The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson (Review)

beautifulpretenderThe Beautiful Pretender

(Thornbeck/Medieval Fairy Tale Romance, #2)

by Melanie Dickerson

Adult Christian Romance / Fairy Tale Retelling / Beauty and the Beast & The Princess and the Pea

Published May 17, 2016 by Thomas Nelson


My Review of The Beautiful Pretender


5 stars

I loved this book so much! Definitely a favorite of Melanie Dickerson’s books, for me. Ever since meeting the Margrave of Thornbeck Forest in the first book in this series (THE HUNTRESS OF THORNBECK FOREST), I simply couldn’t wait to read THE BEAUTFUL PRETENDER to get his story. I liked this one even more than the first book!

Although THE BEAUTIFUL PRETENDER is a sequel, it can very easily be read alone (though readers of the first book will be delighted, as I was, to see Jorgen and Odette, the hero and heroine of the first book, throughout this one!). If you haven’t read the first book, no worries — just read this one right away because it’s even better! Adults and young adults alike would I think enjoy it. (I don’t recall anything about it that teens wouldn’t be okay reading. :))

I have a thing for fairy tales, so the retelling aspect was awesome. It was somewhat subtle at times, much like it was in the first book, but I could definitely see the hints of the Beauty and the Beast and Princess and the Pea plots. It was fabulous! I loved seeing them weave throughout the plot, so much a part of it but also so original. I was quite impressed with that.

It also got rather exciting, especially later in the book. So much excitement! Peril and plots and deception and wolves and fire and mystery and all of that thrilling stuff. I also absolutely LOVE how the book turned out at the end! Not to give anything away, but that ending was super satisfying! 😉

The setting was also splendid — a castle in medieval Germany, yay! I just want to live at Thornbeck Castle in Thornbeck Forest in the snow!

The characters in this book were splendid. Let me go through them:

Reinhart, the margrave, was incredibly awesome. He’s very much of the “Beast” type of character, gruff and stern and growly, but he’s also a fundamentally great guy, just embittered at the world about his injured ankle and having to choose a wife when he doesn’t want to. He was my favorite! I really felt for him, and his dark, grouchy, short-tempered, man-of-few-words personality was so fun to read about. Beneath it all he’s actually noble and awesome.

Avelina was a wonderful main character. Her struggles with having to impersonate a Lady when she’s only a servant, were really interesting to read about. I also love her name! She and Reinhart have the best romance story — I loved it so much! Melanie Dickerson pens another sweet love story which was so enormously enjoyable to read. Especially with how complicated their story is… 😉 I also really loved the alternating viewpoints between them!

Lady Magdalen, who befriends Avelina, was another character I really liked. She was fabulous and such a good friend to Avelina. Magdalen was so NICE. With all the people being nasty to poor Avelina, it was so refreshing to read about a really sweet character like her. 🙂 I haven’t read an adorable friendship like that in a long time. It was touching and wonderful. Magdalen was so lovely and I hope we’ll see more of her in the third book…

Jorgen and Odette are pretty much Reinhart’s right-hand people in this one, so they’re in the story a lot, which was great. They’re so helpful, nice, and awesome. Loved seeing them more in this book! They really added to it in a good way.

I don’t really have any complaints. I do wish there had been more with Reinhart, maybe him talking more; but he’s not a talkative sort of person, so that was in character, I suppose… But really, no major complaints. It was just so good! I’m very much looking forward to another Thornbeck tale from Mrs. Dickerson… Her novels are always so enjoyable and this was one of the best yet! Now what are you waiting for? Go read THE BEAUTIFUL PRETENDER! Go on! 🙂

Many thanks to the author for the Advance Reader’s Copy of this book which I received in exchange for my honest review. These opinions are my own.


About the Book

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?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Publisher

About the Author

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.

You can find her online at


20 thoughts on “The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson (Review)

  1. This is a partial The Princess and the Pea retelling? That is so weird! Literally just LAST NIGHT I was thinking how cool it’d be to write a The Princess and the Pea retelling. You just never see that. What a crazy coincidence!! o.o But it’s also a Beauty and the Beast retelling? *SQUEALS* I needs it!

    I know I’ve been saying it forever now, but I WILL read these books someday. I’m just drooling over your gorgeous collection of them. They look so pwettyyy!

    Loved your review! This sounds like it has precious characters and is so fun. (Reinhart especially sounds just up my alley. ;D)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Like… there’s no actual “pea” involved but it’s about kind of testing some ladies to see who’s best to marry… (And in the story they actually literally talked about the Princess and the Pea story. I about died. It was the best. XD) But you’re right, you never see it! :O


      This one and The Fairest Beauty are my favorites of her retellings so far. You definitely must read them someday! 🙂 And thank you, I’m kinda proud of the collection. XD

      Thanks, Lauri! ❤ Yesh, precious charries. *huggles them* Reinhart, yes, totally! 😉


  2. Darn it. I gave up Melanie Dickerson because her novels were turning to fluff and I couldn’t take it, but now I’m halfway tempted to give this one a try . . . What’s the “romantic fluff” to actual interesting stuff ratio like? And you said you don’t have to read the first Thornbeck book to understand it, yes?
    (Sidenote: I am not opposed to romantic fluff in theory. In fact, I rather enjoy it- in moderation. The Princess Spy did not have it in moderation, nor did The Captive Maiden. Thus why I stopped reading Melanie Dickerson’s books.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hum… I’m not sure I can really say for sure since I did enjoy the “romantic fluff” parts, buuuut I’m pretty sure this one had less than for instance The Princess Spy. 🙂 But like I said, since I would’ve enjoyed it I don’t think I would have noticed. XD You totally don’t have to read the first book, nope! It just sets up the world and we meet a couple of the characters who are side characters and get introduced to the hero of this one. But this should stand alone. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ALL YOUR MELANIE DICKERSON BOOKS! *stares* *stares more* So much pretty!

    The Beautiful Pretender is basically the second book? Hmm … I didn’t enjoy the first Thornbeck book as much as I did some of Melaine’s other novels, but I might give this one a try! *add to TBR* 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Reading Roundup #3: March 2016 | The Page Dreamer

  5. Pingback: In the Merry Month of May… {2016} Ishness | The Road of a Writer

  6. Pingback: Top 12 Books I Read in 2016! | The Page Dreamer

  7. Pingback: Top Ten(ish…okay 24) Books Releasing 2017! | The Page Dreamer

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.