The Noble Servant (A Medieval Fairy Tale #3)
by Melanie Dickerson
Description from Goodreads:
She lost everything to the scheme of an evil servant. But she might just gain what she’s always wanted…if she makes it in time.
The impossible was happening. She, Magdalen of Mallin, was to marry the Duke of Wolfberg. Magdalen had dreamed about receiving a proposal ever since she met the duke two years ago. Such a marriage was the only way she could save her people from starvation. But why would a handsome, wealthy duke want to marry her, a poor baron’s daughter? It seemed too good to be true.
On the journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen’s servant forces her to trade places and become her servant, threatening not only Magdalen’s life, but the lives of those she holds dear. Stripped of her identity and title in Wolfberg, where no one knows her, Magdalen is sentenced to tend geese while she watches her former handmaiden gain all Magdalen had ever dreamed of.
When a handsome shepherd befriends her, Magdalen begins to suspect he carries secrets of his own. Together, Magdalen and the shepherd uncover a sinister plot against Wolfberg and the duke. But with no resources, will they be able to find the answers, the hiding places, and the forces they need in time to save both Mallin and Wolfberg?
On her way to marry the Duke of Wolfberg, a man she had only met once, Magdalen is waylaid by her own guards and servants. Her jealous handmaid switches places with Magdalen, blackmailing Magdalen into becoming a servant and then a lowly goose girl in the castle she was supposed to be mistress of.
I loved the Goose Girl fairy tale ever since I read Thorn by Intisar Khanani. It is just so creative - a lady switching places with her servant and living as a goose girl under her betrothed's nose until her identity is finally revealed. Melanie Dickerson's retelling was not quite as good as Intisar's, but I did really enjoy it.
There was no magic in this book (so no creepy talking horse head, thankfully), but Melanie Dickerson creatively and successfully re-imagined the parts with magic. I especially enjoyed what the author used in place of the aforementioned horse. Also, the romance was woven into the story very well where the original fairy tale did not have romance at all, only an arranged marriage between strangers. And I really enjoyed the details about the duke and his side of the story. Speaking of which, there was more danger afoot than that of Magdalen being blackmailed by her own servant and guards. The duke was having problems as well, and everything came to a satisfying conclusion. The issues the duke was dealing with also brought up a moral dilemma for him, and I appreciated the character development and Christian morality that were considered as a result.
On the whole, I enjoyed this clean fairy tale retelling and would recommend it to YA readers.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not compensated or otherwise obligated to review it, and everything I wrote was my own opinion.
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