The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson
The story takes place in 1352 England. Most would call this a beauty and the beast story, which it is in ways. I just don't like thinking of someone as a beast just because they have been scarred in some way. Although Lord Ranulf le Wyse did act beastly. He was a bitter man. He had lost an eye, had a scarred face and his hand was mangled. His wife had betrayed him and now he hated and mistrusted all women. Except Mistress Eustacia, who had been with his family since he was a young lad. As the new Lord, he has come to Glynval for a new start. Never did he expect the changes that new start would bring with it, especially the beautiful Annabel Chapman, his new indentured servant. Seeing the beauty just reminded him of how beautiful women would look at a scarred man like himself.
Annabel Chapman missed her father. Things were so different before he died three years earlier. He had paid fees so that their family did not have to help the other villagers in the fields or with other tasks. Annabel would not have minded the labor but her mother and brother, Edward, thought themselves above it while her brother Durand believed himself too sickly. When Edward told her he gave Bailiff Tom permission to marry her she is sickened. The man was her father's age. Blessedly a woman could not be forced to marry and she would refuse, even as her selfish family all thought she should do this for them. When the court decided one of them would go work for the new Lord as an indentured servant, Annabel chose that above marriage.
The Lord's home was not without problems. Bailiff Tom was there working for Ranulf and took every chance he could to corner Annabel, thankfully the new Lord rescued her each time. Another lad wanted her to marry his father so she could be his mother, there were the other maids trying to give their favor's to Ranulf, and when tragedies began the villagers were considering that Ranulf was cursed and brought bad luck to their village.
Annabel wanted to go to an Abbey. Her only wish was to read the Holy Writ. Her father was going to get her a Bible before he passed. She found the local Priest did not even own one. At this time period the Bibles were all written in Latin but she knew how to read it.
I really enjoyed the story and the unique era.
**Received book for review through NetGalley
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