The Merchant’s Daughter

Blurb: 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.

I hate to say it but I really didn’t care for The Merchant’s Daughter (Hagenheim #2) by Melanie Dickerson though I did like the historical setup. I haven’t read many books set in this time period so the feudal system with the village working for their lord was interesting. Sadly, that was about the only thing I liked. It took me a long time to sort out the reason and I think it was mainly because there is a sad dearth of likeable characters in the story. Annabel is miserable; the bailiff is despicable; everyone around her is surly, mean, or depressing (including the hero). She has exactly one friend that I recall and he’s not really someone she can count on. Any likeable characters are so overshadowed I have completely forgotten their existence. The other Hagenheim books feel like sunshine, flowers, forests and meadows – they are airy, breathable, lighter books even during darker moments. This book felt like torch-lit, dank, stone manors – it was dismal.

I also didn’t feel the romance at all and even worse was when (slight spoiler!!) she confessed her love to him first. It may be old-fashioned but I tend to have issues with the woman approaching the man (though in well-done situations it may not bother me). I rolled my eyes through the entire climactic ending, too. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales and this retelling just didn’t come close to cutting it for me. Honestly, if this had been my first Dickerson book, I may never have picked up another. But since I loved The Healer’s Apprentice so much, I ended up jumping from this one straight to the 3rd of the series hoping it would restore my faith in the series.

Do you have any old-fashioned preferences when reading romance?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. 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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