Book Review | The Princess Spy

The Princess Spy
Melanie Dickerson

Publisher:  Zondervan
Genre:  YA, Christian, Fiction, Romance
Released:  2014

{Goodreads}
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 Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha---one of the few who speaks his language---understands the wild story. Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin's message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself 'Lord Colin' is just an addled stranger. Then 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 is she unable to keep anything secret, she's sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook's wicked plot.

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WARNING: Possible Spoilers

{The Basics}
Margaretha is a young lady of eighteen, living in Germany in the year 1413 A.D.  A couple years past coming of age to marry, she has had numerous suitors, all of which have been turned down.  Her newest is a charming, yet bizarrely-fashioned Englishman.  And one she can't really make up her mind, just yet.

Margaretha herself is the beautiful, eldest daughter of the duke of Hagenheim Castle.  Who has a reputation for talking far too much.

Lord Claybrook is a pompous jerk.  Heheh. . . in my opinon.  ;D

And Colin is awesome.  :]  An Englishman as well, he set out with one purpose in mind: to bring justice to a murderer.  But his motives grow rather close to that of revenge.  Beaten and left for dead, he is brought to Hagenheim where he is treated by the town healer and Margaretha, who has a growing curiosity about this raving foreigner.  Only she, who loves studying languages, can converse with him.  While she doesn't believe his mad ranting at first, they strike a sweet friendship.

{Positives}
Margaretha knows her faults all too well.  Her talkative personality has made quite an embarrassing reputation in the halls of her home.  At times, her ramblings are humorous.  I loved reading more into her thoughts, especially when she zoned out while thinking about Lord Claybrook's ridiculous hats.  Still, she does her best to listen when talking is not necessary.  Prayer plays a huge part in her life as well, and it is all too sweet to read of her relationship with her Saviour.

Margaretha has a close-knit family.  And though her younger brothers tease her for her talkativeness, it is obvious they truly love her.  When her selfish cousin arrives for an ill-timed visit, Margaretha does her best to ignore the verbal jabs and be the good example.  She risks her life many times for those she loves.

When Margaretha points out to Colin his driving obsession, it makes him rethink his meaning of justice.

{Negatives}
Colin's quest for justice seems to evolve into a kind of vendetta.  (But no worries, he eventually comes to his senses.)

Colin blames himself for the death of his friend.  A man vomits his stomach's contents while going to his chambers.  A marriage is forced, against the will of the bride.

{Spiritual Content}
As mentioned above, Margaretha often prays to God, for the good and the bad.  This is due to her mother's example as a godly woman.  (Lady Rose is amazing!)  Colin also relies heavily on God, though his personal quest causes him to drift from the faith somewhat.

A priest ministers to Colin when Margaretha is absent (he also speaks English).  The same priest weds a man and woman.

Psalms 1 is quoted.

{Violence}
Colin is beaten near to death, while his friend is killed mercilessly before his eyes.  We "see" his friend's staring, lifeless eyes, then Colin's own swollen eyes, a bad gash at his hair, and bruises.  Throughout the story, he takes some nasty hits to the head, one leaves him with temporary memory loss.

A girl is thrown from a horse, bruising her shoulder and arm, but otherwise unharmed.  Later, she is attacked by a poor youth for want of her purse.  Highway robbers steal the horses and supplies of a traveling couple, leaving them to walk on foot for many miles.

A loyal knight is captured by the enemy, then later rescued.  He, too, is battered and bruised.  Upon being freed from his captors, he finishes them off with a sword (we hear the bloody gurgles) while they lie in the dirt. (To me, that's pretty cold-hearted, but the reasoning was so the enemy soldiers could not go off and report to their master.  Still. . .)

[small SPOILER] Hagenheim Castle is taken under siege.  The family is kept in their chambers, guarded.  Loyal knights and soldiers are thrown into the dungeon.  A brief battle is waged.  One man defeats another, but doesn't kill him.

{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
No language.

Medicinal, herbal tea is given to Colin to help in his recovery.  At a feast, men drink.  One in particular becomes completely inebriated.

{Love-y Content}
There is obvious attraction between Colin and Margaretha, though neither really admits it (until the end, of course).  That kinda makes me wanna slap 'em both, you know? But they have their reasons, which to them are justifiable.  They kiss (of course). :]  For many days, the two travel together, most of the time alone.  Nothing happens! I promise.  And for warmth, they do snuggle under one blanket with a little orphan boy between them.  Both Margaretha and Colin embrace a couple times, etc., etc.

A boisterous gown is described as low-cut.

{Conclusion}
This series is one of my absolute favorites.  Why, because they are retellings of fairytales! And who doesn't like a good fairytale, hm?  Well, I'm not sure you will catch it at first, just by reading this review, but this story of The Princess Spy is loosely based on The Princess and the Frog, though there is no form of magic whatsoever.  You'll just have to read it to figure out how the guy relates to a frog. . . It's rather ingenious, in my opinion.  And hilarious!

I love Dickerson's tales, and can't wait for more!

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Recommended ages: 15+ 
(due to violent content and a wee bit o' romance)

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I was provided this copy thanks to BookLookBloggers, in return for my honest review.

2 comments

Anonymous said...

This seems soo good! Loved your review! Now, I'm going to have to read it. Have you read the re-telling of Cinderella, Melanie Dickerson wrote?

-Morgan

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Thanks, Morgan! I enjoyed it, and I think you will. :] No, I have yet to read the Cinderella retelling... But it is one of those at the top of my list!