Evangeline is the cousin of King Richard and he wants her to marry the Earl of Shiveley. The Earl wants to marry Evangeline in order to usurp the King's throne and take it for himself, but he very cunningly keeps that part to himself. Evangeline can't stand the sight of the Earl and knows that there is some question about his first wife's death. In order to keep from marrying the Earl, Evangeline and her lady's maid sneak out of the castle and follow a group of men who are going to a castle a couple of days' travel away.
This is how Melanie Dickerson sets up The Silent Songbird. Muriel, the lady's maid, tells Evangeline to not speak and introduces her as being mute. It's really hard for Evangeline once they get to Glynval Castle because she is expected to work, but has never lifted a finger in work before. She tries really hard, but seems to find trouble at whatever she puts her hand to. Coming to her rescue time and again is Westley, the son of the Lord of Glynval.
Melanie writes midieval fiction for young adults and sometimes weaves old fairy tales into her stories, and sometimes writes stories that stand alone. This one stands alone. Melanie has done an excellent job describing the settings of the story and giving adequate background for the movement of the plot. Her characters are well-developed with the Earl of Shiveley having a better than average complexity. But, I think a villain needs to be complex. Evangeline and Muriel's friendship is easy to see and the love growing between Westley and Evangeline is unmistakable. There is quite a bit of humor in the book, especially as Evangeline is trying to learn the chores assigned to her--harvesting the wheat, shelling peas, scrubbing the floors, slopping the hogs, etc; but her winsomeness wins over most of her detractors--there are some who won't be won.
This is a five-star, two thumbs up book, with a chore you can do easily so you can get back to reading.
My thanks to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book.