Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Stand Along
Published: November 29th 2011 by Zondervan
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Description: 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 Give This ...
I've seen this author a couple times and have her other book on my kindle. I liked the sounds of this one as well and figured why not? While not as good as I had hoped, it was a pleasant read.
Annabel's family is no longer wealthy and they are either required to work in the fields or pay a type of tax. They have been doing neither and bribing those who come to collect for the past 3 years. The new Lord isn't having any of that and the family is put on trial. They are ordered to pay the back taxes or a family members needs to enter into indentured servitude for 3 years.
I really loved Annabel's attitude. She knows she has a family who is unwilling to lift a finger for anything. They're full of excuses. They think Annabel is the answer to all their problems and not in the way one might think. They want to marry her off in exchange for having their past taxes paid. I have no idea what they planned to do with the future ones. Annabel refuses to be married off this way, especially to the despicable baliff who makes her skin crawl. She enters into to the Lord's house in servitude. She tries hard to do all the duties asked of her. But, she has been brought up this way and lacks certain things the other's have. Instead of hard labor, she ends up mostly working in the kitchens or around the manor house.
The Lord finds himself intrigued be Annabel despite himself. He's been cut deep by females in the past and he is beyond wary to let himself feel anything for Annabel. But, she doesn't behave in the usual manners. She may carry herself like the nobility, but she's also humble and has a deep understanding of what she wants out of life. Plus, she's fiercely loyal. When an unfortunate incident occurs that buts her and a friend in jeopardy, she has a hard time confessing to the truth. She's afraid her friend will be blames and then she deserved it. In the end, she confides in Lord Ranulf and he helps protect her and her friend.
It's interesting to get both view points to this story because you see them both falling for each other. But, there both convinced the other doesn't feel the same and for reasons not even remotely accurate. It really is a sweet love story.
So why the 3 rating? It was really slow moving with very little driving the story foward. It think it holds really little adult cross over appeal. I think younger teens might really enjoy this story though!