Title: The Merchant’s Daughter
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Ebook – Netgalley
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 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 le Wyse. 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.
This book was surprisingly good. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, and I’m very glad I was given the opportunity to read it. The historical aspect of the story was great – I loved the medieval feudal system going on, and the setting in old England was a nice touch. There was no electricity, horses (yay), and tons of gossip and corruption (ooh la la). I found it even more entertaining because I my English class just started going over The Canturbury Tales, and I felt more intrigued about book once I could make that connection (I happen to love my English class). The cover is amazing – the mirror, the fire in the background, but especially the simplicity yet beauty of the girl!
Also, the religious aspect of it was intriguing, too. The idea that a girl would choose to become a nun because of a lecher who continues to stalk her? Not surprising. But to go just to be able to read the Bible is an interesting idea. I loved how Annabel had to struggle with herself over what was important – God, etiquette, love, or her family and the rest of society. Her ultimate decisions showed a lot of growth and understanding that she gained along the way. She became a great protaganist as she became more sure of herself and her words and actions.
The romantic parts of the book? Love! If I had to pick a man from medieval times for a husband, Lord Ranulf is definitely my pick. He himself struggles with his bitterness and newfound love, as well as his relationship with God, as his personal growth intensifies, especially when he meets Annabel. The two of them test each other through out the book, not in an antagonistic way, but in a religious way, almost. They fight their human urges to do what’s right – respect the feudal system, the church, and propriety instead of their instincts. However, all of their mistakes allow them as people and characters to become real.
The ending was sweet. All the conflict – the suspense, the distrust and suspicion, all the difficult desisions – in the book basically allowed the reader to sigh in relief and happiness at the end. It wasn’t exactly a happily ever after, but everything came together and I enjoyed it. My one complaint is Annabel’s family – in short, they are despicable, and I’m so happy that Annabel didn’t have to deal with them anymore after the first few chapters.