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.
Beauty and the Beast is the quintessential fairytale retelling. I love exploring all the different ways the story can be told, and The Merchant’s Daughter was no different.
Dickerson did her work in this historical retelling of the famous love story. I easily saw myself in this time period in history and could picture the world that Annabelle lived. She always dreamed of moving to a convent and reading the bible. She loved God and lived in a world where almost no one (besides the wealthy), sometimes even the priest, had access to a bible. Her plans were thrown to the wind when her brothers tried to force her to marry a man she didn’t want to marry, and in order to save herself and her family, she offers to be an indentured to pay her family’s debt. I liked her determination, and I loved how much faith she had in herself and in God. She was passionate for what she believed in, and she didn’t let her horrible circumstances make her bitter. Even when the whole town turned against her, when the only support she had was from her mistress and Lord, she stayed positive and chose to see the bright side.
The romance between Lord Ranulf burned slowly in the best way. The emotionally and physically wounded Lord had an interesting story, and the more I learned about him, the more I loved him. Dickerson did a great job of creating a new and unique story for him, and he and Annabelle complimented each other so well. His morose backstory made me want him to have his happily-ever-after even more. The story was told in third person, but he didn’t have a “voice” until later in the story. It allowed me to get to know him through Annabelle’s eyes first. When I started to learn more about him, the piece of his life started to fit in place.
Audiobooks are one of my greatest pleasures, and I love listening to Melanie Dickerson’s work. I can’t wait to see what other fairytales she explores and the unique story that she weaves through the well-known tales. As you’ve seen from my reviews lately, I’m a huge fan of Dickerson now and can’t wait to read more.