I picked up The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson on Lisa’s recommendation.
It’s the story of Annabel Chapman in the England of 1352, whose merchant father has died and whose proud family refuses the duty of every villager to work in the lord’s fields. As punishment, someone from her family is required to be his servant for three years, and Annabel offers herself for that position.
Lord Ranulf le Wyse is said to have a very short temper and to have some sort of deformity, making him repulsive to look upon and frightening to Annabel, but she soon discovers a different side to him.
Meanwhile, the bailiff, old enough to be her father and disgusting, has set his sights on her. Unfortunately, her duties at the lord’s house bring her into more contact with him, and even worse, her brother has given the man permission to pursue her.
Annabel feels the only way to both escape the bailiff and have access to the Bible she longs to read for herself is to escape to a nunnery as soon as her servitude is over, but when the opportunity arises, she questions that desire.
This story is based loosely on Beauty and the Beast, so of course I knew where it was ultimately going, but that was actually fun, to see how it corresponded to the fairy tale. It is a realistic retelling, though – no magic wands or spells – but I enjoyed that.
Probably my favorite parts involved Annabel being asked to read the Bible to Lord le Wyse since she is one of the few people in his household who can read Latin. Reading the Bible for herself (not everyone had one: even the local priest did not) has been one of her lifelong desires, and it’s a joy to watch her pore over it and discover its treasures for herself, stopping in her reading to ponder what it says.
This book was a pleasant companion on a recent “sick day,” and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to checking out Melanie’s other books.
Here’s the book trailer for The Merchant’s Daughter:
Updated: I just discovered that the Kindle edition of this book is on sale for a limited time at $2.99. You don’t have to have a Kindle to get deals on Kindle books: they have apps for computer, tablets, and phones.
When I saw this book advertised, I didn’t buy it because of the “Beauty and the Beast” analogy. I am thankful for your review, since it makes me reconsider. :o) It sounds very interesting!
I’m glad you liked the book, Barbara. I thought it was a sweet retelling, too, even though we did figure out what the ending would be. 🙂 Melanie did a great job weaving in scripture without coming across as preachy.
Sounds a fun book to read. I will have to check it out at my local library.
I must be behind the times. I have never have seen a book trailer. Thanks for highlighting this one. Sounds interesting.
I like the Beauty and the beast story so this sounds very interesting.
I’ve heard good things about Melanie Dickerson’s books. I should read this. I would check out the kindle deal, but I have a bad habit of buying those deals and then letting the books sit on my ipad and never reading them.
Pingback: What’s on Your Nightstand: June 2013 | Stray Thoughts
Sounds good! I’m off to see if the Kindle deal is still on.
It is, so I bought it. Thanks, Barbara!
I have read SO many good things about this book! Lovely review!
Pingback: What’s On Your Nightstand: October 2013 | Stray Thoughts
Pingback: Book Review: The Healer’s Apprentice | Stray Thoughts
Pingback: Books Read in 2013 | Stray Thoughts
Pingback: My Top Ten Books Read in 2013 | Stray Thoughts
Pingback: Book Review: The Fairest Beauty | Stray Thoughts
Pingback: Book Review: The Golden Braid | Stray Thoughts
Pingback: Book Review: The Silent Songbird | Stray Thoughts