About the book:
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.
The Merchant's Daughter was a compelling read that had a creative twist on the infamous fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. I fell in love with the characters. The intro of the family situation that led to her being an indentured servant was a bit tedious, but once she entered the service of Lord Ranulf, the pacing picked up and I was enthralled with the story until I finished the last page. I read this novel quickly, but not because it was a simple story. I loved the depth of emotion and the character arc. I wanted to smack bailiff Tom for being such a slimy jerk and for causing so much trouble for everyone. I felt Annabelle's frustration as she could not do much about it without causing more difficulty for herself and others. Thankfully Lord Ranulf was a decent man who protected his servants.
I felt Lord Ranulf's pain from his past and loved when the author placed the reader in his point of view. I enjoyed watching him go from gruff and defensive, to softening as she read the Holy Writ to him. Once again, Melanie Dickerson shows the reader how beautiful a person's tender spirit is, and how that can soften even the hardest of hearts. Annabelle wasn't just comely on the outside, which, as she said, caused her more trouble than anything else. Lord Ranulf wanted to judge her as shallow because she was beautiful, but he learned that for some women beauty is truly more than skin deep. Annabelle was a wonderful heroine with a precious personality. She wasn't a wimp, though. She was a fighter, but she did everything with dignity. She exemplified a beautiful spirit as her faith grew from reading the Bible. She protected those she loved.
My heart was gladdened when Annabelle realized that she had feelings of love for Lord Ranulf, and they were good rather than something to be afraid of. I thought that was well done. I loved how they both concluded that they must tell the truth. I didn't feel like the communication was contrived at all, nor did their relationship feel forced. It developed naturally and in a way that made my heart warm. And those kisses were well worth the wait! This would be a great book for teens to show them that beauty isn't recognized by a good man through flirting or enticing ways, but depth of spirit and character. A soft spoken woman with honor and integrity will attract a good man more than any of the things the world says will draw the attention of men--at least not the kind of attention most woman want--which is the kind resulting in love. This story does a great job of illustrating true beauty. Loved this novel!
The Merchant's Daughter was published by Zondervan and released in Nov. 2011. Oh, and right now you can get the e-book on CBD and on Amazon kindle for only $1.99!