The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson

Beautiful Pretender

What happens when a margrave realizes he’s fallen in love with a servant?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost? – from author’s website

I couldn’t put this book down. When I started it, I was only going to read for a couple of hours but ended up reading it in one day. I loved that it was written like a fairy tale and was filled with castles, knights, peasants, wolves, noble men and women, treason, dungeons, and romance. It brought me back to a time when I used to read and watch a lot of fairy tales. I also liked that the heroine had a crucial part to play in overcoming the coup and that she wasn’t just some damsel in distress like a lot of the older fairy tales. I wasn’t that familiar with some of the medieval terms Dickerson used so I had to look them up, but it didn’t take away from the story. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Melanie Dickerson’s books.

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

Like Never Before

Maple Valley became Amelia Bentley’s haven after her heart and her dreams of a family were shattered. But her new life as a newspaper editor is shaken when the small-town paper is in danger of closing. Her one hope: A lead on an intriguing story that just might impress the new publisher…if only she knew who he was.

After his biggest campaign success yet, widowed speechwriter Logan Walker now has the chance of a lifetime—a spot on a presidential campaign. But his plans are interrupted when he finds out he’s inherited his hometown newspaper. He travels home intent on selling the paper and spending some much-needed time with his young daughter before making the leap into national politics.

But instead of a quick sale and peaceful break from his hectic career, Logan finds himself helping Amelia chase her story. She’s scrappy, but wounded. He’s dependable, but lost. They may butt heads more than expected, but a series of leads on Maple Valley’s quirky unsolved mystery is just the start of the sparks that fly in the office and in their hearts. – from author’s website

First off, I received a free galley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. As this was an advanced version, there were some grammar and spelling errors that were hopefully fixed before the final publish.

I found that the scenes were a little short and time moved from one day to the next or to the next week quite often, so the time moved fairly fast and faster than most books I read. As an avid reader, as well as someone who works in libraries, I loved that Logan took Amelia on a date to the library. I personally would have liked to see more interaction between Charlie, Logan’s daughter, and Amelia. The historical aspect of the book added an extra intrigue to the story and gave the book a little mystery. I had high expectations for this book because of what I had heard about it before reading the book and it didn’t quite meet my expectations, but nevertheless it was a quirky, intriguing romance.