Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson

The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson

Annabelle has grown up the daughter of a freeman. Her family has always been privileged and was able to buy their way out of fieldwork for their overlord. Things took a turn for the worse when her father died in the pestilence and his ships sank along with their fortune. To preserve their way of life and pay off their debt her brothers want her to marry her father’s friend Bailiff Tom.  She has always thought of him as just a family friend, but the way he looks at her now is full of lechery. Annabelle doesn’t want to marry him or any man for that matter. Her greatest wish is to become a nun and serve God.  Indentured servitude for three years to the new overlord, Lord Ranulf le Wyse, will pay off her family’s debt.  She thought she had escaped Bailiff Tom’s unwanted advances, but he just becomes more persistent.  Servitude isn’t as bad as Annabelle had thought it would be. She is able to show the village that she is more than a spoiled girl; she has a kind heart and a good work ethic. During her nightly readings of the Holy Writ to Lord Ranulf Annabelle discovers a new love for God and possibly deeper feelings for her employer.  Tragedy strikes and Annabelle is forced to make tough decisions that have the potential to be deadly. Will her new found love for God and a chance at a life with Lord Ranulf survive?

Lord Ranulf le Wyse has been burned and betrayed by his beautiful wife; the one woman he should have been able to count on.  Moving to the country was supposed to give him respite and peace from the tragedies he has endured. He never expected to meet Annabelle; a woman who is as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. Through her he rekindles his relationship with God and learns that a future with a loving and caring woman might be worth the risk. The problem is he can’t imagine how anyone could ever love a man as disfigured as him.  Annabelle finds herself in trouble and he will do almost anything to protect the woman he has grown to care for. The question is, “How far will he go to keep her safe?”

The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson was unusual. The book didn’t grab my attention at first. The time period and the fact that it is a Christian novel isn’t something I encounter often,  but I enjoyed this change of pace.  The religious elements were not forced and flowed naturally with the book and the progression of the characters. I have to admit that I liked the religious twist on this Beauty and the Beast tale.  One of the things I found irritating was the historical inaccuracies or improbability of things happening.  I have to admit that my degree is in history so I might be a bit biased. Now, let’s get down to the actual story.  Ranulf was an ok character. He was more believable than most. I liked his imperfections and his progression throughout the story. Annabelle on the other hand, well let’s just say I didn’t like her. I found her to be too perfect, too beautiful, too sweet …just a little too everything. The fact that so many men were drawn to her and her insistence on not wanting anyone was a little off putting. I like a good love triangle as much as the next person, but a love quadrangle? Not so much. Last but not least, I couldn’t get over her “wishy washyness” .  She had enough fortitude to ask the priest to borrow his Bible in 1352, but was afraid of what people thought about her? It just didn’t mix. I am struggling between a 2 ½ rating and a 3. In this case I will give the author the benefit of the doubt. I give this book a 3 STAR rating.
***The Merchant's Daughter Extras***
The Mercahnt's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson has approximately 288 pages and was published on November 29, 2011 by Zondervan.

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