By Melanie Dickerson
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.
Hey look, I found another retelling of Beauty and the Beast! This is a Christian themed, and medieval set telling of the fairy tale. It is the second book written by Melanie Dickerson, The first of which is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. While I worried at first that Dickerson favored having her heroines’ virtue come into jeopardy, I was relieved to note that she always has them rescued and never has it go anywhere beyond being chased and sometimes hit. Being Christian myself, I enjoyed the religious aspect of this novel, especially how God answers Annabel’s petition to be able to read the Bible through placing her in a position to read it to Lord Ranulf. I particularly enjoyed the perspective of someone reading the Bible for the first time, it was sweet and endearing. Lord Ranulf’s back story was different than any other “Beast” character than I’d previously read and that made me like the story quite a lot more than I would have, but at the same time I didn’t like the story as much as The Healer’s Apprentice because of the horrible Bailiff that had ill intentions towards Annabel, which made me nervous the entire time I was reading. For a Beauty and the Beast retelling, it was alright, though not a favorite.
I give this a 3.5 out of 5- mostly for the religious aspect that I appreciated.