Friday, May 27, 2016

The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson

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? 
Melanie Dickerson
About the Author:
Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer's Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader's Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.

My Thoughts:
Don't you love those books where the character is forced to get married? Figuring out how to choose a bride or being obliged to marry a particular person is always an interesting plot for a tale. Set in medieval times, this book is a mixture of fairy tale and reality.

The Margrave of Thornbeck is in need of a bride fast! Not just any bride, but one who will help build alliance. At least he has a choice of women, but deciding who to marry may not be easy, especially with an impostor in the midst. Avelina, is posing as the daughter of the Earl of Plimmwald. Being coerced into it, at the cost of her family, and even her own well-being she must get in Thornbeck's good graces without being chosen as a bride. The quest may not be as simple as it sounds. There are times when two people are drawn to each other in spite of circumstances, but lies, deception and status may very well tear them apart. And if that was not the worse that could happen, there is an underlying sinister plot yet to be discovered.

This is my first Melanie Dickerson read and I enjoyed it. From the very beginning I was caught up in the tale. If you enjoy romance and a bit of mystery I think you will find this book appealing. While at times the story line may be predictable, a larger part of it seems original to me. Romance is budding, there is a hint of mystery in the air, and faith plays out in the background. How far should one go to protect those they love, or to follow the orders of those in authority. When is pretense a lie, and when is it just following orders? At what point is one liable for their actions or does the consequence fall on the one in control? Is one's worth based on social status or on who we are as idividuals? Read this book and find out just what take Melanie has on all this.

I was blessed with a copy of this book by LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my honest opinion. 

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