Books reviewed prior on this site prior to March 2019 were provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. Reviews beginning March 2019 come from a variety of sources: advanced copies, library loans, and my own purchases. All reviews are my honest opinions.

June 2, 2016

The Beautiful Pretender {Melanie Dickerson}

beautiful pretender melanie dickerson
The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s 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. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?

My Thoughts:
I loved this book!

Have you watched The Bachelor on television? This premise of this book is very much like that; only it is set in the 1300s. The Margrave lets his staff convince him the best way to find a wife would be to hold a two-week event. Invited the ladies in, get to know them, and put them through a series of tests. At the end of the two weeks, the future wife would be announced at the grand ball. Sounds simple enough.

My heart immediately went out to Avelina as soon as we met her. The ladies maid for a spoiled Lady of Plimmwald, she is asked to do the unthinkable – deceive the Margrave. Thankfully she is bold enough to demand something in return before she begins her journeyed to Thornbeck.

Once Avelina arrives in Thornbeck, things heat up as you would expect them to when ten ladies are vying for the attention of one Margrave. The claws come out, and jealousy rears its ugly head pretty quickly. However, the Margrave seems to be falling for Avelina – and falling hard.

Once the Margrave picks his wife of choice, this story turns less romance and more suspense. A series of wild events puts everyone in Thornbeck on alert, and the lives of the residents, visitors and staff are suddenly in danger. Watching everything unfold kept me on the edge of my seat – and awake far past my bedtime.

I thought this was a great book. It had romance and suspense mixed with the historical settings I love so much. I think this is a good read, and I am already looking forward to the next book of the series.

Melanie Dickerson is a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing's Best award, and her book, The Healer's Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.

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