Release Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Young Adult / Fairy Tale / Retelling / Romance
Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance, Book Seven
Be sure to check out my review of the previous book, The Golden Braid.
Fairytale retellings are popular right now. I love these retellings, especially those written by Melanie Dickerson. Most of us know the tale of The Little Mermaid, but you’ve never heard it told this way before. Oh and not to mention that this is a world that is all human and magic doesn’t exist set in Medieval Times.
About the Book:
Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost.
Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.
To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.
Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn’t even a servant.
Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England’s monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?
Where do I even begin?! I enjoyed The Silent Songbird so much! When I first found out this was a retelling for The Little Mermaid, I wondered how Melanie Dickerson was going to pull that off without mermaids and magic. I mean, that’s what I usually think of when I think of this classic fairy tale. Melanie Dickerson will never cease to blow my mind because she pulls it off fantastically. How she does it, I have no idea. This girl has a gift!
While this is the seventh book in the Hagenheim series, you don’t have to read them in order. I’ve only read The Golden Braid and this one so far. Each book is about a different character from a different fairy tale, but they all tie in so it’s probably more fun to read them in the order. In fact, I heard that the le Wyse family appear in another book, The Merchant’s Daughter. I’m definitely going to have to find that one because I loved that family so much! This time we find the setting to be partly in Berkhamsted Castle and Glynva in England.
Not only is the cover gorgeous, Dickerson immediately drew me into the story from the very beginning. The pages just kept on flying until I found myself at the very end.
Evangeline has her mindset not to marry the old disgusting King Shiveley so she runs away. She is bold, fierce, and brave. She believes that she needs a man or a friend to protect her but then realizes that she needs God to fill that role. She stands out from most a lot of female characters in young adult fiction because she is independent. She doesn’t need a man to protect her. In fact, she ends up saving a handsome young man’s life twice! She will do anything to protect those she cares about and perseveres through her tasks even when she finds that she is terrible at them. She is far from perfect, but that’s what I loved about this redhead. I loved seeing how real, vulnerable, and honest she was in her faith journey. Her role was refreshing.
Then there’s Westley. Sigh. I’ve got a crush on him. He’s not a peasant, but he has no title. His father is the Lord of Glynval. He is kind to his servants, making sure they have fair wages and everything they need. He goes above and beyond. He’s the kind of guy that would literally give the shirt off his back if someone needed it. He will do anything to make sure those he loves are safe. He’s a wonderful and Godly man.
The writing was wonderfully done. Dickerson draws you into her world where the characters become friends. It’s like you’re actually there. You can feel everything they’re feeling. You’ll laugh, cry, cheer, get angry, and all of the feels!
It’s cheesy and some spots are quite predictable, but I really enjoyed this one. It’s a clean wholesome read where there is romance and sword fighting. While the story is completely different, there are some nods to the original fairy tale. Dickerson also does not fail to point her characters and readers towards God in a non-preachy way.
The biggest topics that pop up are deception/deceiving and forgiveness.
There were even a few references, including Westley’s name, that made me think of The Princess Bride. Super cute!
Highly recommended for anyone and everyone who enjoys a fun fairy tale retelling. Perfect for those seeking a fun and light read.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
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About Melanie Dickerson
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.
Visit her online at melaniedickerson.com, Facebook: MelanieDickersonBooks, and Twitter @melanieauthor.