Sometimes you find a new to you author and then proceed to read absolutely everything you can find by that author. That was my experience recently when I was introduced to Melanie Dickerson. Recently while at ALA, my daughter and I both picked up ARC (Advanced Reader Copies) of books by Dickerson. They look interesting enough that instead of mailing them home as we did the majority of the books we picked up, I stuck these into my carry-on luggage. I quickly read the first book I had picked up, The Princess Spy, and discovered it was part of a larger series titled The Fairy Tale Romance Series. I then recalled that I had nabbed several of these books on sale via my Kindle. So, I started at the beginning of the series and read through the entire series, and even purchased the one or two I didn't have already, straight to the yet to be published The Silent Songbird.
As the series title indicates, these novels are based on fairy tales. Each book is a re-telling of a specific fairy tale such as Cinderella or Snow White. Each fairy tale has been set in medieval Germany and are based around one particular kingdom. As such, while each story can and does stand alone, they are also part of a larger series where Dickerson entertwines the stories in a most enchanted way. As I was reading the stories, several fairy tales were easy to spot due to the names that were chosen for the main character or other clues. However, for other stories, it was quite difficult to discern which fairy tale was the basis for the story. In addition to the fairy tale as the basis of the story, Dickerson does an amazing job with the details of the setting and larger historical context. For example, being set in medieval Germany the characters are historically all members of the Catholic church. As such, she incorporates their faith easily into the overall story in a natural way. Some of the characters in each story are members of the aristocracy and have access to the Latin Bible which is then brought into the story as well.
Melanie Dickerson's primary audience for these works is young adult. However, I found the stories completely engaging although I am well past my young adult years. Being young adult novels, I was able to read through them quite quickly which helped in my binge read of the whole series in one weekend. This series as well as her newer series A Medieval Fairy Tale and The Regency Spies of London are highly recommended for school and public libraries as well as church libraries. They are perfect for junior high and high school readers who have out grown the Disney Princesses and are also familiar with the original Grimm fairy tales. They are also highly recommended for mother-daughter read-together opportunities.