Tuesday, May 12, 2015

"The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest"

Melanie Dickerson is a two-time Christy Award finalist and author of The Healer’s Apprentice, winner of the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book in 2010, and The Merchant’s Daughter, winner of the 2012 Carol Award. She spends her time writing medieval stories at her home near Huntsville, Alabama, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

Dickerson applied the Page 69 Test to The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, her first historical romance for adults, and reported the following:
On page 69 of The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, you have quite a few key elements of the story. On the first half of the page, the forester, Jorgen, has been delighting the orphan children with some stories he has written—and making Odette fall just a bit more in love with him.

Odette, the heroine, is conflicted. Throughout the book, she questions whether she is doing the right thing by poaching the margrave’s deer to feed the poor. And now that she is falling in love with the forester, who is in charge of capturing poachers, she is more conflicted than ever.

On the second half of the page, Odette has been talking to her best friend about Jorgen, who, if he found out she was poaching, would throw her in the dungeon.
“It is true, Jorgen is not rich.” Anna frowned. “It is a pity because he is very handsome, and he seems to like you. But what man wouldn’t adore you? You are beautiful and will make someone a very good wife. Odette, why don’t you marry?”

“And whom do you suggest?” Odette feigned a flippancy she did not feel.

Anna sighed and shook her head. “That is the trouble. There is no one worthy of you.”

Odette snorted.

“Truly, if I had to pick someone, I do not know anyone I think is good enough for you. They are all either too old or too ugly or too . . . something.”

Would Anna feel the same way if she knew the secret Odette was keeping from her? She hated hiding things from Anna. Now she was even hiding something from her uncle...
I like the foreshadowing of secrets in that last paragraph. For a good portion of the story, no one knows about Odette’s poaching except her uncle, not even her best friend Anna. The reader is left to question: When everyone finds out about her secret, how will they react? What will be the consequences? And Odette has a few surprises in store for her as well, as she discovers hers are not the only secrets that can’t be hidden forever.
Visit Melanie Dickerson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue