Book Review: The Fairest Beauty

Rating: 2 Stars

Author: Melanie Dickerson

Publisher: Zondervan

Genre: Christian Fairytale Retelling


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.


2 Stars


I would like to impart a disclaimer that the general reference to Ms. Dickerson’s books extends only to those published before The Piper’s Pursuit. I’ve not read the author’s latest releases.

There’s no denying Ms. Dickerson possesses the ability to create page-turning fairy tale retellings. She’s also unafraid to include faith, which I applaud and appreciate. This book had potential. A clever retelling of an old fairy tale, an evil antagonist, and a host of characters who, while not fully developed, were interesting. If not for the major issue, this book could be 3 or 4 stars.

Unfortunately, the major issue is too big to overlook, and too influential to the plot. I have no issue with clean romance. I expect romance in a fairy tale retelling. I don’t know if it could be a fairy tale retelling without romance. The problem is The Fairest Beauty doesn’t really have romance. Oh, it has the beginnings of it. Boy and girl meet. Both find the other attractive. Great. That’s fine and well. Romance in a Christian book usually begins with thinking the other is cute, then developing to admiring the other’s faith, personality, and quirks. The problem is, this book begins with cute romance and quickly catapults into lust. It’s unwholesome and inappropriate for a Christian book, let alone one read by preteen and young teen girls. In fact, most of Gabeheart’s and Sophie’s relationship is saturated with lust. There are some good qualities to their relationship, but they’re overshadowed by these improper, worldly feelings. They don’t know each other for long before this begins to develop, and it just flattens what could be a nice story. I’m not saying Gabeheart and Sophie were bad characters. They both possess admirable qualities. The romance just wasn’t handled well.

I dislike leaving low star reviews for Christian authors. However, we as Christians are called to a higher standard in our writing, in our message, and this standard was, overall, missed. Which is unfortunate, because this story really did have potential.

The Fairest Beauty has an absolutely stunning cover, marvelous inclusions of faith, and decent characters. I regret I can’t recommend it though to preteens and even teens. If you do decide to read this book, beware of the lust.

The negativity of this review does not reflect on Ms. Dickerson’s other books (except The Healer’s Apprentice; I can’t recommend that one for a different reason) (see aforestated disclaimer). If you’re looking for some 4-and-5 star (personal ratings) books of Ms. Dickerson’s, I highly recommend The Merchant’s Daughter, The Captive Maiden, The Princess Spy, and A Medieval Fairytale Series.

This is the first negative review I have posted on Madi’s Musings. It will not be the last. I have decided it is time to not only promote books others should read, but bring to light books set in Christian genres that others should avoid. I am sick and tired and actually irate about books with unBiblical themes and messages being promoted as “Christian”–and even lauded by the Christian community. As Christians, it is our duty to speak out and warn others of these books. Just because it wears a Christian label does not mean it is actually Christian. Please use discernment.

Disagreement is welcomed, but it must remain civil. Any comments which exceed the bounds of civility will be deleted and the user blocked from my blog.


12 thoughts on “Book Review: The Fairest Beauty

    • Madi's Musings

      I came to this story after reading “The Captive Maiden” (which I enjoyed), and it threw me for a loop. Yeah, that struck me as odd. I see, in theory, why Ms. Dickerson incorporated that subplot, but I wasn’t fond of it.


  1. Alyssa

    Thank you for being willing to write and post this review. Like you, I don’t enjoy writing low star reviews, but also as you said, it is important for other believers to be warned of this sort of thing.
    Believers today are too quick to hide behind their faith as an excuse as to why they won’t confront these issues head on. They cling to the “judge not” mindset, forgetting that we are also called to be seperate from the world and all that is connected with it. We are called to be holy, as Christ our Lord is Holy.

    Thanks so much for facing these issues head on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tauriel Wingfeather

    I think I read this book…or one in the series. I’m uncomfortable with the fact that this was under the umbrella of Christian books. I prefer romance that is sacrificial and Christ-honoring, like Nadine Brandes, Jocelyn Green’ s later books, and Penny Zeller’ s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Madi's Musings

      Yeah, this one is not the best in the series. Most of the other older ones are good, though. It always flabbergasts me what is now being allowed and accepted in “Christian” fiction. It’s becoming no better than general market. So much for being the light. Yes, I prefer that type as well! I haven’t read Brandes or Green, but I can attest that Zeller’s have Biblical romance and do well portraying it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s