Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist

I'd heard some great things about this book, so I found a copy and read it. Glad I did! Here's the summary:

In 1860s Seattle, a man with a wife could secure himself 640 acres of timberland. But because of his wife's untimely death, Joe Denton finds himself about to lose half of his claim. Still in mourning, his best solution is to buy one of those Mercer girls arriving from the East. A woman he'll marry in name but keep around mostly as a cook. Anna Ivey's journey west with Asa Mercer's girls is an escape from the griefs of her past. She's not supposed to be a bride, though, just a cook for the girls. But when they land, she's handed to Joe Denton and the two find themselves in a knotty situation. She refuses to wed him and he's about to lose his land. With only a few months left, can Joe convince this provoking--but beguiling--easterner to be his bride?

Here's my review:

I always enjoy Deeanne Gist's books. Her inspirational romance is edgy in respect to sexual tension, but I believe that's why readers enjoy her work. She maintains wholesome boundaries on the couples in her stories, but doesn't ignore the fact that humans have a God-designed sexual nature.

I appreciated the setting of her latest novel--Seattle in the late 1800's. In her author letter at the end of the book, she explains she employed a bit of artistic license, but as a reader, I felt the story flowed smoothly and her adjustments of time lines didn't affect the story a bit. In fact, I learned a few things about the region as I read.

This novel is entertaining on many levels: romance, history, humor, setting. Near the end, though, I felt she could have tied up the story earlier than she did. There seemed to be a couple of places where the story would have worked to end it. But her final challenge did seem insurmountable, and in romantic fiction, where you're wondering how these two will get together and each have their dreams come true, that's what you want.

I think readers who appreciate edgy inspirational fiction will enjoy this novel.

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