Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha—one of the few who speaks his language—understands the wild story.
Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin’s message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself “Lord Colin” is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook’s wicked plot.

MY TAKE:
Based on the premise of the book, as well as the title, I started this book with relatively high expectations.

In The Princess Spy, an injured man that is brought to the castle of Lady Margaretha's family warns her that her new suitor is not who seems to be. At first she is unconvinced, but when she overhears him plotting, it becomes clear that everyone in her family and town is in danger. It is now up to her and Colin, the injured man, to save Hagenheim.

Despite the fact that the premise clearly states that Margaretha's father is a duke, and her suitor is a lord, my mind was still stuck on the title. I liked the idea of a princess spy and hoped that that would be the bulk of the story, or at least it would form the most exciting part of the story. Sadly, Margaretha is neither a princess, and her spying activities were only a very small portion of the book.

Title aside, this book had some good points. There was plenty of action, even though it started off slow, and there were funny moments courtesy of Colin. There's romance, a devious villain, and some obstacles that made things more interesting.

For those who love God-fearing characters, I'm sure you'll like the fact that Colin and Margaretha pray several times throughout the book. I'm not talking about just the word "pray(ed/ing)". They say actual prayers or talk to God in their thoughts.

In fact, this book ticked off plenty of boxes for me, when it comes to things I like in historical fiction. The thing is, though, when taken as a whole, it didn't really work for me.

Part of the disconnect for me, I think, is the fact that I didn't feel connected to Margaretha. For the first part of the book, I was mostly apathetic about her. Then towards the end, she started getting on my nerves. Not as much, of course, as her annoying, gold-digging, shallow cousin Anne, but there were moments wherein I felt like rolling my eyes. Colin, as a character, was okay for me, but before the last chapter or so, I didn't really feel the romance between him and Margaretha. That is, I couldn't feel the chemistry or romantic tension. Everything was incredibly chaste, even more so than other romance books I've read.

By the last three chapters, I had mostly lost interest and ended up skimming until the end. I feel terrible about that, though, as it's obvious that a lot of work went into writing this book. If the things that I mentioned in the first part of my review works for you, you might like this book better than I did.

Thanks to NetGalley and Zondervan for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. There were some funny moments.
  2. There's some action scenes here.
  3. Margaretha can fight in her own way, think something similar but not exactly like Rapunzel in Tangled.

THE BAD:

  1. Personally, I couldn't feel the heat and chemistry between Colin and Margaretha until some parts of the last couple of chapters.

READ IT IF:

  1. If you like fairy tale romances.
  2. If you like action and adventure.
  3. If you like protagonists who put a lot of faith in God.

RATING:
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