As the youngest daughter of the Duke of Hagenheim, Adela is never allowed to venture outside the castle walls alone. Disguising herself as a serving girl, she sneaks out to the marketplace where she encounters Frederick, the longsuffering stepson of a loutish farmer who aspires to one day be a woodcarver. Continuing to conceal her identity, she wonders whether it would ever be possible for her to marry a commoner–or ought she to forget about Frederick and accept the suit of a visiting nobleman?
Commissioned to carve the doors for the town cathedral, Frederick finds that his dreams are coming true. But when the girl from the market turns out to be the princess from the castle, Frederick is devastated to think she has only been toying with his affections. A kidnapping plot goes terribly wrong, and Frederick, wrongfully implicated, finds himself thrust into the dungeons. Can Frederick prove that his intentions are true, rescue his mother and sisters from his evil stepfather, and uncover the secrets of his past?
This reverse Cinderella story has the hero coming from a lowly background while the heroine is of noble birth. The opening chapters were somewhat clunky in the character introductions and exposition, but once the story got underway, the plot was engaging. The pseudo-Medieval world carries on the milieu of Melanie Dickerson’s other fairy tale retellings. Listed as a YA book, this title will probably appeal more to young teens than older ones.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.