Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

How can you mix Robin Hood and Swan Lake together? Well, have your protagonist be named Odette, and when the sun falls, she transforms from a demure, wealthy maiden into an experienced archer who tries to do as Robin Hood did. That, in essence, is The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest.

And since Swan Lake is a romance, there's one in the book too. Only the "prince" in this case isn't really a prince, but the forester of the Margrave, who is tasked with catching the poacher - who happens to be Odette. Meanwhile, the rich handsome guy pursuing Odette is obnoxious, and in a surprise twist for me, turned out to have a bigger role in the story than I expected.

I thought the dilemma in the story was interesting. We know that poaching is wrong. And since there's a blackmarket selling the poached meat (which Odette doesn't know about, the Jorgen, the forester, does), it's obviously not going to the poor. But, the 'Robin Hood' figure, Odette thinks it is, so let's pretend it is going to the poor, and wonder. So, is she wrong, or is she right? Is it ok to break human laws if it fulfils God's command to feed the widow and the orphan? Who is the one in the right, Jorgen, who's trying to do his job and catch the poacher, or Odette, who's trying to feed the hungry that no one seems to care for?

So far, interesting and well-written stuff. This book would have been perfect if not for one thing. Possible spoilers here, though I shall try to be as vague as possible. Throughout most of the book, Odette is the high class one, and Jorgen is lower class. But by the end of the book, their positions are reversed, and Jorgen becomes her "knight in shining armour", so to speak. Considering that Odette is a strong, capable protagonist, I'm a bit disappointed that she had to be rescued instead of being the one doing the rescuing.

Overall, I liked the book. While I would have preferred a different ending, it was a happily ever after ending, and that's not too bad. I liked the characters and how the two stories blended in together, although perhaps a bit more of the Robin Hood element would have been more exciting.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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