Friday, January 13, 2012

The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson

The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie DickersonThe Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson
Zondervan, 2011 272p

This is the second book by Melanie Dickerson that I’ve read. I loved the first one and have been looking forward to The Merchant’s Daughter. When I read The Healer’s Apprentice I was not expecting a retelling of a fairy tale so it was late in the book that I noticed that it was Sleeping Beauty-esque. With this one it’s quite obvious that it’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The author sticks fairly close to the most common retellings of the tale, but adds a couple plot adaptations and additions which I absolutely loved.

It was fun seeing how she used bits and pieces of the Disney movie in her plot. For example, Mistress Eustacia is a warm, caring, wise cook and housekeeper – exactly what Mrs. Pott would be in human form. The names also have ties to the traditional and Disney names: Annabel (Belle or Beauty) and Ranulf le Wyse (Ranulf, which has its origins in Germanic and Scandinavia, means ‘raven wolf’ or ‘wolf-like advice – depending on which website you use). Prior to becoming the new lord of Glynval he had been scarred and slightly maimed by a wolf when coming to the aid of a servant girl. One eye had also been scratched out by the wolf.    

As I’m writing this, the line “there must be more than this provincial life” keeps running through my head. And Annabel does long for more than life in the village as the impoverished youngest daughter of a deceased merchant father and lazy mother. She longs to enter a convent so that she can have the opportunity to read the Bible and to escape Bailiff Tom who wants to marry her. But due to her mother and brother’s laziness and the recent death of her father the family has accrued a large amount of debt, Annabel chooses to become and indentured servant for three years to the new lord to pay off the debt. Mistress Eustacia plays matchmaker and keeps arranging for Annabel to be near or serve Ranulf. And the rest is history. But with several fun plot twists that you’ll just have to read for yourself. 

I loved this book and if you enjoy retellings of fairy tales and Christian fiction than chances are you’ll enjoy The Merchant’s Daughter.

Go read it! Wake County; Find it at a library near you; Buy it from CBD

P.S. Have you ever listened to any of the Beauty & Beast songs in French? They're quite fun! Here's the song that was running through my head (except it was in English, not French):

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