Review: The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson

the merchant's daughter book coverPublisher: Zondervan
ISBN: 978-0310727613
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Rating: 4
Age recommendation: Young adult
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Annabel Chapman was once the daughter of a wealthy merchant. After the death of her father, her family refused to work in their lord’s field because her mother and brothers though work in the fields was beneath their status. After the arrival of the new lord of the manor, her family is forced to pay a fine or send one of themselves to work at the lord’s manor for three years as payment for refusing to carry out their duties. Annabel goes to work at the manor to save herself from an unwanted suitor.

At the manor, she not only have to save herself from the unwanted attentions of Bailiff Tom, the unwanted suitor, but also avoid the deformed and temperamental Lord Ranulf le Wyse. The more time she spends in Lord Ranulf’s presence, the more she learns about his dark past. Annabel also cherishes hopes of entering a nunnery so that she can spend her time learning about God. Then something dangerous happens and the troubled calm at the manor is broken. The ultimate decision that Annabel makes will either cost or save Lord Ranulf’s life and heart.


The Merchant’s Daughter is an adaption of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast that contains resemblances to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. We have the ugly, deformed male character and the beautiful female protagonist. The circumstances to which Annabel goes to Lord Ranulf le Wyse is unmistakably similar to Belle’s circumstances in Beauty and the Beast. Reading a novel that is similar to a fairytale, I couldn’t help but compare both. By the end of The Merchant’s Daughter (I completed it in less than 2.5 hours), I found myself liking the story even more than the Beauty and the Beast story.

Firstly, there is the Christian element in the story. It’s no secret that I enjoy reading good Christian YA fiction. There is plenty of Bible reading done in the story, and secular readers wouldn’t be able to give it a miss since the Bible reading sessions play an important role in the plot development. A glimpse to the treatment of clergy during the Middle Ages is given an important place in the book. I read quite a few literature books involving the Middle Ages era, and the depiction given of clergy in The Merchant’s Daughter is accurate.

Then, there is plenty of “control” in the romance part of the story. When Annabel and Lord Ranulf finally cemented their relationship, it was in perfect timing. I liked the way the romance was not rushed. It was slowly revealed bit by bit and that made the story even more enjoyable. The surprises when it comes to romance in this story is endless.

Lastly, Lord Ranulf doesn’t magically change to Mr. Perfect Looks. I don’t want to give away too much of the story here, but suffice to say that once a person looks revolting, he is very likely to look the same unless the fairy godmother waves her wand over him. Although The Merchant’s Daughter is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, it is the real version of the fairytale.

Annabel is the vulnerable heroine in the story. Bailiff Tom put out all the stops to make Annabel become his wife. At such, Annabel needs a protector. Logic would say that Lord Ranulf becomes Annabel’s protector when the incident waiting to happened happens. True and not true. This causes the story to be even more interesting. Beneath Lord Ranulf’s harshness, he is actually quite a nice person. Just because he’s deformed, it doesn’t mean that he has no feelings and a conscience. Bailiff Tom is a character every reader can easily dislike. There is nothing good about him. Right from the first mention of him, a reader can easily gauge that he is a shady character. No surprises there.

If anything, The Merchant’s Daughter is one of the best medieval romance books I’ve read so far. Combined with a thrilling action and romance that complements the sometimes subtle historic setting and lifestyle lessons, it is light enough for anyone looking for a clean, leisure romance story. Additionally, the Christian message is brought across strongly, but not aggressively.

Tour Notes

Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson by clicking on the links below, and check out for more information about Team Novel Teen.

melanie dickerson authorMelanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her website at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the NetGalley of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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21 responses to “Review: The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson

  1. This sounds good even though I’m not one to read a ton of Christian fiction. I like the fact that this story has a fairy tale quality.

  2. It’s nice to meet another history buff! I too was so thankful that the author was historically accurate throughout her medieval depiction (my favorite time period). I can’t wait to see what fairy-tale she adapts next! 🙂 (I’d love to see Cinderella done. 🙂 )

    • Nothing turns me off more than a book that isn’t historically accurate. 😛 That’s why I appreciated the historical accurateness of The Merchant’s Daughter. I didn’t know Melanie’s previous book is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty until I read your review. 🙂 Oh yes, I would definitely read Melanie’s retelling of Cinderella.

    • Her next one is Snow White. But I “think” all the comments about Cinderella might encourage her in that direction after that one! I would love to see her do many, many more!

      • Oohh, Snow White! How did you find that out? I wasn’t a huge fan of the Snow White tale until recently, when I began watching the new tv show “Once Upon a Time” where Snow White’s story is the main fairy tale. I’m even more excited about Melanie’s new book now!

      • Oooh, I’d love to read the Snow White one. All the television/movie Snow White stuff has me amped up.

  3. Great review! I also picked up on the Jane Eyre-like elements in this story and I think it made it even richer. I’m interested to read her other work. I have The Healer’s Apprentice on my list. 🙂

    The Musings of ALMYBNENR

  4. You are right, Tom is a mean man and there was never anything good in him, right from the start. He made a good villain.

    I also have to agree that it is one of the best medieval’s I have read. I have read a bunch and this one is going to be on my forever favorite list!

    Great review. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • I’ve just found that out after reading Jill’s post. I definitely would love to read a retelling of Cinderella.
      Yeah, Tom being a villain was very obvious.
      This is my first medieval fairy tale retelling. I enjoy reading medieval fiction, but it’s rare to find medieval fiction that contains a fairy tale retelling.
      Thanks for visiting, Terri! 🙂

  5. Good review! I also didn’t notice the Jane Eyre similarities until I read your review. Good eye! This book does have a a gothic touch to it.

    I’m also a big history buff, and I really enjoyed the historical aspects of the story. I’ve recently been reading several books written during the Middle Ages, and I’m beginning to fall in love with that time period.

    • I didn’t notice the gothic-ness in it. How does it have a gothic touch?

      That time period is my favorite time period. The lifestyle, clothing, and life those in the Middle Ages lead is very, very interesting (except for the part of them not bathe often! 😀 ).

  6. I also liked that Ranulf’s looks didn’t really change at the end. His scars were part of what made him handsome, because they showed his selflessness and his willingness to lay down his life for another. I liked that Annabel really wanted him to shave so she could see the face that he’d been trying to hide for so long.


    • Jill, I once heard someone say that people long ago appreciated scars on men because they showed bravery. I don’t know if that’s true or not… 🙂 I think readers are able to appreciate Ranulf whether he remains scarred or not. He’s just such a hero!

  7. Yes, the romance between Ranulf and Annabel was very slow, easy moving. Very sweet. I loved watching the gradual love that blossomed between them. 🙂 Very beautiful read!

    • Ah, “blossom” is the right word to describe it. I loved the way it was slowly revealed. Love stories that aren’t rush always catch my attention and stay in my memory long after I finished the book. 🙂

  8. Wow, less than 2.5 hours? Are you a very fast reader, or is this simply a quick read?

    I’m getting a copy of this book soon, and I can’t wait to read it. I knew it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but I didn’t know that it had elements of Jane Eyre. That’s really neat.

    • Both. I read pretty fast when I don’t have distractions and this story isn’t very long. I read most of it while eating my lunch by myself (one of those rare times). Yeah, it takes some analyzing to pick that up.

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