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.
My Ranking: 8 out of 10
Ages 15 & up
Beauty and the Beast is, and has been for quite some time, my favorite princess story. I’m not sure what about it fascinated me, but while I never was a huge fan of Cinderella or the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast was a beloved favorite. You can imagine my delight when I found out that a previously favored author, Melanie Dickerson, was writing another retold princess fairy tale – this time Beauty and the Beast.
I wasn’t disappointed with this book. While it didn’t manage to make it onto my favorites list, it did hold my attention easily and I had a hard time putting it down. In fact, I was so captivated by the story that I read the whole book in a single day! With a smooth writing style and intriguing characters, Dickerson’s novel was both entertaining and unique.
As in The Healer’s Apprentice, the characters were engaging and easy to enjoy. Annabel was endearing, and Ranulf was intriguing and mysterious. Who couldn’t like them? I loved getting to know them both more as the story went on, and took pleasure in watching their friendship and trust grow. I did have a few problems with some of their conduct, as you may see if you read the content warnings below, but overall I liked their characters.
A man tries to force himself upon a woman. Nothing happens, but intentions are clear. It mentions him trying to kiss her and muttering his vile intentions. No further detail is given. Later she is thinking of whether to tell her older brothers but decides against it knowing that her brother would say when she told him of what he intended to do to her, “Well, I told him he could marry you.” This man attacks her on several occasions.
Girls fall over the lord of the village and a few times is mentioned that Annabel overhears “offensive comments”. One girl mentions his scar and says something about wondering how extensive they are, and it says Annabel covers her ears to try to keep out the banter as they "discussed the possibilities".
When discussing reasons to marry, one girl says, “You’d be sleeping in your own bed, keeping your man warm every night.” Giggles erupt.
There’s a scene towards the end where a girl is shaving the man she loves and it mentions him thinking she shouldn’t be taking such liberties with him because they were yet to be married, but that he didn’t say anything because he liked the feel of her hands on his head and being able to watch her and feel her so close. While this irritated me, it was a short lived scene and nothing more explicit about his thoughts was said.
Overall, while I had a few personal issues with the book, I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to those out there who like a well written romance.
I received this free book in return for an honest review from Zondervan. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.