Looking for the perfect gift for yourself or someone else this season? I have just the solution. The Golden Braid joins The Healer’s Apprentice, The Fairest Beauty, Captive Maiden and the Princess Spy and The Merchant’s Daughter in the Fairy Tale Romance Series. Don’t let the word ‘romance’ deter you, though. The romance is always sweet, chaste and the characters learn to depend on God’s guidance in their romances.
We’ve all had her in our heads—the overly cautious, super-critical voice that chips away at our self-confidence and sense of equilibrium. Her voice often sounds just like someone whose opinion we valued as a youngster—a mother, a grandmother, a teacher, a mentor, a sister or a best friend.
Sometimes, she lies to us—the originator of the voice—because of problems and mistakes that she made that she fears we will repeat. Her own personal issues tarnish our sense of self-worth without us even realizing it, and make us question all that we do because her voice lingers and grows and insists on having space in our heads.
Melanie Dickerson’s latest release, The Golden Braid, uses the fairy tale story of Rapunzel to tell the tale of a young woman with a mysterious past whose mother monitors her every move—preventing her from close contact with others (especially men). Rapunzel (complete with beautiful, thick blonde hair) distrusts men because her mother has raised her to view them as dangerous and unworthy of trust.
Mother and daughter move frequently, and this also precludes close relationships in an era where villagers seldom move or even leave their birthplace. Despite their frequent moves, Rapunzel has learned one skill and fostered one obsession—she can throw a knife with frightening accuracy and she longs to learn how to read.
Her skill provides an avenue for introduction to a young knight, Sir Gerek, and her obsession forces her to step outside her normal obedience in search of knowledge. The results will surprise and entertain you—especially if you’ve read Dickerson’s other books in the collection (I call them a collection, because one need not read them in order, but they share characters, location and time period with each other).
With each book in the Hagenheim collection, Dickerson adds color and substance to the tapestry of the imaginary medieval fiefdom of Duke Wilhelm. Unlike the creators of the fairy tales, Dickerson works hard to craft antagonists of flesh and blood who have real reasons for their dastardly deeds.
In addition, her heroine (despite her repressed upbringing) doesn’t sit around waiting for a knight in shining armor to rescue her. She realizes that education holds the key to understanding the holy writings (Bible), and she longs to read and understand it for herself.
If you’re looking for a cozy winter escape, or better yet, a gift for a pre-teen girl or young woman, I highly recommend all of Melanie Dickerson’s books. Each one uses the familiar elements of well-known fairy tales as the basis for seamlessly showing an aspect of woman’s dependence on God through each trial that might assail us.
Dickerson masterfully crafts each story with just the right amount of dialogue, description and action to keep the reader turning pages. I would recommend these books for romantics between the ages of nine and 99.