My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha---one of the few who speaks his language---understands the wild story. Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin's message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself 'Lord Colin' is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy---not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she's sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook's wicked plot.
What a great adventure! I felt like the spying was only the first part, and then the journey Margaretha goes on is where the story really picks up. For an easy-going princess who has never been challenged in her priveleged life, she is likeable with characteristics of loyalty and compassion and even her flaws are endearing- very naive with a tendency to chatter (which she receives quite a bit of grief for from various family members). I found it adorable how proud she is of herself with each obstacle she overcomes, almost as if she is surprised at herself, but not really- somehow knowing she was that courageous all along. Colin also undergoes a character arc as his trials put him through a refiner's fire, changing from overly confident and also somewhat naive to humble, realistic, and protective. He never loses his zeal for justice- each beating he receives at the hands of various villains seems to make it stronger. I loved the humor in the story and the sweet slowly-built romance. I can't wait to read the first four books in this series now!
(Thank you to Zondervan Publishing and BookLook Bloggers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
The Fairy Tales series by Melanie Dickerson