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, 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.
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Publication Date: November 29th, 2011
Publisher: Zonderman
Country: United States
ISBN: 0310727618 
Original Language: English
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Fairytale/Religious
Source: NetGalley ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon
Lootability: There's room but keep looking

The Merchant's Daughter is the second book by the lovely Melanie Dickerson which unravels as a delightfully, and regretfully magic free, retelling of de Villeneuve's Beauty and the Beast.
The story establishes early on that Annabel, the youngest child of a well-to-do family run aground after her fathers death, doesn't welcome the embrace of a man; but the coming of a new Lord to their village will change her simple life completely.

What I Liked: Poor old Annabel is a sweetheart. She's sweet, naive, mostly capable and compassionate - everything a good damsel in distress should be. Her sweetness makes her the perfect marriage prospect as more than one man in her life seems to think.
Lord Ranulf is the perfect beast, he is disgruntled, honest and has a roaring temper while deep down there is a vulnerable man looking for someone to love him.
The story is easy, a little predictable, but it is a lovely sit down, and don't think too hard about where this is going story.

What I didn't like: The religion. Annabel's desperate determination to join a nunnery, hide away from the lusts of man and get a chance to read the bible. It all smacked of one-dimensionalism, there wasn't a lot more to Annabel's character beyond her piousness and her growing affection for Lord Ranulf. I needed more from her character, just as I needed more from Lord Ranulf than the stereotypical scorn man who detests woman flesh. I dealt with it though because the story was buoyed by a sense of self that Annabel found within the pages of the bible, and that I can understand better.
The other problem was Maud...she was angry, she was vengeful, she was...gone. After things were resolved (by God) with Tom the bailiff, in a very anticlimatic way, shouldn't Maud have been even more set on revenge? But she just disappears suddenly and doesn't come back.
There's room for it but keep looking
 If you enjoy The Merchant's Daughter, Melanie Dickerson has written another novel, The Healer's Apprentice which looks worth checking out.


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