The Beautiful Pretender

The Beautiful Pretender

The Beautiful Pretender (Thomas Nelson, May 2016)

What happens when a margrave realizes he’s fallen in love with a servant?

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?

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  • snidbits says:

    I was so excited to read this book because Beauty and the Beast is my absolute favorite fairy tale! I’m a huge fan of Melanie Dickerson and loved The Golden Braid. This book was full of action, twists, humor and romance. This was a book I had a hard time putting down because I wanted to keep reading, needing to know what happened next!

  • While the book is well-written, it took me awhile to get into the plot; though I eventually became interested in it around chapter 5 or 6. The main character, Avelina, is a likeable, strong character. Overall, I did end up liking The Beautiful Pretender. Yes, there are a few flaws here and there, but it was still a decent read.

  • The premise of the book is a little bit like a reality show! Ha. I don’t mean that offensively but that’s exactly what it seemed like to me but not in a bad way. It felt like I was watching a game. “Who will get the guy?” The rich guy by the way! The characters are well written and enjoyable.

  • WORD Up! says:

    If you are captivated by fairy tales regardless of your age, “The Beautiful Pretender” by Melanie Dickerson is a perfect summer read for you! This story is a beautiful blend of “The Princess and the Pea” and a bit of “Beauty and the Beast”. It is an enchanting and intriguing tale that entertains completely. I highly recommend this for your summer reading list!

  • If Melanie Dickerson’s other offerings are as good as The Beautiful Pretender, I’ll be needing to read all of them.

  • Melanie Dickerson’s The Beautiful Pretender has just about everything you could want in a romance: flawed yet likable main characters, forbidden love, a touch of danger, and a happily ever after. The Beautiful Pretender is not just a simple love story—it also drives home several important points: every life is precious, each person has innate worth and deserves respect, and prejudice is a cancer that tears people apart. And it does all this wrapped up in a beautiful, captivating plot.

  • I really like to read historical romances and “The Beautiful Pretender” by author Melanie Dickerson is a very good story.

  • The Beautiful Pretender is a unique novel that I fell in love with. It has an exciting plot line that you have never read anything similar before and just enough suspense and romance. An overall fantastic read for individuals of all ages!

  • I’ve been a fan of this author for a few years now and never have I read more beautiful, rich and inspiring fairytale retellings such as hers. And I’ve read a lot. According to the website, this story is a subtle crossover of two beloved fairytales: The Princess and the Pea and Beauty and the Beast. And ya’ll–the last one is my favorite and I kept humming Tale as Old as Time as I read. That being said–this was not a fluffy happily ever after.
    The setting of Thornbeck, the vivid characters–especially the rugged, wounded former knight and current Margrave, Reinhart, all swept me in instantly…

  • ….I CAN’T WAIT to read more from Melanie!…I DEVOURED this book! 😀 And would happily read it again and again!…..

  • Melanie Dickerson has been a favorite author of mine — since the first time I read one of her books! And she continues to bless me with her stories!

    If you not a fan of Melanie Dickerson, I would suggest you give her a try… her books are spiritual (without being preachy), romantic (without being sappy), adventurous (and a bit scary, but not too much) and completely awesome! After reading the first chapter, you can tell Melanie has gone above and beyond in doing her research, and it shows in her books.

  • By The Book says:

    I loved the medieval setting of The Beautiful Pretender. Melanie does a wonderful job of making the 14th century Holy Roman Empire real to a modern reader through her detailed descriptions of place, fashion, and customs. Characters are appealing as well, especially the plucky Avelina.

  • Moments says:

    “The Beautiful Pretender” is Melanie’s second Medieval Fairy Tale book and I am hoping for so many more. I absolutely loved this story as it took me back to feeling like a child when I first heard my first fairy tale. Avelina has clear directions given to her and she does not think she will have any problem carrying them out as there is absolutely no way, in her mind, that she would be chosen to be the Margrave’s wife.

  • For those who love a Happily Ever After with their Once Upon a Times… this book is for you! This author is for you! Melanie takes one of my favorite fairy tales and brings it new life not once but twice. This is Melanie’s second Beauty and the Beast retelling but each book kept its originality. With this Beauty and the Beast retelling you also have a Princess and the Pea retelling combined! Both themes and tropes from both stories were woven together to create a new tale as old as time!

  • When I get a Melanie Dickerson book, I better be ready to read the whole night long because I know I will not want to put that book down! 😉 I thought the characters were very well developed and reading about them made me feel as if I already knew them. Melanie’s writing style is very easy to read and understand, and she keeps you guessing up until the last second!

  • This medieval “Bachelor” story has everything we love about those sorts of reality shows but with the integrity and grace and charm they so often lack. Avelina and Magdalen are marvelous heroines (can we have Magdalen’s story next, Melanie?!?) and we all already know how I feel about Reinhart, the margrave (*dreamy sigh*). Lots of drama, some humor, a dose of action and suspense, and some fan-requiring kisses all combine with Melanie Dickerson’s impeccable talent.

  • Melanie Dickerson is an author I have wanted to read for some time now, and I’m so glad I’ve been able to be a part of this book tour for ‘The Beautiful Pretender’. In this novel I was entertained in a lighthearted and refreshing fashion. Dickerson’s writing is very accessible and family friendly, while still bringing some passion to the love scenes. It might not have fairies and magical creatures, but the storytelling was quite magical and a delight to enjoy. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Dickerson in the future.

  • From the very beginning, I didn’t want to put the story down. I wanted to stay right there in the castle to watch the story unfold before me. Wonderful characters, perilous situations, and great dialogue create a magical tale that is definitely staying on my “keeper” shelf!

  • I really enjoyed this book, it was full of adventure and action. I love medieval stories and this one is going to definitely be added to my favorites. I love Melanie Dickerson’s books and I can’t wait to see what happens next in this series.

  • I truly enjoyed getting to know the Margrave and find out the truth of the gossip surrounding how he became the Margrave instead of his older brother. And of course there is The Beautiful Pretender. She was forced into playing a role she didn’t want and a task she wasn’t wanting. Instead, she finds that by being herself while not being herself is the best way to do this.

    Great book! I highly recommend and hope you give it a read!

  • Melanie Dickerson has a way of drawing you into the story and creating characters the are modern yet medieval.

  • I truly loved this novel and could see having this in my home as a fairy tale that I would feel comfortable telling my daughters and grand daughters. It provide a much more realistic version with attention to the true morals and character builders you would want to instill in your own children.

  • Melanie Dickerson’s writing is so rich with description and vivid detail. The characters engaged me in the most beguiling way. I admired Avelina’s devotion to her family, and her willingness to do whatever it took in order to protect their wellbeing. The precarious world of a medieval court was enchanting to read about. The only thing I didn’t like? That the story ended!

  • I enjoyed being immersed in medieval Germany with political intrigue and hidden identities. As a young adult novel this is written with a lighter tone, and I smiled at the nods to Beauty and the Beast that popped up throughout the story. Avelina’s strength of character and compassionate personality shine as she stands out from the crowd of pampered ladies. A great addition to the author’s Medieval Fairy Tale Romance series!

  • The Beautiful Pretender is loosely based on Beauty and the Beast and the Princess and the Pea, and it is such a fun amazing story. It may be my favorite book of hers yet. It was such a fun captivating story and I love the lead characters. This book has everything and more, fairy tales, battles, spies, a fight for what’s right.

  • Best Reads says:

    Beauty and the Beast meets The Bachelor — let the games begin!

    There’s tension and drama and sweet romance. Diabolical villains to subdue and a forest of bloodthirsty wolves to best. Not to mention a treacherous plot to thwart before these two have a hope of a happily ever after. A delectable read from beginning to end.

  • Although there are many wonderful aspects of The Beautiful Pretender, what I most liked about this book is that two people from very different social worlds, in a time when those worlds must be separate from each other, could find love and join together to defeat those who wish to destroy them. I look forward to reading Melanie Dickerson’s other books about the middle ages.

  • I enjoyed getting the chance to read the second book in this medieval series. This book will grab your attention from the first page. This book is written so both young adults and adults alike will enjoy it. I thought the author did a good job with the descriptions and the character development. Another thing I liked about this book is that there is a little adventure and romance so you get a little of all the good things as you are reading it. Even though this is the second book in this series it can be read as a stand alone.

  • What an enchanting story! Dickerson swept me away to the world of nobility, class distinction, and advantageous marriages. Avelina’s circumstances and her loyalty to her family tugged at my heart, and I was inspired by her strength, kindness, and positive attitude. The tale thrums with romantic tension,,,,

  • The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson was a sweet book. I did find the story predictable, but I still did love the book, and it was a nice break from some of the other books I have been reading lately.

  • I had every intention of breezing through this book without getting “hooked” on the story as I always seem to do with this genre of romance fiction. However, I did not count on Ms. Dickerson’s entrancing style of writing. I became thoroughly absorbed in the story of Avelina and the Margrave of Thornbeck. The intrigue and conspiracies, secrecy and skullduggery that abounded at the Castle was so definitely not boring that I was spellbound by the story and the characters. I thought this was a wonderfully written novel and I hope to read more of Ms. Dickerson’s works in the future.

  • If ever there was a Sunday afternoon well spent with a book it was today! This little story has this fairytale lover swooning. I promise it’s not the heat going to my head (my castle’s library has air conditioning), but rather a sweet story that is pure old-fashioned fun that’s got me gushing!

  • THE BEAUTIFUL PRETENDER is a good story. I loved Avelina and the margrave was hero worthy. He was a bit too gruff and brawny for my taste which is what kept him from being swoon worthy. I really wanted things to work out for these two characters. There were some things I didn’t like, but they are minor. Overall, liked the book and the story.

  • The Beautiful Pretender also had plenty of danger, intrigue, and secrets to keep me on the edge of my seat hoping that everything would work out and that these two complex characters would indeed get their happily ever afters! I absolutely loved this story!!!

  • I loved the story from beginning to end and Avelina was a heroine you wanted to cheer for. The theme that I noticed throughout the book was being worth loving. Avelina didn’t think she was worth loving especially by a Margrave because she was just a servant, yet we see through the book that no matter what your status you are worth loving. It’s the same with Christ we are worthy of love from Him who gave His life for us.

  • The story was so well written that it was a joy to read. The plot moved along at an excellent pace with plenty of drama, action, danger, suspense, and of course romance. Numerous twist and surprises were scattered throughout the tale and the strong ending was quite satisfying.

  • This story had already captivated me by the time I had simply read the description, and every single line, page, and chapter I devoured only enthralled me more. By the time I made it to the end, I was so glad to find out what happened but I was dying for the story to continue and go on and on forever, and I wished I hadn’t sped through it as quickly as I did so that maybe it would have lasted longer.

  • Overall, I was satisfied with The Beautiful Pretender. The story (and its characters) really grew on me over the course of its pages. I found myself becoming deeply involved and the book nearly impossible to put down! There were a interesting twists, an adorable romance, and a pleasant fairytale-like ending

  • I read the entire book in one night, yawning and rubbing my eyes and forcing myself to stay awake to get to the end. I LOVE Dickerson’s writing style! Her novels are like none other I have read. I didn’t realize at all that both of these novels are actually in series – The Golden Braid in her Hagenheim series, and this one in her Thornbeck series. I am definitely going to grab up every other book in both of these series so I can devour them.

  • Dickerson’s newest medieval fairytale will leave you making travel plans for Thornbeck. The area sounds beautiful, with Thornbeck Castle full of enough excitement and intrigue to satisfy any busybody’s tongue. It’s the perfect locale for an adventure.

  • As you can probably tell, I greatly enjoyed The Beautiful Pretender. I picked it up in the afternoon, and finished it within 24 hours. Somehow I did not stay up all night to read it, but I can definitely see a reader doing so to see what happens. If you like medieval stories, if you like fairy tales, if you love stories with some adventure (think The Princess Bride!), check out The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson.

  • What I love about this story is the two strong characters. Ms. Dickerson gives us Avelina-a beautiful, opinionated, courageous, and determined young woman who when the going gets tough-she gets tougher.

    Lord Thornbeck, the beastly man who growls, snarls, and barks orders at those around him embodies what we’d expect of his character but Ms. Dickerson shows us the softer side of his animalistic tendencies offering us a glimpse into a man who struggles with guilt and disability. Could someone love him in spite of his handicap? Yes!! Over and over again-yes!

    I’ve had the opportunity to read several novels in this series and I believe it’s these later ones that are worth their weight in Rumpelstiltskin’s gold!

  • This was a happily every after read set in the medieval times. It’s got action. A gruff hero. And beautifully costumes (you can tell from the descriptions).Perfect for romantics that love historical inspirational fiction.

  • Melanie’s novel is filled with excitement and adventure that readers will absolutely love. From page one readers will not be able to put down this novel with fantastic characters, in addition to a well-narrated story. I would recommend this novel to readers that enjoy fairytale retellings and romance.

  • Dickerson is known for her fairy tale retellings, and it’s certainly well-deserved! This is second in her “Medieval Fairy Tale Romance” series. The story is full of intrigue, courage, adventure, romance, and risk. It weaves in The Princess and the Pea and Beauty and the Beast, and takes place in 16th century Germany. It proves that fairy tales are not just for children. There will be some familiar characters to those who have read The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest. However, this book could easily be read as a standalone. Avelina is a strong character, both in spirit and faith. Reinhart is gruff but lovable. This well-written romance will have the reader rooting for a happily-ever-after ending.

  • 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.

  • Amazing! The Beautiful Pretender is a novel penned by Melanie Dickerson, and part of the Medieval Fairy Tale series. I found myself deeply involved in this book mere seconds after reading the first paragraph. This is a story of a wounded Margrave fighting for his city and a woman desperate to find true love. It has a plot that will have you cheering the characters on, all the while feeling like you have been dropped into the middle of Beauty and the Beast!

  • Dickerson does a good job capturing the era, but this book was pretty much predictable and, having read one other Dickerson book (“The Golden Braid”), I found the main plot line basically the same. I was a little disappointed that the main characters were thrown into an “avoidable” but possibly compromising situation (of course, they were so morally upright nothing happened) and the spiritual plot was not very strong.

  • What an absolutely wonderful book! I didn’t think I would love it as much as I did and just couldn’t put it down! Such a good story in so many ways. It’s the perfect fairy tale and I enjoyed it so much! It’s full of romance yet enough danger to make you hold your breath at times! I just loved this book and I know it will one that you will love, too! This book definitely deserves 5 out of 5 stars.

  • This loose ‘Beauty and the Beast’ retelling clips along fairly smoothly until the end when Dickerson ramps up the action in dramatic fashion which had me turning pages as fast as I could. I still can’t claim this was my favorite read, or even my favorite Dickerson read, but it has recieved many five stars on Goodreads. So perhaps take my middle of the road 3 star review with a grain of salt.

  • The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson will excite all fairy tale lovers, especially when it’s reminiscent of the popular The Beauty & the Beast. Romance plays a big part in fairy tales, but Melanie’s retellings, including The Beautiful Pretender adds mystery and adventure. Physical and emotional battles gives depth to two dimension characters, allowing readers to be rooted into their journeys.

  • From the setting to the language she uses, I felt ensconced in the story from beginning to end. I loved the story of a maiden servant put in the dilemma of pretending to be a noble lady. Then she was told not to let the margrave (prince) fall in love with her. But she’s so sweet and lovable! The internal struggle mixed with physical situations led to some real predicaments. Avelina’s brave heart opens for her friends as she shows her true self despite her hidden agenda. Melanie did a superb job developing intriguing characters and creating a wonderful world to get lost in for awhile. I’m so glad there are fairytales for adults, because I’ve never outgrown my love of them.

  • “The Beautiful Pretender” is a story for every girl who dreams of a fairy-tale romance and adventure. It has it all: a moody but compassionate hero, a smart and beautiful heroine, murder and mystery, a lush medieval setting, a forbidden romance and more. I loved the plucky Avelina, who struggled with wanting to assert herself while being trapped in her station in life as a servant girl. Despite having a privileged life, Thornbeck had experienced a lot of tragedy and secretly yearned for happiness. I loved the characters in “The Beautiful Pretender” and was sad to see their story come to an end!

  • Another super sweet fairy-tale-feeling book from Melanie Dickerson!
    The plot was so intriguing, and exciting, and I became engaged immediately. The hints of Beauty and the Beast, and The Princess and the Pea, were absolutely delightful. Having ten noble ladies come to the Margrave’s home as “possible brides” was entertaining, if not unconventional. ^.^ Again, I say: Delightful.

  • This is the second book I read by Melanie Dickerson and I like that her historical fiction novels are clean and are the perfect escapism books for a light romantic read. Dickerson’s writing flows well with a steady pace and a good plotline, although I did find this one predictable. Her characters are well-drawn out, flawed and conflicted. Avelina was a good main character, and I appreciated her humbleness as well as her courageous spirit.

  • Melanie Dickerson is a master of the fairy tales and her retellings are both unique and engaging. With her books we can go back to our childhood favorite fairy tales and enjoy them all over again with new twists to enjoy.

  • The Beautiful Pretender is a fast-paced, often an on-the-edge-of-your-seat, story. I definitely stayed up late a couple nights, wanting to see where the story led and how it ended. This tale is a sweet romance, with plenty of action and suspense. I believe my daughter will also enjoy it, when I share it with her. I certainly want to read more of Melanie Dickerson’s books!

  • I like books that I can pick up at the end of the day and read to put the tasks of the day behind me. Books that take me away from the monotonous and mundane without making me sad or despondent. This book fits the bill nicely. While it was a little predictable, it was a good book that I will definitely make time to read again.

  • EmpowerMoms says:

    I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this book because sometimes I have a hard time enjoying stories written in the medieval time period, but the book description looked really intriguing. I really enjoyed this book and finished it in one night! It was fast reading, and had a good steady pace with some romance and suspense.

  • There were a couple mysteries throughout and a bit of adventure near the end but I liked how the main focus of this story was on Reinhart and Avelina’s journey to love. If you love fairy-tale re-imaginings or just a good story I highly recommend this book!

  • Overall, this was a fantastic read, I loved the fairy tale connection to The Princess and the Pea, Ms. Dickerson truly has a gift and I was riveted to the book and didn’t want to put it down throughout my busy week. This book stands well on its own, but if you have read the previous book you will be happy to see Odette and Jorgen back and playing a very important part in this book. Action-packed, with faith, drama, and romance, this is a fantastic read about the importance of noble character, and true friendship. Definitely recommend!

  • In the end, everything turned out the way I had hoped and I enjoyed another one of Melanie’s happily-ever-afters. This book certainly reminded me of why I had loved her first books and why I will continue to read the next ones she writes.

  • I absolutely adored this story! With nods to The Princess and the Pea and Beauty and the Beast, Melanie Dickerson has penned another splendid medieval tale you don’t want to miss!

  • The story kept me tense- Avelina was constantly dodging bullets, desperately trying to keep her secret. An imposter, faking royalty, carried a severe penalty, but she had to stay strong, safe and undesirable. With her own fake maid servant getting drunk and not keeping to her chores, all the cards were stacked against her. But the worst part was the fact that the more she tried to stay away from Lord Thornbeck, the more she wanted him- and he her!. What a story. And YES, it was a little on the cheesy side, but it was remarkable and so worth the read. I can say this book has an ending worth waiting for.

  • A wonderful story take retelling that makes the material fresh and new. Keeps you interest so you keep wanting to read the book. Love this book.

  • I have only read one other book by Melanie Dickerson & I really enjoyed it. In true Disney fairy tale fashion, Dickerson’s newest book, “The Beautiful Pretender” drew me in from the moment I read the snippit about the book.

  • I love fairy tales re-imagined and while this one was well written at times it just fell a little flat with me. I was not overly fond of how into looks the author is, making the main character just a bit much despite being a servant girl. I like some rags to riches stories but this one was a bit much. If you are into fairy tales and a heroine that is oh,so beautiful then this book might be for you.

  • The most satisfying aspect of Melanie Dickerson’s books is the faith element that she includes. When Avelina is forced by her master, the Earl of Plimmwald, to stand in for his daughter at the Margrave of Thornbeck’s test for a bride she has nowhere else to turn to for help but to her faith in God. So when she finds herself in a situation with worse consequences than her failure to the Earl of Plimmwald, her only recourse is to tell the truth . . . no matter the cost. The main characters in The Beautiful Pretender are endearing, even “the beast.” And the plot is well developed, making for a very satisfying, and surprisingly quick, read.

  • From her typical oh-so-gorgeous covers to the impeccable writing that is pure swoon worthy, this book does NOT disappoint!

    This gave me the goosebumps and the butterflies like watching “Ever After” for the first time!

    I’ve gotta get some of her other works!

  • 1 Six 1 Five says:

    The Beautiful Pretender was better than the previous book, I’ll give it that, but there wasn’t anything here that was particularly different or moving. The characters felt kind of distant for most of the book and I didn’t feel to invested in them and their story.

  • Fic Gal says:

    Since I enjoyed the first book I read by Melanie I was thrilled to get the chance to read another one. I think this book will appeal to those who enjoyed The Selection series since it kinda has that vibe to it if that makes any sense at all. The King orders the Margrave to get married so he invites ten young women to his castle for a few weeks….

  • At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book because medieval times aren’t don’t usually interest me. But I was proven wrong. This book intrigued me. Especially Avelina’s role as an under cover “Lady”.

    The Margrave didn’t really impress me though. He was kind of a grouch. Similar to Beauty and the Beast.

    This is an exciting and charming book. A true fairy tale romance! I’m glad that I was able to review this book.

  • Melanie Dickerson has penned another winner! “The Beautiful Pretender” has an intriguing plot-line, characters you are sure to fall in love with, and a swoon-worthy ending that is sure to leave readers starry eyed.

  • Book by Book says:

    Melanie Dickerson’s latest fairytale retelling pulls elements from both “The Princess and the Pea” and “Beauty and the Beast” and then combines a little bit of everything – action, adventure, romance, drama, suspense, humor – into an entirely wonderful story of true character and nobility. I highly recommend it.

  • This is my first Melanie Dickerson read and I enjoyed it. From the very beginning I was caught up in the tale. If you enjoy romance and a bit of mystery I think you will find this book appealing. While at times the story line may be predictable, a larger part of it seems original to me.

  • Brimming with endearing characters, humor, action, suspense, romance, and similarities to an all time favorite of mine, Beauty and the Beast, this book shines in my bookshelf! Although The Beautiful Pretender is the second in a series, I have not read the first and was not lost a bit! Go ahead! Pick it up and read it in whatever order you wish! 😉

  • With subtle references to Beauty and the Beast and The Princess and The Pea running throughout, this tale is filled with romance, intrigue, drama, and adventure while exploring topics such as deception, loyalty, personal responsibility, and faith. Dickerson weaves it all together magically in this wonderful story of true nobility, showing us what it means to walk with integrity, showing love and respect to all, no matter their station.

    I enjoy fiction books that manage to teach you something without come across as preachy, and Dickerson manages this effortlessly – at least, so it seems to the reader!

    Looking forward to reading more from Dickerson.

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