Melanie Dickerson, whose novels have been in the top 10 YA on Amazon and #1 top sellers in some categories, offers modern readers the opportunity to experience the setting of ancient fairy tales in her novels inspired by these classic stories. Although her first series is marketed as YA, it appeals to readers of a broad age range, and her adult novel has been embraced by teens. Who doesn’t delight in the world of princesses and castles and impossible love?
Melanie won the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book, a Golden Quill Award, a Carol Award, HOLT Medallion Award of Merit, and has been a Christy Award finalist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in special education and has She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany, and the Ukraine. Her inspirational fiction encourages and uplifts readers.
Following are brief descriptions and reviews of Melanie’s YA novels in order of publication. Each book can stand alone, but readers will want to devour the whole YA series, which is best read in order. Every book has a connection with the others, and some characters play roles in the ongoing story.
The Healer’s Apprentice offers an enchanting tale that keeps readers enthralled with its mix of love story and suspense as good battles evil. Rose, a woodcutter’s daughter, has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle in Medieval Germany and must tend the injured future duke. The story may be a bit predictable at times, but it’s not just a typical “happily ever after” tale. The book explores relations between peasants and nobility and topics such as selfishness, duty, forbidden love, and discovering one’s destiny.
In The Merchant’s Daughter Annabel must move to the manor to serve the new lord, whom many consider beastly. She faces dangers and hard work, to which she had not been accustomed while her merchant father lived, and struggles to maintain her dignity and her purity, despite her status as an indentured servant. As Annabel gets to know Lord Ranulf better, she begins to reconsider her attitudes and her life’s longings. But a lord and a servant could never make a match, right? Intrigue and conflict keep the story moving briskly as the reader is swept up in this engaging tale from medieval times set in England. The novel also deals with prejudice and superstition, as well as honesty and trust.
The Fairest Beauty returns readers to the 14th century, where wicked Duchess Ermengard disposes of all who threaten her rule over Hohendorf Castle. Beautiful Sophie, a mistreated scullery maid, often finds herself longing to escape. When an old servant manages to get word to Hagenheim Castle, to whose heir Sophie had been betrothed, Gabehart sets out to rescue the lovely maiden. Danger, adventure, and romance accompany their journey, which includes a sojourn at the Cottage of the Seven.
The Captive Maiden features Valten, the eldest son from Hagenheim Castle, who has bested other knights in tournaments but has not succeeded in finding the person he wants to marry until he meets Gisela, a lovely young woman forced to fulfill a servant’s role by her cruel stepmother. Valten’s rival uses Gisela to achieve revenge over him. Captivity draws the couple into a closer relationship, but will they survive so they can wed? Their adventure offers breathtaking peril along with some sweet moments.
The Princess Spy abounds with suspense and danger. Margaretha, a well-educated daughter of a duke, has not settled on a suitor because she seeks true love. The man she is supposed to marry may not be the type of man he presents himself as, and an injured stranger warns her to beware. Thus begins her adventures to try to save her family, castle, and village from an evil plot.
The Golden Braid’s Rapunzel lives with her adopted mother, who warns her not to have anything to do with men—they only want to take advantage of women—and so Rapunzel must keep her lovely hair completely covered. Rapunzel has learned useful skills in their travels, but she longs to learn to read. She finds an opportunity at a monastery, but this leads to other, unexpected lessons and questions. Will she ever have a chance for love and marriage? Does her mother truly have her best interests at heart? This novel is thick with deception and bursts with surprises as it holds readers’ attention to the very end. Some of the events parallel those in The Princess Spy, but readers experience the story from a different point of view.
Melanie’s adult novel, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, draws upon the legend of Robin Hood for inspiration, but a female protagonist draws the arrows in order to provide food for the poor. Although Odette knows her nocturnal activity defies the law, she chooses to pursue her mission of mercy because she believes she follows a higher law. When her life intersects with the forester, Jorgen, who oversees the woods and the animals there, she struggles with how to continue her hunting ministry in the midst their growing mutual attraction. He has Odette in his sights in more than one way. Could her life be in danger? And the mayor’s son insists he will marry the beautiful Odette, but she is uncertain. As the story progresses, she discovers more secrets and plots in this exciting drama.
The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson, released May 2016
This long-awaited sequel to The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest offers another enjoyable medieval fairy tale, set Europe in 1363. It can easily stand alone, but reading the first of the series enriches the experience. The new margrave of Thornbeck needs a wife so he invites 10 noble women to visit so he can choose one. An earl’s daughter who was to attend has taken off with her lover, so her servant Avelina must take her place. The adventures and difficulties that ensure keep readers flipping pages to see how it will all turn out. I like the historical details and real-life scenarios that make the story come alive.
Melanie Dickerson’s masterful storytelling offers readers a fine adventure set in the historical past we enjoy dreaming of—with fairy tales brought to life in a new way. Visit her website at http://melaniedickerson.com/ for more details about her books, along with some trailers to view. Her books are available in paper and ebook versions.