Hello all. I apologize for my distinct lack of posts. It's a common excuse but a lot has happened in my life including moving into my college residence and starting a new school. There are some changes coming to the blog and with those changes I wish to resume a more regular schedule. But for now, I present to you a review of The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson!
Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost.
Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.
To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.
Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn't even a servant.
Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England's monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?
I have to admit. This isn't my favorite Melanie Dickerson book. It's good, though, and a worthy addition to her collection of fairytale retellings. If you couldn't tell by the title and description, this is a retelling of Little Mermaid. There are no mermaids involved, however, since like her other novels, this is also a historical.
So let's talk plot. Like in The Little Mermaid, our heroine, Eva, gives up her speech. Her reasoning is far different from Ariel's, however, and she only pretends muteness. Her plan isn't totally thought out, however, because she finds herself missing her ability to speak very quickly when she falls for the handsome and kind Wesley Le Wyse. *Bats eyes*. The plot was decent and for the most part Eva's choices made sense. Who would want to marry a horrible man way older than them? There were parts of the plot I wished were expanded, but to discuss them would provide too many spoilers. Let's just say that like in the original Little Mermaid, Eva has to save Wesley at one point and I wish that Eva would have had more interaction with some of the people involved in that. Otherwise, the plot was well-rounded and I enjoyed some of the historical details Dickerson included, like scratching pray requests on the chapel walls.
The characters were fine, though I notice that sometimes Dickerson's characters in different novels are somewhat similar. Perhaps it is just the way I read them. I like the fact that Eva feels guilty over her lies and doesn't just let it go as a character would in many novels. Since this is a Christian novel, I'm happy to see Christian morals upheld and guilt to be applied to the act of lying. I liked Wesley, of course. Dickerson always writes swoonworthy male leads and Wesley is no different. He's kind, adorably sweet, and likes Eva even when he thinks she's a poor mute. Gotta love it when I wealthier guy isn't snooty. After the amount of 'bad boys' in recent fiction, it's so nice to see some kind-hearted ones as well.
The rest of the cast fulfilled their roles as well. The villain was perfectly villainous and nasty and the king was completely out of it for most of the novel. I had to do some research and the young king from this story had a sad end in real life, dying several years after this story after his kingdom is taken over. I love that Dickerson included a historical character as a large part of her novel and overall I enjoyed this story! You can find a copy at Amazon or wherever it is sold.
~ a rambling author