The Merchant's Daughter

The Merchant's Daughter

4.4 116
by Melanie Dickerson
     
 

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In author Melanie Dickerson’s latest fairy-tale retelling, loosely based on Beauty and the Beast, Annabel Chapman is forced to work as an indentured servant at Lord Ranulf’s manor house. The new lord is said to be beastly in appearance and temperament, but Annabel’s greater fear is Bailiff Tom, who has made unwelcome advances upon her in the past.

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Overview

In author Melanie Dickerson’s latest fairy-tale retelling, loosely based on Beauty and the Beast, Annabel Chapman is forced to work as an indentured servant at Lord Ranulf’s manor house. The new lord is said to be beastly in appearance and temperament, but Annabel’s greater fear is Bailiff Tom, who has made unwelcome advances upon her in the past. As she works closely with Ranulf, Annabel begins to feel safe and protected, but will she realize the calling of her heart before it’s too late?

Editorial Reviews

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 References to the Bible blend seamlessly into the story, more as a historical reference to its influence at the time, but some readers may not identify with Annabel's faith.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
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)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780310727620
Publisher:
Zondervan
Publication date:
11/29/2011
Series:
Fairy Tale Romance Series
Sold by:
Zondervan Publishing
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
36,376
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
15 - 17 Years

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