Dickerson, Melanie. The Noble Servant. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017. ISBN-13: 978-0-7180-2660-8. Print List Price: $14.99.
I enjoyed this one a bit more than her previous book, and her writing style for her adult medieval fairy tales is just as refined as I remember from a year ago. While I was a bit unsure as to how the story would fit together without feeling arbitrary, as there are similarities between “The Goose Girl” and The Prince and the Pauper, the tales Dickerson chose to adapt and weave together this time around, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it.
The two leads, Magdalen and Steffan, who first met in the prior book, The Beautiful Pretender, are both compelling, and their growth is a large part of the book. Steffan seems at first a lot like many other heroes in historical romance, so full of their own importance but also with a tragic past that leads them to be set against marrying for love. But we get to see him grow as a person, and you truly root for him to resolve his situation and win his lady. I am unsure what to say about Magdalen. There’s nothing bad about her, but there’s not a lot that really set her apart in my eyes. She was pretty much kind of a bit too perfect throughout, and I see why some people might be turned off by inspirationals for that reason.
The supporting characters are wonderful though, and you see the growth in them as well. I love how Agnes and Alexander are written as characters who you think are irredeemable at the beginning, but as the story goes on, you get the sense that they’ve fallen in love through being thrown together, and these circumstances have changed them. And I have to commend Dickerson on how she wrote Lord Hazen. He is depicted as so ruthless, he will kill anyone, even his own son, if it will achieve his ends, and trying to imagine someone like that is terrifying.