Book Review: Castle of Refuge by Melanie Dickerson

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Castle of Refuge
by Melanie Dickerson
Book 2 in the Dericott Tales series
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction, Fairytale Retelling
Rating: 4/5

Loosely based on the Ugly Duckling, this beautiful story about acceptance was just what I needed to read today. I am such a huge fan of Melanie Dickerson and she did not disappoint. I really liked how she set up the story. I could feel the main character, Audrey, and her feelings of unworthiness that she grew up with coming from her father and her older sister, Maris. I could feel the malice that Maris held toward her younger sister. As someone interested in psych, Maris would be a fascinating character study, but I also felt Audrey’s love for her sister and desire to see her healed. Audrey just desires to belong and be accepted while also pursuing a worthy goal. She finds that by teaching the young girls (no matter their status) to read and write. I also loved seeing how Edwin, the young Earl of Dericott, dealt with the loss of his arm. I didn’t think he would have so much trouble with his balance but his darker thoughts were very authentic and relatable. His fear of rejection and fear of being useless was similar to Audrey’s fears. They were a perfect couple. Audrey’s scars were minimal but still dearly affected her, especially in the eyes of her father. How many times do we allow our scars to define who we are? How many times do we think no one will accept us because we are different? Such a powerful and timely message about unconditional love and the power of belonging!

Highly recommend if you enjoy clean fairytale retellings with a Christian message.

My thanks to the author and publisher for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Click here to purchase a copy!

Book Review: Court of Swans by Melanie Dickerson

Court of Swans
by Melanie Dickerson
Book 1 in the Dericott Tales series
Rating: 4/5

I believe I have read every book by Melanie Dickerson and she did not disappoint. Court of Swans is the first book in a brand new series and I was excited to visit the world of 1381 and meet the Dericott family. This particular story is a retelling of The Wild Swans and the author definitely had her own take on the story.

Delia Dericott is the only daughter of the Earl and has lived a fairly sheltered life surrounded by her seven brothers. After her father remarries a horrible woman, she keeps her distance and hopes for the best, especially when she gains a new half-brother. However, her new stepmother has plans of her own. When her father dies suddenly, all her brothers return to the family home (most were off training to be a knight) while they mourn together. Her eldest brother, Edwin, barely has a chance to get used to his new position and title before the king of England’s soldiers arrive to arrest all of her brothers for murder and treason. When Sir Geoffrey realizes that the youngest one is but 10 years old, he is unsure why all these brothers are being sent to the Tower of London. Delia is distraught and must find a way to save her brothers. She suspects her stepmother did something but has no evidence. Afraid of what her stepmother might do to her, Delia escapes to her aunt for guidance. Her aunt arranges for Delia to become a seamstress in the king’s castle in order to find a way to convince the future queen and young King Richard of her brothers’ innocence. Delia finds herself once again confronted with Sir Geoffrey and must find a way to work with him to free her brothers before it’s too late. Can Delia trust the man who arrested her brothers? Can she find a way to rescue her brothers and exonerate them?

There’s definitely never a lack of drama in Melanie Dickerson’s books. lol. I really enjoyed this story of political intrigue set in the late 1300s which is not a time period that I read a lot about. It was interesting to read about the different historical figures and try to get into their head. I finished the book in a few hours and could not put it down. I know I will enjoy getting to know this new family and cannot wait for the next book in the series. 

Highly recommend if you enjoy Christian historical fiction with romance and political intrigue.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: The Peasant’s Dream by Melanie Dickerson

The Peasant’s Dream
by Melanie Dickerson
Book 11 in the Hagenheim series
Rating: 4.5/5
Release date: July 7, 2020

Reverse Cinderella story? Yes, please. I always love a good fairytale retelling but when you reverse the roles and fill out the characters and backstory so much, I did not want to put the book down. I am a huge fan of Melanie Dickerson because she takes the time to really develop her characters and fill in the fairytale background. She brings you back into her world of Hagenheim and it was such a fun adventure. Though this is part of a series, you can read this book by itself but I still highly recommend reading the rest of the series because it’s that good.

Frederick is a talented woodcarver who dreams of being able to escape his abusive father’s farm and make a living for his mother and younger twin sisters. When he gets a chance to sell some of his carvings at the market, a priest sees his talent and convinces the bishop to hire Frederick to carve the new doors for the cathedral. While at market, Frederick meets Adela and a friendship begins.

Adela is the youngest daughter of the Duke of Hagenheim who wishes she could travel and pursue her painting and creative side. Her father is very protective of her and Adela just wishes she could explore the world without being recognized as the Duke’s daughter. She disguises herself as a servant and goes off to explore the marketplace where she meets Frederick. She is surprised to find someone who understands her as an artist – someone who is kind and makes her smile. Although her parents are trying to help her find a kind nobleman to marry, Adela doesn’t feel anything for him – at least not what she starts feeling for Frederick, who doesn’t know who she really is.

What happens when Frederick finds out the truth about Adela’s status? What happens when someone wants Frederick out of the way? Can Adela and Frederick find a way to be together?

I am never disappointed with a Melanie Dickerson novel. Her characters have depth and a charm that makes the reader want to cheer them on. She has been building this world of Hagenheim for many years and it’s always such a pleasure to dive back into this fantasy world. I feel like the transformation that the main characters go through could have been developed more but it doesn’t take away from the amazing adventure and the awesome reveals in this story.

I highly recommend this book if you enjoy fairytale retelling with a twist.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.