ARC Review: The Fairest Beauty

Title: The Fairest Beauty
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Hagenheim #3
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: January 8th 2013
Pages: 323
My Rating: 3 Stars

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.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I enjoyed The Fairest Beauty's story quite well. The plot is great and despite it being a retelling, it has a story of its own and definitely very different from any other retelling I've ever read. I really enjoyed the characters and how the story went and how things ended up. I really liked the diversity among the Seven as well, since they're not all dwarves here - also, one is deaf, one is a priest and two are painters.

I really loved the sense of family in this book. First, with Gabe's family - how warm and accepting they are. It was clear that they all loved each other. Second, with Sophie, Petra and Roslind - how they treated and loved each other as family even without any blood relation. Third, how the seven accepted Sophie and Gabe as family and how their relationship worked. Fourth, (view spoiler)

What's preventing me from giving this one a higher rating is because there were parts that I felt bored and ended up just skipping the narration instead of taking everything in. Also, what I really, really hated about the book is how certain things were said/mentioned over and over again. Once or twice or even thrice is enough, you know? Any more after three times just sounds like whining to me. These are the following:

• Gabe and Sophie kept saying sorry for things they weren't at fault for.
• Sophie kept saying how she is that she's marrying Valten soon and how incompetent she is for him and how Gabe will go to Britolla.
• How Sophie and Gabe were so sorry for falling in love with each other and how they didn't mean it.

Overall, the story is nice, but I just really hated how certain things were mentioned over and over again.

kind-of-annoying stars

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