Here's a description of the book from the author's website:
"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."
My Rating: Spring
This engaging historical romance combines elements of some well-loved stories to make it an enjoyable read! Intentional or not, this book brought to mind Jane Eyre (Mr. Rochester and Jane), North & South (the BBC version, as I haven't read the book), and Disney's Beauty and the Beast (I confess to being more familiar with Disney's version than any other adaptation). I could go into detail about the scenes and characters that brought these great romances to mind, but it will be much more fun for you to read the book and see for yourself!
Like Dickerson's first novel The Healer's Apprentice, this book is sweet and just plain fun to read! Her interpretation of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale is unique enough to stand on its own and yet familiar enough to make the connection. The added faith element is inspiring - a good reminder of the blessings we have in being able to read Scripture for ourselves. Sometimes it flowed very well, but sometimes faith seemed almost forced into scenes in an unnatural way, especially towards the end. That is to say, it's great to see belief in God interwoven throughout the story, but sometimes it's included with a "preachy" and "out of the blue" feel.
While the first page or so seems a bit stilted - like the story coming to life in fits and starts - it didn't take long for this book to draw me into the past and into a tummy-tingling love story that emphasizes humility and beauty from within. For those who love the age-old Beauty and the Beast story, there's much to love in this new twist!
*With thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.*
Note: This book will be released November 2011.