Shay Brandenberger has been disappointed in love, twice. Fourteen years ago she was left on the courthouse steps. The boy she had played with as a child, fallen in love with as a teen, and planned to marry right out of high school, Travis McCoy, had run out on her right before the wedding.
Years later she married someone else. They had a wonderful child, Olivia. But then he had left her and a few years later, had died.
Aged 32, Shay was a native of Moose Creek, Montana, and was trying to keep her family farm going. But she was behind on the mortgage payments and the power company had threatened to turn off her electricity.
Then Travis walks back into her life. He's back in Moose Creek after being on the rodeo circuit. He's made enough money to last him a lifetime. He's back to care for his parent's farm while they are on a mission trip. He has never lost his love for Shay. He knew it was wrong to leave her, even as he ran away from the wedding. But he was so young and the rodeo was calling.
Shay knows deep down she still loves Travis. He was her first love and she has never been able to let that go. But the hurt from his abandonment runs just as deep.
Then life for the both of them gets even more complicated as the Founder's Day celebration occurs. They separately agree to play the bride and groom at a reenactment. Then Travis gets the news that the "fake" wedding certificate he and Shay signed was, in fact, the real certificate from fourteen years ago.
The sparks fly as Travis wants to make the wedding work while Shay is just as determined to make him leave.
This is a unique plot. I've never seen anything like it. A bride left at the altar, so to speak. And then the marriage planned fourteen years ago happens, without the knowledge of those involved.
This was a pretty good read but I did have a few problems with the story line.Â Hunter does admit in the afterward that marriage licenses are not valid for fourteen years, as she has in her book. So she stretched the believability of the plot there.
Also, Shay's farm has a mortgage even though it has been in her family for three generations. The farm should have been paid off by now. But being behind on the mortgage is essential to the plot.
Also, Shay has the same problem over and over again. I got a bit bored with the repetition. There doesn't seem to be any growth in that area.
Also, Hunter writes of passion and some of the scene have a bit more passion than usual for a Christian romance. On occasion I felt a little uncomfortable with what I was reading.
The Christianity of the characters is well portrayed - a much appreciated aspect of the novel.
This is certainly not the best Christian romance I've read lately.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Denise Hunter's latest release and a follow-up to A Cowboy's Touch in her A Big Sky Romance series certainly has an attention-grabbing title. After all, how can two people really get married accidentally? Hunter acknowledges that these circumstances are a bit contrived and highly unlikely. Yet, for both the author and readers it is hard to resist such a storyline because it offers the potential for further blunders and moments of tension as the consequences of such an arrangement unfold.
Because I read A Cowboy's Touch, I was looking forward to re-visiting Moose Creek, Montana and characters from the first series. Shay and her daughter Olivia made appearances in the first book, and I was looking forward to reading Shay's story since she was portrayed as a hard-working and loving single parent, experiencing her share of challenges. In The Accidental Bride, readers will continue to see that Shay is independent and strong-willed. These character traits are born out of past experiences and hardships, which include financial insecurity, being left at the altar by her high school sweetheart, and later being deserted by her husband. There is no doubt that she carries layers of hurt, disappointment, and betrayal beneath her guarded front.
The one person who threatens to break through these barriers is Travis McCoy, Shay's accidental groom and the man who jilted her. I initially thought that I would not like Travis; but because Hunter switches viewpoints, we are able to see both of their perspectives. There is no doubt that situations in the past were not handled well, but I found myself liking Travis better than Shay, which really surprised me. I was actually irritated by Shay and her stubborn streak, especially during the second half of the novel. While I understand the feelings that motivated her decisions, I grew tired of her willfulness. Finally, when there was a resolution in sight, the novel drew to a close a bit too quickly for me, considering the obstacles that were encountered throughout the story.
Denise Hunter continues to be an author who crafts well-written, modern romances. The Accidental Bride began on a promising note, but I just could not always sympathize with Shay. This lack of connection to a main character caused the story to be one of my least favorites of Hunter's. Despite this setback, I still look forward to a possible upcoming third book in A Big Sky Romance series.
I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from NetGalley, courtesy of Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Some author's write stories that grip you, some write stories that scare you and some write sweet romances. Denise Hunter, author of The Accidental Bride and A Cowboy's Touch from the Big Sky Romance series, falls into the latter category. When you read a book by Ms. Hunter you're bound to be swept away by a light-hearted romance, simply put her books are good readin!'
In The Accidental Bride we are once again in Moose Creek, Montana and some characters from A Cowboy's Touch make cameo appearances. Shay Brandenberger was left at the altar by Travis McCoy here high school sweetheart. Years later, at the request of a friend Shay agrees to participate in the reenactment of a Founder's Day wedding without knowing who the "groom" is. Thanks to the minister performing the ceremony Shay gets married to the last man she'd ever want--her ex fiance. Modern day cowboys and independent heroines butt heads and make for some sizzling chemistry.
While I don't quite understand how Shay and Travis ended up officially married since they never technically said vows to each other this story is just so romantic! I'm such a sucker for the knight in shining armor and that's just what Travis is. It may not be the most believable story, in fact some things didn't make a whole lot of sense to me but I liked it anyway. Denise definitely writes heroes you wish you could meet and frustratingly stubborn heroines who you'd sometimes like to slap but they are what make her stories. If you're looking for a book to read on a lazy Sunday afternoon this is it.
4.5 out of 5 stars
*I received my complimentary review copy from the publisher in exchange for posting my honest opinion of the book.*
In The Accidental Bride, Denise Hunter sets up an almost impossible situation...two people who planned to elope as teens, now find themselves married through a fake ceremony. As I was reading I kept waiting to see how she would pull it off -- boy did she! Shay can't stand the thought that her neighbors are watching her to see what another man wiill leave her. Travis just wants a do-over of the past tired of living with his regrets. The valid marriage license seems to be the ticket to make Shay give him a chance. She needs money to save her ranch and he needs time to prove his love is real.
While I could anticipate where the story headed at times, that didn't rob the joy of the journey. Instead, as a writer, I couldn't wait to see how Denise would work Shay and Travis out of the impossible situations she wrote them into. These characters have a spark between them and a brokeness that made me root for them. I wanted to see love win because they both needed it so deeply. The setting makes it a cowboy tale with a twist. A very enjoyable read -- just what I've come to expect from Denise Hunter. A contemporary romance that leaves me with a smile.
This is the second in the Big Sky Romance series. It could be read as stand alone but would be a much better if you read A Cowboy's Touch book one in this series.
Shay Brandenberger and her childhood sweetheart, Travis McCoy have eloped to get married in her happily ever after. But Travis forgets something very important and leaves her waiting on the court house steps. She waits and waits and Travis never comes back. Leaving her dreams of happily ever after and her heart shattered. From this day she makes all the wrong choices. And ends up married, then abandoned again, but this time with a child. Then low and behold Travis shows back up in town.
This is a wonderful story of love and the pain of letting go of past hurt and the will and strength from God to be able to forgive, trust and hope. The author created a strong since of pride in Shay that only God could penetrate. There is a great lesson in humbling oneself displayed in the love and patience Travis has for God's will in this relationship.
The only happily ever after I look forward to in my life is God's will.
I highly recommend this book.
I rate this book a 5 out of 5.
I got a copy of this book from Netgalley it was a personal choice. I was in no way compensated for this review. This is review is my own opinion.