Continuing Melanie Dickerson’s Hagenheim Series is The Merchant’s Daughter. However, instead of being set in Hagenheim, Germany; this story is set in England. Here, we read a story based on the fairy-tale Beauty and the Beast.
Annabel’s father, a wealthy merchant, has died leaving his family behind to fend for themselves. Being used to riches, no one does the hard labor required of them. So when a sleazy man from town wants to marry Annabel, her selfish brother wastes no time in promising her to him if he helps pay off the family debts.
But Annabel has dreams of becoming a nun in the church. So she agrees to work for Lord Ranulf, a beast of a man, to pay the debt instead.
Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie, so I went into this book with high expectations. I really enjoyed the little hints the book gave to the Disney story: A single rose, A bad tempered man, a huge castle, a lovely cook (like Mrs. Potts) who loves Ranulf, and a girl who is an avid reader. Even Annabel’s name is a hint (Annabel).
I loved this book. The character development was very well done. I think Melanie Dickerson does very well in this area. She tends to write characters who overcome flaws and become slightly better people because of it.
The romance was slow and sweet. I am always curious with these kinds of stories; how the girl sees past the gruff rudeness of the guy. In this story, Annabel finds out that Lord Ranulf saved a servant girl from danger. And when she read to him in the evening, he seemed to soften a little. I think it was these moments that made her opinion of him soften.
Annabel sees past all of Lord Ranulf’s troubles. And I think we could learn to love others if only we had the courage to see past the exterior and into the person behind it.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a clean romance and fairy-tale retellings. I give two thumbs up 🙂