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.
I’ve really enjoyed Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale re-tellings and I really like how they all generally surround one family. But I think lately there’s been a bit of difference between her last couple of books and the earlier books. To me, it felt like the earlier novels could almost be adult fairytales, but these last few have felt distinctly YA. The characters feel young, the villains a bit Disney, and the way the story unfolds very cutesy. Here’s my thoughts on this one:
What I liked:
Margaretha (for the most part). She was a very unique heroine and her personality was such that it was different than the other girls. At times it was a bit annoying, and yet I liked that it was who she was.
Colin. He felt younger than most of the heroes we’ve come across, but I liked that he was English and there was a nice contrast between him and Margaretha, particularly in the beginning of the book.
The premise. I was very involved and very concerned on behalf of those in Hagenheim. I kept thinking, these are my people who does this evil guy think he is?
Coming across the Duke, Rose, Valten, and Gisella again.
The way the writing is done to make you feel like you’ve stumbled across a fairytale.
Spiritually, the way its emphasized that God loves you the way your are and just how important it is to pray.
What I didn’t like:
Colin comes to Hagenheim because he’s chasing after the villain…by himself. I just wasn’t sure exactly what he thought he was going to accomplish.
At one point Magaretha is on the run, and I felt more anxiety than she did. I mean, the girl kept stopping and all I could think was Hurry! This is when she got frustrating to me as a character.
Romantic scale: 7
Overall, it was a bit too cutesy for me, and I love YA, but this almost could have been middle school. There’s nothing wrong with this per se, it just didn’t meet my expectations.