Melanie Dickerson's book The Silent Songbird is a retelling of the story The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson. My favorite Disney princess growing up was Ariel, so I was very excited to read this story. This book is also part of Dickerson's fairy tale collection, which includes books such as The Golden Braid, The Fairest Beauty, and The Merchant's Daughter.
The book begins with introducing the reader to Evangeline, who is the cousin and ward of King Richard II. The king believes it is in Evangeline's best interest to marry, which normally would be wonderful, since she wants to marry for love. However, the king feels those notions are nonsense--building ties with other countries and providing for her livelihood are much more important in matters of matrimony. Yet the man waiting in Evangeline's future is evil and despicable. His only pursuit would be to harm her and eventually Richard, so that he could usurp the throne. Yet King Richard II does not believe these rumors. How will Evangeline be able to convince him? Will he understand her desperate nature regarding the fact that she cannot marry Lord Shiveley? Or will she have to take matters into her own hands?
Evangeline has been raised by nannies and maids. Her entire life has been spent cut off from the rest of the world, and she has become a sort of prized possession of the king--her existence is to do as he wishes. Concerning the choices for her own life, she does not have much say. Yet she always felt that one day her life might be different. So different in fact that it might match the lives of the peasants she sees out her window. All Evangeline wishes is to be free. Will she ever get that chance?
Westley believes he has heard the voice of an angel, but he does not know her name. He only sees the red hair that adorns her face, and all too soon she is gone. Who is this woman who has captured his heart within only a few moments? Because of his station in life, he is expected to marry well. His daily life requires numerous responsibilities, because he must care for and help the individuals in his village. Of course, this sort of calling ensures there will be challenges and heartache, and all too soon, Westley will meet those who desire nothing good for his life. In fact, they wish him dead. How will he know the difference? Who can he trust?
This book was a wonderful read, and in many ways can be read within a few days. So it makes the perfect beach book addition for your summer vacation. As the reader follows the joys and difficulties of Evangeline and Westly, there are so many lessons to be learned within the pages of this book. Even the other characters that operate closely beside these two individuals will face obstacles--they must choose who they will serve and follow--selecting other paths outside of the best option only brings destruction for several characters. Proving once again that each choice made in life guarantees a particular journey--hopefully, that road will be filled with wonderful outcomes and not bitter consequences. Thankfully, the reader gets to witness these actions played out from the comfort of reading a book, but hopefully the reader will still learn from these scenes in order to apply these principles to real life.
If you love fairy tales, then you will definitely love this story! I recommend checking out this book along with the other novels in this collection. Happy reading!
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Thomas Nelson for my copy.
About The Book
Pretending to be mute, she gets to know Westley le Wyse, their handsome young leader, who is intrigued by the beautiful servant girl. But when the truth comes out, it may shatter any hope that love could grow between them.
More than Evangeline’s future is at stake as she finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue that threatens England’s monarchy. Should she give herself up to protect the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?
*Synopsis is from the back cover of the novel.
Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist, and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.
Visit her online at: www.melaniedickerson.com