I love Melanie Dickerson and the Hagenheim books, but after not loving The Orphan's Wish, I was worried going into this one. The worry was unfounded. This one is back in the camp of all the other stories in the series I love so much.
If you're looking for a retelling of Mulan set in Asia and closer to the original story, this isn't it. Mulan is Asian (or "from the Orient" in keeping with the time period), but this story is set in the Medieval Germany world Melanie Dickerson has created/used for her entire series and so this story stays true to that. Instead, Mulan is the illegitimate daughter of a soldier who fought wars in the Orient. Contrary to normal cliches, when the father brings home his illegitimate daughter after the war, his wife takes her in and loves her like her own.
When her father dies and her mother will be turned out of their home if the family fails to send a soldier to fight in the liege lord's war, Mulan chooses to dress as a man and go to war in her father's place instead of marrying the local butcher.
This story felt like Mulan + Joan of Arc and it was quite fun. Mulan's insecurities and strengths felt believable. She was not a damsel in distress, but she also wasn't out there to prove anything. She was just trying to be honorable and do the right thing. (There's a part at the end that I'm sure some women would have a problem with, but especially in Medieval times, there was NO way a woman would have been able to fight in that situation. She would have been killed, there was no way around that one.)
This review wouldn't be complete without touching on Wolfgang. As with the rest of the men in this series, he is honorable and kind, but he does have some regrets in his past and has a complicated relationship with his brother, Steffan, which makes things interesting. To my recollection, this is the first book in the series where the narrative introduces a third point of view instead of just bouncing back and forth between the main characters. I enjoyed it and cannot WAIT to hear more of Steffan's story in the future (and find out which fairy tale will be his).
This book can certainly stand alone, but since the series is about an entire family, I highly recommend starting at the beginning and enjoying the ride of their stories playing out to different fairy tales.
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Nelson - GB (5 April 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0718074777
- ISBN-13: 978-0718074777
- Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.8 x 22.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 399 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)