The Merchant’s Daughter is the second book I have read by Melanie Dickerson. It’s a historical fiction / adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.
Annabel’s father was once a wealthy merchant, but his ships were lost and he fell to pestilence, dying a poor man and leaving behind his wife, two sons, and a daughter. Annabel’s mother was too proud to have her family sink to helping the village with the harvest – even though the family could no longer afford the censum. Having shirked their duty for 3 years, and unable to pay the fine, their only option is for one of the children to work 3 years as an indentured servant for the new lord. Annabel knows her duty and chooses to save her (spoiled, whiney, prideful) brothers from the task.
Unfortunately for Annabel, Bailiff Tom has taken an interest in her, and refuse to take no for an answer. Annabel hopes that she will be safe in the Lords Manor. Annabel’s deepest wish is to go to a convent to become a nun. Though she doesn’t have the funds, it would help her escape marriage (while bringing her closer to God). As things happen, Annabel struggles with changing emotions.
Lord le Wyse has come to the peaceful countryside to forget a troubled past. He is rumored to have a fierce temper – on matching his scarred and disfigured appearance. He is running from a broken heart and is resolved to hate all beautiful women – including Annabel. As Lord le Wyse navigates village life (and disasters) he discovers that feelings can change.
– Again, I apologize to those of different faith, but as was the case with The Healers Apprentice, this book was too focused on faith / God / The bible for my preferences. Yes, true to the historical period (England in the 1300s). I felt like religion was a huge theme in this book.
– Interesting non-magical adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.
– Nice slice of medieval life.
– Annabel was a strong female character at times but for much of the book I didn’t really think she fit my ideal in this category.
A 3 / 5 (with the caveat that, if you are Christian, you’d probably appreciate it way more than me).
I don’t think I will be reading more of Melanie Dickerson’s books, even though I think adapting fairy tales to historical fiction is a brilliant idea.