Saturday, January 28, 2012
"The Merchant's Daughter" by Melanie Dickerson
When I requested this book from NetGalley, I wasn't all that sure that I wanted to read it. At first, when I learned it was just another installment of 'Beauty and the Beast' I grew even more doubtful. Because seriously - how many of them are there??
But it was labeled 'historical fiction', and I thought that if it wasn't good, at least it could fill up a spot on my historical fiction challenge. Well, turns out it was GREAT.
"The Merchant's Daughter" wasn't a story of magic, mysteries and fairy tale curses. It was a story of broken hearts, lies, men frivolities, superstitions and absolutely pure love. It was a story that contained moral lessons, as well as genuine emotion, and I found myself so engrossed in it, I couldn't stop reading until I finished it.
There was also a Christian twist in this novel, and I liked that. I sympathized with Anabel concerning the ignorance of the preacher, whose sermons revolved only around the snare of the women, how they are lustful, tempting creatures, and how they bring men to hell with a simple glance. This was the common notion back in the day, so it sounded pretty realistic. I wasn't surprised when Anabel asked the preacher for a Bible, and he said he never saw one. The delight in Anabel's heart, when she finally got her hands on the Scriptures, made my heart flutter. I was happy along her.
*Anabel was a tender, caring girl, the only one from her family who didn't fear labor. She missed her father, but not because of his riches. She missed him because she loved him, because he cared for her and protected her. Anabel was one to stand for those who couldn't do so themselves, she was forgiving and fiercely passionate for the people she loved.
*Lord Ranulf was a gruff man, a beastly man, scarred, arrogant and hard of character. But was he really? Or was this a mask he wore to hide in himself? He had been hurt on more than one occasion, and the last time broke his heart to pieces. He hated women, he believed them to be treacherous creatures who cared only about themselves. How surprised he was however, when he met Anabel! His entire person blossomed, even if he didn't show it outwardly.
*Mistress Eustacia - now that was one hearty woman! She didn't fear her lord, she'd taken care of him since he was born, and she saw easily through his moods. She was also a bit of a matchmaker. I truly loved her.
*Bailiff Tom was the most repulsive man I've read about lately. He was a friend of Anabel's father, but was now also her suitor. In his desperate desire to own the girl, he threatened, and almost took advantage of her. I'm sorry to say this, but I was pleased with his fate.
I recommend this book for anyone who has a passion for real characters with real stories and real emotions. My rating is
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