Y.A. Fairytale Retelling / Fantasy (257 pgs.)
Rose has been appointed as a healer's apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter' daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her--a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.
When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she's never felt before and wonders if he feel's the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious yound woman in hiding. As Rose's life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.
One of my absolute favorite genres is fairytale retelling. I was a little skeptical when I first discovered this new read... the plot seemed like it would stray too far from it's orginial, Sleeping Beauty. A healer's apprentice? You mean... she's not a princess? But, it was another great lesson in how not to judge a book by its cover.
Rose, although a healer's apprentice, has the makings of a princess. Her compassion, spirit, and generosity all demonstrate that. She puts everyone else before herself, and is a priceless friend to have. I really admired her character, even if she did seem a little too-good-to-be-true sometimes.
I was also impressed with how Melanie Dickerson wrote the plot of this novel. It was really fantastic. Rose and Lord Hamlin's brother, Lord Rupert, court for sometime, on the premise that--despite his history--Lord Rupert really does love Rose and wants to marry her. But, as it turns out, he just wants her to be his full-time mistress. But Ms. Dickerson had me fooled till the very end! She made Lord Rupert so convincing that even I started to believe his good-will... and was crushed just like Rose when we found out the opposite.
Not only was Ms. Dickerson's plot impressive, her writing was superb as well! There is one passage I particularly find breathtaking:
"Rose clasped her hands and stared into his eyes, loving him, drinking in his love for her, for the last time. The pain in her chest was so intense, she wondered if she was dying. She bent over, pressing her hands to her throat, which ached from holding back tears. She could still feel his lips on her fingers" (223).
This passage just really stood out to me. The pain, the longing, the love... it's just achingly beautiful. Job well done!
The only real problem I had with this novel was that some situations just seemed a little too-good-to-be-true. Some, but not all, plot points are a bit far fetched. But this is only on a couple of occassions, and doesn't hurt the novel too too much.
Melanie Dickerson put a fabulous spin on the story of Sleeping Beauty. It wasn't at all what I was expecting, but I loved it nonetheless! All the traditional elements are there... the evil Wizard, the princess in hiding, the prince. But Dickerson infuses it with something special... a great plot with tons of brilliant side-stories and a fabulous cast of characters. An excellent read!