Everett Cline had been jilted enough to wound any man's pride. After his best friend's sister-in-law left him for another man he decided to try his luck with mail-order brides only to be jilted by three more women. With a bruised ego, as well as a bruised heart, Everett refused to go that route again. Even though he longed for the companionship of a good woman he would no longer be fodder for town gossip. But when his best friend's wife, Rachel, ordered a bride without his knowledge he found himself enamored with the beautiful Julia Lockwood. Even though he would like nothing better than to have her by his side he knows he must guard his heart. What if she leaves him like the others? Surely this time would break his heart but can he love her completely and, at the same time, live with a marriage of convenience?
Julia Lockwood fled from Boston for two reasons, to get away from her father's scheming ambitions and to put distance between herself and a horrible nightmare. Why else would she agree to be a mail-order bride? All Julia had were her looks, or so she had been told, so what man would want her for anything more? Everett was a kind man but Julia felt she had to prove her worth. She worked as hard as any man but she was afraid that when Everett found out about her past he would no longer want her. How could he love her if he knew? Her past also kept her from accepting the love of her Heavenly Father. Could Everett help her come to understand her own self-worth, not only in her eyes, but in his eyes and the eyes of God as well? Can she come to love her husband despite her fears? Will God heal her heart and give her the love she never dreamed she would have?
Let me start by saying I absolutely loved this book. This is the first book I have read by Melissa Jagears but I am already looking forward to the next one (hmmm maybe one about William?). The plot is one that is always a pleasing read to me. Both Everett and Julia had feelings for each other but kept them to themselves which made for some great tension. Julia's feelings surfaced more toward the end but there were little hints earlier on that she didn't seem to recognize as the beginnings of love. Although this type of plot isn't new it sure had some new angles that enriched the story. I won't give away any significant parts (no spoilers here) but it also dealt with an issue that is rarely addressed in historical fiction and I loved that. I loved Everett's heart too. It was as big and wide as the land he lived on and the way he loved Julia through her fears and doubts only endeared him to me more. If you love historical fiction and great story lines you will absolutely love A Bride for Keeps. I highly and irrevocably recommend it!
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for my honest review.**
There are quite a few mail order bride novels on the shelves these days, but this one is a fresh look, a different perspective, really. Everett has tried the route of finding a bride from out east numerous times already, but why that happened, the reader will find out in the book. He will not try it again! The situations and characters are humorous at times, at other times frustrating, but always entertaining. Melissa caught my attention and my heart from the first page where I met Everett Kline coming out of the mercantile in Salt Flatts, Kansas and kept it through out the novel as I followed the residents of the small prairie town. Never a dull moment, it seems as, everyone in the county has advice that they are only too willing to share with him. And as with all close knit communities, each one knows the other one's business better than he himself does!
I will recommend this to my friends and look for more books by Melissa!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group."
A Tender Tale of Love on the Prairie Perfect for CBA Readers.
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?
I am not a huge fan of romances, but give me a mail-order bride story and I'm going to love it - guaranteed! This book was no different, despite a couple things I feel the need to mention along a negative vein. I felt this novel was focusing too much on the lack of a physical relationship between the characters, instead of developing that emotional bond that comes from just being together. That is the best part about mail order bride stories; the evolution of watching two characters grow closer together romantically. This writing was repetitive with emotions, situations and thoughts, and it did get tiring reading about it over and over.
Now to the stuff I really liked about the book! There was no sub-plot in this novel, and while that usually makes a book better, in this case, I enjoyed not having one. Having a sub-plot may have helped the repetitiveness I mentioned earlier, but Everett and Julia had enough drama between the two of them, it simply wasn't needed. There were times I wanted them to sit down and talk things out, but I was highly amused by the cat-and-mouse game they played for a while before the story was concluded. For a while it seemed as if they are going to go break things off - but doesn't every good story have some impossible situation/circumstance that gets overcome at the last possible moment?
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
I truly enjoyed this book; it was a wonderful read from a first time author! I found the story captivating, to have a mail order bride set up for you! Wow! What could you do when everyone thinks you are doomed before she even meets you because of your record with other mail order brides? And if you were the woman trying to prove you are better able bodied then your looks relate? This was the perfect recipe for a great read!
I found this to be a wonderful story of two people who are searching for love and settling for what they deem is enough. Wanting to prove to themselves that they are worth more then others think of them. While trying to each other that they are the perfect one for what the other one needs. Can love ever blossom between to such characters? I sure is fun to read and find out! I am very much looking forward to the next book by this author.
I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.
Melissa Jagears has written a lovely, romantic mail-order bride story for our reading pleasure. Besides the beautiful cover, the theme of a marriage of convenience, memorable characters and plenty of swoon-worthy romance make this a novel that will definitely be on my re-read list.
The hero has had one girlfriend jilt him and three unsuccessful attempts at marriage to three different mail-order brides. After going through some bad experiences, the heroine feels like marriage is her only option to survive in life. These two come together in a rocky relationship at the start, but with perseverance, apologies, God, hard work and good friends they are able to make this marriage work.
I loved how the author was able to flesh out each character and gives the reader a sympathy for the personal difficulties that the hero and heroine face. The friends of the couple were given a good amount of page time without being in your face. There's a little bit of a villain, but he's more of an obstacle in their lives. I'm very glad because too many times villains get brought in and ruin perfectly good romance books. Oh, this book was also refreshing because there were only two viewpoints! Yay! I'm getting so tired of couples not getting enough page time together because of all the other friends' and villain's viewpoints. More couple time together, please, even if they're fighting, friendly or flirting. This book gave us all three of these instances and I loved that. The romance was beautiful with lots of moments and chemistry between the couple. Melissa did a great job with getting a good amount of romance/passion without going over the line. I appreciated that. The spiritual aspects of the book don't come to the forefront until about half-way through the novel, but they are well-written. Salvation and God's love are brought forward to complete this heart-felt, emotional story. Cannot wait to see what her next novel will be.
This novel reminded me a lot of Lori Wick's writing style in her older books. If you love Lori Wick or Karen Witemeyer than you will enjoy Melissa Jagears' book.