Merchant’s Daughter / by Melanie Dickerson. 7.7.2013

Zondervan (December 6, 2011), ISBN 978-0310727613
HS (Adult)  Rating: 5

Melanie Dickerson returns with an inspired retelling of the Beauty and the Beast tale to delight teen and adult readers.

In The Merchant’s Daughter, Annabel Chapman, a wealthy merchant’s daughter, finds her life dramatically changed when her father dies, leaving the family in debt. Her mother and brothers defiantly ignore an order to pay their debt. They pressure Annabel to marry Baliff Tom so they avoid working; otherwise, one of them must work as an indentured servant to Lord Ranulf le Wyse. Lord Ranulf is known for his beastly temper, making the villagers afraid of him. Annabel would rather work for him than marry the baliff. While the baliff continues to make advances toward her when he dines with Ranulf, Annabel is able to see past Ranulf’s harsh exterior that hides his physical and emotional scars. Ranulf, scarred from a wolf attack, is embittered by memories of an unfaithful wife, now dead.

The faith element is evident but not overpowering. Annabel wonders why God has allowed her to be in this situation. She longs to read the Bible, but the local priest rebukes her when she asks to borrow a Bible to read. When Ranulf wants someone to read aloud to him, Annabel is the only servant able to do so. Imagine her surprise when he wants her to read the Bible! Discussing the passages she reads draws them closer to one another and to God.

Dickerson continues to grow as a writer, as she creates an exquisite medieval setting for this historical romance. Her characters are well-thought out and her plot tightly woven. Though one knows the story will probably end happily ever after, the reader is caught up in in the story as it unfolds.

The Merchant’s Daughter, winner of the 2012 Carol Award, was also a 2012 Christy Award finalist.

Carol R. Gehringer ,

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