I am always fully satisfied when I finish reading one of Debra Ullrick's novels. They ultimately coax a contented sigh from my lips, as I read the last word.
In Groom Wanted, best friends Leah Bowen and Jake Lure both advertise in the newspapers for mail-order spouses. Then they make a deal for each of them to choose whom the other will marry. Surely this is a good way for them to find what they seek: a wife who'll appreciate Jake's shy charm, and a husband who will take Leah away from the Idaho Territory she detests. As the responses pour in, some are way off the mark of what each is hoping for. But one man seems to be the perfect mate for Leah; the type she's longed forâ€”someone who is just like Mr. Darcy in the novel, Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austin. Jake is skeptical, especially after he meets this new suitor of Leah's. By then, he's also discovered he's fallen for Leah himself, and aims to make sure she won't make the mistake of marrying a man who isn't what he seems. But Leah so desperately wants to move back to New York, where her new beau is from, she just may turn a blind eye to his faults. Can Jake change her mind before it's too late?
As usual, Debra Ullrick's writing is rich with detail, right down to the speech, and unique attributes of each character. When you read one of Debra's stories, you forget about your life, and yourself, and feel like you're there, in the center of it, all along. To me, those are the things that make up a great writer. If you like comedic, historical romances, you'll love Groom Wanted.
Two best friends, Leah Bowen and Jake Lure, place ads in the New York Times newspaper for a groom and a bride, respectively. They plan to help each other make their choice from the many responses to their ad. Meanwhile Jake stops reading his replies, realizing he loves Leah. But will Leah give up her desire to move to New York and realize what she searches for is right before her? The plot is compelling as the two lives crisscross, resulting in near-misses for intimate moments. Humor slips into the story at just the right times. Is Leah's desire to move east strong enough to force her to choose a stranger over her best friend as a spouse? Memorable characters.
Groom Wanted was a sweet story about two good friends who would never consider marriage to each other...at least not at first. I enjoyed many of the nuances of the story like the heroine writing to Mr. Darcy in her diary and telling Jake she wanted to marry a man like Mr. Darcy. That fit the story so well! I loved how Jake simply "had" to read the book to find out what the appeal of the man was. He had a lot of wisdom when he said it was just fiction. But that's an aside.
I also enjoyed the little quirks that Leah possessed, like calling her sister Abbynormal, and her teasing nature. So cute! And the many near kisses the hero and heroine shared were nice enough to fluster the reader at times. I wanted them to discover that they really did love each other. The author had a good balance, though, between the conflict and the internal struggle of the characters. The conflict didn't feel contrived at all.
The man who responded to Leah's ad couldn't have been more obnoxious, but that made the story more entertaining to read. I liked how the author incorporated each of the character's fears into the plot and how they were resolved with faith and honesty, but not in an unrealistic manner. The author didn't use faith or love as a cure-all, and I found that refreshing. Those things offer hope, but don't always cure the ills in this life.
My favorite novel in the series is still the second book, The Unlikely Wife, but this was a good story as well, especially if you enjoyed the characters from previous books and wanted to see them again. At the same time, this could be read as a stand alone. It's definitely a sweet read with a lot of spiritual depth and healing conversation/insight, so it goes deeper than surface level, and I appreciated that.
When friends Leah Bowen and Jake Lure each secretly advertise for a spouse, life gets even more interesting around the Bowens' ranch in Idaho Territory. Jake asks Leah to help him choose the best bride, while she seeks a groom who will whisk her back to the New York of her childhood. But how can these close friends one day bear to part?
Both have painful incidents from their pasts that cause serious ongoing problems in their lives. Leah thinks leaving the area where her father was killed will help her escape her horrible nightmares, which she is afraid to reveal to anyone The dandified man who tries to woo her also wants to improve her, while his sister falls for sweet Jake. And the story gets more interesting as the conflict develops.
Debra Ullrick's Groom Wanted is the third in a series of Bowen love stories, but easily stands alone as a separate novel. The spiritual dimension adds richness to the tale.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
Laughing with tears in your eyes is what you'll be doing when you read "Groom Wanted" by Debra Ullrick as Leah and Jake look for spouses in all the wrong places. Sometimes the things that are right in front of our eyes are the hardest to see.
I enjoyed this book immensely. Ms. Ullrick's writing pulled me in and held me until I found out Leah and Jake's happily-ever-after.