The Merchant's Daugher by Melanie Dickerson

The Merchant's Daughter
by Melanie Dickerson
Publishier: Zondervan
Published November 29th 2011
ISBN: 0310727618 (ISBN13: 9780310727613)

Review courtesy of netGalley

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

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.


My Thoughts:

The Merchant's Daughter is a re-working of the traditional fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. It has many elements of the beloved tale, "beauty", the daughter of a merchant eventually who loses all of his wealth at sea and "the beast", a man who is disfigured with a nasty temper.

Only after I started reading this book that I found it to be a Christian YA book. I was pleasantly surprised how well it was written and I did not feel like I was subliminally preached at. There were some quotes from the Bible but I felt they were all were relevant to the telling of the story. 

The Merchant's Daughter is a beautiful tale of a young woman searching to find where see belongs. Annabel longs of entering the convent, so she could have access to the Bible and know all that God had spoken ends, 
but her family has no money, and without money an abbey would not accept her. With the family being in debt, they expect Annabel to marry to save them, in fact her older brother has already arranged a marriage to a "old" family friend, in exchange for paying off the family debts. Annabel is against marrying the "vile" Baliff Tom, she instead offered herself as servant to Lord Ranulf le Wyse.

Ranulf was not only wounded on the outside, but he was wounded inside as well, he didn't trust women, especially beautiful women he'd learned that lesson well from his first wife. He has been a recluse, he came to Glynval to forget; to forget women, to forget his past, and enjoy the quiet, soothing life of the country. But there was no joy for him, a wounded beast of a man.

With daily interaction with Lord Ranulf, Annabel found his bark was worst than his bite. He may have an awful temper but Annabel learned to soothe "the beast". And with a one simple request, Ranulf was able to fulfill Annabel's dream, when he asked her to read from the Bible. The scene when she first touch the Bible was touching..

Reverently, he laid the huge book in her lap. Her hands trembled as she stared at the book. One hand fluttered down and gingerly touched the cover. She began to breathe so fast she feared she would faint. It was a Holy Bible. Tears blurred her vision as she looked up at him. “Thank you, my lord. I — ” Her voice cracked and a tear slid down both cheeks. Mortified, she wiped the tears away with the corner of her apron as quickly as she could. “I’m so sorry. Forgive me.” Lord le Wyse actually owned a Bible and was allowing her to read it!
 And in time, their love blossoms, growing more fuller and more beautiful every day. It wasn't rushed, I like the way that each day they both became more aware of their feelings for each other.

“Thank you for showing that you do love me.”

"O God, I can hardly believe Annabel is mine, a gift beyond what I deserve. You are so good, God. You truly do love your children. Forgive me for doubting it. All the painful memories are nothing compared to the surpassing joy I feel at this moment."
"Your scars only make you dearer to me, reminding me of what a hero you are. My eyes behold the most handsome man in the world. I love you. Please say you love me too". Her voice broke.

There were many secondary characters that added depth to the characters and to the storyline.  I wish there was more closer for Stephen and Gilbert, and I wanted to know what ever happened to Dilly, the goat.

The ending was very touching; I loved the part when they finally admitted their feelings to one another, it was sweet and touching. This was a beautifully written story and I think it will appeal to more than the just the YA and Christian readers, it was a light romance book with a HEA!! Who could ask for more!

I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:  


Melanie Dickerson is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Her novel has been a finalist seven times in RWA-sponsored contests, including winning the 2007 Fiction from the Heartland Contest over all categories. Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on the web at her website.


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