Melanie Dickerson currently has four series out. She writes YA romance in historical settings, with a strong Christian current. The writing is well done, and smooth. But, these are romances, so young readers should opt for something else. That being said, if you aren’t a young reader, and you like an easy, sweet read. You will probably like her books.
There are a few things that I’ve noticed that I felt could be done better, such as the amount of time the main characters spend alone on their quests (even though nothing inappropriate happens, per se. I wouldn’t put myself in some of the situations they do). I feel it wouldn’t be realistic for young men and women to always be going off by themselves to save the castle, and the frequency with which the event occurs can make me roll my eyes a little.
Also, I find that the characters, and the final resolution of the plot, can tend to be the same for several books (not really surprising when there are so many, though). However, that knowledge has not often dissuaded me from getting another of her books. So it must not be that big of an issue to me.
Though the vast majority of her books are set in a medieval time period, the first books that I read were actually the Regency Romance (the Regency era is pretty much my favorite era of all time). They were fast paced, and I didn’t want to put them down. Here is the quick review for each of them (in order):
A Spy’s Devotion: I would give this book a hearty four stars.
A Viscount’s Proposal: Y’all! I loved this book. The main character is so much fun, and I wanted her to succeed from the very beginning. Absolutely five stars.
A Dangerous Engagement: This one, not so much. It felt a little more dirty than the others because of the dangerous engagement (imagine that), so I would give this one three stars. I haven’t read it again since I first did, and probably won’t.
Then I started on the Ya Fairytale Retelling series.
I should have read them in order, but I was too impatient, and so some of the family connections were lost, even though it didn’t affect the story line. Much. But knowing that so-and-so was really the main character from another book, and these guys are brothers would have helped a little, but that was my fault, and Mrs. Dickerson did an amazing job keeping the books readable by themselves, while keeping the integrity of the series intact (I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds like what I feel).
This list is in order (not the way I read them):
The Healer’s Apprentice: Three and a half stars. This wasn’t really my kind of story, and some of the romance was a little more intense than I like it.
The Merchant’s Daughter: Five stars! This is my favorite book out of all of them. It is sooo good! The main characters are amazing, and I felt very drawn into their struggles. The final romance was sweet, and not overdone in my opinion.
The Fairest Beauty: An indifferent four stars. It was fine, but again, the amount of time the characters spent alone got on my nerves.
The Captive Maiden: Um, four stars again, I guess. There was nothing spectacular about it.
The Princess Spy: I enjoyed the variation that the main character provided. She was a little different from the others, and for that reason, I’ll give this one a more enthusiastic four stars.
The Golden Braid: Again, this plot was different from some of the others, which I liked. The main male character initially drew back from the relationship, which was new. For that, and other reasons I can’t disclose without spoilers, I’ll give this four and a half stars.
The Silent Songbird: Three stars. There wasn’t really anything wrong with it, it was just missing something for me personally.
The Orphan’s Wish: Unread.
The Warrior Maiden: Unread.
The Piper’s Pursuit: Unread.
But we’re not done yet! Next comes the Medieval Fairytale/Thornbeck series:
The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest: Four and a half stars because of how cool the plot idea was. I felt that the concept could have been a forty chapter adventure novel. Why has no one thought to have a…Oh! I want to give spoilers!
The Beautiful Pretender: Again, striking plot! Four and a half stars. I didn’t care for how quickly the romance moved toward the end, especially because the main characters didn’t know… Oh bother. Just read the book and find out.
The Noble Servant: I liked the main character in a previous book, but I don’t think her own story quite did justice to her beautiful integrity. Still, it wasn’t bad. Four stars.
The only other book Mrs. Dickerson (to my knowledge) has is Magnolia Summer, which is set in the historic south, and which I have not yet read.
All in all, I would say her books are light, sugary, rather similar to each other, and not as intellectually filling as some others I’ve read, but I don’t think they are meant to be. When I want to read a quick romance that I know will turn out alright in the end, I pick up one of her books. Besides that, the sheer quantity of books one woman has written, and published, amazes me.