Book Review | The Beautiful Pretender

The Beautiful Pretender
A Medieval Fairytale (#2)
Melanie Dickerson

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Genre:  Christian, Medieval, Historical Fiction
Released:  May 10th, 2016

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?


{The Basics}
This is the second in Mrs. Dickerson's Medieval Fairytale novels and in order to know a couple of the characters and their backgrounds, I would recommend reading The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest.  

I have pretty much devoured [nearly] every single novel of Melanie Dickerson's fairytales, and this one was no exception.  I love her characters, the story, and the era.  She always manages to put in just a touch of the historical to make it even more intriguing.  Even some of the language!  

Avelina was brought up in a humble home and has been serving as the lady's maid of the Earl of Plimmwald's daughter for eight years.  She has a quiet, compassionate spirit, and yet also strong opinions and desires when it comes to what she truly wants for her life and that of her family.  She sacrifices much in order to care for her crippled father and younger brother and sister. 

Avelina finds a friend in the Lady Magdalen, who helps her out a time or two and [SPOILER] speaks highly of her to the king himself.  

At least two maidens are said to be pregnant out of wedlock.  One such eventually marries her lover (in the end).  

Avelina is blackmailed into deceiving the people of Thornbeck into believing that she is the earl of Plimmwald's daughter, Lady Dorothea.  She is against the whole scheme, but has no choice but to obey her master's orders. 

Gossip, as usual, is a grapevine for rumors.  Some noble-ladies are rather pompous and uppity.  One in particular attempts to harm Avelina--many times.  

{Spiritual Content}
Avelina puts her faith in God and prays to Him often.  Lord Thornbeck prays briefly a time or two.  The guests of Thornbeck castle attend chapel in the local village.  A wedding takes place there. ;D

A maiden is attacked by a pack of wolves.  [SPOILER] She survives!  But both she and her rescuer are wounded.

A woman falls (or rather jumps) to her death off of a balcony.  A man (and woman) are killed in their sleep by a fire, another man is seriously crippled while trying to rescue them.  

A rogue duke attempts to overtake Thornbeck castle and to capture its lord.  A man is dealt a blow in the back of the head and thrown in prison.  

{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
One mention of "d---ing," but not in the terms of cursing, simply meant as "condemned."

Wine is rather prominent.  Especially with that of one maidservant, with which is loosens her tongue and she is very obviously drunk.  

Despite her best efforts to remain off of Lord Thornbeck's "radar," he chooses her.  There is an attraction on both sides, so yeah, definitely some kisses eventually!  Some warm embraces and caressing of face and hands as well.

There you have it.  I've tried to keep it brief to avoid giving anything away. . . But overall, I loved this little tale.  Avelina is a sweethearted lioness.  And to see her give her all and far more for the people she loves (even if they may not love her back) made for a lovely story.  

Recommended ages:  16+

Thanks for reading!
I was provided a copy of this novel thanks to
 in exchange for my honest review.


What's in a Name?

Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Biblical, Biblical Greek
Pronunciation:  nay-THAN-ee-ǝl (English), nay-THAN-yel (English)

Meaning & History
From the Hebrew name Netan'el meaning "given of God."  In the New Testament this was the given name of one of the Twelve disciples of Jesus (John 21:2)--probably the same person as Bartholomew.  

Gender:  Feminine & Masculine
Usage:  Maori, Hawaiian
Pronunciation:  MO-ah-nah (possibly)

Meaning & History
Means "ocean, wide expanse of water, deep sea" in Maori and Hawaiian. 

NOTE:  This is the name of the newest Disney princess.  A Hawaiian girl!

Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Biblical
Pronunciation:  REFF-ah-el (possibly)

Meaning & History
Meaning "God heals."  This was the name of a son of Shemaiah, a Levite (1 Chron. 26:7).

Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English, German, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Pronunciation:  sǝ-LO-mee (English), SAH-lǝ-may (English)

Meaning & History
From an Aramaic name which is related to the Hebrew word shalom, meaning "peace." This was borne by two women in the New Testament.  


Names & meanings via and 
All the Names in the Bible by Thomas Nelson.
Photos via Pinterest.

Book Review | Little One, God Made You Special

Little One, God Made You Special
Amy Warren Hilliker

Publisher:  ZonderKidz
Genre:  Board Books, Children, Christian
Released:  May 3rd, 2016

Little One, God Made You Special, written by Amy Warren Hilliker and inspired by the New York Times #1bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life, is a cute and cuddly board book that lets children know God made each one of us very special.


This will probably be the shortest book review I've ever posted. . . But, seeing as this is another little children's book--and a board book to boot!--I'm forgive, right?  Or in other words your screaming for joy, or simply skipping this whole post entirely. . . I see how it is! ;D

Anyway, I give this little book five out of five stars.  Each page has a one letter sentence and the cutest illustrations ever.  The perfect, easy read for your little one, younger sibling, cousin, etc.  

I would recommend ages from infant to 4 years old.  

Thanks for reading, lovelies!
Have a great week!


I was provided a copy of this book
in exchange for my honest review.

What's in a Name?

Hullo, all!  Long time no see.  :]  How was your weekend?  Can you believe Summer is nearly here??
I've two ladies names for you today!  Enjoy.

Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Biblical, Hebrew
Pronunciation:  EE-dǝn (English)

Meaning & History
Means "place of pleasure" or "delight" in Hebrew.  This was the name of the Garden in the Old Testament that God created as a haven where the first man and woman, Adam & Eve, lived before they were expelled.

Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German
Pronunciation:  SIL-vee-ǝ (English), SUYL-vee-ah (Finnish)

Meaning & History
Variant of Silvia, the feminine form of Silvius, which is derived from the Latin silva meaning "wood, forest."  This spelling became the most common after the 19th century.  

Names & meanings via and
All the Names in the Bible by Thomas Nelson.
Photos via Pinterest.