The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson is the second book in the "Medieval Fairy Tale" series, the first of which was The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and I liked this one as well. The main characters from the first book carried over into this book, but The Beautiful Pretender works as a stand-alone (although there were some funny moments that wouldn't be funny to those who weren't familiar with the original characters). I've read several reviews saying that this is a "Beauty and the Beast" spinoff, and while I did sort of see that, I thought it was more of a "Princess and the Pea" spinoff.
When the Margrave of Thornbeck inherits his title from his brother, he has to find himself a bride, and quickly. He sends out an invitation to noblewomen nearby to come and stay at his place so he can get to know them and pick a bride.
Avelina is Lady Dorothea's lady's maid. When Lady Dorothea receives an invitation to stay at Thornbeck Castle, she realizes that she's already in love with one of her father's knights, and runs away to elope the night before she's scheduled to leave. Lady Dorothea's father summons Avelina and commands that she go in her lady's place and receive provision for her family or be left destitute forever, Avelina is forced to go along with the deception. All she has to do is not let the Margrave fall in love with her and say whatever she thinks her lady would've said. Seems simple enough.
I really enjoyed this book! The characters had great dialogue with each other and the elements of suspense did not seem overdone (although they were close). This series is great for teen and tween-age girls who like historical fiction and twists on fairytales. I know my younger sisters love these stories, and I do as well.
Thank you so much to Harpercollins/Thomas Nelson publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive, nor was I compensated in any way aside from receiving the book itself.
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