The Merchant's Daughter
by Melanie Dickerson
Published November 29, 2011 by Zondervan
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.
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Annabel is a sweet breath of Spring air to the darkness that has made its home in Lord Ranulf’s heart. Betrayed by someone he loved, scarred inside and out, he has vowed to never let a woman get close to him again, especially one who is beautiful. Meanwhile, Annabel has had enough of lecherous men who think to force themselves upon her. Frightful as a wounded creature, she finds herself inexplicably comforted in her new Lord’s presence.
The build up to this great romance was definitely slow. It took nearly all the length of the novel for Annabel and Ranulf to finally reveal their feelings to one another. This is the point where I, as the reader, wanted to yell “Wake up!” at them. Everyone else could see what was going on but them. Despite this long, long journey to happiness, the ending was satisfactorily happily ever after.
I felt that Annabel and Ranulf made a wonderful, complementary couple. The lack of in-your-face passion was not missed, as it was replaced by a sweet, slow tenderness that leaves a little pang in your heart.
A good medieval set young adult romance.