The Noble Servant
This is the latest offering from Melanie Dickerson, who has found her niche in the genre of Christian YA romance by re-imagining medieval fairy tales. It is a retelling of Grimm’s The Goose Girl. The heroine, Lady Magdalen, is an impoverished gentlewoman whose inheritance, copper mines, is considered worthless because the mines are exhausted. Therefore, she’s surprised and thrilled to receive a marriage proposal from a handsome young duke she’d met two years previously at a ball. Such a match is an opportunity to help her people. Moreover, since she hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the duke since the ball, she sees it as an opportunity to marry for love.
However, on her way to his castle, she’s forced by her servant, Agnes, to change places under threat of death. On their arrival, she’s sent out to tend the geese. Magdalen is humiliated and heartbroken, but finds herself even more at a loss when she catches sight of Agnes’ intended: it’s not the duke she met before. Then she comes across a shepherd, Steffan, who cannot disguise his noble bearing well enough to fool her. Despite initial mistrust, she and Steffan, the true duke, come to depend upon one another and work together to regain their rightful places. They put their confidence in God, turn often to prayer, and are quick to forgive their persecutors.
Although readers will likely anticipate the outcome, the protagonists are in constant peril, making for an exciting adventure. The prose is a bit stilted at times, but the story is told in a straightforward manner and likely to please Dickerson’s devoted fans.