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. :)
McKenzie, by Penny Zeller, is a well written story, that makes you feel like you are back in the 1880's living beside the many wonderful characters that fill the pages. McKenzie has twists and turns and so much love that it makes it hard to put it down. Definitely worth the read.
In this book, I loved Zachary's patience and his forgiveness toward McKenzie. It was precious to me. I was nervous for McKenzie the entire book all the way up until the end. But with the awesome mercy of God, McKenzie was able to find her way. What I love most about this series is that they are clean, decent and Christ-inspired. They are pure and sweet and will make you want to reread the books again!
McKenzie Worthington knew you don't build a marriage on shaky ground, so when she signed up to be a mail-order bride she planned to divorce the man as soon as she accomplished her goal and go home to find a man she could love.
I don't read books if I don't like the main character. Ordinarily I'd toss a novel aside with the protagonist planning before the vows were even said to divorce the bridegroom . Ah, but McKenzie's goal shows she is a person with redeeming qualities.
We discover early that McKenzie's sister, Kaydie, is being abused and beaten by her husband who forces his wife to assist him in robbing banks and other crimes. Now McKenzie fears her sister's life is in danger. McKenzie needs to slip away to Montana without her parents knowing to see if she can find Kaydie and get her away from the man.
No one else in the family will help. All they've done is condemn Kaydie for running off and marrying the guy when they had a nice rich man picked out for her.
So McKenzie sees an advertisement from a Montana man who is looking for a mail-order bride and devises her plan. She is chosen by Zachary Sawyer to be his wife and the mother of his young adopted son. Amazing thing, Sawyer, a rancher, prayed diligently before deciding on McKenzie over other women who applied by mail.
McKenzie, however, didn't expect him to be young, personable and handsome.
As a reader, I already knew about the pain Kaydie was going through because I read that book first (I recommend it) although Kaydie was second in the Montana Skies Series. Now we find McKenzie and Zach hurting from trouble that keeps rippling over people's lives from wrong decisions.
But Penny Zeller skillfully takes us through the rough waters, although we feel at times we think there is little hope. That's the way a novel should be and that's why I lost sleep reading into the night to see what happens next.
Although she has attended church all her life and believes she is a Christian, we discover why McKenzie was able to lie when she repeated her marriage vows before God and everybody. She has no idea what's in the Bible, but Zach introduces her to the truths through reading the Word to her every day, and it makes her hunger for more and desire to know God.
If you like historical Christian fiction, you'll like this book. I recommend it.
In the attempt to find her sister, Mckenzie Worthington answers an ad for a mail order bride in Montana because she thinks that is where Kaydie is living with her abusive husband. She never intends to stay married once she finds Kaydie, but no way will McKenzie tell her husband until she's found.
Since Zachary Sawyer's neighbors passed away and he adopted their son Davey, her realizes that Davy needs a mom in his life. And because there are just no women in the little town in Western Montana, Zachary decides to place an ad for a mail order bride. Zachary believes God will send him the right woman, and he will love her no matter what.
Zachary and Mckenzie's marriage did not start of on the right track because of the deception of Mckenzie, though Zachary thought everything was fine and dandy. Of course Mother Worthington will be happy to have her two girls back home because they couldn't possibly have a life in the Western Territory and her girls were use to the best of life. Join Zachary and Mckenzie on their journey as husband and wife on this Montana ranch. Will Mckenzie find Kaydie? And if so how will her husband take it when he finds out she is leaving town and was only there to find her sister?
McKenzie is the first book in the Montana Skies Series by Penny Zeller. I love this sweet little Montana town that everyone knows everyone else. Penny detailed description of the Montana Territory is so vivid and clear I felt as though I had been there while reading this book! I could feel the love between the people living there, almost taste the food they eat, experienced the different seasons and the difficult times they sometimes had. Lucille even felt like a neighbor! The characters were so unique and exquisite that woven into this wonderful story you wanted to be living in the house with them, experiencing their everyday lives. And I love and appreciate that Penny's books have Christian characters with the ups and downs and struggles each of us face in the Christian life, showing the love, grace and forgiveness of our Lord.
Even if you don't care for historical fiction, I think you will love this series. And if you're a Historical fan, then this book is a Must for you! Grab you a copy of McKenzie, a cup of coffee, sit down and enjoy a wonderful read. Then pick up Kaydee and Hailee and finish out the series. It will be well worth your time!
I rec'd a complimentary copy of the book from the author. Thank you so much Penny! The opinions are mine alone. I was not ask to write a positive review of this book.