The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson is a ‘Medieval Fairy Tale” taking the themes of Robin Hood and the Swan Princess and weaving a story of intrigue, romance, deception, and redemption. Odette is a young woman bound and determined to help the poor orphans of Thornbeck, sneaking out at night to hunt in the margrave’s forest. She is a poacher. Jorgen is the margrave’s forester responsible to maintain the woodland animals for the margrave, but now he has to hunt down a poacher who is taking much more than should ever be taken. Not to mention his father, the previous forester, was killed by a poacher. Jorgen doesn’t know Odette is the poacher he is hunting, but he does know she is one of the most amazing maiden’s in Thornbeck and he longs to be with her despite their differences in station. For Odette is the niece of a wealthy merchant and Jorgen is just a forester.
Sinister forces are at play, trying to drive these two lovers apart. There is another who desires to marry Odette; the son of the Burgomeister, Mathis. But he is not all he appears, nor is Odette’s uncle, Rutger, who says all he wishes is for Odette to be happy.
So is the dilemma of a beautiful maiden, an honest man, and forces trying to tear the two from each other. What will happen when Jorgen discover’s that Odette is his poacher? Only you who is willing to pick up the book and find out.
I was hopeful that this book would be all it was described to be, what with it being a ‘fairy tale’ and mixing Robin Hood and the Swan Princess, as those are fairy tales I love. Unfortunately, this was about as fairy tale as any historical fiction…. meaning it lacked what I would term a fairy tale. A remake of two classic stories, but not really magical in any way. I also found it dragged on for three quarters of the book and I was left wondering what all the point of anything was. Finally, the deception and intrigue made sense three quarters through and I was interested enough to scan through the rest of the story, but I was left fairly bored. While I enjoyed Ms. Dickerson’s “The Captive Maiden”, a retelling of Cinderella, this one left me dragging my heels to finish it. I felt that all the proprieties that would be for that time period thrown out the window to the point of it being almost ridiculous, and there was a point at which I thought historical fact was also tossed by the wayside… Mostly in the description of a wound that was septic. While the word is ancient Greek, I’m just a little skeptical about its usage. That’s actually fairly minor in just the plot of the story not having enough of something to keep me interested. As a historical novel, and I stress that term, not fairy tale, it’s not bad. I think many people would like the simplicity….. which is not actually a compliment. I thought the character’s thought processes were enough to make me bang my head against the book. And it was written too simply for my taste. I could say this is great as a young adult novel, but definitely not enough meat for an adult story. I just can’t say this one story was really my cup of tea. Unfortunately I have to give it only 2 out of 5 stars. Which I hate to do.
This book was provided to me free for my honest opinion and review. I have been in no way compensated.