Summary from Amazon:
A daring rescue.
A difficult choice.
Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother’s jealousy, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be Sophie’s one chance at freedom—but can she trust another person to keep her safe?
Gabe defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the girl’s inner and outer beauty has enchanted him. Though romance is impossible—she is his brother’s future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else—he promises himself he will see the mission through, no matter what.
When the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help—but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Now both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them—they must also protect their hearts.
Have you guys ever picked up a book, not knowing an important piece of information? Well I sure did with The Fairest Beauty. It turns out that this book is published by Christian Fiction publisher. This is not bad, of course, but I’m not a particularly religious person. So not knowing this The Fairest Beauty was Christian Fiction, I wasn’t really prepared, and it definitely affected my enjoyment of this book. This book just wasn’t for me.
I’m a huge fan of fairytale retellings, so I was really excited about a Snow White retelling. The Fairest Beauty doesn’t include any magical aspects, as the original fairytale does. Sophie, who has always known herself to be a scullery maid in Duchess Ermangard’s realm, has not had an easy life. The Duchess is not a nice person, and seems to find particular enjoyment in tormenting Sophie specifically. When Sophie learns that she is Duke Baldewin’s daughter (and Duchess Ermangard’s deceased husband) she’s shocked and not really sure if she believes it. Sophie ends up running off with Gabe, the second son of Duke Wilhelm, and the brother of Valten, Duke Baldewin’s daughter’s betrothed. But Sophie and Gabe end up falling for each other.
As I mentioned above, The Fairest Beauty is a Christian Fiction novel. There’s lots of praying to God, and I wasn’t a huge fan of that. I mean, Sophie even wants to return to the castle to save the little bit of the Bible she’s kept hidden all these years. I just had a hard time with that because it’s not my thing. I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just not my thing, and I wasn’t prepared for it.
But I do feel that there are other issues I had with this book that effected my enjoyment that had little to do with the religious aspect. For starters, I found Sophie, the main character, to be very dull in personality. She’s basically that perfect person. She’s devout, she’s willing to risk her well-being to save puppies (I can totally relate to this, though), she forgives the Duchess for treating her so badly, she won’t eat until she thanks God. Basically she can do no wrong. And I just don’t find that really realistic. I love a likable main character, but a character that does no wrong – well, that’s not really interesting or believable.
As for Gabe – he starts off as an irresponsible second son who just wants to one-up his respected older brother, But he morphs SO QUICKLY from this irresponsible boy to this mature, responisble man. I mean, in a matter of days, he has become this perfect gentleman, who will do anything to save Sophie. Again, not really believable, or interesting.
The plot was predictable, but honestly, that’s why I picked this book up. Sometimes I love predictable plots. But if the plot is really predictable, the characters have to be amazingly well-developed, and I didn’t find that to be the case here. I also found some of the logistics to be questionable. For example, the reason that the Duchess kept Sophie alive seems unbelievable.
However, even with all this complains, I did stay up until 4 AM to finish The Fairest Beauty. I pretty much read it in one sitting, and my overall impression is “this book was okay.” I don’t think I’ll be reading any more by Melanie Dickerson, though.