I love fairy tales, historical fiction, and Christian fiction, so it makes sense that I enjoy Melanie Dickerson's books! I read her first two and enjoyed them both, though I think I liked The Merchant's Daughter a bit more because I'm partial to Beauty and the Beast retellings. I own her third and fourth books but haven't gotten around to reading them yet. When I saw that her latest book, The Princess Spy, was being offered for review, I jumped at the chance to read it.
Even if I had never read any of her books before, I would have been drawn in by this beautiful cover. Her books always have lovely covers, but this is possibly my favorite of them so far. For some reason it reminds me of the Lord of the Rings...maybe it's all of the green and her dress, but it makes me think of Rivendell.
I think that Melanie Dickerson does a really job of expanding fairy tales into historical fiction. This book was apparently inspired by The Frog Prince. That's not a fairy tale that I'm extremely familiar with...I know the basics and could see a few references to it in this book, but I was probably missing some of the more subtle ones. :) But the historical setting of the story felt very realistic.
The characters were likable, if a bit vague. Margaretha's main characteristic is that she talks too much, and Colin's is that he's seeking revenge against a cruel man, and those two traits are dwelled on quite a bit. Still, their friendship and concern for each other was sweet.
As with Melanie Dickerson's other books, there are some little flaws that bother me. The writing can be a bit awkward and repetitive, and the dialogue tries a little too hard to sound old-fashioned while still feeling too modern at times (she doesn't use contractions but sometimes there will be a phrase that sounds much too modern for the time period). Oh, and the title to this book is a bit misleading. The "spying" scene only lasts a page or two and she never spies again, so it wasn't exactly what I expected. Despite that, I enjoyed this book so much, and I look forward to reading the rest of her stories! :)
By the way, I just wanted to mention that the characters in the books are connected to those in her other books. It's not exactly a "series" in the strictest sense, so it's not necessary for you to read them in order. But there are recurring characters from previous books, and you might be spoiled to their plotlines if you skip books. For example, after reading this book, I now know what couples ended up together in The Fairest Beauty and The Captive Maiden, though that's not going to stop me from reading those books. :) I wish I had been able to read them in order, but it didn't work out. Just a little heads up in case you don't want to be spoiled!
*Note: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.*