The Orphan's Wish

The Orphan's Wish

by Melanie Dickerson


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A reimagining of the beloved folktale, Aladdin, set in medieval Germany.

Orphaned and alone, Aladdin travels from the streets of his Arab homeland to a strange, faraway place. Growing up in an orphanage, he meets young Lady Kirstyn, whose father is the powerful Duke of Hagenheim. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion, and their childhood friendship grows into a bond that time and opposition cannot break.

Even as a child, Aladdin works hard, learning all he can from his teachers. Through his integrity, intelligence, and sheer tenacity, he earns a position serving as the duke’s steward. But that isn’t enough to erase the shame of being forced to steal as a small child—or the fact that he’s an orphan with no status. If he ever wants to feel equal to his beautiful and generous friend Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim and seek his fortune.

Yet once Aladdin departs, Lady Kirstyn becomes a pawn in a terrible plot. Now, Aladdin and Kirstyn must rely on their bond to save her from unexpected danger. But will saving Kirstyn cost Aladdin his newfound status and everything he’s worked so hard to obtain?

An enchanting new version of the well-known tale, The Orphan’s Wish tells a story of courage and loyalty, friendship and love, and reminds us what “family” really means.

  • Full length clean fairy tale reimagining
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718074838
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 06/26/2018
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 106,670
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author and a Christy Award winner. Her first book, The Healer’s Apprentice, won the National Readers’ Choice Award for Best First Book in 2010, and The Merchant’s Daughter won the 2012 Carol Award. Melanie spends her time daydreaming, researching the most fascinating historical time periods, and writing stories at her home near Huntsville, Alabama, where she gathers dandelion greens for her two adorable guinea pigs between writing and editing her happily ever afters. Visit her online at; Facebook: MelanieDickersonBooks; Twitter: @MelanieAuthor.

Read an Excerpt


Summer 1401 The Holy Land

Ala ad'din's mother's eyes were closed as she lay on her funeral bier.

People whispered and stared, but no one spoke to him. Just a few days ago his mother sat cross-legged on the floor while she sewed. Sometimes she would lay aside her work and call to him. He would crawl into her lap and gaze up at her as she sang to him.

There was no one to sing to him now.

Then someone walked up behind him.

"She won't wake up."

A man with wispy black hairs growing above his top lip and on his chin stared down at him. His face was bland as he squatted in front of Ala ad'din. "She won't wake up. Not ever. She's dead. Do you know what dead means?"

Ala ad'din nodded.

"Don't you have a father? A grandmother? Any family?"

Ala ad'din shook his head. His chest ached as tears stung his eyes.

"How old are you?"

"Five years."

Some men came and picked up the funeral bier and started carrying his mother's body away without even a glance at him.

The man put his hand on Ala ad'din's shoulder. "You should come home with me, yes? I have a bed for you. Many other children are there, children for you to play with. Come."

Ala ad'din went with him. But when they reached their destination, the bed he'd mentioned was a thin pallet on a dirt floor. He sat on it with several other children, all of them dirty, some of them smelling of urine, while several men passed out food to them. They ate fried bread and shriveled dates and then slept like puppies piled haphazardly against each other.

The next day, when the sun was high, the man with the wispy whiskers — Mustapha — took Ala ad'din and another boy, Zuhayr, out to the bazaar.

The sun was hot and bright, and the pungent smells of turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves tickled Ala ad'din's nose when he passed the spice merchant's stall. Other smells — camel dung chief among them — wafted in and surrounded the dusty, heated marketplace.

Zuhayr was a few years older than Ala ad'din. Mustapha stopped them both, holding on to Ala ad'din's arm, his fingers gripping too tightly.

"Watch," Mustapha said in a raspy voice. "Zuhayr will go and take the fat purse hanging from that merchant's belt. Do you see it?"

Ala ad'din tried to follow Mustapha's line of vision.

Zuhayr nodded and took off, running as though he would pass by the merchant's stall with a few feet to spare. But at the last moment, he darted toward the merchant and snatched the purse, breaking it off of the leather belt it was tied to.

Zuhayr did not even slow down as the merchant yelled and gave chase. But he was much too old and heavy to catch Zuhayr, who ran like a flash of lightning.

"Stop him! Thief! Stop him!" The merchant's face seemed to swell with rage as he pointed after Zuhayr's thin figure.

Mustapha pulled Ala ad'din by his arm away from the scene, threading around shoppers and finally stopping in a narrow alley between sandstone buildings.

"Where is Zuhayr?" Ala ad'din's heart trembled at what would happen to his new friend.

Mustapha grinned. "Look! There he is."

Zuhayr hurried toward them, panting. He handed the purse to his master.

"And that is how it is done." Mustapha's thin lips twisted as he grinned down at Ala ad'din. Then his grin disappeared and he gripped Ala ad'din's arm even tighter, giving it a shake. He showed his bright-white teeth as he said in a harsh tone, "And you must do the same."

"But that is stealing. My mother told me stealing is bad."

Mustapha leaned down until his nose was almost touching Ala ad'din's. "You will do whatever I tell you or I shall turn you over to the Sultan's guards, tell them you stole this purse, and then they will cut off your head."

"My head?"

"Yes, your head. They will slice through your neck with their long, sharp scimitars." He drew his finger across his throat from one side to the other. "Do you want to lose your head?" He grinned, and it was even more frightening than his scowl.

Later that day, when Mustapha was occupied with talking with a man in the bazaar, Ala ad'din asked Zuhayr, "Will they really cut off my head for stealing?"

Zuhayr patted him on the shoulder. "They won't cut off your head, but they will cut off your hand."

Ala ad'din gasped.

"But that's only if they catch you. You have to run fast, understand?" He stared into Ala ad'din's eyes.

"But I don't want to steal."

"You must." Zuhayr's dark eyes were solemn. "If Mustapha gets angry, he'll beat you. Just do what he says and he will feed you and not hurt you."

The next day Mustapha took Zuhayr and Ala ad'din out to the marketplace again. They passed a stall of plump fruits, including bunches of purple grapes. He could almost taste their sweet, juicy insides bursting on his tongue.

Mustapha's eyes narrowed at him. "You want those grapes, don't you?"


"Liar. Steal a big bunch of them."

Ala ad'din shook his head.

He squeezed Ala ad'din's arm so hard he yelped.

"Zuhayr, you distract the vendor while Ala ad'din steals a bunch. After you take it, Ala ad'din, put it under your shirt and walk beside me."

Ala ad'din looked at Zuhayr and nodded.

Zuhayr walked over to the vendor and started asking him a question, pointing behind him at another fruit seller.

Meanwhile, Mustapha walked Ala ad'din toward the stand. As they passed the grapes, Ala ad'din reached out and grabbed a large bunch and shoved it under his shirt, while Mustapha kept up his steady pace.

They walked around the corner into a small side street, and soon Zuhayr joined them.

"The little rat is good at our game." Mustapha laughed, throwing back his head. He reached under Ala ad'din's shirt and pulled out the grapes. "Eat some." He shoved them into Ala ad'din's face.

The boy picked a grape from the bunch and put it into his mouth. Tears flooded his eyes. Could his mother see him? Was she sad that he was stealing grapes? The grape seemed to turn bitter in his mouth as he crunched into a seed.

Mustapha laughed again, then held up the bunch of grapes and ate one right off the vine.

They ate all the grapes and left the stems on the ground. As they walked back out into the bazaar, Mustapha stopped them and pointed at a boy who was perhaps nine or ten years old. He walked with a merchant who wore a snowy-white turban studded with jewels and bright-red silk shoes that curled over the toes like the liripipe from a foreign pilgrim's hood, the ones the Christians wore on their way to Jerusalem.

The man rested his hand lovingly on the boy's shoulder. He wore the same style of clothing as his father, a miniature man dressed in fine fabrics.

"You see that boy? His father is rich. He will never have to steal. But you —" Mustapha pointed at Ala ad'din and then at Zuhayr. "You will never be like him. You have no father, and you will steal and run all your lives, wallowing in dirt and filth like rats until the Sultan's guards catch you and throw you in a hole to die. Unless you do as I say." He grabbed the front of Ala ad'din's shirt. "You're a thief, and you'll never be anything but a thief. And unless you want your hands chopped off, you cannot ever get caught. You understand?"

He let go of Ala ad'din's shirt, grabbed his arm again, and pulled him around the outskirts of the market, keeping out of sight. Day after day Ala ad'din and Zuhayr stole for Mustapha.

Other men and children resided in the large house with the dirt floor, but Ala ad'din and Zuhayr belonged to Mustapha. He took them out every day in the hot bazaar, and then one day, while they sat in a shady spot eating fried bread drizzled with honey, Mustapha suddenly slapped Zuhayr's side.

"What are you hiding there?" Mustapha roughly drew up Zuhayr's shirt. A pouch dangled on a string from the boy's shoulder. Mustapha struck Zuhayr's cheek with his open hand.

"You little rat! You were keeping back part of what you stole!

How dare you?" He slapped him again.

Zuhayr raised his arms over his face, and Mustapha took the pouch and turned away from him. Zuhayr was breathing hard, the red mark of Mustapha's hand and fingers showing on his cheek.

That night, as they lay on their thin pallets, when most of the other children were asleep, Zuhayr whispered to Ala ad'din, "When you see your chance to get away from Mustapha, run.

Find some kind people who will not beat you and stay with them."

"Have you found some people like that, Zuhayr?"

"No, but I am older. I can take care of myself. Before long I will go to another town, away from Mustapha, and live by my wits."

"Can I go with you?"

"No. You still have your baby fat. Someone will take you in, but no one wants me. Go to sleep now, before Mustapha hears us talking."

Ala ad'din was too tired to ponder long what Zuhayr had said. But then he awoke the next morning to Mustapha shouting and searching through the house.

"Where is he? Where is Zuhayr?"

The other men laughed. "Your street rat has run away from you!"

Mustapha's gaze fell on Ala ad'din. "Where is he?" "I don't know." Ala ad'din started to shake.

"You will tell me, you little rat!" Mustapha grabbed Ala ad'din's shoulder with one hand and slapped him across the face with his other.

"I don't know." A tear slid from Ala ad'din's eye.

Mustapha let go of him, drew his hands into fists, and roared with rage.

Ala ad'din knelt on the floor and covered his head with his arms.

It took Mustapha a while to stop yelling. But when he finally did, he took Ala ad'din out to the bazaar, proclaiming, "Now you'll have to steal twice as much, my little beggar." He jerked Ala ad'din's arm as they skulked around the edges of the stalls.

"There." Mustapha pointed at a Christian knight's horse and saddle. The knight's back was turned while he argued with a vendor over a price.

"Slide your hand inside that leather saddlebag." Mustapha squatted beside Ala ad'din. "I saw him drop his purse in there.

Get it. Hurry." He pushed Ala ad'din forward.

Ala ad'din approached the Christian knight's horse and saddle. He jumped up on a large bag of something hard and lumpy and stood on his tiptoes to reach into the saddlebag. He drew out a small purse, heavy with coins.


Ala ad'din jumped down and ran — right into a large belly.

Hands clamped around his arms. Ala ad'din struggled, kicking and lunging, but his skinny little body couldn't pull free.

The knight who had yelled at him to halt strode toward them, a dark scowl on his bearded face. He snatched the purse out of Ala ad'din's hand.

Ala ad'din screamed, fearing they would cut off his hand.

He knew that even if he got away, Mustapha would beat him.

The knight, who had hair the color of sand, said something, then shook his fist at Ala ad'din.

The large man holding him laughed. The rope encircling his round belly shook, but Ala ad'din concentrated on waiting for the man's grip on his arms to loosen.

When he stopped laughing, the man, who was dressed in the robes of a Christian priest, said something to the knight.

The priest bent until his face was level with Ala ad'din's. Then he spoke in a strange language Ala ad'din did not understand.

The priest seemed to be waiting for an answer, but Ala ad'din didn't give him one. Then the priest said in Arabic, "Where is your mother?"

Ala ad'din shook his head.

"You have no mother? Father?"

He shook his head again.

The knight said something in his harsh voice, his lips twisting.

"Do you have a master?" the priest asked.

Ala ad'din's gaze darted to the right, where Mustapha stood watching.

The priest and knight both followed the direction of his gaze. Mustapha turned and disappeared behind a big display of barrels full of spices and bread flour.

"Where did you get those fingerprints on your cheek?" The priest's face had sobered. "Did your master strike you?" He nodded.

The priest looked up at the knight. "We shall take him with us."

"What do you mean? He is a child, not a stray animal.

Besides, his master would slit our throats if we took his little thief."

The priest raised one eyebrow. "Are you not capable of saving us from the boy's master?"

The knight scowled, then spat on the ground.

The priest turned to Ala ad'din. "Boy, what is your name?" "Ala ad'din."

The priest tried to repeat the name, but it came out sounding like "Aladdin."

"That isn't right, but no matter. Your name shall be Aladdin, if you like it. Do you like Aladdin, boy?"

He nodded, no longer concentrating on how to get away, remembering Zuhayr's words from the night before.

"And do you wish to come with us — with Sir Meynard and me — to a place called Hagenheim, far to the north?" Aladdin gazed into the priest's kind eyes and nodded.

The priest laughed and pulled out a small loaf of bread and handed it to him, finally releasing the boy's arm from his grip.

Aladdin bit into the bread. The priest held out his hand and Aladdin took it, and they walked away from the bazaar and away from his Arab homeland.


Summer 1403 Hagenheim, Lower Saxony, Holy Roman Empire

The first time Aladdin saw Lady Kirstyn, her pale-blonde hair shone in the summer sun like the gold and yellow stained glass of Hagenheim Cathedral, reminding him of one particularly bright angel. Was this girl an angel like the one in the window?

He was still learning the language of the Christians, so when he pulled on the sleeve of the priest's long, flowing robe, he said, "Who?" and pointed at the small girl who was laughing in the sun.

The priest stared down at him with that amused look he wore nearly all the time and shook his head. Then he bent down and said softly, "She is pretty, is she not? Only about two years younger than you, I would guess. But that is the duke's daughter, Lady Kirstyn."

Many days and weeks after that, when the priest was satisfied that Aladdin had learned enough German to understand others and make himself understood, he took him back to the place where Aladdin had seen the girl angel. They stood in the grassy yard behind a large brick building where a large group of children were playing.

Priest leaned down to talk to Aladdin, and he gestured at a well-dressed woman. "That great lady there is Lady Kirstyn's mother, Lady Rose. She has invited you to come and play with the orphans every day when you finish your studies. Would you like to play with the other children?"


The next afternoon he joined the children as they played a game of blindman's bluff in the yard at the end of the street that led to Hagenheim Castle. He kept looking for the angel girl, but she was not there. In fact, several days went by before he saw her again.

That day Lady Rose was standing nearby, speaking with the woman in charge of the orphanage. Aladdin kept his eye on Lady Kirstyn as the children played. She was laughing as the other children ran forward and touched the blindfolded child on the arm or shoulder or back, then stepped back or ran away.

Finally Lady Kirstyn stepped forward, rather timidly compared to the others, and touched the blindfolded boy on the arm.

The boy, who was a head taller than her, reached out and grabbed her by the wrist.

Lady Kirstyn screamed.

Aladdin leapt toward the boy and reached him just as he was taking off his blindfold.

Aladdin grabbed the boy by the arm that held Kirstyn. "Let her go!"

The boy let her go and grabbed Aladdin by the throat, glaring down. "What do you think you're doing?" He drew back his fist.

Aladdin cringed, closing his eyes as he waited for the blow.

"Stop that!" A woman stood beside them, the white wimple that covered her steel-gray hair trembling. "Hanns, do not strike him. He doesn't know the game." She glowered at the boy, and he let go of Aladdin.

Lady Rose stood beside Aladdin and bent toward him. "All is well. It's only a game. I'm sorry no one explained it to you."

Lady Kirstyn stood beside her mother, staring at him with big blue eyes. "Are you the boy who came from the Holy Land with Priest and his knight protector?"

Aladdin stared back at her.

"What is your name?" the little girl asked. "How old are you?" "My name is Aladdin. And I don't know how old I am."

She gave him a puzzled look.

The woman in charge of the children was still speaking with Hanns. Lady Rose smiled down at Aladdin and bent toward him. "Hanns was not hurting Lady Kirstyn, but thank you for coming to her aid."


Excerpted from "The Orphan's Wish"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Melanie Dickerson.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Orphan's Wish 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well I really wanted to love this book but it just didn't happen. She is still my favorite author and I LOVE her books, but where I normally finish her books in one sitting, I walked away from this one about 20 times. Great idea for a book but bounced around /drug on.
Anonymous 4 months ago
very good did not want to put it down
bsnksmom More than 1 year ago
Melanie Dickerson's sweet re-telling of Aladdin takes the story to the kingdom of Hagenheim, and places Aladdin on the streets as a child orphaned by the death of his mother. Aladdin is rescued from a life of thievery by the local priest, and grows up learning about Jesus, and being honorable from Priest. When Priest dies, Aladdin is taken in by the Hagenheim orphanage, where he is befriended by the Duke's daughter, Lady Kirstyn. Aladdin's life, from orphan in the Holy Lands, to wealth and fame in Lunaberg, is told in twists and turns. When he excels in school, the Duke of Hagenheim places him in the position of assistant steward. This is a big step up from the orphaned thief Aladdin still sees himself as. As Aladdin's friendship with Lady Kirstyn deepens, he sees that, in order to have anything to offer her, he must go elsewhere to seek his fortune. He lands in Lunaberg after rescuing a salt merchant from bandits. He is taken in, and treated as a son by the man, whose own son turned out to be a bad seed, thieving from his father, and squandering everything he got his hands on. Lady Kirstyn never understood why her best friend had to leave her. The nearly forgotten middle child of the Duke and Duchess, Aladdin was the only person that she felt really saw her. She has no desire to marry any of the men her parents have paraded in front of her, and realizes her heart already belongs to her friend. When she is kidnapped and held for ransom, she begins to despair of ever being found. Will her parents and Aladdin keep looking for her, even when the trail goes cold? While many things about this story were taken from the Aladdin story, the story also, in many respects, resembles the biblical story of Joseph. At least, I saw some similarities between the two stories. Notably absent from the story was Genie and the lamp, but I really didn't miss them. Aladdin's strength of character shines, even as a child, when he is forced to steal by the man who took him in. His honesty has him climbing to heights he could not have otherwise reached. Fans of fairy tale re-writes will love this one. It's a good YA book as well, with strong Christian themes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ohhh, the issues I had with this book. First off, the quiet but annoyingly present whitewashing of one of my favorite childhood fables. Good lord, could this have been made any more white-bread boring?! I've been working my way through Dickerson's Hagenheim series --- the whole series meant to be re-imaginings of classic stories --- and while some of them have been just okay, some have been really enjoyable. So while I had my doubts about this one, I gave her the benefit of the doubt since the one I read before this, about a landlocked Little Mermaid, was actually a lot of fun (even though, again, I had my doubts about that one, taking a mermaid out of the water... but Dickerson made that one work, surprisingly!). Let me just say, I'm not hating on the German setting itself. I married into a German family, clearly I'm down with the culture :-) But Germany in the context of ALADDIN -- an ARABIAN fable --- nah, didn't work for me. All the magic, allure, sand, desert winds, mystical stories ... all gone here. Instead, Dickerson gives us a whiny, spoiled brat of a female lead, her family all-around serving a heaping helping of white saviour complex, and pretty much all the non-white characters have been made servants or criminals. Aladdin falls in love with Kirstyn in all her blonde-haired, blue-eyed glory. Later on, when the merchant's daughter develops an interest in him, Dickerson writes of how Aladdin finds her "pretty" with her dark hair and small mouth, but not nearly as beautiful as Kirstyn with her "pale blond hair, full lips and large blue eyes". YAWN. Aladdin has had his traditionally Muslim beliefs canceled and is now preaching the importance of strict Christian morals. There is virtually NO trace of the original story except for the use of the names Aladdin and Abu (Abu here is a small homeless child Aladdin looks after). Maybe, if you really stretch, you could liken Kirstyn's kidnapping to the time Jafar tried to keep Jasmine captive... but that's about it. Beyond that, let's talk about the writing itself: * Historical "say what now?" moments: IE. Dickerson writes, regarding Kirstyn, "She was only sixteen and marriage seemed like something far in the future." Marriage at 16 far-fetched in the 1400s? Where if you took good care of yourself, you MAYBE made it to 40?! LOL * The dialogue in general: UGH, SO MELODRAMATIC. Reminded me of silent film emoting. Not every moment of the day is that *OMG* *SWOON* *SCOWL* *GASP* * All around boring or head-knock-into-wall inducing characters: IE. Anna to her violent boyfriend: "You promise not to hit me again?"... proceeds to believe him... *eyeroll* * The same few sentiments are repeated over and over again to convince the reader that Kirstyn and Aladdin are totally headed for forever love: Mainly, 1) They love long walks in the woods and 2) They of course understand each other better than anyone else in the world. Problem is, they spend the majority of the book spending ZERO time together, sooo... Lastly, while I understand this book is published through a Christian publisher (so some religious elements are to be expected at some point), here the religious undertones were not well done (as to feel natural to the story's enviroment / set up), instead coming off much too forced. The ending scenes are especially heavy-handed. I'll continue on with the series installments, but this one was a definite disappointment.
Jennybug52 More than 1 year ago
4 stars- This is the latest story in Melanie Dickerson’s Hagenheim series. It retells the tale of Aladdin with a fresh set of eyes. The story takes the famous street rat and places him in medieval Germany. I think the author did a very nice job of making the story her own and including familiar characters in different ways. This story was clean yet full of medieval romance and drama. It would be perfect for any teenage romantic. Aladdin didn’t let the circumstances of his early life define him and he strove to be a man of integrity. Both he and Kristyn were wonderful role models for teenagers of today. The book showed how hard work is important but that caring for those around you is just as important. I wish these books had been around when I was a teenager because my hopelessly romantic self would have devoured them. There were various references to different characters that I am assuming are from other books in the series. Since I haven’t read the rest of the series I didn’t know much about these characters. This book was completely a stand alone story but if you have read the other books in the series you would probably enjoy the references. I would recommend this book to my friends with teenage daughters or even those that just like a sweet romance. I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
Great Fantasy YA Novel I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild, I was not required to give it a favorable review. This is the third book in the series and it makes you think back to the time was I was a teenager and the feelings that I had about both about myself and others around me at that age. I think young women go through so much with both the changes in themselves and those around them. I enjoyed this, I will share this with my teenage great niece like I did the two other books.
rkfall More than 1 year ago
This book is a historical fiction based on the 1400s and I thought it would be great as it was a retelling of Aladdin. I found this book to be intriguing, suspenseful, including love and loss and love with the hope of rescue. I enjoyed the details she went into in this story and it really caught my attention. It made me happy, scared and sad sometimes, with an eagerness to find out what happens next and to keep on reading. The main female character's courage was inspiring in the way of how she faced her fears. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
SemmieWise More than 1 year ago
** “And one never knows what the future holds. But I shall say no more. We will not tell God what will be, but we shall pray and ask God to guide our future, then meet it when it comes.” ** Melanie Dickerson offers another delightful medieval retelling of a classic fairytale — this time with Aladdin’s story in “The Orphan’s Wish.” Ala ad’din is rescued from the Holy Land in 1401 by a priest, who takes the young orphan boy to Hagenheim in Lower Saxony, renaming him Aladdin. The priest provides both academic and spiritual training to Aladdin, allowing him to one day grow into a fine man. After his death, though, the boy ends up in Hagenheim’s orphanage, where he meets Lady Kirstyn, the young daughter of Duke Wilhelm. As they grow older, Aladdin and Kirstyn grow closer and develop a deep friendship. As he reaches his teen years, Aladdin realizes he loves Kirstyn but fears he, a foreign orphan boy, will never be good enough for the duke’s daughter. Aladdin leaves Hagenheim to make a future for himself, meeting businessman Cedric Kaufmann who quickly takes in Aladdin, making him a partner in his business. But as the young orphan’s fortune and reputation quickly grow, and even though everything he touches seems to turn to gold, he continues to question his worth and ability to win the fair Kirstyn’s heart and her father’s approval of their love. When a dangerous and terrifying event affects Kirstyn, Aladdin quickly jumps to her rescue. Will he be able to rescue her? And will the two youngsters ever be reunited and be able to overcome their self doubts and worries to come together forever. Dickerson, as always, does a fantastic job of taking a well-known fairytale and adapting it to a different time and a different world. She offers just the right amount of romance mixed with thrills — this time with threats, kidnappings, murders and evil deeds. She also does a great job of developing her characters, even beyond the lovable Aladdin and Kirstyn. Readers will fall in love with young orphan Abu, whom Aladdin rescues; and will be intrigued by characters like Herr Kaufmann, who employs Aladdin and treats him like a son, and the orphan Anna, whose attempt at helping her just might backfire on Kirstyn. “The Orphan’s Wish” is much more than just a fun revamping of a fairytale, though. It offers up many golden lessons. It reminds us to always turn to God in times of need; the value of our scars and the lessons we can learn from them; we don’t need to fear evil; the importance of loyalty; overcoming the thought that we are never good enough; the concept of deception versus honesty; and the fact that God will bless integrity. This story is ultimately an awesome reminder of God and who He is — reminding us of God’s redemption and the peace that we can receive from Him, and that only God and His spirit can soothe a broken heart. “The Orphan’s Wish” is a fun and delightful story. Readers will also enjoy brief visits from characters of Dickerson’s other novels. Five stars out of five. Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fun take on the story of Aladdin while bringing in characters from the author's other books. I fully enjoyed it although there are darker moments in this book than some of her other books. This being said the characters felt realistic and it was a good read. I recommend it.
LucyMR1 More than 1 year ago
Melanie Dickerson has quickly made me a fan of YA and I’m loving her Fairy Tale Retellings. This retelling of Aladdin had me quickly turning pages to see what happened next. At times it had me on the edge wanting to help the characters out of situations. I loved that it started at childhood and built the relationship of Aladdin and Lady Kirstyn slowly. This story shows how God restores our brokenness if we remain faithful. I will save this for my granddaughter to read. I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction Guild. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Starting age: Fourteen Positive Elements: Aladdin take his responsibilities for Herr Kaufmann seriously; Kirstyn shows kindness and care toward orphans; Aladdin shows compassion to an orphan; Kirstyn's faith grows. Cons: Aladdin and another steal; Kirstyn disobeys her father. Spiritual Elements: Aladdin quotes 1 John 4:4b; Salvation is mentioned briefly; characters pray; Aladdin pictures Christ on the cross; Kirstyn's faith grows. Violence: Aladdin is attacked by a bear; Kirstyn is knocked unconscious by a thump on the head; a minor character is beaten by another; Kirstyn is struck; it is mentioned that whenever a minor character gets drunk, he becomes violent. Other: Two minor characters kiss; it is briefly mentioned tried to molest another; Kirstyn and Aladdin kiss. Rating: 3.5 Stars Conclusion: I want to note right off that my rating of The Orphan's Wish is my opinion only. While The Orphan's Wish seemed rushed to me, Melanie Dickerson again produced another good read. Simply, The Orphan's Wish was not my favorite, but was still an entertaining read. Again, the rating is opinion only. Don't let it stop you from picking The Orphan's Wish up!
Riv69 More than 1 year ago
I think the premise of the story is definitely interesting, however this book just didn't grab my attention. I struggles to get through the plot and I didn't find myself connecting with the characters. It's a sweet new twist on the classic Aladdin tale but I'm afraid my heart is too taken on the Disney archetype that I had trouble enjoying the story.
Riv69 More than 1 year ago
I think the premise of the story is definitely interesting, however this book just didn't grab my attention. I struggles to get through the plot and I didn't find myself connecting with the characters. It's a sweet new twist on the classic Aladdin tale but I'm afraid my heart is too taken on the Disney archetype that I had trouble enjoying the story.
ThBooklouver More than 1 year ago
I really like the way Melanie Dickerson takes a classic fairytale and transforms it into a completely independent story, and with Aladdin that's exactly what happened. In The Orphan's Wish we see an Aladdin who has a hard life, but who uses his cunning for good. Although he has insecurities and problems that he must solve, he does everything he can to be worthy. I liked his participation in this story, especially because he was a mysterious character who invited me to continue reading. The romance develops slowly because Lady Kirstyn and Aladdin belong to two different social classes and that is a big impediment. However, both characters do their part to overcome the obstacles in the best way, even if they don't always turn out the way they expect. This novel has been easy to read and very entertaining. It is the perfect company for those who seek a quick, enjoyable and full of adventures reading. -I received a book from the publisher, but this didn't influence my opinion-
MrsTina42MR More than 1 year ago
The Orphan's Wish #8 Hagenheim by Melanie Dickerson The Orphan's Wish is a lovely and fun retelling of the fairy tale Aladdin. Melanie Dickerson weaves a delightful story with a faith theme woven throughout which gives a deeper depth of the story-line and characters. There are several characters that soon made it to my favorites list and those who had evil intents that had me hoping they would be found out in time. I enjoyed the childhood adventures Aladdin and Kirstyn had and hoped they could recapture that adventurous spirit once again in adulthood. Of course, things are so different for them now than when they were children. Will these differences hinder their friendship or give them a strength to build upon? Then something tragic occurs that forces Aladdin to rethink his priorities and goals. Will he be in time to help Kirstyn before it is too late and never be able to declare his true feelings for her? Will the ordeal Kirstyn is forced into destroy her or will she find the strength she needs to keep going and believing God will provide a miracle for her? I appreciate the faith elements within the story-line and the lessons the characters learned. . .such as, to learn to lean on God and trust Him in all areas of their lives (a lesson for us all). I enjoyed the descriptive details of the era the story is set in, which brought the story to life for me. Growing up, Aladdin was never a favorite fairy tale but this retelling has changed my mind about the story. ~I received an e-book copy of this book from the publisher/author/NetGalley (no monetary gain were exchanged), this is my honest review~
bookstoregal More than 1 year ago
A sweet romance! I enjoyed this book. However, if you are looking for the story of Aladdin, as in the classics, this is not it. I was a bit disappointed in that part at first, but I got over it, and just enjoyed the story. :) I've liked most of these fairy tale re-tellings by Melanie Dickerson, though a few were a little too "mushy" for me. This one, however, was a good romance, but also had a good plot to it. Thanks Fiction Guild for the book! This was given to me in exchange for an honest review.
SeasonsofGrace More than 1 year ago
My son read this one - here's his take) Aladdin has always been my favorite movie in the Disney Princess saga and this book, though, in my opinion, not quite as good as the Disney film, is an interesting re-telling of it. Taking into consideration that I usually prefer the original to the remake or sequel, I believe this is a very good recount of Aladdin’s story. It’s not the style I’m used to in a book, but it still managed to keep me wanting to read it, and invested me in Aladdin and Kirstyn’s romance. As usually happens to me when I read a good book, I felt as if I were in the story myself. The ending felt fulfilling and I enjoyed the hints toward other books in the series. The way the different characters’ stories tie in to each other, was well written and sometimes surprising. For the first book I’ve read in this series, it was enough to get me interested in starting another of Melanie Dickerson’s books. I recommend this to all lovers of impossible romances and surprising twists. I received this book courtesy of BookLook and Thomas Nelson. All opinions are my own and I was not asked to review this book positively.
swimreadbreathe4JC More than 1 year ago
The Orphan’s Wish is written by New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson. It was published in 2018 by Thomas Nelson. The following book review contains spoilers. This newest installment in Melanie Dickerson’s fairy tale romance series puts an interesting spin on the classic story of Aladdin. The book takes place in Hagenheim, Germany, and follows the story of two young lovers. Aladdin, an orphaned Arab boy rescued from his life of poverty and stealing, falls in love with Kirsten, the daughter of Duke Wilhelm. Their love seems forbidden by the chasm of their ranks, and so Aladdin sets off to make a life and fortune for himself. But when Kirsten is kidnapped and pulled into a terrible plot, Aladdin must overcome his feelings of unworthiness and risk sacrificing everything he has built in order to save her. I’m a huge fan of Melanie Dickerson, and so of course I was on board for The Orphan’s Wish. I was pleasantly surprised with how well she formed the plot. Ms. Dickerson never ceases to amaze with the ability to put an original twist on fairy tales, and work in a Christian message while she’s at it. This book was no different, and it addressed some pretty important modern issues too. For instance, Aladdin struggles with feelings of guilt from his past, when he was forced to steal for Mustapha, his master. He sees himself through Mustapha’s eyes and battles with self-rejection as a result. This is a perspective he is forced to overcome. Another serious problem that was displayed was abusive relationships. Two of Kirsten’s captors, Anna and Michael, are dating. However, Michael is both verbally and physically abusive to Anna. The story shows her being continually hurt by him, and yet still going back to the unhealthy relationship because she has nowhere else to go. This, tragically, is a concern that is all too common, and I appreciate that the author did not turn a blind eye to social problems in favor of a happy-go-lucky story. That being said, I would not recommend the book to younger audiences because of the mature issues addressed, but ages thirteen and up should be fine. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am anxiously anticipating the next one. Thank you to the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild, as well as Net Galley, for providing a copy of this book for me to review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
Phyllis_H More than 1 year ago
The Orphan's Wish by Melanie Dickerson Could this orphan ever be good enough for the duke's daughter? My rating is 4.5 stars Aladdin felt compelled to be perfect. He remembered the sins of his youth with shame and felt he had to somehow be perfect to atone for them. He loved Lady Kristyn from the first time he saw her and didn’t think he was good enough to aspire to her hand. These were such strong motivations for him, driving him to excel in all he did and to leave Haggenheim to seek his fortune. My heart went out to Aladdin when his mother died and he found himself destitute at the age of 5. The shame he felt over the thieving he had been forced to do until he was rescued by Priest and brought to Germany to live followed him throughout his life. I loved his strong protective nature towards Lady Kristyn. . . It was interesting to see the way Aladdin viewed himself, flawed and insignificant, compared to the way others saw him, perfect and able to succeed at anything he put his hand to. I think we often do this very same thing, look at ourselves through the veil of our sins and not through the new life and forgiveness which comes through Christ. I appreciated the way author Melanie Dickerson brought Aladdin to the place where he was able to see his worth in Christ in such a sensitive and compassionate way. Lady Kristyn is a younger daughter and often feels invisible. Her dad even forgot her birthday one year. Granted, he was dealing with a serious situation, but what young girl wants to have such an important day overlooked? The one person she always knew who heard her was Aladdin. From the time they were young, he had been her dearest friend and her champion. He even bore scars as a reminder of the time he almost lost his life to save hers. Anyone who has struggled with feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy or invisibility will be able to relate to her. While some aspects of the story were anticipated, there were also a number of unexpected twists. One of the characters made me mad when he betrayed Aladdin unexpectedly, however it fit and needed to happen. I do wish more details would have been given about the situation with the merchant in Hagenheim. and its resolution Yes, it was obvious that it was resolved, but it felt like something more should have been said about it. I have enjoyed all the books in this series I have read (I missed one somehow!) I appreciate the way the author integrates her faith so naturally into the lives of the characters. I also like the way she tells the stories in the time and place I picture the original fairy tales to have taken place and yet writes them as “regular” stories without magic and fairies. Melanie Dickerson is one of the authors on my “if the book is by her it is worth reading” list. Read the full review of The Orphan's Wish by Melanie Dickerson with a Preview at I would like to thank JustRead Tours for giving me a copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Melanie Dickerson's new vision of the Aladdin's story in The Orphan's Wish. This eighth installment from the Hagenheim series was wonderful! I love how Aladdin and Kirstyn interacted with one another. I would give The Orphan’s Wish 4 ½ stars and recommend it. Melanie Dickerson fans will not be disappointed. Great read!
JCMorrows More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with Melanie's books years ago in an intriguing twist of fate that can only be described as a situation where truth is stranger than fiction. This is just a mother in a long Line of amazing fairy tales written without magic or any actual fairies. REAL people live out AMAZING adventures in these true-to-life Historical Happily Ever Afters!
JoyGirl16 More than 1 year ago
About a year ago I discovered how much I loved Melanie Dickerson’s books. After I read the first book in this series, I went and found all her books and read them. I have loved all of her books so when The Orphan’s Wish became available, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! This book did not disappoint! I actually had not read anything about it before I started reading it so it wasn’t until I was a couple chapters in that I realized it was based on Aladdin’s story. Both Aladdin and Lady Kirstyn have wishes in this story. They are both wishing for something that may not be considered acceptable in that day and age. She comes from a wealthy and powerful family. He grew up in an orphanage. Their worlds are miles apart, yet they desire to be together and will do whatever it takes to be there for each other and take care of each other. I love the friendship you see between the two friends and how they grow to love each other even more. You will enjoy The Orphan’s Wish! Be sure to check out all of Melanie Dickerson’s other books, too! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Abold24 More than 1 year ago
This book is a historical romance that is based on the fairy tale about Aladdin. I have read Ms. Dickerson’s books before, but none of her books based on fairy tales. This book was different than her Regency Spy series. The genre of this book is romance. The tale is about Aladdin and Kirstyn which begins during their childhood and continues to adulthood. Throughout the book, both characters reveal their faith in God and how they rely on Him through everything. The inspirational parts of the book is another reason I enjoy reading Ms. Dickerson. This book provides an interesting twist to the story of Aladdin if you enjoy the classic fairy tales. If you enjoy historical romance books, you will enjoy this book. I recommend you read this book. ***I was given a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review. This is my honest opinion. Even though I received this copy free, I have purchased her books before.
mrskbookstogo More than 1 year ago
Aladdin's story-line weaves a reader's emotions in and out of bear attacks, jealous heirs, kidnappings, and killings. Those characters which will tug at your heart will know a victory that is priceless. Those characters of whom ill-got-gains is their "soul" focus will be held accountable. Melanie's "gifted" talent for re-telling our most beloved tales continues to enthrall, captivate, and endear her readers. These novels are crafted for the generations of readers beyond our place in time! MrsK