I obtained a copy of this from Netgalley
The Merchant's Daughter is a beautiful story of a timeless love. Taking a theme of Beauty and the Beast, the story explores the growing relationship between Annabel and Lord Ranulf. I LOVED this book; it was positively gorgeous.
First of all, the writing is beautiful. It flows smoothly and the alternating perspectives from Annabel and Ranulf is skillfully done. While the author does incorporate some old language, she weaves it together in a way that keeps the writing easy to read. It was flawless.
The characters were wonderful. Annabel felt very real. She gradually fell in love with Ranulf in a way that seemed natural. Her conflict about love and religion was realistic. I felt like I could relate to her situation. She was very smart and committed to her faith and her obligations. She wasn't one of those characters who seem stupid beyond the realm of possibility. She was clever and responded to situations in a way that any normal girl would. When she met Ranulf, she didn't fall into insta-love. Her love developed slowly.
That brings us to the amazing love interest, Ranulf. He was a total sweetheart and the ultimate tortured soul. He is scarred from saving a servant girl from a wolf attack. His first wife was disgusted by his scars and made no secret of the fact that she only married him for the money. His past caused him to feel that no one could love him disfigured as he was. The parts of the book in his perspective give clear insight into his initial denial of his love for Annabel and the gradual fall into love. It was tender and sweet. Even when he felt like Annabel couldn't love him, he vowed to protect her and grant her dream of joining a convent. He was spectacular; I swear, I fell in love with him along with Annabel.
The other characters were lovely. Eustacia, the head maid at Ranulf's manor, is a sweet, matronly character that added an extra touch of tenderness and realism. She was the one who manipulated Annabel and Ranulf to spending time together in hopes that they would fall in love. Annabel's family doesn't really feature much. They only served to give a reason to Annabel going to work for Ranulf in the first place. The bailiff was horrifying. Dickerson did an excellent job of making him utterly repulsive. The other minor characters really served to foster the growing love in the story. Regardless, they all added a little extra touch to The Merchant's daughter.
Overall, I adored this book. It was beautiful and timeless. I would recommend it to anyone, especially those with a taste for sweet romance.