Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review: The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest


The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest
Melanie Dickerson

A beautiful maiden who poaches to feed the poor. A handsome forester on a mission to catch her. Danger and love are about to unite in Thornbeck Forest.

The margrave owns the finest hunting grounds for miles around—and Odette Menkels spends her nights poaching his deer to feed the hungry orphans of Thornbeck. By day, Odette is a simple maiden who teaches children to read, but by night this young beauty has become the secret lifeline to the poorest of the poor.

For Jorgen Hartman, the margrave’s forester, tracking down a poacher is a duty he is all too willing to perform. Jorgeninherited his post from the man who raised him . . . a man who was murdered at the hands of a poacher.

When Jorgen and Odette meet at the Midsummer festival and share a connection during a dance, neither has any idea that they are already adversaries.

The one man she wants is bound by duty to capture her; the one woman he loves is his cunning target . . . What becomes of a forester who protects a notorious poacher? What becomes of a poacher when she is finally discovered?

About the Author

Melanie Dickerson is the author of Medieval fairy tale retellings, including The Healer's Apprentice and The Merchant's Daughter, both Christy Award finalists, winner of The National Reader's Choice Award for 2010's Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor's degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama. 

Visit her on the web at http://www.MelanieDickerson.com.


Few people know that the pretty noblewoman Odette harbors a dangerous secret—she poaches in the margrave’s forest. But how can it be wrong when she does it for a good reason, feeding the poor children of the town? Or so Odette believes. Unfortunately, however, she finds herself attracted to the forester, a man whose job it is to capture poachers and whose father was killed by a poacher, making him more determined than ever to capture her.

Melanie Dickerson has done it again—created a captivating tale of romance, danger, and faith. She twisted the stories of “The Swan Princess” and “Robin Hood” with a bit of her own imagination to create a fantastic novel very difficult to put down. The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest captures the depth of the characters’ love for each other and struggle to do the right thing and follow God in difficult situations.

The romance was filled with misunderstandings. Other characters play into the story and trick Odette and Jorgen into making more misunderstandings. Odette is also torn between her attraction to Jorgen and her apparent duty to marry a different suitor. It definitely made for an interesting story. Sometimes, I wished Odette would simply tell Jorgen the truth since I could tell by his character and past experiences that he would forgive her, but I understand her fear and reasons not to tell him. 

The setting of this book was well done. The historical facts appear accurate and detailed, making the story come alive. In addition, the use of the German titles and words added to the authenticity of the setting. 

The spiritual aspect added depth to the novel. Odette’s inward struggles over whether she was doing the right thing helped her grow. And Odette’s and Jorgen’s faith and upright character provided good role models for the reader to copy. 

The ending was slightly unbelievable. It was a good ending, including everything that one wanted to happen. But the way in which it occurred did not seem very plausible. 

In addition to telling a lovely romance, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest touches on the issue of human trafficking. Human trafficking is not a new problem, and this historical novel definitely portrays that fact. A couple of the characters venture into the local brothel for various, upright reasons and try to help one of the young ladies working there. They discover it is much harder to do so than simply sneaking her out the door. The teenager is plagued with guilt for leaving. I cannot help but think that this situation is true to life—that those in power over the sex trade use whatever means necessary to make their subjects willing, even wrongfully using guilt. We need to rise up as a people to put a stop to it once and for all.

Overall, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest was a fantastic romance filled with action, misunderstanding, and issues relevant to the modern reader. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes young adult romances.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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