The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest


The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest
Melanie Dickerson
Thomas Nelson

"Swan Lake" meets Robin Hood when the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant by day becomes the region's most notorious poacher by night, and falls in love with the forester.

Jorgen is the forester for the wealthy margrave, and must find and capture the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave's game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea she is the one who has been poaching the margrave's game.

Odette justifies her crime of poaching because she thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. But will the discovery of a local poaching ring reveal a terrible secret? Has the meat she thought she was providing for the poor actually been sold on the black market, profiting no one except the ring of black market sellers?

The one person Odette knows can help her could also find out her own secret and turn her over to the margrave, but she has no choice. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the dangerous poaching ring . . . and fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his forester is protecting a notorious poacher?

   This book took me a good long while to really "get into." While I can't exactly say that it's boring, it does move very slowly, and most of the plot revolves around whether or not Jorgen is going to find out who Odette is.

   That being said, there were things I liked about this book. My favorite character was actually Odette's uncle, Rutger, despite a certain remark he said early on in the book. I guess I maybe found him a bit more of a complex character, and it was an nice change to have a supportive guardian character, since most of Melanie Dickerson's books seem to have unlikable ones (mostly due to the source material of the fairy tales, I'll admit). I also liked the Margrave- I'm pretty sure it's my lot in life to prefer the secondary characters over the main ones. Also, one thing that I love about Melanie Dickerson's books is that they give me such an appreciation for the Bible. The Word of God isn't something her medieval characters take for granted, and I'm reminded of how blessed I am to have such easy access to it in this day and age.

   However, I found the main characters to be, while not unlikable, rather one-dimensional, and the writing itself is so very...straightforward.  Of course, I suppose I should be used to that by now, having read so many of this author's books, but I do wish that the writing itself was a little more imaginative and descriptive. I found it especially distracting in The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest.

   Unlike Melanie Dickerson's other books, this one isn't actually labelled YA, although I wouldn't have guessed that from reading it, as it's very similar in style and content to her other books (although Odette and Jorgen do rescue a young girl from a brothel, which is probably more "adult" content than that which would be found in Christian YA)

   And I will say that while I usually prefer seeing the whole person on a cover, this is actually my favorite of Melanie Dickerson's covers. I love it :)

Rating: 7

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


  1. I've read a few of her other fairytale retellings but I found the plots to be very predictable and most of the side characters were very cookie cutter/paper doll personality. :( I was hopeful that her writing an "adult" book would have her writing a bit more... complex?? But I think I'm going to skip this book of hers as your review pretty much confirms that it is more of the same.
    BTW you should check out KM Shea if you don't mind indie authors. She has a Robin Hood retelling (middle grade level reading) and several fairy tale retellings.


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