This is a little different from the reviews I typically do as it a children’s book, but since it is a fairy tale, I thought it fit well with the historical fiction focus.
I have two sons, ages ten and fourteen, and decided to read one chapter a night to them before bed. Honestly, I was afraid they’d stick their noses up in the air and Mom would be forced to go sulk and read it alone. But they enjoyed it! Even begged each night to read more than one chapter. For this momma who realizes her days forming these sort or memories are numbered, it was something I deeply treasured. At one point in the fight scene, they grabbed their toy swords and fought each other while I read.
The story was exciting as it followed the traditional fairy tale form. You have the monstrous villain, the brave hero, and the damsel in distress. The knight was a great example in doing what is right without expectation of reward because it is the right thing to do, and the princess was smart and compassionate. Of course, you can’t have a fairy tale without some sort of battle with good vs. evil. As I stated earlier, that was my boys’ favorite part.
It is definitely a story to read aloud, as the vocabulary is a little high level for young readers. I’d put it somewhere near a middle school level, but even if the younger readers don’t know the exact meaning, they can still greatly enjoy the story.
Even though I was provided a digital copy by the author/publisher, I’ve decided to purchase a hardcover copy. It is a story I hope to pull out on occasion and read to them, and perhaps one day, to my grandchildren.
Is it worth it to pay the higher price of a hardcover picture book? Yes. The pictures were simple in design but colorful and complemented the story well. The story itself was enjoyable and something I look forward to reading with my boys again… this time not from my tiny phone screen.
*I was given a copy of this book by the author/publisher. It in no way influenced my opinion as given above.*
Blurb from Amazon
Lord Tempesto is a snake in every sense. As a human, he is slimy, deceitful, and manipulative, but when he’s denied what he wants, he transforms into a gigantic, powerful snake. He wants nothing more than to rule the kingdom himself, and he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants.
Princess Melina is meant to rule her father’s kingdom someday, but she doesn’t want to do it alone. However, the search for a noble suitor brings a monster to the palace gates. When monster Lord Tempesto captures her and threatens to devour her beloved kingdom if she doesn’t marry him, she has no choice but to submit to the repulsive monster’s demands.
James, the son of a knight, hears about Princess Melina’s plight and sets out on the long journey to rescue her. But his own skills aren’t enough to win the fight against such a ruthless, powerful monster, and it takes teamwork between the captive and her rescuer to save the kingdom from the monster for good.
The Knight in Battered Armor shows children of all ages the importance of doing what is right no matter what and not being afraid to protect what is most important.
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction, Fairytale Retellings, 1363
Overview of Plot:
Avelina is a lady’s maid… only her lady has decided to run off with a knight. When the Earl’s daughter is summoned to Thornbeck to be evaluated as a possible bride to the new Margrave, she is commanded to go in Lady Dorthea’s place. Her job: convince everyone she is Lady Dorthea, secure an alliance with the Margrave of Thornbeck to protect against an imminent attack, but don’t be chosen as his bride. The latter should be easier than the former.
Former knight Reinhart of Thornbeck became Margrave after his brother’s death… a death which some speculate was his doing. Ordered by the king to find a wife from a list of suggestions to strengthen empire stability, his chancellor comes up with the plan to test the women over the course of two weeks. Lady Dorthea intrigues him like no other woman, but she is hiding something.
When the truth is revealed in a humiliating way, more than their hearts are at stake. Someone is bound and determined to take Thornbeck over and he will use the deception to his advantage. The stakes become life and death as Margrave and Lady’s Maid work together to save a kingdom.
Favorite Character and Why:
As much as I loved Avelina, I loved Reinhart. He is a man who wants more than his parents had but is stuck with new responsibilities that thrust the idea of marrying for love out the window. He has such a good heart and, yes, he is swoony. Who couldn’t love a knight like him? Even when he is conflicted about Avelina’s deception he isn’t a complete monster. He does make mistakes, but he is still the swoon-worthy hero we love to read about.
What I liked:
The cast of characters was great, and I loved how none were stupid. They all had sharp minds and were good adversaries for each other. The inner struggles of the characters were particular interesting to me, and I really love the way Melanie handled them.
Who would like this:
Anyone who loves a good fairy tale. This retelling of the Princess and the Pea was a masterful retelling.
“After inheriting his title from his brother, the margrave has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise?
The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble born ladies who meet the king’s approval to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.
Avelina has only two instructions: keep her true identity a secret and make sure the margrave doesn’t select her as his bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.
Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences.”
I have finally reached Melanie’s The Merchant’s Daughter in my TBR pile and all I can say is, why did I wait so long? I will readily admit that Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale of all time, and Melanie did an amazing job with the story.
For those hardcore fairy tale fans – the ones who read the original versions by Anderson and the Grimm brothers – you will not be disappointed. Melanie did a fantastic job of sticking to the core elements but fleshing them out into a real life scenario that is just as magical as the fantasy presented to us through the historical renditions.
Even though I was very familiar with all the different variations of Beauty and the Beast, I was still wonderfully surprised and held in suspense throughout the story. It is easy to fall in love with kind, sweet Annabell who has her own wounds and broken past.Lord Ranulf le Wyse is an amazing beast who is all at once ferocious and yet gentle. My heart went out to him almost immediately.
Spiritual truth was woven masterfully and naturally throughout the story. I found myself transported and looking at the Holy Writ, as Annabell calls it, in a whole new light and with an excitement that I sometimes forget.
I highly recommend this book and would sum up this review with The Merchant’s Daughter is a fairy tale that reaches down to the soul and brings joy just by reading it. You simply must read this, and heart be still, Melanie has written a whole Fairy Tale Romance series.
The newest book Silent Songbird comes out in November.
Check out the links to purchase and connect with Melanie Dickerson below:
“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.”