loved The Fairest Beauty just as much, if not more than her other two books.  

I loved that Sophie was much more than your typical damsel-in-distress.  She was such a sweet, good-natured young woman, and I genuinely liked her.  I love it when I can say that about a main character!  I loved that Sophie struggled with her thoughts and had to work at not holding hatred in her heart towards the duchess.  Instead, Sophie prayed and asked God for guidance, and worked at letting go of her negative feelings.  And it was all done in a non-preachy way, which felt very natural.  

When Gabe arrives to rescue Sophie, she does not immediately trust him.  I liked that she didn't just fall into his arms and go along with him without even thinking.  Instead, Sophie fears for Gabe's safety and tries to convince him to leave, to escape the duchess's wrath.  But Gabe is determined in his quest to discover if Sophie is in fact the daughter of a duke, and will not be dissuaded.  He and Sophie escape the castle and are on the run in the woods.  They come to the Cottage of the Seven (which, if you haven't figured it out by now, is the Seven Dwarves' home) and take refuge there.  

I loved the characters in this book.  Each one was so unique and well-characterized.  Dickerson's writing is evolving with each book, and she just keeps improving.  It was such a neat surprise to get to see Rose, the main character from The Healer's Apprentice.  I loved getting a glimpse of her life.  

The Fairest Beauty's love story was so sweet, so tender, that it made my heart melt.  I rooted for Sophie and Gabe and was so happy with how the story ended.  My only complaint about this book is that I would have liked more of an epilogue.  I felt like there was a lot of falling in love, but I would have liked to see more of the happily ever after. 

I highly recommend The Fairest Beauty and look forward to Dickerson's next book!      


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