Published by Thomas Nelson on May 9, 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
She lost everything to an evil conspiracy . . . but that loss may just give her all she ever wanted.
Since meeting Steffan, the Duke of Wolfberg, at Thornbeck Castle, Lady Magdalen has not been able to stop thinking about him. She knows—as a penniless lady with little to offer in terms of a dowry—she has no real hope of marrying such a highly titled man, so it comes as a great surprise when she receives a letter from him, asking for her hand in marriage.
But all is not what it seems at Wolfberg Castle. Steffan has been evicted by his scheming uncle, and his cousin has taken over the title of duke. Left for dead, Steffan is able to escape, and disguised as a shepherd, hopes to gain entry to the castle to claim the items that will prove he is the true Duke of Wolfberg.
Journeying to the castle, Magdalen has no idea what awaits her, but she certainly did not expect her loyal maidservant to turn on her. Forcing Magdalen to trade places with her, the servant plans to marry the duke and force Magdalen to tend the geese.
Without their respective titles—and the privileges that came with them—Steffan and Magdalen are reunited in the shepherd’s field. Together they conspire to get back their rightful titles. But they must hurry . . . or else they risk losing it all to the uncle’s evil plan.
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Lady Magdalen of Mallin had met the Duke of Wolfberg once, two years ago. They had danced, talked, and she liked him. When her mother said she had received a missive saying that the duke had asked Magdalen’s hand in marriage, Magdalen was rather pleased. She would rather marry for love, but as an impoverished baron’s daughter, her family and the villagers needed the duke’s money. Close to Wolfberg Castle, Agnes – not Magdalen’s usual companion – forced Magdalen to switch places with her: Agnes was marrying the duke and Magdalen was sent to tend to the geese. Steffan, the Duke of Wolfberg, had not sent the message. He was on his way home from Prague when two of his guards attacked him. Steffan is determined to uncover the reasons behind the act of treachery, which he endeavours to do under the guise of a shepherd.
THE NOBLE SERVANT is based on a Brothers Grimm fairytale, The Goose Girl, which I thought was a welcome change, as I am not familiar with that particular tale. It is also a tad violent, which should surprise no one, given the original source. I have read a couple of other books by Ms. Dickerson, so I knew going in that it was a Young Adult Christian novel. However, this installment seemed more suited to tweens rather than teens; it is very young in tone, the writing is rather simplistic, and not up to the author’s standards. The Christian element is also more prominent than I expected, so much so that I started scrutinising the characters’ actions and words. Christian charity was not exactly Magdalen’s strong suit, but most surprising was that a “minor villain” displayed what I consider Christian behaviour; the same character also showed the most growth. I was also somewhat taken aback that the on-page killing was done by the “good guys”. Melanie Dickerson has a solid grasp of the medieval era, her historical details are always accurate, but THE NOBLE SERVANT lacked dynamism. Even though Magdalen and Steffan were always on the move, it made for very static reading.
The romance did not proceed as I anticipated, for which I was grateful. THE NOBLE SERVANT is a sweet romance that develops slowly while the couple face various obstacles, but it lacked some sparkle, some tension, some texture to make it exciting and really fun.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.