The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson (review)

silentsongbird_dickerson_thomasnelsonFrom the Cover:

Evangeline is gifted with a heavenly voice, but she is trapped in a sinister betrothal until she embarks on a daring escape and meets brave Westley le Wyse. Can he help her discover the freedom to sing again?

Desperate to flee a political marriage to her cousin King Richard II’s closest advisor, Lord Shiveley—a man twice her age with shadowy motives—Evangeline runs away and joins a small band of servants journeying back to Glynval, their home village.

Pretending to be mute, she gets to know Westley le Wyse, their handsome young leader, who is intrigued by the beautiful servant girl. But when the truth comes out, it may shatter any hope that love could grow between them.

More than Evangeline’s future is at stake as she finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue that threatens England’s monarchy. Should she give herself up to protect the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?

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I’ve been using a few adjectives a lot lately: fun, cute, adorable, sweet.  All of these apply to Melanie Dickerson’s latest Young Adult fairytale retelling.  Add to them a higher level of descriptor: well crafted.

This is the third of this author’s novels that I have read, and my favorite so far.  It is also quite possibly my favorite version of The Little Mermaid, with allusions and references to The Princess Bride.  Be on the lookout, also, for a couple of subtle Goose Girl references (perhaps a nod to her next book, a retelling of that fairytale, already added to my GoodReads 2017 Anticipated Reads list).

Westley le Wyse, the son of the couple from The Merchant’s Daughter, is kind, generous, humble, terribly handsome, an expert swordsman, and just that bit taller than the heroine – in short, everything one could want in a YA fairytale hero.

Evangeline is lovely, tall, red-headed (a requirement, I believe, for Little Mermaids) with a beautiful singing voice and a fear of being thought selfish.  She is also very sweet and innocent of the world, so when she poses as a mute servant, anything that can go wrong…she is definitely a “fish out of water” to charming and humorous effect.

Evangeline’s growing faith is heartfelt and touching, with the scenes between her and Westley as they read the Bible together being one of my favorite touches.

The villains are dastardly, the plots are afoot, and the slow budding romance is a delight. The intrigue and the action scenes trip along quite nicely, all while helping to advance the plot.  An absolute delight, and a book I highly recommend for readers of historical fiction, fairytale retellings, and romances that feature the faith of the main characters.  For those who don’t read YA, give this a go and let it surprise you with what a well crafted story it is while being a quick, fun read.

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About the Author:

Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson | Thomas Nelson, Nov. 2016 | hardback, 304 pages

This review refers to a complimentary copy received from the publisher’s Fiction Guild.  A positive review was not requested or required.  All opinions expressed are my own.


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