Melanie Dickerson is well known in the Christian fiction world for taking familiar fairy tales and expanding them into historical stories. Her books are also recognizable for their gorgeous covers. The cover for her latest book, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, might just be my favorite so far. :)
This book is about Odette, a girl who poaches deer from a nearby estate to feed the poor, and Jorgen, who is the forester of that estate and who is responsible for catching poachers and bringing them to justice. (He also has a personal reason for disliking poachers: his father was killed by one several years before.) The story is set during medieval times and is inspired by Robin Hood and Swan Lake.
I'm familiar with Robin Hood, and having been recently watching the BBC show (I have two more episodes to go), I was definitely seeing a connection between Odette and Marian in that adaptation. That's actually the first thing I thought of when I read the summary of this book, before I even knew that it was inspired by Robin Hood. I'm not familiar with Swan Lake so I'm not sure how much of that is referenced in this book (though at one point, Odette dresses like a swan for a masquerade ball).
This is the fourth book of Melanie Dickerson's that I've read at this point. Her second book, The Merchant's Daughter, is my favorite (because I'm partial to Beauty and the Beast retellings). But I have to admit that so far, I'm a little disappointed with each consecutive book. Ever since I first started reading her books, I found the writing to be awkward at times, but I guess I expected it to improve. It's been an issue that has bothered me with all of her books, but it seemed to be worse with this one. (I've only ever heard one other person mention this in a review, so maybe I'm just being picky?)
I'm always drawn in by the interesting premises and beautiful book covers, but I'm left wanting more. With this book especially, the writing feels stilted and awkward, and the characters and story often feel a bit flat and predictable. Honestly, because of the writing and predictability, I felt like I had to pull myself through this book at times. Again, this might just be a personal preference. I'm not usually a fan of overly flowery and descriptive language, either. But for some reason, I struggle with the starkness of this writing style.
If you love this author's previous books, then I think you'll enjoy this one. I will likely read more of her books but I hope that her writing style will evolve into something more natural with each new book.
*Note: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.*