The Beautiful Pretender

25891581Book Review: The Beautiful Pretender

Author: Melanie Dickerson

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

After inheriting his title from his brother, the margrave has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble born ladies who meet the king’s approval to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina has only two instructions: keep her true identity a secret and make sure the margrave doesn’t select her as his 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.


            Familiar characters from Melanie’s Robin Hood/Swan Lake retelling The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest make appearances in The Beautiful Pretender, the most interesting, I think, being the Margrave himself. The Beautiful Pretender is a mix of The Princess and the Pea and Beauty and the Beast. Elements from both fairytales are loosely woven throughout the plot, making for an abundance of ‘easter eggs’ for the reader to discover.

This may be my favorite of the last few novels Melanie has put out. The margrave is not a man instantly liked. He’s closed off, rude, and ill-tempered. Avelina is opinionated, determined, and deceitful. Eventually their true character is revealed, though, and I couldn’t help but love them both. The twists and turns in this novel were sometimes surprising, sometimes obvious, but no matter which I came across, I couldn’t stop reading until the Margrave chose his bride.

Melanie’s novels are the types of books that the teenaged me loved to read: medieval romances full of unique characters, daring adventures, and prevailing faith. They are also a good read for the adult reader looking for something a bit lighter.

About the Author

Biography from Melane’s website: Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama. Learn more at

I was given a review copy of The Beautiful Pretender from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

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