The Merchant’s Daughter and The Healer’s Apprentice are currently available for 1.99 on Kindle and Nook!
First, I do need to say that Mellie* is a friend of mine. I adore her and am so very, very glad we got to meet at conference a few months ago! She is a wonderful encourager and has been a great help in keeping my sanity the last few weeks. That said, I wouldn’t be posting this review if I didn’t absolutely believe in what I’m saying. I won’t fake a review for a friend, though I would tell them privately what I didn’t like.
So… Mel writes fairy tale adaptations and this one** is the story of beauty and the beast.
From the back of the book:
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.
Annabel is spunky. She does what she has to both to save her family from further humiliation and to protect herself from a fate worse than Lord Ranulf.
Lord Ranulf is described as a beast of a man. At least at first. He is scarred. Wears an eye patch [though he’s no pirate]. One arm doesn’t work quite right.
But underneath the rough exterior beats a gentle heart, one determined to see only good for the people now under his care. That means protecting Annabel and the others from those who would hurt them.
Annabel feels the best place for her would be a nunnery. But in the 14th century, you have to have money to become a nun. Her father would likely have sent her, but after his death she is encouraged to give up that dream, though she never does. More than anything she wants to read the Bible for herself, going so far as to ask her local clergyman to borrow his. Except he doesn’t even have a Bible of his own. She wonders if that means his teachings about how all women are inherently wanton and tempt men merely by existing are even true.
But Lord Ranulf le Wyse needs more than just help in the kitchen. He needs someone willing to read his Bible to him.
As she reads to him and helps doctor a wound he receives when an unknown perpetrator tries to run him out of town, she discovers what a good, kind man he is. And how he’s been hurt in the past. By his late wife. By people who can’t see past his scars. By life in general.
But even though Annabel has come to accept him, the danger to her, and to Lord Ranulf, is far from over. They must work together to overcome the prejudices of the townspeople to protect both of them. In the end, will Annabel choose to take an unexpected opportunity to join the nunnery? Or will she accept the Lord has placed a different desire in her heart?
I absolutely loved this book. Melanie brought the 14th century to life for me! I loved her characters [except the ones I wasn’t supposed to like ;)]. This is one that will go in my personal collection and be reread and recommended over and over again. And not just because I love Mel!
The only thing that… bugged me is a bit strong, but for lack of a better term, bugged me is that officially, The Merchant’s Daughter is a young adult book. As such, the language [as in the words chosen not like… cursing] is a bit younger in places than I’m used to. Some descriptions etc were a bit… overly simplistic compared to what you might see in a book for adults. That’s not to say she writes down to young adults or anything, just a bit of a stylistic difference between YA and ‘adult’ books. That’s the only thing lowering my rating. I’d love to see Mel write a book for grown-ups and compare. That and a bit of room to grow ;).
I would LOVE to see other adaptations by Mellie – like the Snow White and Cinderella ones she’s mentioned to me in the past!
Overall: 9 out of 10 stars
Did I say ‘love’ enough in this review? 😉
Thanks to Melanie and Zondervan for a free influencer copy to review.