The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson #BookReview #YA

silentsongbirdTitle: The Silent Songbird
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Hagenheim #7
Format: Digital ARC, 304 pages
Publication Details: November 8th 2016 by Thomas Nelson
Genre(s): YA; Historical Fiction
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost.

Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.

To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.

Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn’t even a servant.

Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England’s monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?

Review

My request-happy trigger finger strikes again and I requested this book based on the cover alone. What I didn’t realise was that it’s number 7 (SEVEN!) in a series, and that Melanie Dickerson is a popular Christian author. Oh dear.

Thankfully, the books in the  Hagenheim series can be read as stand-alones. Some characters do seem to crossover but each book follows a different protagonist. So no disasters so far.

The whole Christian thing however, was slightly more of an issue for me. I’m not religious at all, but I like to think I have an open mind so I didn’t let it put me off. And to be fair, I still enjoyed the story, but I did get a bit bored with all the praying. As the story progressed it got more and more preachy.

However, let’s go back to basics. The Silent Songbird is a gentle story about Evangeline, a sheltered princess-type who feels stifled living in the King’s castle. When the King insists she marry his conniving but trusted adviser, it’s the last straw and Evangeline runs away.

In a bid to hide her identity, she becomes Eva, and claims to be mute. She ends up working as a (pretty terrible) servant and falling in love with a handsome farm-boy.

There was definitely a lot to like in this book. I enjoyed the romance and that Evangeline could be feisty. I liked that she was willing to fight for what she wanted and that she wouldn’t settle for what most girls of her stature usually would. I thought she was a good role model.

Lord Shiveley, the man whom Evangeline has been promised to was a great villain who left a bad taste in my mouth and I was rooting for our protagonist and Westley the whole time.

I did however find the story pretty predictable, and as I said earlier, the praying and god-talk got a bit much at times. It was also supposed to be a retelling of  The Little Mermaid and other than the protagonist having red hair and a beautiful singing voice, I don’t think that came through much. There did seem to be lots of nods to The Princess Bride though, which I loved.

This was a nice introduction to Melanie Dickerson, and despite the Christian theme, I’d be interested to read more of her work; it was a very readable, enjoyable YA historical fiction romance.

unicorn rating 3

 

 

WWW Wednesday 30.07.14

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

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Currently Reading:
I’m just about to start One of Us by Tawni O’Dell which is an ARC review. It sounds pretty creepy.

Recently Finished:
This week I finished The Princess Bride by William Goldman which was great, and The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas which I have mixed feelings about because I’m not a huge fan of novellas…but it was good a collection. Review to follow.

Up Next:
After taking a quick ARC break I’m back to the TBR pile to try and catch up on the TBR Reading Pile challenge. It could be Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides, or Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon…or let’s face it, about a hundred others.

What about you lot?

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

TBR

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Title: The Princess Bride
Author: William Goldman
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 399 Pages
Published: October 20th 1999 by Bloomsbury (first published 1973)
Genre(s): Fantasy; Adventure; Classics
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads
Purchase

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be…well…a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it’s about everything.

I feel like this is quite a hard book to review because the story is so iconic, thanks in the most part to the cult film. Whether you grew up with the film like I did or not, I’m sure most people are at least aware of it.

The Princess Bride is mainly about the strong-willed and beautiful Buttercup and her one true love Westley, who have to overcome all odds to be together.

It’s not very often that I see the film before reading the book either, and in this case I’d seen the film a lot. But I needn’t have worried, because I loved the book just as much.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the introduction and commentary from Goldman, but I really did. I found it fascinating to hear about his love of the original book despite never having actually read it himself, all of the issues in getting the book to the big screen, and the conversations between him and his editor and lawyer.

But clearly, the best thing about the book is the adventure story. There’s plenty of action, close escapes and sword fights, all wrapped-up in a slightly bizarre satirical package. You get a bit more of a back story to the main characters too, and I totally fell in love with Inigo Montoya, much more than I did in the film.

It’s a classic fantasy story that appeals to all ages, which I think is quite rare these days. I could literally recommend it to anyone and everyone.

unicorn rating 4

The Princess Bride is available in paperback from Waterstones now. See how you can get 10% off here!

WWW Wednesday 22.07.2014

www_wednesdays4

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

Hope you’re all having a good Wednesday – the weekend will be here before we know it. Hurrah!

Here are my answers to those burning Ws this week…

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Currently Reading: The Princess Bride by William Goldman
I’m almost finished with this one, and I’ve loved every minute of it, as I knew I would. Any fans of the film will love it too.

Recently Finished: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
I had a lot of issues with this book, but I’m kind of addicted to its badness. I’ve scheduled my review/rant to go out tomorrow so check back then 🙂

Up Next: ???
Probably Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3) or The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass Novellas) by Sarah J. Maas, but it should be A Midsummer Night’s Dream as I was supposed to read it in June for the Once Upon A Time challenge…but I failed.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books to-be-read this Winter

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (Click the image to visit them). This week the topic is Top Ten Books on my Winter TBR list.

Most of these books aren’t new, but they are the ones I’m most excited about reading over the next few months so I can then concentrate on all the awesome new books next year (see last week’s TTT for my most anticipated books of 2014) .

Also, I tried to get through a TTT post without mentioning The Selection books, but as you’ll see, I failed.

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What made your list?

Top Ten Tuesday #4: Top ten books on my to-be-read pile this Autumn

toptentuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (Click the image to visit them). This week the theme is Top Ten Books on my to-be-read pile this Autumn.

These aren’t all necessarily new books, but they are the ones I have lined up that I am most exited to read in the next few months.

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Feel free to leave a comment with the link to your TTT post so I can check them out!