Melanie Dickerson is back with another spellbinding novel inspired by the classic tale about Beauty and the Beast. And here I am, finding myself falling in love with Melanie's distinctly simple but utterly fascinating writing style.
Title: The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson
Release Date: November 29th 2011
Published by: Zondervan
Source: Publicist (thanks Charleen!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
Summary (from Goodreads):
An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice. Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf's bailiff---a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past.Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff's vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf's future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.
Annabel's family used to be wealthy, but when her father died, they were instantly impoverished. But with a stubborn mother and two older brothers whose pride and laziness resulted into debts and not helping the village do their share of work for three years, they were in trouble. They were given a choice, pay for the fines or be a servant to the new Lord of their village, Lord Ranulf. All Annabel wants is to become a nun and have a chance to study the Holy Scripture, but they do not have the money to pay for the fine, and she certainly would not marry the sleazy bailiff who will only pay for her debts, not her family's. As Annabel spends her days alongside the seemingly terrifying Ranulf, her perception of him slowly changes as she gets to know the real Ranulf. Will Annabel be able to heal the wounds, pain and grief Ranulf had experience and show him how wonderful he is?
Melanie Dickerson has brought to life a realistic, historical novel about one man, pure-hearted but forever scarred by a lot of painful events in his life, and a girl, innocent and with a faith strong enough to let her pull through some of life's hardships thrown her way. Annabel is the only one on her family who seems to know how to do the right thing. She grew up educated, and a life of hard labor is difficult for her yet she is doing it on her own volition to help her family. Throughout the course of the book, I still haven't made up my mind if the sacrifices she has done is deserving of her family. At times, her kindness often gets her into trouble, and at times you see a flash of a girl who stands up against injustice whenever needed. Ranulf is an embittered man who has seen enough cruelty and treachery early in his life that left him cynical and suspicious of women. The injuries he has sustained has transformed him into a man feared by many, yet deep down he is an honorable man who deserves to get a chance to be happy in life. Annabel sees this and as they spend more time together, one gradually becoming accustomed to life serving the other, and the other gradually learning to trust someone enough to let her see him for what he truly is, it was a start of a heart warming love story.
Faith has played a big role in this story. It is an important part of the story as much as the rest of it. Annabel thought she cannot love another person and has wanted to devote her time knowing God, and Ranulf, no matter how jaded he has become, still believes that God has something in store for him. But he did not believe for a second that something as wonderful as getting a second chance in life and love will be given to him.
It's a lot more enjoyable for me to read this book than The Healer's Apprentice, mostly because I think the author took more time into developing not just the romance between the characters, but their personalities and back stories as well. The Merchant's Daughter will also appeal to a wider audience, older YA fans, given the age of Ranulf and Annabel. Unlike The Healer's Apprentice, magic is not necessary in The Merchant's Daughter. Just faith, and unwavering love and belief and acceptance. Annabel and Ranulf are a great example of how unconventional love can be, one between a lord and a mere servant, how it can conquer classes and how one's appearance is not necessarily a reflection of one's character.
The Merchant's Daughter weaves in the familiar elements in the story of Beauty and the Beast, the lovely household things inside Beast's castle were transformed into trusted friends for Annabel like Adam, Mistress Euchsia and Adam's father. True to the fairytale that inspired this book, it features a villain that will make you think just how vile one person can be. The Merchant's Daughter is a fairytale reinvented to a real life love story. It's a story you will grow to love as you know more about the characters, reading about them from page to page.
I read this book in one sitting. It's an utterly engrossing, captivating love story I couldn't get enough of. Melanie Dickerson has done it again! Another wonderful masterpiece from an author who turns fairy tales into stories we can relate to.
Content (plot, story flow, character):
Content (plot, story flow, character):
Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!
I love her dress!
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.