The Merchant’s Daughter
By Melanie Dickerson
Published by Zondervan
Back Cover: 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.
Review: Melanie Dickerson’s debut novel was The Healer’s Apprentice. Finding Hope Book Club read it and loved it so much they voted her newest novel The Merchant’s Daughter for their January 2012 book club pick. The club had the privilege of having Melanie speak to the group in person! I was thrilled to receive a review copy of Melanie’s book which is loosely based on The Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.
Annabell volunteers to become an indentured servitude to Lord Ranuif Wyse, who doesn’t have a good reputation and they call him beastly looking because of an accident that left him disfigured. But Annabell’s family has broken the law and someone had to pay.
Annabell fears for her virtue and feels if she can’t be a nun in a nunnery to better grown in her faith and be free from Bailiff’s vile behavior becoming an indentured servant was better than marrying the man. She wanted to marry for love not for money.
Annabell is desperate to read the bible for herself. She can’t believe the preacher’s sermons. Surely all the bible was about more than doom and gloom. She stays after to talk to the pastor and asks him to see his bible. The preacher is insulted and can’t believe a woman would ask him such a thing. Didn’t she realize women weren’t supposed to read the bible for themselves?
Annabell feels comfortable with Lord Ranuif Wyse to ask about the preacher and the sermon. Lord Ranuif Wyse confirms that there is definitely more in the bible than doom and gloom. He’s read the bible for himself and there is much more. He’s also not surprised that this pastor doesn’t have a bible of his own to read.
Annabell says, “She should have known! A man who preached this kind of sermon could not even know what God’s word said. He doesn’t have a bible. The unfathomable words went through her mind over and over. The man who proposed to teach her God’s will did not even have a bible.” Scandalous!
It was fascinating to hear Melanie talk about this aspect of her book and the time period in which she wrote about. Everyone was just as surprised as Annabell.
Annabell then gets even more courage to ask Lord Ranuif Wyse another question. “You asked me what I want most. What I want most is to read the bible. For the past three years I have wanted to be a nun, to study the Holy word and take my vows.”
She can’t believe the worlds that just came out of her mouth. She remembers what the preacher said to her, “What makes you think you can read the bible? Don’t you know you’re not supposed to be thinking .. You think you know something about God I don’t?...You’re just a woman Annabell Chapman.. Nobody wants to her what you think. You’re no Priest, and you don’t know God, so just shut your mouth.”
Life in Medieval village times in the mid-1300’s England didn’t think highly of women thinking for themselves as you just read. This book was fun entertaining and connected with the fairy tale story so well.
This is what Melanie says, “I’ve always loved the classic Beauty and the Best story in which the characters fall in love with each other’s inner beauty in spite of outward appearances. I also wanted to explore how it would feel to desperately desire to read the bible, and to finally get the opportunity to read it for the first time.”
This author does an amazing job of doing just that. There are several passionate moments in this story we all loved and reading about someone reading the word of God for the first time was one of them. Well done Melanie. I highly recommend this book for book club. There’s so much to talk about!!
|Caught up w/Melanie Dickerson@2011 Christys in Atlanta|
The Book Club Network CEO