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The Merchant's Daughter

The Merchant's Daughter

4.4 124
by Melanie Dickerson

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist Review
'True, readers will peg the happy ending at the start, but the progression of Annabel’s honorable love affair will have the rapt attention of Christian-fiction fans.' - Courtney Jones, Booklist Review
Children's Literature - Karen McCoy
Due to her merchant father's untimely death, Annabel and her family are thrust into near poverty. Annabel has been diligent in doing her share of the work, but would rather join a convent and pursue nobler aspirations than her mother and brothers intend for her. Her family's unwillingness to do their share of the farming worsens their circumstances, leading to judgment in 1352 Glynval, England. To save her family, Annabel is forced into a difficult choice—between marrying the repugnant Bailiff Tom, or servitude to Lord le Wyse, an intimidating, scarred man shrouded in mystery. To avoid Tom, she goes to work for Lord le Wyse, and soon finds a kind, gentle man behind his gruff exterior. They begin to find solace together, particularly when she reads the Bible to him every evening. But unwelcome advances from Bailiff Tom and his inscrutable daughter Maud lead to a confrontation that leaves Tom unconscious—with Annabel and Lord le Wyse implicated in the crime. Lord le Wyse arranges for Annabel to be sent to the abbey—what he believes is her wish—but growing feelings between them lead Annabel to question whether a life in a convent is her true destiny. Historically accurate, with Christian overtones, the point-of-view shifts between Annabel and Lord le Wyse somewhat lower the level of suspense. But vivid descriptions allow the author to explore injustices based on appearance, and demonstrate how inner beauty can conquer all. Fans of Dickerson's first novel, The Healer's Apprentice, are sure to enjoy this story as well, but certain school curricula may be hesitant to explore the religious content. Reviewer: Karen McCoy
Library Journal
Dickerson's second novel (after The Healer's Apprentice) is a twist on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale (with a little Cinderella thrown in). Annabel, the daughter of a once-wealthy merchant, must become an indentured servant to get her family out of debt after her father's death leaves them in dire straits. Her new master is Lord Ranulf le Wyse, who is so disfigured physically and emotionally that Annabel would rather die than have to serve him. Over time, she comes to see that there is more to him than meets the eye. VERDICT Dickerson's writing doesn't meet the high expectations set by her acclaimed debut. The pacing sometimes lags, and the conflict is not believable enough. Still, adult and YA readers who enjoyed the previous novel will pick this one up.
Kirkus Reviews
Living in rural Glynval, England, in 1352, a beautiful but penniless merchant's daughter discovers appearances can be deceiving. As she did with The Healer's Apprentice (2010), Dickerson spins period romance from a fairy tale, in this case, "The Beauty and the Beast." When their wealthy father loses his ships in a storm and dies of pestilence, 17-year-old Annabel and her family must pay a huge fine to avoid the indenture of one of them to Lord Ranulf le Wyse. Although her "dearest wish was to enter a convent," Annabel opts to work as Ranulf's serving maid rather than enter an arranged marriage with the lecherous bailiff. Rumored to have a fierce temper and beastly appearance, Ranulf finds himself attracted to kind-hearted Annabel and, to her joy, asks her to read him the Bible every evening. When the bailiff is brutally attacked and Annabel implicated, Ranulf knows he should send her away to a convent, but he can't bear to lose her. Should Annabel flee or stay to defend lonely, disfigured Ranulf, whom she has come to love? Awash in meticulous medieval detail and heavily glossed with Christian overtones, this thinly veiled homily pulses with self-sacrifice, good intentions and suppressed sexuality. A virtuous romance with characters who "fall in love with each other's inner beauty in spite of outward appearance." (author's note) (Historical fiction. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—After her father's death, the daughter of a once-wealthy merchant is sent to pay off her family's debt through three years of indentured servitude to her town's new lord. Annabel fears his mangled appearance and rumored ill temper will be more than she can bear. Her only desire is to learn to read the Bible and find escape in a nunnery. When the unseemly bailiff offers a way out of her debt through marriage, she refuses and suffers the consequences. Annabel finds unexpected protection from him in the Lord Ranulf le Wyse. Set in medieval England, this romantic tale explores friendship, religion, and, above all else, love. Though the ending may seem predictable, the journey is unexpected, and readers will find themselves rooting for Annabel's happiness as the story takes an unexpected turn that threatens to bring down all involved. References to the Bible blend seamlessly into the story, more as a historical reference to its influence at the time, but some readers may not identify with Annabel's faith. Written with purposeful similarities to "Beauty and the Beast," this story will resonate most with young women trying to find themselves. The book takes some time to draw readers in, but once it does, they will be compelled to find out if Annabel will release the one thing she thought was most important to her for something she never knew she wanted.—Danielle Farinacci, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, San Francisco, CA

Product Details

Publication date:
Fairy Tale Romance Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.45(w) x 8.45(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
15 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author and two-time Christy Award finalist. Her first book The Healer’s Apprentice won the National Readers’ Choice Award for Best First Book in 2010, and The Merchant’s Daughter won the 2012 Carol Award. Melanie spends her time writing stories at her home near Huntsville, Alabama, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

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Merchant's Daughter 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 124 reviews.
dianna26 More than 1 year ago
Annabel Chapman has always dreamed of joining a convent and becoming a nun so that she may read and learn of God's word and love. She desires to read the bible and commit herself to God but, only wealthy women may enter the convent and since her father died business went down and her family got in debt. Now instead of entering a convent Annabel must either marry the repulsive Bailiff Tom or enter in an indentured servitude to the new Lord of her village, Lord Ranulf le Wyse. Vowing to never marry Bailiff Tom who has shown horrible intentions toward her, Annabel enters servitude for Lord le Wyse. Despite the fact that the Lord is rumored to be beastly and terrifying Annabel doesn't see him that way and even starts to have feelings for him, but then she finds herself in a difficult situation that endangers both their lives and turns to God for direction. I believed this book would just be just another retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it was much more than that. This book involved no sorcery or magic so it wasn't as if Lord le Wyse was cursed...I loved that the theme was all based on inner beauty and that is what really matters. The characters were easy to connect with, the plot believable and I absolutely loved that passages from the bible were integrated within the story! I hadn't read any books from Melanie Dickerson before but now I very much look forward to her books. Overall I rate it 5 stars. Many thanks Zondervan Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
QueenofBlingEC More than 1 year ago
I adored this book! And lovers of historical fiction will adore it as well. It is obvious that Ms. Dickerson committed hours of research to the historical time and setting because the reader is immediately transported to the mid-1300¿s in Glynval, England. Annabel Chapman, the heroine, will capture your heart with her sweet spirit, her quiet beauty and her earnest desire to read through the Holy Scriptures, learning as much as she can. The hero, Lord Ranulf le Wyse will induce sympathy in the reader as he has been wounded physically; however, his emotional wounds are far more damaging. As Annabel and Lord Ranulf grow closer together, they grow spiritually, also, realizing that God truly loves them and wants only the best for them. The Merchant¿s Daughter is captivating and on a scale of 1-10, I give it a 12. This is a book that you will want to add to your 2012 reading list.
Blogger35 More than 1 year ago
This was my first time reading this author, but it will certainly not be my last. This story pulls you in starting with its cover photo which captures the essence of the book perfectly. Even though The Merchant's Daughter is a Christian romance there are other themes presented such as discrimination, forgiveness, and honor which are just as powerfully written as the romance. Falling in love requires the main characters to face their personal issues and deal with them before a solid foundation can be created. Dickerson manages to illustrate this process in an accurate manner without slowing the pace of the story. Annabel has always lived a secure life with her mom and brothers until their debts catch up with them and Annabel places herself into the care of Lord le Wyse as his indentured servant. Not knowing what to expect and hoping one day to become a nun, she boldly goes into this life to help her family pay off their debts. She immediately catches Wyse's attention with suspicion and scrutiny, but works hard to prove herself and makes the best of her situation. She carries out her tasks with grace, determination, and wisdom even when things go wrong. As she learns about Lord le Wyse and his past, her fear of him becomes respect and she discovers beauty in him that would seem impossible. When I first read the summary I immediately thought of Beauty and the Beast, I was intrigued and eager to read The Merchant's Daughter. Even though I've read lots of good books lately, I can easily say that this one is my favorite. I greatly admired Annabel's faith and courage; she was determined to do the right thing no matter what the cost. I read through it quickly and was amazed that I was experiencing Lord le Wyse through Annabel's eyes. If she was afraid of him, I was afraid of him; if she felt safe around him, I felt safe around him, etc. Another precious part of the story for me was the Bible or the Holy Writ as the author describes it. The setting is England in 1352 and Bibles were not available to the public. The way Annabel regards the Bible with such awe and reverence really touched me and helped me see my own Bible in a different way. The author succeeded in making me consider the values of true love and true beauty as God intended them to be. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical Christian romances or if you just loved Beauty and the Beast as I did. I want to thank Zondervan and Zondervan's Z Street Team for the free copy they provided for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beauty and the Beast is quite possibly one of my favorite fairytales (a love that was sparked, I'll admit, by the Disney musical). This novel put a wonderful spin on the "tale as old as time". When Annabel Chapman is stuck dealing with her lazy family's debt, she decides to take matters into her own hands. She accepts the punishment herself: she must serve the new young lord in exchange for her family being able to keep their home. Annabel is ready for the challenge, for though this lord has been called a beast, she needs to escape the disgusting advances of Bailiff Tom, who is convinced that he wants her to be his bride, even though he's older than dirt and has a daughter Annabel's own age! As she comes to know Lord le Wyse, however, she finds herself attracted to him in what may perhaps be an unhealthy way. When she is with him, though, she feels safer than with anyone else. Ranulf le Wyse, however, is constantly tortured by the memory of an unfaithful wife, and of his promise never to love another woman. But then Annabel Chapman worms her way into his life, and eventually his heart. When the villagers rise against the young lord, both Annabel and Ranulf have their faith tested in ways they never expected. After reading The Healer's Apprentice, I was very excited to see more books in this wonderful series. I highly recommend all of them, but this one in particular. The love between Annabel and Ranulf is so sweet and adorable, I was rooting for them to get together from the first moment he helped her on the street. :) The ending was so satisfying, and I can't wait to see where else Ms. Dickerson takes these wonderful characters. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good, clean romance or a fairytale just as magical as the original. I will definitely be reading this again soon!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am religious and I love this book. Annabel shows what we should do in times of need. She follows her heart and follows God's commands. She prays in her times of need and gives God her issues. This is exactly what the Bible says to do. I loved how Melanie portrayed a God-loving, God-following character. Annabel is what many Christians should act like. I loved this book and ALL of Melanie's book. Another job well done by Melanie Dickerson.
LAWonder More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful story set in the 1300's! This was a little predictable but was so well written with interesting events that it was worthy of five stars! The story is of a maiden whose family fell on hard times because of the death and demise of the father and his wealth. Her two lazy sibling brothers refused to work. Her mother convinced herself she was too feeble to work. A man Anabel felt to be despicable and old enough to be her father, sought for her hand in marriage which her elder brother granted against her wishes. In her community, a brother didn't have the power to force a sister to marry. However, her two siblings and her mother felt this was the perfect solution to their problems. When their tax debt came due, Annabel volunteered herself to the new, feared land Lord as an indentured servant to pay for their debts. The events began to unfold. I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway and am very grateful to them and the author and publisher for the opportunity to read this and add it to my library. It is cleanly written so great for Young Adult reading as well. I recommend this to all Book Clubs! Great discussion points to it!
LiederMadchen More than 1 year ago
After reading The Healer's Apprentice, I knew that Melanie Dickerson was an author to watch. There are so few Christian fantasy authors out there, and even fewer whose style of writing I enjoy so much. If anything, I liked The Merchant's Daughter even more than the first. Annabel is a unique heroine. She isn't strong and doesn't stand up for herself, but she has a great sense of honor and loyalty and doesn't complain no matter how difficult things are for her. These traits gain her trust from many, even, very reluctantly, from the bitter Lord Ranulf. What I liked best about her was her sense of wonder at being able to do such a thing as read the Bible. The story is very realistic in the historical sense in that hardly anyone even owned a Bible back then. The romance was slow and sweet as Beauty (Annabel), unintentionally and unaware, captures the heart of the Beast (Lord Ranulf). Ranulf has been burned before (literally and figuratively) and doesn't trust anyone, especially women. That just makes it all the more lovely as he learns that he will do anything for this one, even give her up to keep her safe. Peril, in the form of Bailiff Tom, adds excitement and urgency to the story. First Annabel and then her friends are placed in danger and while she may not be willing to stand up for herself, Annabel would die for her friends. The eloquent writing and well-researched background make this story well-nigh perfect. I am looking forward to Melanie Dickerson's next novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a very enjoyable read. Great story line and realy held my interest
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
CrystalCaudill More than 1 year ago
I have finally reached Melanie's The Merchant's Daughter in my TBR pile and all I can say is, why did I wait so long? I will readily admit that Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale of all time, and Melanie did an amazing job with the story. For those hardcore fairy tale fans - the ones who read the original versions by Anderson and the Grimm brothers - you will not be disappointed. Melanie did a fantastic job of sticking to the core elements but fleshing them out into a real life scenario that is just as magical as the fantasy presented to us through the historical renditions. Even though I was very familiar with all the different variations of Beauty and the Beast, I was still wonderfully surprised and held in suspense throughout the story. It is easy to fall in love with kind, sweet Annabell who has her own wounds and broken past.Lord Ranulf le Wyse is an amazing beast who is all at once ferocious and yet gentle. My heart went out to him almost immediately. Spiritual truth wove masterfully and naturally into the story. I found myself transported and looking at the Holy Writ, as Annabell calls it, in a whole new light and with an excitement that I sometimes forget. I highly recommend this book and would sum up this review with The Merchant's Daughter is a fairy tale that reaches down to the soul and brings joy just by reading it. You simply must read this, and heart be still, Melanie has written a whole Fairy Tale Romance series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a good read. Clean, easy and with a great happily ever after ending. I knew how it would end up but not the path it would take to get there. There were times while reading when I really didn't know what would happen next. I would read this author again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was great!! I like the fact that there were a lot of bible verses in it. The characters really knew the Word of God. I recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every thing about this novel felt forced and clumsy. The prose was mediocre, the dialogue stilted, and the characters flat. There are far better ways to spend your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So, I just realized this is the second book in the series. Funny thing is I read the 1st book as well, after I finished this one and didn't even realize it. They are both set in medieval times, but pretty far apart from each other. In this retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I think Melanie does a wonderful job of showing how we can judge people from the outside without getting to know their heart and the dire consequences that can result.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this story so much. A must read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beauty and the beast is my least favorite fairy tale but this was amazing! The romance was beautiful and clean. The detail was amazing! I felt as if i was Annabel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. In fact I couldn't put it down. I would recommend this book highly and would like to read more of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*An excellent rendition of beauty and the beast.. The author obviously researched the workings of a medieval village.. recommended..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite book by Melanie Dickerson is her first, The Healer's Apprentice, but this one is nearly as good. My quiz teammates and I read that one and this one out loud during long car trips. It is nice to take a break from magic in a book once in a while, and this is also written from a Christian perspective. I would recommend this book to anyone twelve and up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JCMorrows More than 1 year ago
Melanie Dickerson has done it again! These books truly are the absolute BEST versions I’ve ever seen of the classic fairy tales! Melanie Dickerson brings together the romance of fairy tale and the harsh reality of life - blending them together seamlessly to tell a beautiful tale of Love, Healing and Forgiveness. You think you know where the story is going and you think you know precisely how it’s all going to end up because the stories are following the classic fairy tale we all know… Right? No. Melanie Dickerson has surprising twists and turns all through the book that you will never see coming, all the while still weaving in bits from the original fairy tale. And you will find yourself so entranced with the story, you may not even realize it until later. “The Merchant’s Daughter” once again deals with some hard-core themes. And once again Melanie Dickerson does so with class and diplomacy. There is no sugar coating but the descriptions are done in the best possible taste. I recommend these books to anyone and everyone! In fact, I plan to introduce them to my daughter, instead of the more traditional fairy tales! Personally I never understood how such tales became so very popular – especially in a time where magic and witchcraft was so suspect. People from the times described originally in these tales did not delight in magic and sorcery, they hunted down anyone suspected of it and dealt them a quick and harsh death. So why tales filled with such magic would ever have become popular, I have no idea. Unless it was simply the temptation of the forbidden – we humans do seem to have a particular weakness for wanting those things that we cannot have. Melanie Dickerson has told these stories in such a realistic way – retaining the romance and excitement but adding in truth. And in my opinion, it makes them that much more appealing! I would rather my daughter have realistic fairy tales to grow up with and not ridiculous stories that could not possibly have happened – that I will one day have to tell her are entirely false and quite impossible. Any woman would greatly enjoy these stories of adventure, love and danger. And with Melanie Dickerson at the helm, you may know where you’ll end up but you can never accuse her of being predictable.