The Noble Servant
Thomas Nelson, 2017
Elated at having been summoned to marry the handsome and charming Duke of Wolfberg, Lady Magdalen of Mallin sets out on the journey to his castle. This marriage will secure the future of her impoverished people, as well as get her out from under the thumb of her overbearing mother. But just before she reaches Wolfberg she is forced to switch places with an ambitious serving girl who wishes to marry the duke herself. Upon their arrival the new ‘Lady Magdalen’ has the real Magdalen placed in the most lowly position in the castle – goose girl. Magdalen tends her geese and bides her time, scheming about how to prove her identity and take back her rightful place. But then she meets the Duke of Wolfberg and a strikingly familiar-looking shepherd and realizes that something more than her own circumstance is amiss…
Steffan, the real Duke of Wolfburg, is hiding for his life – right under the nose of the unscrupulous Lord Hazen, his uncle whom he had trusted to tend the castle and his people while he was away at university. But his uncle has instated his own son in Steffan’s place as duke, and is determined to kill Steffan in order to secure his deception. Disguised as a shepherd while he looks for a way to prove his identity, Steffan meets the beautiful goose girl whom he recognizes immediately as Lady Magdalen. The two of them must work together to find proof and get help from people they trust to regain their rightful positions. And both are determined not to fall in love in the process.
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The Noble Servant would probably take the superlative of ‘most anxiously awaited new release of the summer’ for me. I flew through the first two books in the series, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest and The Beautiful Pretender in December and couldn’t wait for this one to come out in May. But I have it in my hands at last and I enjoyed it every bit as much as I thought I would.
This series is full of flawed, but likable characters that make cameos appearances across the three stories. There are elements of danger, love, faith, and insecurity that make the hero and heroine feel like real people with real problems that I can relate with. Not in the sense that I am hidden nobility, just in their natural reactions to the adversity they experience. I love that the hero in this story, Steffan, has to evaluate how his upbringing has influenced his desire and ability to love. Lady Magdalen is sweet, spunky, and easy to root for as she tries to do the right thing by all involved in the scheme that landed her herding a flock of geese instead of sleeping on a goose down mattress.
I do have to address one thing that bothers me though, and that is the incongruous cover. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s pretty. But The Noble Servant didn’t follow the pattern the other two books did and that disappointed me. I was hoping to see the same beautiful decorative border along the bottom and another dark, rich background color. A navy or deep purple to complement the hunter green and burgundy colors of the others would have been lovely.
See what I mean?
But cover preferences aside, I really did enjoy The Noble Servant. These books are perfect for transporting you into a different time and place. Right now I’m really into the medieval time period with all its superstitions and chivalry. Melanie Dickerson has a whole list of books in that line that are not a part of this particular series. I haven’t tried any of those stand alone titles yet, but they are on my list!