4 Stars Out Of 5
Room for Improvement, but an Entertaining Plot
December 21, 2012
Most fans of romance will enjoy this first novel in the Montana Skies series about a Bostonian woman that travels out West as a mail-order bride, yet has an ulterior motive.
The title character of this book, McKenzie, answers an ad for a mail-order bride willing to travel to Montana Territory. The only thing is, she's really not all that interested in becoming a wife, much less to a complete stranger, but she is, however, in search of her sister who is trapped in an abusive marriage and also lives in Montana Territory. Her husband-to-be, Zach Sawyer, believes that God has sent McKenzie to him, and devotes himself fully to this new relationship even though McKenzie keeps him at arm's length. He eventually discovers her reasons for uprooting herself from a cultured lifestyle in Boston, and his initial joy of having her as his wife dissolves into feelings of disbelief.
Truly, the plot alone was worth the read since it's been a long while since I read a mail-order bride story, and this one came with an intriguing twist. McKenzie's snobbish nature early on turned me off, and her family wasn't particularly likeable, either. (In hindsight, I suppose that could be considered a good thing because by book's end, McKenzie had found a place in my heart.) Zach, on the other hand, was a complete and utter dream all the way through, and his young son, Davey, was as sweet as cherry pie. :)
On the flip side, I grew tired of the overdone Christian message throughout the novel. Most of the time, authors subtly include references to Scripture, but in my experience, it's atypical to see Scriptures used in their full context in the middle of a novel. If it had appeared once or twice, I would've thought nothing of it, but after multiple occurrences, I started to skim. Don't get me wrong...I have no problem with the inclusion of Scripture in Christian fiction, but in this case, it felt a little excessive and hindered the flow of the character's conversations in which it was used.
In spite of the preachiness of this novel, I was fully invested in the story, and sincerely wanted Zach and McKenzie's marriage to succeed. Also, there were a handful of great life lessons and nuggets of advice shared between Asa and Zach that were great additions to the story. The ending of this book set the stage nicely for the next book where I'll have the opportunity to get to know Kaydie as well as a certain confirmed bachelor who has already piqued my interest. :)