Left destitute after the death of their father, Annabel’s family has dodged their obligations for too long. They must pay up or one of them must serve as an indentured servant to the new lord. Feeling guilty for her family’s laziness and desperate to escape an unwanted suitor Annabel voluteers. She finds unexpected comfort in her new home and forms a friendship with the scarred lord of the manor. When events put them both in danger, it’s up to Annabel to choose the path that will save them both.
The Merchant’s Daughter is Melanie Dickerson’s second book following The Healer’s Apprentice which I liked, but Merchant’s Daughter is better. The writing is better and the story is tighter. I love a good beauty and the beast retelling, but it was the romance that hooked me. Annabel’s desires to meet her family’s obligations, learn more about God, and serve those around her are more attractive to Lord Ranulf than her outer beauty. Her actions compel his respect and he wants to protect her. Like Boaz and Ruth in the Bible, Annabel and Ranulf must learn to see past the outward appearance to the truth within the heart.