I just finished The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson. It is the story of Annabel, sent in the 1300s. Her father was a merchant who died in the Plague after essentially bankrupting his family (losing all of his ships, etc.). So this family that was used to the “easy” life no longer had it so easy. The mom wasn’t too interested in doing any work, the older brother was making life easy for him (not doing any work), and the younger brother was used to being coddled.
Everyone in their village had to work for the lord of the manor at a set time. Annabel’s family had gotten out of it by paying a fine. However, they hadn’t paid the fine for 3 years and hadn’t worked either, so people in the village were grumbling, and the family was eventually brought before the new lord of the manor, Lord Ranulf. They had a choice – pay the fine or send one of them to the manor to work as an indentured servant for 3 years.
Annabel makes the choice for the family, hoping that by working in the manor, she can figure out a way to get to Lord Ranulf and ask him to help her get into an abbey. One of her goals is to read the Holy Bible and to live a life for God, pondering his Word. However, some of her problems from the village follow her to the manor.
Here is what I liked about the story. I thought that Annabel was a nice girl who just wanted to do what was right. I thought that Lord Ranulf was misunderstood by the village, and that he just really wanted to be left alone. Due to his past, he had issues relating to people and trusting others – especially women. I thought that it was a nice story, some of the characters seemed more realistic than others – there was more depth to some characters.
What I didn’t like…I had a hard time believing the relationship between Ranulf and Annabel. I had a hard time believing that Annabel would be as educated as she was for the time period, or that the interaction between lord and servant would be so easy. Maybe I just don’t know enough about the time period, but it still seemed unlikely. The relationship between the two just seemed to lack passion or commonalities. Yes, I realize that I am trying to make them into real people, but to me, the characters of the books I read are real people while I am reading the book.
Amazon Product Page – to be published November 29, 2011
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the NetGalley program. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.