Castle of Refuge
Age Range: 12/13 and up
Audrey is usually the example of what a viscount's daughter should be like; she is quiet, pretty, kind, and the perfect person to be married off to some rich Lord or Viscount, but Audrey yearns for more and to be more. After an act of cruelty done by her sister Maris, Audrey is no longer the wife rich men or any men are looking for. Years later, when Maris is sent back from the convent she was sent to, Audrey does something spontaneous and runs away but finds trouble almost from the moment she leaves. Lord Edwin Dericott believes his life is pretty much over after he loses his arm defending himself and his family. Edwin can't ride horses, be a real knight, or even walk without falling over, but as the Lord of Dericott Castle, he tries his best to be a real man and leader. When Edwin finds a pretty girl lying in his yard, sick and cold, he takes her into his care and makes her his servant. As Audrey hides from her family as a servant, she can't help but wonder what it would be like to marry Edwin, but all of her dreams are crushed when the man she is supposed to marry comes looking for her.
Castle of Refuge is the second book in Dericott Tales, and I thought that it was okay. I was excited to read the book when I found out it was based on the fairy tale of the ugly duckling, but it sadly didn't meet my expectations. The story was interesting, but the characters seemed flat and unreal. Edwin seemed like a nice enough person willing to sacrifice his life for his family, but he didn't move me, and honestly, I wouldn't have really cared if he died or lived. At the beginning of the story, I felt sorry for Audrey and what her sister did to her, but I didn't like her a lot near the end of the book. She kept saying she was ugly when she wasn't at all and would go against Edwin and wouldn't listen to him. Castle of Refuge had many good parts to it, and I enjoyed it at times but not the whole time.
The story was pretty predictable and not very creative, but it was a lot better than the first book in the Dericott Tales, Court of Swans. Audrey kept longing for more and wasn't satisfied with what she had, and I can understand that, but when she kept telling Edwin that she was truly happy only when teaching girls to read, I was irritated. Lord Dericott is here trying to help Audrey and will do anything for her, and she, in turn, doesn't listen to him and makes him sad by pretty much saying she loves teaching more than she loves him. Overall I thought the book was okay but not one of my favorite books by Melanie Dickerson.
Things to Mention: There is some violence including, Maris pushing Audrey into a fire burning her face, someone being held at knifepoint, people getting kidnapped, people fighting, people being threatened by death, and mentions of a nanny abusing a child. There are a few kisses with no details. Two characters have to lay next to each other to keep warm.
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More books in the Dericott Tales:
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Medieval Fairy Tale Romance Series:
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