Fairest of Heart by Karen Witemeyer Book Review

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Fairest of Heart takes places in Texas during the 1890s and follows a maid named Penelope Snow who works for the famous and cunning Narcissa LaBelle. In this Snow White retelling, you will read about romance, danger, and found family. Learn more in this Fairest of Heart book review.


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Fairest of Heart

Author: Karen Witemeyer

Pub. Date: June 6, 2023

Series: Texas Ever After book 1

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction

Pages: 352

Rating: 4.5 stars

Content Warnings: gun violence, animal cruelty, blood, death, sexual assault, kidnapping, poisoning, & attempted murder


Once upon a time in Texas . . .

Beauty has been nothing but a curse to Penelope Snow. When she becomes a personal maid for a famous actress whose troupe is leaving Chicago to tour the West, she hides her figure beneath shapeless dresses and keeps her head down. But she still manages to attract the wrong attention, leaving her prospects in tatters–and her jealous mistress plotting her demise.

After his brother lost his life over a woman, Texas Ranger Titus Kingsley has learned to expect the worst from women and is rarely disappointed. So when a young lady found in suspicious circumstances takes up residence with the seven old drovers living at his grandfather’s ranch, Titus is determined to keep a close eye on her.

With a promotion hanging in the balance, Titus is assigned to investigate a robbery case tied to Penelope’s acting troupe, and all evidence points to Penelope’s guilt. But Titus might just be convinced that the fairest woman of all has a heart as pure as her last name . . . if only he can prove it.


Spoiler-Free Book Review

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.

This book was an absolute delight!

Snow White has never been one of my favorite fairytales, but I loved this Snow White retelling.

What I Liked

  • While Penelope may be a bit too perfect most of the time, I still liked her as a character especially since the other characters had obvious flaws. It was awesome to see how she grew to accept that she could be wanted and cared for as part of a family since she lacked that growing up. One quote I liked about this is: “You, my dear Penelope, could not be more wanted.” – Titus
  • I loved the author’s take on the seven dwarfs with the seven old men that had varying personalities and a love for Penelope. They were so fun and wholesome. I love how they took care of Penelope and were so protective of her.
  • Titus was such a great male lead in this story. I loved that he played such a big role in both the romance and the plot of this story. He had such a great connection with Penelope, and I enjoyed watching him slowly let her get to know him.
  • The plot of this story was also very interesting with Titus being a Texas ranger and Narcissa causing trouble. I loved the adventure and danger of the story.


What I Didn’t Like

  • I wish there were more individual moments between Penelope and each of the older guys
  • Penelope could’ve used a flaw or two


Final Thoughts

I would recommend this book if you like fairytale retellings, fun old grandpas, adventure, and lovable characters. I will definitely read more books by Karen Witemeyer.


Where to Purchase

You can purchase a copy of this book at the following retailers:

Bookshop.org (supports independent book stores) [affiliate]

Amazon [affiliate]

Books a Million (BAM) [affiliate]

AbeBooks [affiliate]

Barnes & Noble

Bethany House Publishers (directly from the publisher)


Have you read Fairest of Heart or any other books by Karen Witemeyer?

I would love to hear your thoughts! Comment down below.

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