Monday, December 12, 2011

The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson

An Unthinkable Danger. An Unexpected Choice.

Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf le Wyse, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of the lord'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 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 le Wyse. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave dander. 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. 


I love fairy tales. Melanie writes with the age old story as the background to her books but takes us on a whole new adventure. Instead of the magic of the old story she puts it into a real life situation and the "magic" of Jesus' love for us. The Merchant's Daughter is based on the tale of Beauty and the Beast. That is one of my favorite stories from childhood. I love the lesson to look at what is on the inside of a person instead of what we can see on the outside. True beauty goes far deeper. 

Annabel is a beautiful young woman who seeks the Lord with all of her heart. She longs to read the written Word so she can know what God wants to tell her. The local priest only shouts how evil women are and doesn't teach about the love that God has for people. But she knows there must be more, she feels it in her heart. 

Ranulf is a bitter man because of his past but is not a cruel man. He shows fairness and compassion along with the gruff exterior that comes out with each word he speaks. It doesn't help that people have made up stories of horror about him and places fear into the peoples hearts. He is a man who knows the Lord and as he spends time with Annabel those barriers that he has placed between himself and God begin to fall away. Healing begins.

It was very interesting to see how the church and the judicial system worked back then. Most of the time we get to see the local church leader as a kind elderly man who teaches about God's love and forgiveness. In this one we see that not all church leaders had the right of the Bible and didn't always preach a happy message. This one preaches only of damnation and evil. A lot of them didn't have the written Word to study for themselves, either.  That should make us so thankful for the access we have to the Word in many different forms today. 

This is a great book for any age, even preteens and teens. It is extremely well written. If you are looking for a book for your youth book club, look no farther. This is one you need to add to your reading list. It is also a great book to give some lucky young girl for Christmas (or some lucky woman who is young at heart). 

What is your favorite fairy tale? Share it with me and tell me why it is your favorite. 


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The Healer's Apprentice: Available Now

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  1. This book would definitely make a good read for youth book clubs. After completing it, I wanted to ask my youth leader to buy it before I remembered that we don't have a youth library in church anymore! :D

    I love all fairy tales. It's difficult to pin-point a fairy tale that I most like, but if I have to, I'd say Cinderella. The story a mistreated heroine always pulls on heartstrings.

  2. Yes, I have been thinking the same thing for our youth girls at church! You might just talk to some of the youth teachers and see if they want to get a book club going and suggest this one, like I want to do.

    I love that she does fairy tales! I think she might write a Cinderella story down the road. It is one of my favorites, too! So far she has done Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Maybe she will do all the fairy tales!

  3. My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast too! (I've been know to watch the Disney version 6 times in one week!) Like you said, I like how the story focuses on the characters seeing what's on the inside rather than what's on the out. The two main characters also get to know each other as friends before they fall in love, which I believe is vastly different than the other fairy tales.

    My favorite character is the Beast because he's such a dynamic person and grows so much throughout the story, like Lord Ranulf's character. I like how Melanie Dickerson made Annabel's character a bit more complex than the average Beauty, with her struggles, dreams, and the twist where she views her beauty as a curse.

    Whew! I wrote alot! haha, but great review and question!

  4. Thanks for the review, Terri! I found the church situation interesting too. And sad that the priest would not even have a bible. We are so blessed to be able to have our own these days.

    As a kid, Snow White was always my favorite. Maybe it was because it was the first animated movie that I saw in the theater, and my daddy took us to see it, so that was also special. But I also remember telling myself as a teen that "Someday my prince would come." LOL

    As a grown up, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite. I love Belle's character. I love that she is a strong, confident girl and that she loved the Beast for who he was inside, not what he looked like on the outside.


    PS. Melanie is writing BOTH a Snow White story and a Cinderella one. So hopefully we'll see those stories soon!

  5. Terri, thanks for the comment on my blog (thankfully, it looks like I've fixed the commenting problem! Yay!).

    I Looooove your blog, girl! Orange is my favorite color! :)

    Oh, I'm so excited to know that Melanie is writing both of those fairy-tale stories! I'm very eager to read her next book(s)! :)

  6. My favorite fairytale is most definitely Beauty and the Beast...thus why I have been waiting so impatiently and eagerly for The Merchant's Daughter to come out! :-D

    Nice review!

  7. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales. Jill, it's great to hear that Snow White and Cinderella are in the works! One of my favorite fairytale retelling authors is Cameron Dokey. Thanks to her I also like Rapunzel, Mulan, Scherazade, and the Magic Flute.