Monday, June 5, 2023

Witemeyer Wit Plus Fairytale Retelling Equals Magic

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Fairytale re-tellings are some of my favorite reads. I have been waiting none-too-patiently for author Karen Witmeyer's newest release Fairest of Heart, which is part of her Texas Ever After series. Note: If you are the type of reader that likes "exact" or "more precise" fairytale retellings I don't think you'll find it in Fairest of Heart. While there are some references to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Ms.  Witemeyer's latest book manages to stand as it's own story with references to the classic tale.

Normally, I fly though this author's books in a mater of days, however I found myself wanting to pace myself with Fairest of Heart  so I could appreciate the clever nuances the author paid to the original mythical tale. I'm glad I took my time reading this book because I just allowed myself to revel in the story. 

The subtle character allusions to Snow White are seen in Penelope Snow's character such as her sweet disposition, hardworking drive, and her love for baking, to name a few. I loved how quickly Penelope wanted to start helping out at the ranch to show her gratitude and appreciation. 

As the story unravels, you discover a world where being beautiful can be a double-edged sword as Penelope becomes entangled in a web of bad luck.

Enter Ranger Titus Kingsley, a man whose very essence embodies an unwavering commitment to truth and justice. We see the delicate dance of justice and mercy through his eyes. The development of his character serves as a poignant reminder of the balancing act between steely determination and compassionate understanding in the quest of righteousness.

Titus has developed into a hardened cynic who is constantly leery of the fairer sex after witnessing the catastrophic effects of bad love. But fate creates a complicated web when a fascinating young woman who is caught up in questionable events finds sanctuary among the cowhands working at his grandfather's ranch.

One of my favorite and endearing parts of this story was how all the cowhands at the Diamond D Ranch protected and fawned over Penelope. It was like she had seven grandfathers looking out for her. Their protective instincts and genuine fondness for her created a sense of family and belonging that touched my heart.

But it is the unexpected blossoming of romance between Titus and Penelope that truly stole my heart. Their love develops into a tender love story as romantic as any fairytale. Their love goes beyond simple emotion as their relationship develops against a background of uncertainty and hardship, becoming a beautiful love you story you want to be cheering for. 

I love how Karen brings to light a gospel truth in her character's lives throughout the course of the story. Somehow, every single story she writes she manages to seamlessly weave in the good news of the gospel. This is probably the sole reason I'm drawn to her books. Although, as a reader, if you need more motivation to read this author's stories, she always has interesting and developed characters. Having read all of her books, I'm always in awe of the fact that she can make all of her characters unique. It never feels like you are reading about the same character in a different story setting.

Christian Romance is typically labeled as "sweet clean romances." In Fairest of Heart, there are some stronger, more sensual scenes from the villain/villainess point of view.  I believe the author was doing this not for shock factor, but to show the contrast of the word's view of beauty versus God's view of beauty. I think perhaps she was trying to give readers a stark contrast between the wicked heart of the villainess and the pure heart of the heroine.  The reality is we live in a fallen world and sin exists. Seeing the lengths and depths that Narcissa (the villainess) went through to achieve her "means to an end," if you will, made her a more realistic villain. Through this stark contrast, readers gain a deeper understanding of the power of grace and the beauty of a pure heart in the face of darkness.

I know I say this about a lot of Bethany House book covers, but the team seriously outdid themselves with Fairest of Heart. While I love all of Karen's book covers this one might be one of my top favorites. 

Honestly, for me Karen's book came at the right time in my life when I needed the light, happiness and joy her stories always bring me. Come along on a fantastic journey with Penelope Snow and Ranger Titus Kingsley, where the pages are waiting to transport you to a world where fate and love are entwined in the most enchanting ways. If you love romantic stories that are heartfelt with depth you need to add Fairest of Heart at the top of your list. 

~~Fairest of Heart was provided to me by the author herself and Bethany House in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~

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