Wednesday, May 26, 2021

REVIEW: CASTLE OF REFUGE by Melanie Dickerson!

Hey everyone!  Today I'm sharing a review of Castle of Refuge, the next book by Melanie Dickerson.  It's a "The Ugly Duckling" retelling/reimagining, and it's releasing soon - June 1st, to be exact!  Here's some info on the book before I get into the review....


In this Ugly Duckling retelling, New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson brilliantly crafts a high-stakes, encouraging tale about the power of love.

Ever since she was a child, Audrey wanted her life to be extraordinary. But as the daughter of a viscount born in late fourteenth-century England, the only thing expected of her was to marry—until an act of malice by her sister, Maris, four years ago damaged her face and her prospects. Though Maris was sent away, twenty-year-old Audrey is still suffering the scars of her sister’s cruelty. When her father announces his plans to marry off his damaged daughter and bring Maris home, Audrey decides to flee in search of her true destiny.

However, life outside her home is dangerous, and she soon finds herself attacked, sick, and in desperate need of help. She is taken in at Dericott Castle to be nursed back to health. While there, she decides to keep her identity a secret and work as a servant in the castle. But she doesn’t count on falling in love with the young and handsome Lord Dericott, who lost his arm several months earlier and bears scars of his own.

Meanwhile, Edwin—Lord Dericott—is curious about the new, well-educated servant’s identity. All he knows is that he’s quickly becoming smitten with her. When the man Audrey’s father wanted her to marry comes looking for her, she and Edwin must make life-changing decisions about what to believe and whether or not love is truly worth trusting.

“When it comes to happily-ever-afters, Melanie Dickerson is the undisputed queen.” —JULIE LESSMAN, award-winning author

  • Second in a brand-new series set in England: The Dericott Tales
  • Full-length clean fairy-tale reimagining
  • Includes Discussion Questions for Book Clubs

Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author who combines her love for all things Medieval with her love of romance and fairy tales. She also loves Regency Romance and has drawn on her Southern heritage to write a romance set in the late 1800s called Magnolia Summer.
Her books have won the Christy Award, two Maggie Awards, The National Reader's Choice Award, and the Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor's degree from The University of Alabama and has taught children and adults in America, Germany, and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing stories of love and adventure near Huntsville, Alabama. Sign up for her newsletter at


Well, I have to say that this is the first fiction book in awhile that's held my attention long enough that I'm able to read it cover-to-cover in one day.  While the first couple of chapters felt extremely repetitive, I'm glad that I kept reading anyway, because the rest of the story had excellent pacing and was pretty great overall.  If you're a fan of Dickerson's works, you'll definitely enjoy this book; it follows her style very well.  I can honestly say that I've never read a fairytale retelling based on "The Ugly Duckling" (at least, one that uses humans) so it was a breath of fresh air for the retelling genre.  While I thought that the main villains could have been written better (they came off a bit shallow and their dialogue stiff; there was a LOT of potential there), the main plot line was definitely interesting, the characters were memorable, and I'm definitely hooked on the Dericott storyline now.  While I haven't read the first book in this series yet, I was able to pick up well enough, so it's good as a standalone as well.  

Do you plan on reading Castle of Refuge?  What's your favorite story by Dickerson?   


  1. A retelling of the Ugly Duckling?! Now that is cool!!!

    1. Definitely!! I don't think I've ever seen one before.