Published by Zondervan on November 29th 2011
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.
Short & Sweet: The Merchant's Daughter is a Beauty and the Beast retelling that adds a bit of religion into the telling as well. I found this book lacking to be honest. I couldn't buy into Annabel's character, who grew up with two spoiled brothers in a wealthy household until her father passed away. Because her mother had them stay away from pulling their weight, one of the siblings will be forced to work for the new lord and she is the only one willing. I just felt her character was off the whole time. She was a little too willing after having spent years ignoring the hard work like the rest of her family to suddenly have grown a conscience. Ranulf was a little over the top as well. The story didn't fit together well enough and was overdramatized for most of it. I rolled my eyes quite a bit while reading this one.
Final Verdict: Not for me, but you may enjoy it if you like the mix of religion with fairy tale retellings.
Are there any fantastic Beauty and the Beast retellings that you've read and loved? Leave them in the comments so I can check them out.