- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan (15 November 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780310727613
- ISBN-13: 978-0310727613
- ASIN: 0310727618
- Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Merchant's Daughter Paperback – 4 Dec 2011
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'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--Booklist Review
About the Author
Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer's Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader's Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on line at melaniedickerson.com, Facebook: MelanieDickersonBooks, and Twitter @melanieauthor.
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by Melanie Dickerson
the perfect retelling of beauty and the beast that I will forever love.
Annabel Chapman takes up the burden of her family's punishment for not doing there part in the tiny village of Glynval, England 1352 and go's to work for their new lord.
Lord Ranulf le wyse has made his heart harden over the pain of his past and vow's to never love again. but will all that change when the Merchants Daughter shows him that there's still good in the world.
I love how this book mentions so much of the Bible throughout it in small parts. and highly recommend it to those new to YA Christen fiction.
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A small, poor country parish may have only had a lectionary (readings for Mass). Granted, a great deal of the Bible is read during Mass, so he could have pointed her towards that. But Mass is said daily...
...And we're talking about a rich girl who now is working as a servant because she shirked working (at least as far as the priest knows). That's like lending your brand new Corvette (that you need to drive to work tomorrow) to your druggie neighbor hoping he doesn't sell it and disappear.
And then the rich guy has a Bible (ok), sounds big, probably illuminated...that he just gives to this woman. "Here, take this small house, I can get another one, no problem." ??!!??
And, at that time, I can't imagine any Catholic would have dreamed of confessing what they thought to be a mortal sin privately to God. That weird theology doesn't pop up until well after Luther.
And the Eucharist was nearly completely ignored... It was odd because that is the lifeblood.
I'm not opposed to religion appearing in books, it's always a little odd when these historical books don't mention it at all. But this was basically a couple of modern evangelicals... And about as jarring as if the characters had talked about taking an airplane to the USA.
(Though reviews are inherently subjective, I prefer to provide some organization to my opinions through the use of a personal rubric. The following notes may contain spoilers.)
Plot and Setting: 5 -- Plot has many unique elements, no major holes, and a sense of focus. This is a beautiful, believable retelling of the 'Beauty and the Beast' story, with the added wonder of someone who seeks God experiencing the joy of reading the Bible for the first time. Suspenseful, romantic, and thoroughly enjoyable. Setting is clear, believable, and consistent. The timeline is easy to follow, and I enjoyed the interesting details about what life and law and justice were like in 1300's England.
Characters: 4.5 -- Relatable, realistic, interesting, dynamic characters. A lot of wonderful depth and realism to both Ranulf and Annabel, in their pain and joy and confusion. Some minor characters have depth, while others may be slightly stereotyped or simplified. Villainous characters (Tom, Maud, Annabel's family) are fairly one-note, while we get more complex and interesting looks at others, like the coroner. Definite strong points in the relationships between characters. I especially enjoyed how the coroner slyly collected clues about the relationship between Annabel and Ranulf, and Stephen.
Mechanics and Writing: 5 -- Few, if any, typos or word errors. One typo (in the very first line!), and 3 spots where paragraph breaks aren't quite right. That's all! Intelligent use of POV (Annabel and Ranulf). Skillful writing that adds to the story. Not to mention obviously well-researched.
Redeeming Value: 5 -- Well-developed, central, uplifting themes. Annabel learns that the local priest doesn't even own a Bible, but her deep desire to read God's word is met through Ranulf--and she takes joy in learning a true picture of God through the Word. She also overcomes her fear, through faith and love. Ranulf and the coroner learn that mercy and love can sometimes supercede justice, and Ranulf releases some long-held bitterness and lets himself feel loved by God and Annabel. Sex, alcohol, violence, etc, are not glorified at all, though present: both Annabel and Ranulf are faced with violent attacks and unwanted sexual advances and/or accusations of sexual impropriety, though it avoids becoming graphic or crude.
Personal Enjoyment: 5 -- I loved it. It made me feel in all the best ways, and leaves me content and satisfied. One I'll definitely read again.
I was pleasantly surprised with how the story was written in a realistic way. The Beast is a lord of a manor and because of that he rules over the town. The Beauty is the daughter of a merchant who died three years ago leaving them destitute. Required to work at the lord's house, Annabel begins to like and respect the scarred, hurting man. Ranulf meanwhile wonders if Annabel's pretty face hides a deceitful side. He soon finds out how different she really is from his deceased wife.
One of the best parts of the story was how excited Annabel was about holding and reading a Bible. Her joy and amazement was convicting and uplifting. For some reason it seems easy to lose the wonder of the Word, but we should still react like Annabel did in the story. Plus, I loved how the truths from the Bible were woven throughout the story in such a seamless way.
This fairy tale was such a great mix of the traditional story and of the Disney cartoon, too. If you have always enjoyed fairy tales, you should definitely read this book and this series! You won't regret it. :-)