Friday, June 29, 2012

Book Review: The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson

Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series or Stand-alone: 
             Stand Alone
How I got it:
             ARC courtesy of Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Zondervan
Genre: Young Adult / Christian
First Published: November 29th 2011
Buy it from: Amazon
                   Barnes & Noble

FIRST LINE(S): "Annabel sat in the kitchen shelling peas into a kettle at her feet."

The GIST (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


“The Merchant’s Daughter” follows the story of Annabel, a daughter of a…wait for it…yes merchant, whose family has hit hard times after her father’s death. Annabel’s family is responsible to make up their accumulating debt by working in the fields with the other townspeople but they refused because they were either A. Too lazy or B. Too proud. And that worked fine with a corrupt former lord, but with a new lord coming to town, they finally have to pay up or do their fair share of work.

There is a compromise though: Annabel’s family will not have to work as much if one family member dedicates three years of their life to working for the new lord who is rumored to be hideous: eye patch, scars, strange clawed arm. He also has an equally terrible temper to match. His name is Ranulf le Wyse and he is THE BEAST.

Annabel is sweet, innocent, nice and beautiful and, thus, she is THE BEAUTY. So you see this is a retelling (sort of) of the classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast. Annabel and Ranulf do not initially get along but as the story progresses; they begin to fall in love. Bet you didn’t see that coming did you!

Their love grows over their nightly readings of the Bible. Annabel always wanted to join the convent but she never had a Bible to read from. Although I usually don’t read Christian fiction, it wasn’t a large part of the story and I liked how they started to like each other based on mutual morals and beliefs. A lot a lot a lot a lot of fiction couples these days don’t really have a core reason to like each other so I enjoyed that.

Though I liked Ranulf’s and Annabel’s relationship, Annabel was a little flat for me. She was just too perfect. Also, I couldn’t understand how, if she didn’t want to be thought of as inept and lazy by the townspeople, she hadn’t just been working all along. It made her seem wishy washy for someone who was so concrete in her morals and beliefs.

Oh OH OHHHH yeah I almost forgot this thing that bothered me the most. Ranulf constantly thought that no beautiful woman could ever love someone as disfigured as he was. I felt like he would never be content unless he was loved by a beautiful woman and it got me angry. He was disfigured and horribly scarred yet he was always looking at a woman’s outer appearance. What if Annabel wasn’t “flawless” as he calls her multiple times? What if she were plain or ugly? Would he have been as attracted to her or as appreciative of her loving him? It’s hard to say which diminished the glow of their love story for me.

The ending seemed to work out too perfectly with everything just rounding out in strange ways. Almost like the author just got tired of writing so she just didn't put an imagination into how things would work out.


It was a decent read and well-plotted. Though it had issues with the characters, I liked the romance. I would recommend it to someone who likes period romances.---7 out of 10.