The Fairest Beauty
By Melanie Dickerson
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Source: PublisherSummary: 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.
Review: I am such a huge fan of any kind of retelling in YA novels, so when I had the chance to review this Snow White retelling, I immediately jumped on it. Who doesn't love a good fairytale with unique, new twist? Well, that's definitely what you get with The Fairest Beauty!
When an old lady shows up at the castle of Gabe's family with the claim that his older brother's deceased betrothed is actually living as a servant to the evil Duchess, no one knows if they can trust her. Since his brother's leg has just been broken and won't set for 5 weeks, Gabe's father and brother decide to wait until then to check out the woman's story. But Gabe is longing for adventure, so he takes off in the middle of the night to rescue this lost beauty and bring him back to his brother to marry. What he didn't expect to find, though, was to find such a sweet, beautiful, resilient servant girl. Sophie had been bullied by the duchess her entire life, so when Gabe shows up to rescue her, she doesn't know if she can trust him. But when they escape to the Cottage of the Seven, Sophie finds herself falling for Gabe. Romance, though, should be the last thing on her mind with the evil duchess out for her death.
I'm not sure what kind of retelling I was expecting when I went into this book, but I was pleasantly surprised by how the author created Sophie's character and her journey of being rescued by a handsome man. Sophie, of course, is beautiful but her life as a servant has left her a humble and sweet young lady, creating a protagonist you can't help but love. Gabe embodies the perfect hero of the story; he's not exactly the best brother, but he has so many endearing qualities that you want him to win the girl in the end. The way their relationship grows is so sweet and even though you know how it's going to end, you can't help but read in anticipation anyways.
It was really cute, too, how the author decided to make the seven dwarves. In the novel, they were the men living in the Cottage of Seven and they were all lovable in their own ways. In the end, though, they all held one bond: Their love and protective instincts towards Sophie. While the story did tend to get slow at times, it was just so cute and fun to read. The twists the author added to the fairy tale were unique and created a great young adult story. If you love Snow White or any kind of fairy tale, I would definitely recommend checking this one out! It's a simple story that tends to slow down at times, but you can't help but feel happy and satisfied when it's finished.