Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
About the book:
Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost.
Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.
To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.
Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn’t even a servant.
Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England’s monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?
Oh, the joy that always fills my heart at another Melanie Dickerson book to read. I am not the most versed person on Disney fairy tales, but I love these retellings in a way that only Melanie can do.
This story had me grinning throughout, hoping for the best, and wishing for the communication issues to end. The medieval feel to the story gives it a romantic feel, despite the reality of the time period. I enjoyed how she wove the reality of the hardship of the times into the story, realizing that it was so much work for the common people to work then.
My Christmas tradition of reading a new book by Melanie Dickerson has thrived and I am glad she has some that come out at other times of the year, but I may have to go back and re-read the others.
These books are enjoyable for adults, and teens. The romance is there, but nothing to uncomfortable with. This book hints at domestic violence in arranged marriages, but only hints, no detailed descriptions, but enough to know that it was common. I think sometimes we can think that would be easier or more romantic, and this dashes that theory on the rocks (or the stairs as it were).
You can purchase this book wherever books are sold, or online here. “The Silent Songbird”