I absolutely loved this adult rendition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Of course, it helps that I was a primary reading teacher and always loved the fairy tales! Dickerson did a great job of fleshing out this fairy tale plus giving it a few unusual twists of her own while including a faith element as well. My favorite character was Gabe because this adventure truly made him look more closely to God and become more mature and responsible. It was nice to see both his strong side as well as his loving and compassionate side. I loved each of the 7 because they were all special in their own unique way. Great book!
I fell in love with Melanie Dickersons writing with The Merchants Daughter and as soon as The Fairest Beauty was released I knew I had to get a copy. Also, who has read The Healers Apprentice? *raising hand* If you read the above summary carefully youll notice there are two lovely characters in this story that youll remember from that one, sigh :) I recently watched Once Upon a Time Season 1 and decided to use those characters to illustrate what youll find in The Fairest Beauty.
Snow White is Sophie and this young beauty has been enslaved to the Duchess Ermengard as a scullery maid for 15 years forced to endure whatever torment the duchess deems appropriate, from locking Sophie in the dungeon without food or water to slapping her across the face. Mostly, the duchess likes to watch Sophie cower in her presence and insult her with lies. Sophie is adamant in her prayer life, owns a secret wooden cross she made herself, and with the help of Christ is determined not to hate the duchess no matter how cruel she is. Unbeknownst to the duchess, Sophie received a brief education from the local priest on reading the Bible and has managed to memorize one of the gospels. The church has been torn down during the reign of the duchess, but Sophie clings to her faith and draws strength from it.
Then one day, Gabe shows up and has made up his mind to rescue this dark haired beauty. An old woman died in Gabes presence confessing that Duke Baldewins daughter is still alive despite rumors that she died 15 years ago. Against his parents wishes, Gabe sets out to bring her back safely after getting proof that the deceased woman was correct.
Some of the challenges Gabe and Sophie face are:
The huntsman and his intentions
The evil Duchess Armengard and her ploys
One deadly archer
Sophie and Gabe find shelter at the Cottage of the Seven where they heal physically, emotionally and spiritually while trying to do the right thing despite their feelings. It was wonderful experiencing the relationships formed with these seven honorable miners/woodsmen. They are fiercely loyal to Sophie and will do anything to protect her. There is nothing new in the story, but Dickerson manages to throw in a few twists that I did NOT see coming. Sophies faith and street smart instincts add a level to her beloved character that Ive not seen before. Gabes naïve and irresponsible motives nearly get him killed more than once, but watching his attitude change and grow during the story was even more enjoyable than the romance he experiences. I did not fall in love with Gabe, but my admiration and respect for him developed with each chapter of the story. The one thing I did fall in love with was the cover to this book and I mustve glanced at it 20 times while reading the story.
For some reason as I read this book, I heard Sophies voice with an Irish/Scottish accent like the girl from the movie Brave. It made things more interesting for me :) All in all, The Fairest Beauty is a wonderful tale filled with danger, deception, deadly archers, betrayal, vanity, revenge, faith, romance, family, seven loyal men, and even a few new characters that are refreshing and add intrigue to an already favorite story that never gets old. Even though I didnt connect with the story in every way or fall in love with its hero, I always enjoy the stories this author writes and I pray she continues to bring these stories to life. Dont miss this latest book from Melanie Dickerson, you will see Snow White in a whole new way! Please visit the authors website to learn more about her books, http://www.melaniedickerson.com/
I want to thank Zondervan for the review copy they provided. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.