Monday, 7 November 2016

The Silent Songbird Book Review

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson
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?

My Review

I am a big fan of Melanie Dickerson's work, and readers of this blog may remember my review of The Golden Braid last year. Melanie writes medieval fantasy for young adults, and is known for her clever retellings of fairytales.  The Silent Songbird is based on the 'The Little Mermaid', with Evangeline unable to use her voice in order to save herself from a potential horrific marriage. I note that this book is categorised as teen / young adult fiction, and I would say that it certainly has a more 'younger' feel to it. 

For me personally, I was a little disappointed with the story,  as there is much emphasis of marriage and true love, and it seems to be the primary focus of the book, with not a lot else going on. The romance between Evangeline and Wesley felt too easy for my liking, and I found myself wishing for more romantic tension.  

Having said that, whilst this book may not be that ideal for adult book clubs,  I am sure young readers will find it a good inspirational read. 

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review. 

Friday, 28 October 2016

The Captive Heart Book Review

Book: The Captive Heart
Author: By Michelle Griep
Pages: 320

Proper English governess Eleanor Morgan flees to the colonies to escape the wrath of a brute of an employer. When the Charles Town family she’s to work for never arrives to collect her from the dock, she is forced to settle for the only reputable choice remaining to her—marriage to a man she’s never met. Trapper and tracker Samuel Heath is a hardened survivor used to getting his own way by brain or by brawn, and he’s determined to find a mother for his young daughter. But finding a wife proves to be impossible. No upstanding woman wants to marry a murderer.

My Review

What can I say? Wow - loved this book! I've never read anything by this author before, but the raving reviews and stunning book cover lead me to give it a try. I was not disappointed - far from it. At first, I found some of the dialogue written in dialect rather distracting, but after the first few chapters the story really took off and I was hooked by the well developed characters of Eleanor and Samuel.  Samuel in particular reminded me a little of 'Sully' from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, a widower with links to the Indian community. 

The book is categorised as a Christian romance, and is set in the 18th century. Whilst it begins in London, the majority of the story takes place in the colonies. What I loved most about this story, was the mixture of romantic character-driven plot along with moments of gripping suspense and action. 

The subtle Christian message of courage and redemption was tastefully intertwined throughout the book without being overbearing, and as an added bonus for Book Clubs, there is a discussion guide at the end of the novel.  

Overall, a wonderful book to add to your Christmas List! I will absolutely be looking for more books by Michelle Griep.

I received the novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.