Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Bride For Keeps.

I had one major reason for wanting to read this book: the marriage of convenience aspect of the plot. I seem to have a thing for stories where the marriage comes before the romance. I feel strange admitting that, because it's not like I'd ever want to be in that situation in real life. :) I just find stories like that endearing. I blame it on too many childhood readings of Sarah, Plain and Tall (mail-order bride!) and an obsession with the Hallmark adaptation of Love Comes Softly as a teenager.

I was also intrigued by the fact that Everett, the main male character in the story, had been jilted by three previous mail-order brides. Poor guy! Add to that a female character who was running from something and a pretty cover, and I couldn't help but want to read A Bride For Keeps, by Melissa Jagears.

I have to admit that it took me a while to get into this book. The first couple of chapters are a bit slow, and I haven't had a lot of reading time either. But when I got drawn into the story, I could hardly put it down.

This is a strictly romance-based plot. Unlike most of the other Christian historical fiction I've read, there aren't any thrilling action scenes or awful villains (though there is a really slimy and abusive neighbor). And that was kind of nice for a change: just a good, character-driven romance. This whole book revolves around Everett and Julia trying to move beyond hurtful things in their past and seeing whether they can actually make this marriage of convenience grow into something else. The romance is very drawn out and slow-burning. A couple of times I just wanted to shake these two for taking so long to realize things. :)

Everett was a great character. He had been rejected so many times that I couldn't help but root for him! :) But I loved how kind and caring he was once he finally let his guard down. I loved how he was willing to keep his promise to Julia, though it was obviously a struggle for him (the poor guy was smitten). Julia was likable, and it was endearing how hard she worked on the farm. I could definitely relate to the fact that she was a people-pleaser.

The only problem I had with this story was the abruptness of certain things towards the end. Even though the romance is very slow, it seemed like Julia changed her mind a little too quickly. And the book became sort of preachy. It wasn't overbearing, but the first 3/4 of the book was so unpreachy that the change seemed pretty drastic. {Speaking of the ending, I was afraid that Julia's past would come back to haunt her at some point towards the end of the story...I mean, I thought Theodore or her father would show up. That would have been so cliché, so I'm incredibly glad the author didn't go in that direction!}

Overall, I really enjoyed A Bride For Keeps. It's not quite on my list of absolute favorites for this genre, but it was such a sweet romance. I felt so invested in these characters and I wanted them to get their happily ever after. Did they? You'll just have to read the book to find out...

Although Everett Cline can hardly keep up with the demands of his homestead, he won't humiliate himself by looking for a helpmate ever again--not after being jilted by three mail-order brides. When a well-meaning neighbor goes behind his back to bring yet another mail-order bride to town, he has good reason to doubt it will work, especially after getting a glimpse at the woman in question. She's the prettiest woman he's ever seen, and it's just not possible she's there to marry a simple homesteader like him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. Having finally worked up the courage to leave her life in Massachusetts, she's determined to find a place where people will value her for more than her looks. Having run out of all other options, Julia resorts to a mail-order marriage in far-away Kansas.

Everett is skeptical a cultured woman like Julia could be happy in a life on the plains, while Julia, deeply wounded by a past relationship, is skittish at the idea of marriage at all. When, despite their hesitations, they agree to a marriage in name only, neither one is prepared for the feelings that soon arise to complicate their arrangement. Can two people accustomed to keeping their distance let the barricades around their hearts down long enough to fall in love? -Summary from Goodreads

*Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*

1 comment:

  1. Oooohhh...sounds interesting. I'm over reading these kinds of books now. Maybe because I'm married and I know how different real love is then what is portrayed in many books. Not any less romantic, but its not sweep-me-off-my-feet romance and butterflies in my heart all the time.


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