Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Melanie Dickerson: The Silent Songbird

By Kelly Bridgewater

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?

My Review:

I have read everything that Melanie Dickerson has written, so I know what to expect when I approach her writings. I expect to be enthralled with brave and heroic characters who go above and beyond their status. I will be taken on a journey through a story that is similar to the fairy tales that I have grown up with but with a twist.

The major story element that I really enjoy is Dickerson's ability to create realistic characters who stick with me long after the story is finished. The hero, Westley le Wyse, enters the story while saving a young child who is about to be run over by a stray horse. Throughout the rest of the story, he shows over and over again his sweet and gentle heart by protecting the innocent from physical harm. I really like a man who seeks out the weak and gives them a brighter outlook on life. As for the heroine, Evangeline, she is a young woman who was raised up with an education and not having to work, but in order to hunt for true love, she escapes her prearranged marriage and lowers her status to seek freedom. Both characters are brave and noble. Totally worth falling in love with.

The story has elements of the popular fairy tale The Little Mermaid, but it doesn't completely follow the storyline. Evangeline doesn't sell her voice to have human legs. Instead, she plays mute to save herself and her maidservant who escaped with her. I enjoyed watching the romance between Evangeline and Westley grow, especially because Evangeline is willing to work just to discover who she really wants to be.  

I really was enthralled with the plot. Dickerson invited me back to the land of fairytales in the late fourteenth century and kept me in that time period with her writing. I had a hard time putting the novel down. Like her previous stories in this series, I have enjoyed watching Dickerson's take on the popular stories. Even though the story is completely predictable, it was an original version of the widely popular tale.

With a tale as old as time, Melanie Dickerson's The Silent Songbird invited me along for a story in a land where status rules the people. Evangeline and Westley are brave characters who will stick with the readers long after they show their love story. I highly recommend The Silent Songbird to fans of all fairy tales and Dickerson's previous novels.

I received a complimentary copy of The Silent Songbird from Thomas Nelson and the opinions stated are all my own. 

 My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

What makes you like fairy tale remakes so much? Is it the familiarity of the characters, setting, plot line, or something totally different?

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