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Review: Fatal Disclosure by Sandra Robbins

Series: Ocracoke Island #3

fatal disclosure -sandra robbinsWhen a gunshot victim dies in front of Betsy Michaels, his last words make her a killer’s next target.

The undercover agent investigating the murder is none other than Mark Webber, the man who’d broken her heart. Now she has to trust him with her life.

Mark feels duty bound to protect Betsy from the drug smugglers responsible for his partner’s death. Yet every time he looks at her, he’s reminded of the choices he made that hurt Betsy to the core.

And despite their rekindled attraction, this time the danger isn’t just to their hearts.


 

3.5 Drink Me Potions


Fatal Disclosure concludes the series located in Ocracoke Island. Now focused on a lovely character, Betsy Michaels, whom I admired in the earlier two books, I found myself enjoying her story in some ways more than the others.

Betsy is a strong character, an independent woman who went off to school away from the island and had planned on going to New York for her art career. However, with her mother dying and her sisters needing her back on the island, she found she could love art here just as much. Honestly, if I had such a beautiful island to call home, I’d want to be there to paint my pictures too. Unfortunately, the island itself and island life weren’t described as heavily as in the first two novels. It’s a pity because reading so much about it has really made me want to visit this island for real someday. I never thought I’d go to North Carolina, but now I’m really curious. But I digress.

The thing that made me get upset with Betsy sometimes was also because of her independence. She was almost too independent and prideful of her ability to take care of herself. She didn’t want to trouble others, especially not the man who caused such trouble in her life a few years back.

That was another thing. Betsy’s romance with him was interesting. The antagonistic feelings due to their past only lasted so long (thankfully). Sandra Robbins didn’t blow it up into something so big that it ruined the story. But this also brought out a negative. It left space in the story where their romance could’ve progressed a little more than it was, but since it didn’t, there were other random complications that kept them apart and sometimes misunderstanding each others’ true feelings.

All in all, Fatal Disclosure was a nice ending to Ocracoke Island. I just wished there was more on the island and the wonderful people there that we’ve gotten used to. Instead, I learned loads about duck hunting. Beyond my comprehension considering I’ve never seen what real duck hunters do or use.

Review: Shattered Identity by Sandra Robbins

Series: Ocracoke Island #2

shattered identity -sandra robbinsSomeone—with a very personal motive—has it out for Lisa Wade, Ocracoke Island’s sheriff’s dispatcher.

She was viciously attacked, her home was ransacked and one very precious possession was stolen. Deputy Scott Michaels plans to stay close until the culprit is caught …but that means involving Lisa in the investigation. And her assistance may cause more trouble for Lisa when she finds clues in a journal to a deadly mystery.

As Lisa and Scott cross dangerous territory, they inch closer to the truth— and to each other.

But lurking in the shadows is a killer determined to keep some secrets buried forever.


3 Drink Me Potions


After reading the first Ocracoke Island book, I fell in love with the island and the Michaels family. I just had to gobble down the next book in the series.

This story focused on the new big brother in the family, the events which introduce him to us occurring in Dangerous Reunion. However, a little different from the previous book, the mystery felt a little more flat to me.

First, the culprit was slightly predictable (in my opinion, which may be biased considering I read a ton of mysteries), which is never good sign when it comes to who-dunnit mysteries. It still took a while to get to that point where I could 100% say I’m positive on the identity, but it definitely occurred before the climax of the story.

Second, Lisa’s character was a little more reckless and defensive when it came to her mother. Granted, it was warranted considering the small town didn’t always have the nicest things to say to her. But always fighting with Scott’s protective concern for her was a little tiresome. She honestly could’ve been killed so many times during the course of the book, if not for the fact that it couldn’t happen since she’s one of the protagonists.

And lastly, the romance was just harder to swallow. Both Lisa and Scott have emotional scars from their past. I understand this was the connecting point that brought them to each other, but also the point from which the healing powers that only come from Jesus can work its way through the story. I did like that. Peace that transcends all understanding comes only from Him. And in a beautiful setting such as this island? I can imagine what it would feel like if I were to bask in His glory there.

I will end with saying that this novel didn’t stick out all too much from the pack of Love Inspired Suspense books and its formula, but it still was an enjoyable enough read. My favourite point was the real-life story of how a lamb sacrificed itself to save several soldiers from being killed by an IED. That is the best story I’ve heard in a long time.

Review: Dangerous Reunion by Sandra Robbins

Series: Ocracoke Island #1

dangerous reunion -sandra robbinsA murderer on tiny, safe Ocracoke Island?

Deputy Sheriff Kate Michaels doesn’t want to believe it—until someone at the crime scene starts shooting at her. Then Nashville detective Brock Gentry shows up.

Brock broke her heart years ago when he called off their engagement. Now, torn apart by a case, Brock seeks sanctuary on the island. Yet as the threats against Kate escalate—and Kate’s sisters are targeted—she turns to the man she’s never stopped loving.

Even if their reunion is more dangerous than it ever was before.


 

3.5 Drink Me Potion


It’s been a long while since I’ve read a Love Inspired Suspense book, but I think it was fortuitous that I picked up a Sandra Robbins book as my first. In Dangerous Reunion, we get to see and experience Ocracoke Island off the shores of North Carolina. I’ve never been there, but from the beautiful descriptions of this place, it makes me wish that I could someday visit it.

There’s someone out to make life difficult for Deputy Kate Michaels. On such a beautiful little island that mainly attracts tourists in the summer season, they don’t expect to have a murder, let alone multiple incidents, in the span of several days. To make things worse, the culprit seems to be targeting Kate, leaving messages for her specifically at the scene of different crimes. With many red herrings thrown our way, it took me a while to try to guess who may be the antagonist. But when the identity finally came out, Robbins wrote it in such a way that this reveal made sense to me and that there were enough hints that justified choosing this character.

The romance wasn’t very strong in this one. I think the highlight of the relationship between Kate and Brock was that they wanted to rebuild a strong foundational friendship first before it can ever amount to more. I appreciated this. As such, the focus wasn’t on the potential romance between them but on how Brock could find peace on this lovely stretch of land called Ocracoke Island. Personally, I think this book came at the right moment. Finding peace isn’t easy; life gets way too busy and noisy for most to sit still enough to hear God’s voice. Sometimes His message doesn’t come flashing on crashing thunder. Sometimes, it’s written in the soft brush of the wind or the cries of a bird in the silence. I want to thank Sandra Robbins for inputting such a sweet message in the midst of a fun mystery.

All in all, this is a great taste of what the Love Inspired Suspense line brings. I suggest you give this book and others a try.

Overall Recommendation:
Dangerous Reunion is set in the beautiful island of Ocracoke, a place that feels so real to me although I’ve never stepped foot in North Carolina. The mystery was en par as the actions of the culprit escalates, all the while targeting Deputy Kate as she tries to keep everyone on her island safe. With the additional stress of seeing her ex-fiance, this story revolves around friendship, forgiveness and finding that peace that only comes from God. I can’t wait to come back to Ocracoke Island with more from Sandra Robbins.

Review: Safe in His Arms by Colleen Coble

Series: Under Texas Stars #2

safe in his arms -colleen cobleSometimes it takes a stranger to see you as you really are.

Born and raised on sprawling Texas land, Margaret O’Brien prides herself on her competence as a rancher. But her father believes she’s made for more than just dawn-to-dusk work. He wants her to have the love of a good man, to raise children, to build a life. But Margaret gave up such dreams years ago. She’s convinced no man would have her, that the ranch is her life now.

So when Margaret’s father hires Daniel Cutler as a new foreman, she’s frustrated and suspicious. Then an overheard conversation links him with a gang of bank robbers, and she’s downright worried. Daniel swears he’s not involved, but Margaret’s not convinced. She knows the man still has secrets. But would a criminal be so kind and talk so convincingly of his faith? As a series of tragic “accidents” threatens all she holds dear, Margaret must decide what to trust: her own ears, her best judgment . . . or what her heart keeps telling her.


 

4 Drink Me Potions


Stuck on a bus for 12+ hours, Safe in His Arms quickly turned from a wondrous distraction to a novel that I just couldn’t put down even when I should have used the time to sleep a little.

Following Margaret as our protagonist was initially hard to swallow as she wasn’t portrayed as the nicest gals in the previous novel, Blue Moon Promise. However, under that tall and strong skin was a woman who thought she was unloveable, even to God, and only wished to gain others’ approval, in particular her father’s.

As a teenage girl once myself, I understood and immediately bonded with her over her insecurities, especially with her feminine attractiveness. She just couldn’t believe that any man would ever want her, and the only guy she thought would even consider marriage to her had fallen in love with a beautiful, dainty girl whom Margaret now called a best friend.

In came Daniel. It was hard to determine what he was up to in the beginning. The way Coble described his secretive plans for being in the town of Larson made him seem very sketchy indeed. I wasn’t certain if he was fully a good guy or not, or if his past was truly catching up to him.

Their attraction to each other felt natural. It may have started off as admiring the others’ outlook, but it became over time a product of mutual respect and reliance on one another. I loved the way Daniel got under Margaret’s defenses and tried to show her that she was a beautiful woman, inside and out. At the same time, the string of robberies around Larson and the secretive nature of Daniel’s ties to them were brewing and had me on the edge of my bus seat to determine how it could possibly end well for all of them.

The mystery wasn’t a huge highlight in the novel, and it did take a drastic turn that became predictable right before the end. However, I have to say that Colleen Coble’s done it again with amazing me with her amazing storytelling skills. I don’t really enjoy historical novels all that much, but with her? I absolutely adore them. That in itself already says a lot about this book.

Overall Recommendation:
Margaret was immediately a well-rounded character that I could easily connect with on her insecurities and wish to be loved and respected by the predominantly male characters in her life. Daniel was the perfect mix of a gentleman and mystery, with a dangerous past linked to his reasons for being at Margaret’s ranch. I loved the setting of Safe in His Arms and the overall lessons that Margaret had to learn about herself. The romance was absolutely a delight, and well-loved characters from the previous novel definitely make an appearance here too. I would most definitely recommend this cute duo series.

Review: Bluebonnet Bride by Colleen Coble

Series: Butterfly Palace #1.5

bluebonnet bride -colleen cobleAt the turn of the 20th century, Elli Korpela boards The Baltic with hundreds of eager women, all seeking new beginnings and brighter futures in America . . . as mail order brides.

Escaping a forced engagement, Elli seeks refuge in a faraway marriage, desperately needing her new life with a Texan named Nathan White to be safer than the one she left behind in Finland. And as she glimpses her future husband and his darling niece at the train station, she instantly knows her risk will prove the best decision she’s ever made.

Until he became the guardian of four-year-old Hannah, Nathan White never took an interest in marriage, arranging a mail order wife to simply love and care for his orphaned niece. That is, he never took an interest until he laid eyes on the beautiful Elli Korpela.

After a fairytale ceremony in the gardens of the grandest estate Elli’s ever seen, a place called Butterfly Palace, their peaceful beginning takes a disquieting turn as an intruder brutally attacks Elli in the middle of the night. Nathan intervenes, but the devil escapes unidentified, leaving Elli to face two chilling possibilities: either the attack was arranged by strike workers in Nathan’s employ or her shadowy past followed her into the present – and across the sea.

As the danger mounts, Elli and Nathan must face their enemy together, fighting to stay alive – and fighting to stay man and wife. 


 

2.5 Drink Me Potions


After gobbling up the previous novel, Butterfly Palace, I was desperate for more of these characters and in that time period. So frankly, I went out in a crazed search for the next book.

Bluebonnet Bride was mediocre at best. I had wanted to like this novella, but it was so short and the romance between Nathan and Elli was so fast and quick. I knew that it was gonna be fast since this was an extremely short story but I had wanted more.

Coble took on too much by trying to make it into a little mystery as well surrounding Elli’s past that may have come across the seas with her. It just didn’t bode well when the “attacks” on Elli happened so shortly after she just got settled in with Nathan and his little girl.

I loved the glimpses I got to see of the characters from Butterfly Palace but it wasn’t completely worth it. This book may have focused on a secondary character from that novel, Nathan White, but really, I feel Coble could’ve made it into a full novel quite easily if she fleshed out the “mystery” more.

Or you know, write one based on another of my favourite characters from that book. *crosses fingers tightly*

There’s not much more to say considering the story itself had little substance. Nathan and Elli made for a cute enough couple, but I didn’t have enough time to care for either of them deeply in that way. It was just another romp through a familiar setting that I wasn’t quite willing to say goodbye to yet.

Overall Recommendation:
After the glorious finish to its predecessor, Bluebonnet Bride lacked in so many ways, most probably due to its very short length. Coble could’ve extended the mystery and romance in this novella into a very full length novel and I may be able to push up my rating a little bit. But as it stands with how short it was, the mystery and its resolution felt harried due to its shortness, and the romance built too quickly for me to feel anything beyond a small contentment that all is well with this time period I’ve come to love.

Review: Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble

Series: Butterfly Palace #1

butterfly palace -colleen cobleWhen Lilly Donnelly arrives at the Cutlers’ famed Butterfly Mansion in 1899, the massive house and unfamiliar duties threaten to overwhelm her. Victorian Austin is lavish, highly political, and intimidating, but with the help of the other servants, Lilly resolves to prove herself to her new employers.

Then, while serving at an elegant dinner party, Lilly recognizes one distinguished guest as Andrew, the love of her life, who abandoned her without a word back home. He seems to have assumed a new identity and refuses to acknowledge her, leaving her confused and reeling.

Before Lilly can absorb this unwelcome news, she’s attacked. Could it be the sinister Servant Girl Killer who has been terrorizing Austin? Or is it someone after something more personal–someone from her past?

Does she dare trust Andrew to help or is he part of the danger threatening to draw Lilly into its vortex?


4 Drink Me Potions


For some reason, I’ve been on a historical fiction binge and I’m absolutely adoring it. Butterfly Palace not only lived up to its time period, but it was steeped in intrigue and a lovely romance of second chances.

Lilly was my kind of heroine. She wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and become a maid in order to survive. Finding her old beau (is that what they called them back then?) who had up and vanished on her was totally unexpected. And awesome.

Drew (or Andy as he was known to Lily back then), I had initially wanted to despise for leaving a girl like that without a word. He had a lot of explaining to do . But I wanted so badly to have their old spark kick up again.

That was definitely no disappointment.

Aside from the rekindled romance, the mystery was delicious. Sometimes Coble’s writings don’t focus on the mystery aspect as much, but this novel was heavy in that department. A killer after maids fitting Lily’s description was on the loose. At the same time, someone (or could it be a group of people?) were plotting the demise of the man who owns the Butterfly Palace. Mystery upon mystery.

And what was all that fascination with butterflies? I used to find such creatures lovely, but imagining myself surrounded by a bunch of them fluttering in the air just gives me the heeby-jeebies.

I loved that the perspective of this novel wasn’t only on the two main protagonists. Belle, the spoiled niece of the household at the Butterfly Palace, also had her own POV. She started off as a princess used to the riches given her, but she has a keen, intelligent mind that was later put to work and truly flowered under the opportunity to help catch a potential killer. It was a refreshing change to see someone else’s view of things beyond the two characters who were falling in love.

Overall, it was a delectable story. The identity of the killer(s) wasn’t immediately obvious, but for a lover of mysteries, I may not be the best example but I could guess it out before the identity was revealed. The only thing I found myself wishing for at the end was a sequel with Belle as the protagonist. She deserves a story all of her own, and a happy ending tagged to it. Maybe Coble will listen to my wish one of these days.

Overall Recommendation:
Butterfly Palace was a beautiful standalone story set in a gorgeous time period in the Victorian era. Both Lilly and Drew were strong characters in their own way, with a rekindled love blooming for both of them. It was a cute romance to watch re-bloom. But, hands down, the refreshing take on the story came from a 3rd POV in the form of Belle, a spoiled heiress, who learns there’s more to life than just finding a wealthy husband. Steeped in not one, but two, mysteries, this novel is bound to make your heart leap as it takes you for a ride.

Review: Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble

Series: Under Texas Stars #1

blue moon promise -colleen cobleLucy Marsh’s worldly resources are running out, but she’s fiercely determined to care for her younger brother and sister. When she discovers that their father’s recent death was no accident, Lucy is eager to leave town. She accepts a proxy marriage she believes will provide safe refuge. But trouble follows her to Texas where her new husband is surprised to suddenly have a wife and children to care for.

Nate Stanton always hoped he’d marry someday, but running the family ranch meant he had no time for romance. When his father deposits Lucy Marsh–a city girl–on his doorstep, with two siblings in the bargain, he expects ranch life will send her running on the first train out of town. But Lucy is made of tougher stuff than Nate imagined. When danger moves in, Nate finds he’d give anything to protect Lucy and the children he’s grown to love. Even if it means giving up his ranch.

Blue Moon Promise is a story of hope, romance, and suspense . . . immersing the reader in a rich historical tale set under Texas stars.


 

3.5 Drink Me Potions


It’s been a long, long time since I’ve read a Colleen Coble novel. I’ve forgotten just how much I love her mysteries. Blue Moon Promise has not let me down in any way. I haven’t read a historical novel in a while, but I instantly fell in love with the characters here. Lucy, right off the bat, was a protagonist that I could root for. She had so much heart and yearned to be the one who could take care of everyone. Her family situation wasn’t ideal. She had to care for her baby brother and sister while trying to escape a dangerous person who may have had something to do with their father’s death.

Enter the less-than-ideal marriage agreement with Nate. He wanted nothing to do with a wife, and Lucy tried so hard to be the typical rancher’s wife that he could at least imagine being with. Things weren’t easy for her, but she did her best.

There were silly moments, like finding a pet tarantula in the pantry, and there were heartfelt moments like Nate beginning to fall for his new already-made family. The mystery wasn’t very integral in this novel, which surprised me as that is what Coble’s really good at. However, it was still an amazing story of finding the best in any situation, and realizing in hindsight that this was exactly where everyone was meant to be.

All in all, I couldn’t put this book down and I do believe I will be browsing through many more of Coble’s novels very soon.

Overall Recommendation:

Blue Moon Promise was a delight that I hadn’t expected. Set in a historical setting on a rancher’s farm, Lucy and her little brother and sister embark on a new life with her new husband that she’s agreed to marry for the sake of her family. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but Lucy’s strong-willed character and desire to be the best that she can be no matter how dire the situation had me really rooting for her success. A little lighter in the mystery department, this novel still had all the trademarks of Colleen Coble from what I remember in another piece of work I’ve read from her a long time ago. This was definitely worth the read.

Review: The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson

Series: Fairy Tales #2

the merchant's daughter -melanie dickersonAn unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice.

Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf s bailiff a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past. Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff’s vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf.

As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf’s future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.


2.5 Drink Me Potions


I don’t even know where to begin this review. And I always have something to say when giving opinions on books. Please. It’s second nature to me. So this isn’t a good sign.

Annabel was a really sweet girl. Too sweet, in fact. Yes, she wanted to learn more and grow spiritually, although the priest back in her time did not think a woman should be doing such things. I want to be nice like her, but it was almost too much. She did what she was told and constantly worried about things. From worrying about not betraying her friend’s trust to working hard as a servant girl now to warding off men who couldn’t take “no” for an answer.

Fine, the last one is a reasonable thing to worry about, but still.

And besides being a really nice girl, she was beautiful. It was obvious from the way men kept coming after her. Or from the snide comments from the other maids employed in Ranulf’s household who were jealous. I mean, that’s great and all. But she was like PERFECTION. And almost seemed to have no backbone. I couldn’t connect with her very well.

As for Ranulf, he fit the ideal of Beast if anyone did. But I just did NOT like him. If it was written well, I would be able to at least sympathize with him and actually like him as the love interest. I just didn’t care for him much.

It may be the time difference (it was the Middle Ages after all) that most of these characteristics can be attributed to. Like, men could get away with doing whatever they wanted with a girl. Who’s gonna believe the word of a woman, huh? It still baffled me quite a bit why Dickerson had so many of the other maids try to seduce Lord Ranulf so they could get his title. I mean, sure, that happens in any century, but it seemed rather random and unnecessary to the plot. They thought he was ugly as crap. He was scorned and had terrible scars, literally, but still.

I’m gonna just cut this review short. Honestly, I don’t feel much for The Merchant’s Daughter. I did not enjoy it, but it wasn’t boring. That’s the distinction. Still readable, but not much feeling towards anything going on. This is apathy at its greatest.

Overall Recommendation:
Having read some of Dickeron’s other novels, The Merchant’s Daughter just didn’t compare. With a Beauty and the Beast theme, Annabel is given the choice to work in Ranulf’s place as punishment. He was definitely a beastly man, but that was all he is. I couldn’t empathize and it made liking him as the love interest hard. Annabel was a little too nice of a girl for my taste. I like my protagonists to have a bit more fight in them, to stand up for their passions, to feel something. How could I feel something for them if they don’t actually have strong feelings? I wouldn’t recommend this on your reading list unless you don’t mind these annoyances that just bugged me endlessly.

Review: The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

Series: Fairy Tales #5

the princess spy -melanie dickersonA new suitor. A shocking discovery.

Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to the castle, claiming to be an English lord who was left for dead by Claybrook’s men. She convinces herself “Lord Colin” is just an addled stranger, until Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment.

Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only does she tend to talk too much, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. But she soon discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. She soon finds herself running for her life–and it may be up to her to save her father and her family from one man’s wicked plot.


2.5 Drink Me Potions


I had really hoped to like this one. The synopsis of The Princess Spy was intriguing, although it didn’t really remind me of any particular fairy tale story like the others in Dickerson’s collection. And after seeing Margaretha featured in The Captive Maiden, a book I enjoyed and read not long ago, I had SUCH high hopes.

Only to fall back gently into disappointment.

Margaretha talks a lot. She really does. Yammers on and on about whatever she’s thinking. And she knows this. Even her little brothers think she talks WAY too much. I’m gonna agree with this. It was a huge challenge to get beyond it. I mean, it’s not that I didn’t like Margaretha ’cause of it. I just wanted to skip reading over her huge monologues occasionally.

Oh, but that wasn’t the only thing. Oh no. The beginning was SO boring. Margaretha thinks Colin is kinda not fully there in the head, while he’s yapping away in a slightly crazy manner about Lord Claybrook. It was exhausting. Honestly. Nothing really happened until they got beyond that point of believing he wasn’t crazy.

Their building relationship and romance was believable, but it wasn’t in any way….exciting. Okay, basically the whole story lacked excitement. It was just on this constant level of emotion. There were “fight scenes”, and I’m putting that in quotations ’cause they didn’t last long, but I didn’t ever really think that anyone important was gonna die or anything. So there goes the suspense or potential edge-of-my-seat moments.

Colin was a good guy. He may have been trying to exact revenge and it took him a while to realize that what he was doing wasn’t necessarily bringing Claybrook to justice. I liked the moral of the story, but it wasn’t the kind of fairy tale quality I had been looking forward to. Therefore, disappointment just gives way to apathy. I read the whole thing but my heart was never really INTO it, if you know what I mean. I just didn’t really care in the end about anything or anyone in the book, and that’s never a good sign with me when reading a story.

Overall Recommendation:
There was potential from the synopsis for a fun and grand adventure with Margaretha. After all, she was already a familiar character from the previous Dickerson novel, and an interesting character who loved to talk a whole lot. And I do mean, a whole lot. Spying for Colin could’ve dragged out into many different areas, but it didn’t last. It was boring in the beginning, and nothing could really excite me from there on. It might just be me, but this latest installment really lacked the whole fairy tale theme. She was just a girl with a title back in the Middle Ages. There was no fairy tale magic to spice it up, and I think that was what could’ve saved The Princess Spy. I’d say it’s readable still, but not necessary.

Review: The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

Series: Fairy Tales #4

the captive maiden -melanie dickerson Happily Ever After…Or Happily Nevermore?

Gisela’s childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father’s death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother.

So when Gisela meets the duke’s son, Valten–the boy she has daydreamed about for years–and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye.

Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.


4 Drink Me Potions


Fairy tale retellings are a favourite of mine (and if you look at more of my reviews, you’ll really see what I mean by that). So I may get critical at times when it comes to fairy tales, as there are essentially so many of them out there, but especially when the retelling is on the most well-known fairy tale of them all – Cinderella.

Dickerson doesn’t disappoint. It was evident that her story weaved elements of the traditional tale, but it wasn’t so redundant and stuck on that plotline that it made it predictable and boring to read. With descriptions of the world back in the 1400s told through both Gisela and Valten’s POVs, it was remarkably easy to get enthralled and captured by their story.

Gisela was a fine heroine. The way Valten described her as how he saw her was truly accurate. She was beautiful but didn’t flaunt it like some other girls. She was brave and courageous in the sight of danger, willing to do anything for someone she loves. And most importantly for me, I found I could see parts of me in her. Psh, and no, not the part about being beautiful and having to work as a servant-slave girl to her stepmother. More like, she loved Valten even when she wasn’t sure he could or would ever love and marry her back. That isn’t easy. And that’s what I wish to be more like in character.

As for Valten, he grew and found his purpose over the course of the book. He had let the fame get to his head, winning tournament after tournament (which by the way, the descriptions of the jousting tournaments were very detailed – in a good way). Of course, all he needed was some danger and a girl he was willing to do anything for, and presto! The pride was eventually humbled.

All in all, it was a sweet retelling. I kind of wish I read the series in sequence order, but thankfully not a lot was spoiled from previous novels.

Overall Recommendation:
For a Cinderella retelling, Dickerson added her own umph and character to it. Our heroine wasn’t just some damsel in distress, and both she and her love interest Valten had a lot to learn about letting go of harmful things in their past. It wasn’t just the fairy tale that we all know and love. It was a story that chronicled their growth in character as well as their love.