The Beautiful Pretender
By Melanie Dickerson
Published by Thomas Nelson
314 Pages

BOOK DESCRIPTION: After inheriting his title from his brother, the margrave has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble born ladies who meet the king’s approval to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina has only two instructions: keep her true identity a secret and make sure the margrave doesn’t select her as his 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.

REVIEW: I enjoyed how this author blends an organic faith message with a fairy tale type story, through believable, fascinating characters I enjoyed hanging out with. The story has the reader off in a run (literally Grin) showing Lady Dorothea dashing off to join the knight she loves, putting her maid-servant in a real pickle. When Lady Dorothea’s father demands answers Avelina can barely speak. Then the Earl of Plimmward makes an impossible request of her. He blurts out his demand she repeats it grasping the implications, ”Do you mean you want me to pretend to be lady Dorothea?”

The Earl of Plimmwald replies, “Precisely. You are the only woman I know who is fair enough. My daughter wasa  renowned beauty, but with fine clothes and someone calling you ‘My Lady’ and treating you like a noble-born woman, anyone might consider you as beautiful as my wayward, daughter.”

Not much pressure there. Avelina can hardly breathe. He continues, “Thornbeck-must never suspect you are an imposter.”He was fearful of the Duke of Geibart threatening to claim Pilmmwald Castle for his own Earl states, “You must understand that you will be saving us all. Every person at the castle and in the town will be in danger.” If there is an attack.”

She can’t believe this. “How would Avelina, the daughter of a crippled former stable master and a lady’s maid servant, ever fool the Margrave of Thornbeck and all his guests into believing she was an Earl’s daughter?” It was frightening.

Even though she is being forced into this situation to help her family and community; Avelina stays true to who she is and what she believes. She could not act shellfish and unkind as the real Lady Dorothea. No that would not do.

Avelina experiences something new in hear heart, “Never before had she been treated like her opinion mattered. If only she could enjoy it without feeling like someone was going to brand her a fraud and order her to leave at once.”

Her hand main servant Irma says, “No one here knows Lady Dorothea, and after we leave, no one will be the wiser.”

The Margrave of Thornbeck seeks a woman he likes, admires and could eventually love, “I should like the woman I choose to be very honest, generous, and to have a sincere faith in God, rather than mindlessly following rules.” He wanted to avoid the hateful marriage his parents had.

She meets and becomes fast friends with Magdalen who Avelina tries to point out to Thornbeck – Reinhart as a suitable bride. She encourages him this woman is everything you are looking for pick her. Magdalen tries to teach Avelina a few things, “Remember what I am telling you, Avelna. If my mother has taught me anything, it’s that a woman must demand respect.”

The Duke of Geitbart’s daughter Lady Fronicka reminded me of the oldest sister in the Ever After movie. She was always showing off and putting herself out there for the Thornbeck. Pushing the other girls aside so she could be next to Reinhart, no other.

This was a fun, feel good story set n medieval times. It had elements in it that reminded me of Beauty and the Beast the animated movie. There were characters and elements in the story that reminded me of Drew Barrymore in the movie Ever After. Especially the part where Drew dresses up to play a Duchess. She has to be convincing in order to get someone out of prison. Another aspect of the book that reminded me of the movie Ever After was the ball room scene. Avelina was a strong willed, compassionate and generous woman. She reminded me both of Belle and Drew’s character combined.

This story had me choked up, teary eyed and cheering n parts. Great story full of surprises! I smiled, laughed and loved every second of the novel.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Melanie Dickerson is the author of Historical Romances, and her two favorite time periods are Medieval, which she has combined with her love of fairy tales, and Regency England, which stems from her enduring love of Jane Austen. She is a 2-time Christy Award finalist, a 2-time Maggie Award winner, winner of The National Reader's Choice Award for 2010's Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor's degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing, hanging out on facebook, and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on the web at 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine


  1. Hi, Madelyn; This book is in libraries and if you are a blogger like I am you can sign up to be part of BookLook for Bloggers website. They offered this authors book (along with dozen's of others) to be read and reviewed by bloggers. Her is the website They mainly send books via e-readers Kindle, Nook etc. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. There is another site for bloggers to receive books to review. It's called Blogging for books. I think Tyndale has one too. You can sign up there for their rewards program and get books you don't have to review. These sites keep me busy!