When I write, a lot of my inspiration comes from reading other types of books in the same genre. I was a little afraid of writing and reading at the same time, because I didn't want to copy the author's story ideas. But I found that inspiration doesn't always have to be in the story plot line. It can also be in the fact that I'm reading something that is very well written. And I think knowing that maybe one day, people will read my book, and enjoy it was much as I enjoy what I'm reading is very good inspiration.
So while in the process of writing The Other Side of Me, I read a book by author Melanie Dickerson, called "The Fairest Beauty."
If you didn't know, I run a book review blog. I wrote a review up for this book on there, and thought I'd share it with you on this blog. :)
This book is a Christian retelling of Snow White. I have always been a Disney fan, especially in the past four or so years. And so being a fan of Disney, it's not hard to guess that I love fairy tales. Even though some of them can be a little...grim...they are all very interesting, and I haven't found one that I haven't liked. So when I first heard of this author and her Fairy Tale retellings, I was very interested to say the least.
This book is the third in the series. It is a continuation of the first book, "The Healer's Apprentice," but you don't have to read it for this book to make since. But to get more out of it, I would encourage you to read that one first.
This book is about a young seventeen year old girl named Sophie. She is living under the crewel care of her evil stepmother, the Duchess Ermengard. In her stepmother's eyes, Sophie can't seem to do anything right. The reason, because Sophie is beautiful, and she makes her stepmother very nervous for reasons I won't spoil for you.
Around the same time in another kingdom miles and miles away, the King and his second oldest son, Gabe receive news that a young duchess was in trouble, and at risk of death. The news surprised the King, because this duchess had presumably died when she was a baby. She was betrothed to Valten, the King's oldest son. Valten would have gone to rescue her right then, but a recent injury left him lying in bed, unable to do anything to help.
Gabe knew it was the wrong thing to do. He knew that this "damsel in distress" was his brother's betrothed, but he knew his reputation given to him by his family wasn't something to boast about. He knew he was immature, so he decided to try to prove his family wrong, and secretly go off to save his brother's future wife before it was too late.
And if you guessed that girl in danger was Sophie, you were correct.
The rest of the story is how both Gabe and Sophie find who they really are through many obstacles and dangers. Both have to learn to be brave, strong, mature, trusting, and most importantly, rely on God to get them both where they need to be.
I personally really enjoyed this book. When reading the first two books by this author, it took me the first four or five chapters to really get into it. But with this one, I couldn't put it down after the first sentence. I have never been one for romance, because they always seem so predictable. You meet a girl in chapter one, you meet a guy in chapter two. You know right then they're going to get together at the end, and everyone is going to live happily ever after.
With this book though, I thought I knew what was going to happen, but I think my mind changed about a dozen time in the process of reading it. I had no idea how it was going to end. And thankfully, I was very content with the way things turned out for the characters.
If you already know the original story of Snow White, you may think that you know what's going to happen. The part I like about these books, is that there is no magic involved. I like that everything that happens is realistic. So when I was about halfway through this book, I started thinking about the end of the real Snow White story, and I was a little unsure how the author was going to pull off the poison apple, and the true love's awakening kiss without using any magic. But the way she did was very well done. She was able to use a Christian theme in that chapter, which I would have never guessed.
The only part that I didn't appreciate about this book, was the fact that the ending seemed much too rushed. If it would have been spread out just a chapter or two longer, it would have been much better. I just felt that the story kept building and building, but when it finally got to the top, it was quickly over.
But besides all that, The Fairest Beauty was a wonderful story. It left me in deep thought for several days. I had never read something that had been so personal before. The way the author writes, it feels that if something happened to one of the characters, it happened to you also.
And that's something that only a very talented author can do.