Primary Genre(s): Christian Fiction, Romance, Young Adult, Retelling
Published: 5 Jan 2021 by Thomas Nelson
Page count: 328 (print)
My Format: ebook via NetGalley
Do I Recommend: Probably.
Commission Link (U.S.): Buy Court of Swans
My rating: ★★★☆☆
England, 1381: Delia’s idyllic life as daughter of an earl is shattered when her father dies and his wife accuses Delia’s seven brothers of treason and murder. The youngest is only ten years old, but this doesn’t stop the guards from hauling them off to the Tower of London. There they await a grim fate, as child-king Richard II is executing anyone who poses a threat to his throne. Delia is their only hope for pardon and freedom.
Sir Geoffrey did not expect his first assignment as captain of the guard to be the arrest of boys so young. He dutifully imprisons the brothers, but he can’t ignore the sense, rooted in personal experience, that injustice and treachery are at work.
Determined to rescue her brothers, Delia secures a position as a seamstress for the queen. Her quest is all but impossible as the executions continue. Sir Geoffrey offers to be her ally, but should she trust him in a court where everyone has an agenda?
From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a tender retelling of The Wild Swans, where the virtues of loyalty and love face a harrowing showdown with power and fear.
I am a fan of this author’s Hagenheim series, which are also Christian-focused fairy tale retellings. I’ve read every book in that series, so I was excited to see there was a new series coming out from this author. Here are my pros and cons for Court of Swans:
- I truly believe the world, particularly MG/YA, needs good, clean stories like this.
- I love that all of Dickerson’s stories have a Christian perspective without being preachy.
- I enjoyed the historical aspect of the story, which is mainly set in medieval London circa 1381. I love being exposed to different eras and places in the books I read.
- If you like the evil stepmother trope, this book has that in spades.
- Unfortunately, I got a bit bored with this story. Very little was happening for the majority of the book and what did happen was rehashed over and over again.
- Honestly, this almost didn’t feel like a Dickerson book. I don’t know if it was rushed, or if the fairy tale it was retelling didn’t have enough meat to it to stretch to a full novel, or what the reason was, but the book just didn’t seem to have the same quality and depth as the books in the Hagenheim series. It almost feels like it was written for a middle grade audience rather than young adult.
- Also, unlike the Hagenheim books, I didn’t feel like the romance in this story was realistic at all.
- I didn’t connect to Delia. Typically, Dickerson’s heroines are fierce and smart and strong. Delia didn’t come off that way at all. She was a bit annoying if I am honest.
I can’t help but compare this book to the other retellings written by this author and unfortunately this one just didn’t hold up. This story isn’t terrible, but I do feel like there was something lacking. I enjoyed her previous books though, so I will likely read the next book in this series just in case my reaction to Court of Swans was an anomaly.
Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for a free eARC of this book, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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