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  1. Perfectly Matched, Blue Willow Brides Series #3
    Perfectly Matched, Blue Willow Brides Series #3
    Maggie Brendan
    Revell / 2013 / Trade Paperback
    $2.99 Retail: $15.00 Save 80% ($12.01)
    4 Stars Out Of 5 20 Reviews
    Availability: In Stock
    CBD Stock No: WW734641
3.8 Stars Out Of 5
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3.6 out Of 5
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  1. Jonesboro, Georgia
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Sweet historical romance
    October 29, 2013
    Carole Jarvis
    Jonesboro, Georgia
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    This is the first of Maggie's books that I've read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sometimes I just want a book to relax with and that makes me smile, and Perfectly Matched did exactly that. Although it concludes a series, this story easily stands alone.

    The setting of Denver, Colorado in the fall of 1888 felt very real as many actual places were incorporated, some still standing today. And characterization is strong in both major and secondary characters.

    Edward is certainly a unique hero! He suffers from a mild form of what we know today as obsessive compulsive disorder, first evidenced in the humorous scene where, shortly after saying "I do," he presents Anna with a detailed schedule of her daily chores. As frustrating and unbending as he seems at first, knowing his background and understanding that his actions were merely coping mechanisms, I grew to really like him. Edward's father had been an alcoholic, and his sister explains to Anna: "Edward and I both had our ways of coping as children. He liked to tinker with things that took total concentration and perfectionism. I think that was his way of controlling what he could around him, and he became compulsive about certain things."

    Anna is completely his opposite, and their marriage a total recipe for disaster without God in the equation. Scatterbrained, impulsive, untidy and disheveled - but with such a giving nature, genuine sweetness, and compassion for others, especially animals in need. "When the Lord places an opportunity to do good right in front of me, then I have to take a stand," Anna explains.

    I particularly enjoy romances where love grows between a married couple, and Maggie did an excellent job at portraying this. That intimate moments are a part of Edward and Anna's marriage is obvious, and it's just refreshing to see this included and so tastefully done "off camera."

    This story also shows how Edward and Anna, both committed to their marriage, work through personality differences and discover that they actually have much in common and bring out the best in each other. I loved how, as early as their wedding night, Edward "suddenly had a premonition of things to come, and he felt like he was losing control."

    Perfectly Matched is a tender, heartwarming romance which includes some interesting history, such as the beginning of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I believe this is a book that romance fans will enjoy.

    This book was provided by Lanette Haskins and Revell in exchange for my honest review.
  2. Bloomer, WI
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Liked the Historical Aspects, but rest is so-so
    October 26, 2013
    Blooming with Books
    Bloomer, WI
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Perfectly Matched

    The Blue Willow Brides #3

    By Maggie Brendan

    Perfectly Matched is the third book in The Blue Willow Brides series. This book follows Anna Olsen as she marries a man whom she has met only in letters when he advertised for a mail-order bride. Leaving the comfort of what she has known behind Anna travels to Denver where she weds Edward Parker.

    But can two such different people who don't really know one another truly ever become a harmonious couple? Anna's youthful caring heart is about disrupt Edward's orderly world in a way he never expected. Her exuberant spirit both attracts and distracts him. While his orderly structure annoys Anna especially when it is presented in a list of expected daily duties and chores the moment she enters her new home.

    When Anna finds a need in Denver she decides this is the mission that has been given her. But Edward doesn't want any animals in his home much less the entire stray population that roams the city streets. Is there any hope of compromise and a happy understanding?

    Perfectly Matched has Anna bringing the ASPCA to Denver as she attempts to be a champion for the abandoned and abused animals of Denver. Along the way she makes friends who help her with her endeavor and she learns the value of give-and-take in marriage.

    I have to say what I liked best in Perfectly Matched were some of Anna's antics like playing peeping-tom on the neighbors and her first suggestion for the literary circle's reading selection. Though she's impetuous Anna has a caring heart, and I'm sure when she gets a little age and experience (after all she's 18) she'd be an outstanding person in everything she puts her mind to after giving it careful thought. Edward and Anna need each other to balance one another and to draw out what each lacks in themselves - thus they are Perfectly Matched.

    I love the cover of this book with the Blue Willow design in the background and Anna's lacy blouse / dress is so lovely with the Battenberg lace. The cover alone would have convinced me to review this title, if I hadn't read Maggie Brendan's previous Blue Willow Brides title.

    There was a little too much intimacy in the book to suit my personal reading preferences so I was a little disappointed in this book. Maybe there should have been a little pre-wedding story before the wedding. I really liked the previous two titles in this series so I was a little surprised with this book.

    I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

    Available October 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
  3. Arizona
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent story right up there w/Deeanne Gist!
    October 26, 2013
    Michelle Sutton
    Arizona
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    If I could give this book ten stars, I would. This historical novel was set in 1888 in Denver, Colorado, so the setting was one of my favorites, too. There is something about mail-order bride stories that I really enjoy reading. It probably has to do with a newly married couple -- essentially strangers before the wedding -- discovering their love for each other.

    This is the best mail-order bride story I've ever read. Ironically, the second best one was also in this series. I think Ms. Brendan has a gift when it comes to writing about romantic love between newly married couples. Add to that the tender heart the heroine has for animals and rescuing them from abuse and you have an intriguing book.

    The hero was a sweetheart. Yeah, he had a pretty rigid personality at first, but as his love grew for his new bride, his strict boundaries became blurred and he learned to be spontaneous and not take life so seriously that it's predictable and boring. I loved experiencing the softening of his heart as he fell in love with her. The heroine's desire to please her husband while remaining true to herself is a good lesson for young women to learn. This novel illustrates that beautifully.

    I can't say enough good things about this book. It's heartwarming and sensual at the same time, as newly married love should be. This is definitely one of my favorite books this year, if not at the top of my list!
  4. Chicago, IL
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Sappy, but cute story
    October 24, 2013
    Faith and Family Reviews
    Chicago, IL
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    A sappy, but cute story of Anna, a mail order bride and Edward, a clock maker, who live in Denver Colorado.

    Like most newlyweds, who haven't lived together before marriage, they have a time of adjustment; which is often hilarious, but also heart wrenching when feelings are hurt and miscommunication occurs. Edwards OCD (OCD - Obsessive-compulsive disorder - apparently emerged in 1877, did you know that?) was a major contribution to Anna and his rocky start, just as much as Anna's spontaneity. They had to learn how to live a balanced life between the two.

    It was interesting learning a bit of the history of the A.S.P.C.A. (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and Anna's efforts to star the first shelter in Denver. Both were admirable.

    I wanted to read this book because of my interest in mail order brides. I cannot fathom how women, girls even, could do this. Usually they left their families behind in another city, state or country. I mean, I did that but I knew my husband before I made the move. I have read the first two books of this series and thought the first was the best one. To me Perfectly Matched was a regular fictional romance novel. It isn't a book I get excited about or would read again, unfortunately.

    "Available October 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

    Faith and Family Reviews received the following product in exchange for writing a review. While we consider it a privilege to receive products to review, our reviews are our honest opinion and thoughts of the product.
  5. Indiana
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    October 23, 2013
    lcjohnson1988
    Indiana
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3
    While this is the third book in The Blue Willow Brides series, each book can be read as a stand-alone story. The other books are titled, Deeply Devoted and Twice Promised. These two books feature Anna's, the main female lead in this book, sisters and their stories as mail-order brides. This story is set in Denver, Colorado in 1888.

    Anna Olsen is living with her sister, but wants her own life in her own house. She decides to accept an offer of marriage as a mail-order bride to accomplish her goal. However, she soon realizes she and her husband are very different. On their wedding day, he gives her a list of household chores that need to be done and when to do them. Anna is a free spirit who never feels more alive than when she is outdoors. Now she finds her life consumed with trying to keep up with her list of things to do. She soon decides the list is impossible to keep up, and encounters a new interest_homeless animals. Her husband is against this at first, because of their hair all over everything, the mess they make in the backyard and the time they take away from his wife when she should be spending that time with him. Anna is convinced the Lord wants her to follow through with taking care of these animals.

    Edward Parker is a watchmaker. He runs his shop, his home and his life with precision, and he expects his wife to do the same. Edward gives his new wife a little slack as she is young and has never run a household before. He tries to keep in mind they are both new at the marriage, and don't know each other very well, having only corresponded by mail before marrying. Edward must learn to deal with his jealousy where his new wife is concerned. Is there any way this marriage will work? Anna is not nearly as concerned with his schedule or doing things his way and has her own ideas on how to do things. Will they learn to compromise or will they continue to step on each other's toes?

    I have read the prior two books in this series, as well as the Heart of the West series also by Maggie Brendan. While her prior works have been very good and held my attention, this particular installment was just average. The storyline just didn't draw me in. Edward just was not likeable in my opinion. I did like Anna's compassionate heart for animals and her willingness to take charge about solving the problem of abandoned/homeless animals. After finally consummating their marriage, it seemed readers were frequently "getting to know one another better". I felt this excess aspect of their intimacy took away from moving the story along, and in fact was an unwanted distraction. Authors cannot always write a 5-star book, so I will still be reading future books by this author. However, this novel was just so-so.
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