The Peasant’s Dream – Melanie Dickerson

The Peasant's Dream Melanie Dickerson
The Peasant's Dream by Melanie Dickerson
Also by this author: Court of Swans, Castle of Refuge
Series: Hagenheim #11
Published by Thomas Nelson on July 7, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Young Adult
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In this reverse reimagining of the Cinderella story, secrets and dangerous enemies threaten a fairy-tale romance.
Adela, daughter of the Duke of Hagenheim, is rarely allowed outside the castle walls. But one day, longing for freedom, she sneaks away to the market disguised as a peasant. There, she meets a handsome young woodcarver named Frederick.
Frederick, a poor farmer, is the sole provider for his family, and he often has to defend his mother from his father’s drunken rages. He dreams of making a living carving beautiful images into wood, and he is thrilled when the Bishop of Hagenheim commissions him to carve new doors for the cathedral. As Frederick works on the project, he and Adela meet almost daily, and it doesn't take long for them to fall in love. Yet her true identity remains hidden from him.
When disaster separates them, Adela and Frederick find themselves caught in the midst of deceptions far more dangerous than innocent disguises. As the powerful lords set against them proceed with their villainous plans, secrets emerge that put Frederick and Adela's future at risk.

Love welled up inside her, and she stood to her feet. Her knees weren’t even wobbly. She picked up the bag she had packed, straightened, and held her head up, meeting his eye. She put one foot in front of the other and walked straight to him. Her insides trembled, but she would make certain that he did not see her looking afraid.”

From the first time my daughter mentioned Melanie Dickerson to me, I knew I just had to read her stories. Who doesn’t love reading about fairy tales and medieval places? Over the break, The Peasant’s Dream graced my coffee table and it was better than I could have expected.

The story is written in a reverse Cinderella type theme where the girl, Adela, is the daughter of a duke and the boy, Frederick, is a poor woodcarver. All of the characters were endearing and showed great personality. The tale starts out with Adela sneaking into the marketplace one day and meeting Frederick by chance. Frederick, who carves wood in his spare time, lives on a farm with his father, mother and twin sisters. His father is a cruel man who wants him to become a farmer like him but Frederick has dreams of being a woodcarver. When they meet, Adela is instantly intrigued since she paints and enjoys art herself.

The depth of the characters was perfectly blended for a YA book. Another bonus was that there wasn’t just one happy ending but a second for the much deserving mother of Frederick. Out of all the scenes in the book, the one that struck me the hardest and stood out the best was when she had enough strength to stand up to her wicked husband. That scene was powerful and invoked a lot of emotion.

As a parent, I like when books can envelope you into a story without a lot of romance details as well. With The Peasant’s Dream, the only romance was hand holding and a few kisses. No explicit detail was given so this would be a book even for young teens. There is also a wonderful Christian theme throughout the story of forgiveness and love which I believe is much needed for kids to learn.

Overall The Peasant’s Dream was a beautifully written story that captivated me to the end. The twists and turns in the plot had me hanging on even as an adult and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.