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.
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...
*Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*
After three failing attempt to order a bride, Everett Cline gives up on marriage. But when his best friend's wife orderes a bride without his knowledge, he knows he must do everything to guard his heart. He's immediately attracted to her but what if she leaves him like the others? He doesn't want another heart break.
Julia Lockwood is running away from the past. She's grown in a city but must do whatever it takes to prove herself worthy of being a country wife and living a simple life an a prairie. They both get drawn to each other but because of their past, they can't see what the future can hold for them both, so they agree to marriage in the name only.
Great debut novel! I will defenetly look out for new books from this author!
Thanks you Bethany House for sending me a free copy of this book for an honest review.
A Bride for Keeps, Melissa Jagears' freshman novel and published by Bethany House, is the story of two people whose fears nearly keep them from a most precious love.
On the unforgiving Kansas prairie, we meet Everett Cline, confirmed bachelor and overwhelmed farmer. Having been rejected by four fiances, three of them mail-order brides, Everett is finished with romance. Fortunately for him, his best friend's wife and neighbor, Rachel, has one more trick up her sleeve.
After corresponding with the beautiful, fragile Julia, Rachel determines she would be the perfect helpmate for Everett. Bringing her to the small Kansas town of Salt Flatts was easy. Convincing Everett and Julia to make their partnership into a marriage - not so much. Julia's past has left her dreadfully afraid of men, particularly tall, handsome, blond men who resemble her abusive ex-fiance. Can Everett's gentle, godly personality eclipse his resemblance to Julia's abuser? Will Julia's rejection of Everett cause his already guarded heart to fully harden?
A Bride for Keeps is a gentle exploration of a blossoming love between two injured people facing not only the hardships of farming on a desolate land, but also falling in love in a desolate world. Melissa Jagears has cast an innocence over the entire novel, which may be enticing to many readers, particularly in the inspirational fiction category. I prefer a grittier treatment of these subjects myself. I also felt as though the author brought us to the edge of emotion and sort of left us there as she switched scenes. I never really became fully invested in Everett and Julia, and emotional investment in the characters is of utmost importance to me as a reader.
I give A Bride for Keeps 3 stars. Readers who like Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly should find this book thoroughly engaging.
I received A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears at no cost from Bethany House Publishers in return for an honest review. My opinions are my own.
This is the first novel for this author and it was a good read. Julie is a mail order bride hoping for a new beginning and Everett has given up finding a bride after trying his hand at mail order brides and ending up rejected. But a well-meaning friend has other plans any maybe this one will be the one.
What I liked: I really liked both Everett and Julia. Both their pasts made falling in love seem almost impossible but with their friends and God's help they have a chance. I also enjoyed how right from the beginning it felt like I was part of the town. Dex and Rachel were great side characters.
What I did not like: This book goes into great depth about beauty. Not in a bad way and it fit into the story it just seemed a little much. Yes Julia felt her looks were all men saw of her and she was treated badly in her past but it just seemed it took a long time for her to move on and the focus of the physical attraction that Everett had for her got kind of annoying at times. I would have liked them to have spent more time talking then thinking how they were attracted to each other.
Over all I liked this book and I hope to read the novella that was written about Dex and Rachel and I also am looking forward to more books from this author. This author has great promise!
"A Bride for keeps" is a wonderful, christian, historical, romance novel. I enjoyed the way the characters interacted with each other and both were very strong willed. For some reason I love mail-order-bride type books, it interest me how people actually did that and the many different reasons why someone would become a mail-order-bride, or look for one. This book will keep you reading to see if Everett and Julia can ever get over their past experiences and find a happy, loving marriage. If you enjoy good clean historical romance fiction you will love this book. I look forward to more books by Melissa Jagears.