The Fairest Beauty, by Melanie Dickerson

The Fairest Beauty, by Melanie Dickerson

Reason for Reading: I led the book discussion for ACFW this month.

When Gabe Gerstenberg learns that his brother’s fiance – who everyone thought had died – was very much alive and being held hostage by an evil duchess. Gabe’s brother is down with a broken leg, and his father is busy, so he decides to rescue her himself. He bites off more than he can chew with this rash act, and ends up running desperately from the duchesses men – with a woman that he finds very attractive and very unavailable. 

This sweet Christian historical fiction retelling of Snow White, has all the recognizable elements of the fairy tale, but is set in a realistic world. There were a few really creative twists – like the “seven dwarves” that made this story a fun creation. There were a lot of ethical questions brought to light – the main theme was: when do you know you’re following God’s wishes rather than your own? This is a good book for readers of fluffy/sweet romance, fairy tale retellings, or Christian historical fiction. Personally, I found Sophie’s character to be just a little too sweet and perfect, but I think that’s the nature of the snow white fairy tale. As far as I’m concerned, that was the only flaw in this cute retelling.

12 thoughts on “The Fairest Beauty, by Melanie Dickerson

  1. I'm usually wary of Christian books for being to “preachy”, but this sounds like it wouldn't be overwhelming. Overall it sounds like a nice book. Great review!


  2. Yeah, I'd say there's no reason to avoid this book for fear of preachiness. Although the characters certainly looked to God on quite a few occasions, and Sophie's character was just a little too saintly, there's no preaching. 🙂


  3. Sounds like an interesting retelling of the tale.

    I guess that there are alot of Snow White retellings floating around these days. I wonder why this story and its variations is so fascinating in our current age.


  4. Yes, there are also a lot of retellings of Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Pride and Prejudice. In the past couple of years, I've been paying a lot of attention to retellings – for the same reason you asked that question. Why are some stories so appealing to us that we want to hear them over and over in different ways?

    It seems to be the romantic tales that stick, and it's generally the ones that Walt Disney adapted (though I guess he had no hand in Beauty and the Beast, which is considered a classic film by some). Did Disney just have profound taste, or did he popularize the story?

    I often wonder if the Pride and Prejudice craze from the last 15ish years has been because of the Colin Firth miniseries – which was VERY popular. Or have P&P retellings always been so popular?


  5. Nice review, and I love your comment about retellings generally. I'm pretty fond of fairy-tale retellings, myself. (Mercedes Lackey has some fun ones!) I've been meaning to try one of Melanie Dickerson's books for a while. I have The Healer's Apprentice on my e-reader, but this one sounds good, too. I think I'll see if my library has a copy.


  6. I'm intrigued by fairy tale retellings–I actually think most stories fit into at least one of the classic fairy tale storylines. The sweetness does sound a bit cloying, but it sounds like a fun, interesting book.


  7. I also love fairy tale retellings. It's an interesting question about why the same stories are retold over and over. I suppose ultimately it boils down to the simple fact that those stories are really well liked and so we don't mind hearing them again and again? Or, I suppose it could boil down to simple conditioning since childhood – after all your parents might have read you the same stories over and over at bedtime and they never turned sour!
    Lynn 😀


  8. Ah, I knew that author sounded familiar–I read her “Sleeping Beauty” retelling, The Healer's Apprentice. VERY loosely Sleeping Beauty! This one sounds like it has very similar style and themes, though perhaps a bit closer to the original tale in plot. If you enjoyed this one, you'd probably like her other one.

    Re: Lynn's comment above, I think certain stories become Fairy Tales (capitals deliberate) because there's something essential in them that we can hear again and again without tiring of it. The best stories have some core truth or idea that resonates, and so it can be told in many different ways and repeated many different times but still speak to people.


  9. I haven't read The Healer's Apprentice yet, but it looks like it might be pretty good. If you plan on reading both, you probably ought to start with Healer's Apprentice, because a couple of the characters in that books is also characters in Fairest Beauty. Might as well read in order. 🙂


  10. Either one is likely to be true. I imagine that it may be a mixture of the two – we have an inclination to like certain themes, like the bad boy (Beauty and the Beast) and rags-to-riches (Cinderella). And some of it is just that certain stories are more familiar than others.


  11. Yes, you are right about the best stories having some core truth…Many of those core truths have been explored in fairy tales and folklore, which is why most stories follow the format of one or more of the fairy tales. Like Pride and Prejudice is sort of Beauty and the Beast and somewhat Cinderella.


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