by Melanie Dickerson (Goodreads Author)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
My Review: 2/10
I was so disappointed. I loved the healer's apprentice and enjoyed the merchant's daughter, so I was so excited to read this book. But this felt like a cheap imitation.
Sophie seriously annoyed me. I understand that your master constantly trying to hurt you and insult you by telling you things like "you're ugly, you're wicked" could take its toll on a person's self esteem, but not usually when you you have no esteem or regard for that person either. In the beginning, as the duchess is hurling these words at her, in her head, she's is not agreeing or questioning, but outright denying the accusations. Her self-esteem seems pretty healthy to me. Plus she has Petra telling her not to believe any of it. And almost all of the other servants are showering her in affection. She doesn't cave when a man (Lorencz) pays her attention. All signs point to a confident, strong young woman. And then, as soon as the romance starts between her and Gabe, all of these insecurities start. And she becomes stupid.
She can plainly read Gabe's emotions, whether it be longing or pain, but constantly tells herself that he doesn't love her and will leave her. Ugh. And despite a couple of other adjectives, like virtue, innocence and kindness, Gabe seems to only love her for her beauty. 9 times out of 10, that is what he is commenting or fixating on. It seemed like a very shallow passion built on shaky foundation.
Previously, I really liked the Christian elements Dickerson had woven into classic fairy tales, but this was a sham. They were both betrothed! So what was with all the kissing?! Totally inappropriate. Even if she had not yet met her fiance, she knew she was engaged, yet she allowed and encouraged Gabe's advances. Both of them were cheating. It was not okay. The whole time it was happening, I kept thinking of one of my favorite lines from Pride and Prejudice: "How little of permanent happiness could belong to a couple who were only brought together because their passions were stronger than their virtue." How fitting.
Neither of them seemed concerned about what God wanted for them, despite the Bible references, and were determined to do what they wanted. Nothing like the steady faithfulness displayed in the healers apprentice.
All of the family coming out of the woodwork at the end was too much. I'm all for happy endings, but it just... it seemed tied together without much substance. All of a sudden, Sophie has a fiance, a mother and father in law and SIX sibling-in laws to live with. Okay, fine. And now she knows the duchess was really her step mother. BUT what? Her father is alive! And a soon to be new stepmother has been keeping watch over her all this time. Soon enough they will produce half siblings for her. It was all too good to be true. Like gritty, sugary sweet icing on the cake. I don't want the cheap artificial sweetening. I would have been happier with just a rich chocolate cake.
I can't think of anything I liked about it, anything worthwhile. This book left me with a stomachache.