The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson: A spoilery, very ranty DNF review

themerchantsdaughter

Listen.

I have enjoyed Melanie’s books in the past. The Golden Braid is a really solid novel. Her books are cute, sweet, and Christian, usually without a bunch of preaching. I like her books, I really do.

But The Merchant’s Daughter was horrible. I tried to make myself finish it, hoping it might redeem itself, but I just couldn’t keep reading.

It’s not even plot or characters (although I didn’t really like any of them and they were rather flat).

A little background: Annabel, the lead, wants to join a nunnery. Her family is trying to make her marry this disgusting old bailiff (why are disgusting men in every one of Melanie’s books? Just once I’d like a good-looking villain) so she goes to work as an indentured servant. The bailiff very clearly wants to rape her. And Melanie will not say it bluntly for anything in the world.

And that, my friends, is why I quit reading.

If you’re going to write a book that deals with as serious a topic as rape, you’d better say the word. I don’t care if you’re trying to be “clean” or that you’re writing Christian fiction. Christians get raped too, and it’s a very real problem that should never, ever, be sugar-coated. Annabel is afraid the bailiff will rape her and the reader needs to know that. “Hurt” is not an adequate word.

Now, I can see reasons Melanie may not have wanted to say “rape” blatantly. I know some readers may not know what it is. But she writes teen fiction. I’m pretty sure her readers know what rape is. As a matter of fact, I have read middle-grade Christian novels that mention rape. We can handle it, Melanie- don’t lose your point.

And just because it’s called Christian doesn’t mean it has to be squeaky clean. I’ve read the Old Testament, for crying out loud, and I’m pretty sure most other Christian girls have too.

So, yeah, I just couldn’t stand it anymore.

It was also a thousand times preachier than her other books. I don’t mind a little bit of preachiness; it’s Christian fiction and I kind of expect it, but this was excessive. I get that Annabel had never read the Bible, but I did not need a commentary on every parable of Jesus. I don’t read novels for Biblical commentary.

All that said, I do have a good friend that adored this book. So maybe you’ll like it, but I obviously did not.

How do you feel about rape being handled in fiction? Have you read The Merchant’s Daughter

-Clara

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I Went to YALLFest!

I had the privilege of taking a weekend trip to Charleston for YALLFest this weekend and it was absolutely amazing!

If you don’t know, YALLFest is a book festival held annually in Charleston, SC. There are always a bunch of wonderful authors there doing panels, signings, and other fun events. It’s also a great place to get free books- I came home with 11 including the one I picked up for my brother.

I wanted to share some pictures with you all from my trip as well as the stuff I picked up.

I’ll start with the chapter samplers:

  • The Afterward by E.K. Johnston
  • Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Stain by A.G. Howard
  • King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (I have got to get into the Grishaverse; they all sound so good and I’ve been wanting to hop on the bandwagon for ages)
  • Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
  • To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I also picked up quite a few ARCs (advanced reader copies):

  • Slayer by Kiersten White
  • Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
  • In Paris With You by Clementine Beauvais
  • The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Phillipe
  • Daisies and Devotion by Josi S. Kilpack
  • Crown of Feathers by Nick Pau Preto
  • Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers (which is signed and I am so excited about this one- I haven’t read any of Robin’s books yet and after hearing her speak I really need to fix that!)

And a few books that are already out:

  • Bookish Boyfriends: A Date with Darcy by Tiffany Schmidt
  • Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright
  • There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins (I also got this one signed)

I also got a ton of bookmarks and other swag things, including a tote bag with a Flame in the Mist quote that I got Renee Ahdieh to sign and an Iko art print because I knew some Renegades trivia.

But despite all the free stuff, the authors were definitely the best part. The panels were amazing and all the authors I talked to were so nice and I loved meeting them.

I want to talk about Brendan Reichs for a minute. I met him last weekend at another event where he signed The Darkdeep for me, and this weekend he was sitting next to Ally Condie at a signing and remembered not only my name but where I had mentioned possibly attending college. He is a super nice guy and I will definitely be reading more of his books. The Darkdeep, by the way, is fantastic- and I haven’t enjoyed middle grade in a long time.

I met Megan Shepherd, Renee Ahdieh, Brandon Mull, Ally Condie, Stephanie Perkins, Dhonielle Clayton, Robin LaFevers, and Roshani Chokshi.

Meeting Roshani was the highlight of the entire trip. If you’re new here, Roshani is my favorite author (it’s a tie between her and Marissa Meyer; I like Marissa’s books but Roshani has the most beautiful writing style in this world). I got to meet her and she signed her books for me. I also gave her a copy of both Captain Guinevere and Lady Gwen that she so graciously accepted. She is so sweet and beautiful and I am so happy to have met her.

Now for some pictures:

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A panel, from left to right: Veronica Roth, Victoria Aveyard, Danielle Paige, Destiny Soria, and Adrienne Young
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A blurry picture of the Booksplosion event: Kat O’Keefe, Christine Riccio, and Jesse George. They were hilarious!
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Another panel; we were on the front row: Renee Ahdieh, Danielle Paige, Emiko Jean, Robin LaFevers, and Laura Sebastian (I ADORED Laura on this panel and will be picking up her book very soon).
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Me with Megan Sheperd- I gave her copies of my books as well.
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Renee and I took a selfie.

And last but not least:

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Here I am with Roshani Chokshi!

If you get the chance to make a trip to YALLFest next year, do it. It was an amazing trip.

Have you been to YALLFest? What was your favorite part? Who’s the author you’d love to meet the most?

-Clara

P.S. Special thanks to my mom and dad for making this happen! I love you both so much!