Beauty and the Beast in 14th Century England

Thank you, Margaret, for letting me share about my new book, The Merchant’s Daughter. Just to introduce myself … I am the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, which was a Christy Award finalist, and I live near Huntsville, Alabama with my husband and two daughters. I have a degree in special education from The University of Alabama, and I was a teacher and a missionary once upon a time. We have a crazy, long-haired, snow-white dog that runs away a lot, which often leads to interesting situations, but we won’t go there. God uses all kinds of things to keep us humble.

The Merchant’s Daughter is a Beauty and the Beast story set in a village in 14th century England. Here is the back cover summary.

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 wrote this story after I finished The Healer’s Apprentice because I wanted to write more Medieval romances based on classic fairy tales, and since Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite fairy tale, it was the natural next choice. I wanted to explore the themes of Beauty and the Beast, and I thought it would be perfect to use a sort of gothic, rural England setting to do that.

Perhaps the best way to tell you about the book is to include an excerpt. Here is a bit of the scene where the hero and heroine meet.

Annabel’s heart beat so hard it vibrated from within, but she refused to let him know she was afraid. “Get out of my way. Let go of me or I’ll raise the hue and cry. I’ll scream until every person in the village—”

The bailiff dug a finger into the underside of her wrist, sending shards of pain up her arm. “You think you’re too good for me, but who’s going to help you now? Do you think the new lord will not punish you, will not throw you out of your fine stone house? Eh?”

Anger surged through her. She gave a sudden tug at her arm and, managing to maneuver around Tom, she stood in the doorway. He let go with a shove, sending Annabel falling backward through the door. She struggled to right herself as she fell, and landed on her hip in the dusty street.

Hooves pounded toward her and a horse’s high-pitched whinny sounded above her head. Annabel raised her arm to protect herself.

Just inches away, the horse danced to a halt, snorting and throwing dirt into her face. The animal’s hot breath ruffled her hair. Dust clogged her nose and throat and made her cough.

The rider dismounted. “What are you doing?”

The man’s voice and accent were unfamiliar. Her hair had fallen in front of her eyes, making it difficult to see the hands that slipped under her arms and hauled her to her feet. She pulled away, looking around on the ground for her headscarf. Darting a glance at the butcher shop doorway, she saw Bailiff Tom lurking in the shadows. She wiped his vile saliva from her face with her sleeve.

“Throwing yourself in front of a galloping horse?” The stranger’s voice reminded her of a snarling animal in its pitch and intensity. “We could have both been killed.”

Shiny black boots waited beside her. Even his stance showed his irritation.

Finally seeing her scarf, she bent and snatched it from the dirt.

Her eyes traveled from his expensive leather boots to his broad chest. He wore the most elegant clothing she’d seen since the last time she visited London with her father—a red velvet doublet and gold-embroidered shirt sleeves—a vast departure from the dull gray and brown of the villagers’ coarse woolens.

She beat the dust from her skirt as anger boiled up inside her. It wasn’t her fault she’d fallen in front of his horse. Did he think she had tossed herself into the street? First that disgusting lecher, Bailiff Tom, and now this stranger … Her gaze finally met his face and she stifled a gasp.

A black patch covered his left eye, and a scar cut a pale line down his cheek, through his thick brown beard, all the way to his chin.

The back of her neck tingled. His expression demanded an answer as he glared at her from one brown eye.

Her surprise at his formidable appearance quickly turned to anger. She was determined to let him know she wasn’t a lack-wit and didn’t relish being treated like one.

“My lord.” Her voice was surprisingly steady. “My name is Annabel Chapman, and I am not in the habit of throwing myself in front of galloping horses. I was pushed.” She had to bite her tongue to keep from adding, And perhaps you shouldn’t gallop your horse through the village as though you’re the only person on the street.

She leaned down to continue beating the dust from her clothes.

“Who pushed you?” He shouted the question so thunderously, she forgot about her dusty clothes and stared up at him. “Where is the man who would push a woman into the street?”

Her gaze involuntarily shifted to the butcher shop’s doorway, where Bailiff Tom stood just inside. He immediately stepped back into the shadows.

The lord followed her gaze and then looked back at Annabel. “Wait here.”

 

I had envisioned this scene first before any of the rest of the story came to me, so it’s one of my favorites.

You can see more about my books on my website, www.MelanieDickerson.com

And I’d be more than happy to have you friend me on facebook

Thanks again, Margaret, for having me on your blog!

I received this product free from BookLookBloggers for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. Any blessings we receive go to helping our homeschool and grocery budgets!

Beauty and the Beast in 14th Century EnglandThe Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson
Series: Hagenheim #2

Find the Author: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon
Also in this series: The Healer's Apprentice, , The Golden Braid
Also by this author: The Healer's Apprentice, , Fairy Tale Romance Collection, The Healer's Apprentice, The Merchant's Daughter, The Fairest Beauty, The Captive Maiden, The Princess Spy
ISBN: 0310727618
Genres: Christian Historical Fiction, Fairy Tale Retelling
Published by Zondervan on December 4th 2011
Pages: 284
Format: ARC
Source: BookLookBloggers
Buy on Amazon
Find on Goodreads

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.

The Merchant's Daughter Review

About Melanie Dickerson

Melanie Dickerson

Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Ala

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About Melanie Dickerson

Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.

17 Comments

  1. What fairy tale would I like you to tackle next–hmmm.

    How about Cinderella? 🙂
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  2. Great excerpt! I hadn’t seen that one yet. ‘Beauty And The Beast’ was always one of my favorites, and I love to experience the retellings. I’m really looking forward to reading this one, Melanie!

    ~Angela Blount
    Angela Blount´s last blog post ..NaNoWriMo: What I’m Doing Wrong

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  3. How about Snow White? And then Cinderella? Yeah … stay tuned!!! I’ll have an announcement about that very soon, I hope! *mysterious grin*

  4. So excited to read this, Melanie! I LOVE England…I lived there when I was younger, and their history is so interesting to me. And Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale! 😉
    Love,
    Angie

  5. I want to read this one so bad 🙂 I love the entire idea of the book and the cover ROCKS!
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  6. Lady DragonKeeper

    Hmm … I’d say “Mulan” only because I’ve barely seen asian characters in Christian fiction, but I think I’m getting off of the fairy tale track … maybe Rapunzel?

  7. I think Little Red Riding Hood should be next! I know Melanie’s deep into the next one and I don’t know if she’s mentioned it or not, but I know it’ll be great!

  8. I’d love to see how Melanie would write a story based on Snow White.
    I very much enjoyed reading The Healer’s Apprentice and am looking forward to The Merchant’s Daughter.
    Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  9. I just became a follower of this site through GFC.

    • Pam, thank you so much for becoming a follower. Did you hear the new announcement? GFC is going away for WordPress. Ugh. I hope you’ll still come by my blog. There is a new form up top, to connect it to wordpress, but I’m planning on bringing in Google+ soon too. 🙂

  10. I love reading these books! Thank you for the opportunity not only to win this book, but to promote this terrific author!

      • Amanda, thank you so much for becoming a follower. Did you hear the new announcement? GFC is going away for WordPress. Ugh. I’m really glad I had a giveaway for an author you like, keep coming back more giveaways to come in the new year! (and promotions of great authors, hehe)

        I hope you’ll still come by my blog. There is a new form up top, to connect it to wordpress, but I’m planning on bringing in Google+ soon too. 🙂

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