Melanie Dickerson’s book The Beautiful Pretender is an elegant read.  Germany’s medieval period captures the pages of this book as dukes and earls begin to grace each scene.  Of course, all dukes and earls are not as noble as one might think, and the reader soon discovers this fact within the first few chapters.  An introduction to one of the main characters, Avelina, who is the maidservant of the daughter of an earl–Lady Dorothea daughter of the Earl of Plimmwald–displays this very truth. 

Lady Dorothea’s very nature considers only herself, and through a series of events, her maidservant soon finds she has been given direct orders from the earl.  This task throws Avelina into the presence of individuals she would normally not associate with, and she soon discovers how strong she can be.  Her fears must not outweigh the duty she is called for, yet somehow events do not go as seamlessly as she would have hoped.  Avelina discovers her own heart might win in the end but at a cost that is too dear to pay.

This book was a wonderful surprise, because one might think it is only a typical romance story; however, there is so much more to this text.  Each turn of the page opened up different possibilities for various characters, and it was impossible to guess the ending fate for each individual.  Impending romance turns to a life being threatened, and a murderer roaming the halls of the castle.  Misunderstandings become moments of trust and distrust, and villages are not safe, because good and evil is on the rise.

The male lead, the Margrave of Thornbeck, must find a bride, but who can he trust?  Each lady he meets has a secret agenda, in order to win his hand, but are they really suited for the task of being the wife of a margrave?  Reinhart must quickly discern the characters of those around him as he seeks to find a godly wife.  Yet more adventures are in store for this margrave, when he begins to understand the wicked hearts of those around him.  He has lost so much in his life.  Will he lose the one he loves too?  Or will he surrender his pride in order for good to prevail in the end?

If you love historical novels, I highly recommend this book.  I so wanted to know what happened at every changing event!  And it was definitely a book that I could not put down.

About the Book

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 margraves 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.

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About the Author

Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author who combines her love for all things Medieval with her love of romance and fairy tales. She also loves Regency Romance and has drawn on her Southern heritage to write a romance set in the late 1800s called Magnolia Summer.

Her books have won the Christy Award, two Maggie Awards, The National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama and has taught children and adults in America, Germany, and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing stories of love and adventure near Huntsville, Alabama.

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