The Red Review

So Many Books… So Little Time!

by Melanie Dickerson

Rating: 3 out of 5.

“You are honest and sincere and very brave.” He leaned closer to her. What was she thinking? But she said nothing. So he went on. “And you are very beautiful. I wonder if you could ever think of me…”

“Think of you? Of course.” She sounded breathless.

Court of Swans

As a Kansas Citian, words could not describe the excitement of not only my family but also that of the city in which I live. Everywhere you turn is a sea of red. Every day this past week at school was a special dress-up day in honor of the Kansas City Chiefs in the Superbowl tomorrow, and as a first-year teacher, I just had to dress up. 😉 Snow days and dress-up days still make me feel like a little kid again!

As a first-year teacher, most of my days involve answering a mountain of questions, supporting children as they overcome challenges, and consistently instilling positivity and encouragement in the lives of my students. I wake up with the sun and leave the school long after the sun has set. During the fall semester, most nights were filled with grading and preparing, long into the night. I have adjusted and honestly have a better grasp of what I am doing now, which requires fewer late nights. So, my New Years’ resolution was to continue reading and reviewing, because honestly, reading brings me such joy. Closing a book provides such a strong sense of accomplishment that feeds my soul. I feel as if it is myself who has overcome such trying obstacles and found my own “happily after”. I am happy to say that although I haven’t reviewed as many books as I would prefer, I am consistently and constantly reading. Most nights end with a good book and I am loving it!

One of the first books I read in 2021 was by the queen of fairytale retellings – Melanie Dickerson. Her stories have always brought me such joy. Although the characters have to overcome great obstacles, I know that everything will work out for the best. Isn’t that why we love Disney? 

Prior to reading Court of Swans, I did not know anything about the fairytale, Wild Swans, but after I read the book, I did a little research on the classic. Although Melanie maintains the overarching concept of the story, she truly makes the story her own, bringing life and depth into the characters. 


England, 1381: Delia’s idyllic life as the 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?


As a reviewer, I do my best to be honest and truthful. Every book has its own elements that make it unique and special, but every book cannot be a must read or even a five/four heart. Although I did enjoy Court of Swans, it was not my favorite and I do not see myself rereading it in the near future. While I read, I often absorb the emotions of the narrator. I feel what the character is experiencing, whether it be good or bad. That does not mean I do not enjoy reading books of great depth and heartache, because more often than not, I would much rather read a book with pain than the predictability of a “hallmark” plot. But this book left me feeling more anxious than satisfied. I just wanted to reach the end, rather than enjoy the journey. 

Delia was a character I appreciated but frustrated me at times. She seemed immature, almost to a fault. Delia often seemed short-sighted, naive, and a bit loose-lipped for someone attempting to pull off such a monumental task. On the other hand, I did like Sir Geoffrey but felt l like he early on made decisions that didn’t make sense to me. He has the opportunity to lose so much for someone he barely knows. 

With all that said, I am looking forward to the next book in the series, releasing in June. I enjoy books involving a “beauty and the beast” feel and based on what I have discovered so far, Castle of Refuge’s “Ugly Duckling” will be worth the wait! 

The Red Review: ❤️❤️❤️

*** 3 Stars: Compelling Characters, Well-Written, Interesting Storyline (.5), Unable to Stop (.5)

Hagenheim Series – Another Beloved Series by Melanie Dickerson

  1. The Healer’s Apprentice – Sleeping Beauty
  2. The Merchant’s Daughter – Beauty and the Beast
  3. The Fairest Beauty – Snow White
  4. The Captive Maiden – Cinderella
  5. The Princess Spy – Frog Prince
  6. The Golden BraidRapunzel
  7. The Silent Songbird – Little Mermaid
  8. The Orphan’s Wish – Aladdin
  9. The Warrior Maiden – Mulan
  10. The Piper’s Pursuit – Pied Piper
  11. The Peasant’s DreamReverse Cinderella

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