Swan Lake meets Robin Hood when the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant by day becomes the region’s most notorious poacher by night, and falls in love with the forester.
Jorgen is the forester for the wealthy margrave, and must find and capture the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave’s game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea she is the one who has been poaching the margrave’s game.
Odette justifies her crime of poaching because she thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. But will the discovery of a local poaching ring reveal a terrible secret? Has the meat she thought she was providing for the poor actually been sold on the black market, profiting no one except the ring of black market sellers?
The one person Odette knows can help her could also find out her own secret and turn her over to the margrave, but she has no choice. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the dangerous poaching ring . . . and fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his forester is protecting a notorious poacher?
A "fairy tale" mash-up is a recipe for a fun read - and it's always enjoyable to see what Melanie Dickerson does with familiar tales by adding a different historical twist and a new dose of drama. In this "Swan Lake meet Robin Hood" story, Odette is both the character who changes at night (into a huntress instead of a swan) and the one who takes from the rich to feed the poor.
To be honest, I wasn't super impressed at first with the characters or the story in general. It seemed a little two-dimensional in some respects. Perhaps a bit formulaic with the whole "handsome man meets beautiful maiden and falls in love" sort of thing. (Which is to be expected with the premise, granted!)
Then came some twists with the black market investigation, adding a little more intrigue and a bit deeper characterization. Jorgen seems to come into his own as the story progresses, and while Odette is rather naive and single-minded when it comes to her hunting and its ramifications, she's still likable enough to hold the reader's attention and affection.
Things get even more interesting toward the end, making The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest an engaging read, overall, and another sweet and enjoyable retelling by Dickerson that honors honesty and generosity.
*With thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.*
Note: This book releases May 12, 2015.