How sensible is it to leave your home state of Texas to marry a man you have never met? That's what Marty asks when she finds herself on a stagecoach headed to Colorado to be a "wife in name only" to banker Jake Wythe in 1892. As a widow, Marty is ready to leave the memories of Texas behind. She vows to never again go through the hurt of losing someone she loves, so a "paper marriage" sounds perfect to her. What she finds in Colorado is a life of luxury- servants to meet her every need, unlimited bank account and too much free time on her hands. Knowing only the ways of ranching, going to society balls takes her way out of her comfort zone. Yet that is Jake's only request, to play the role of his wife to please his boss. Jake's ultimate goal is to get back to his home state of Texas and run his own ranch, but first he must fall in line with everything his boss says to earn enough money to buy his own land. Life isn't easy at first for newlyweds especially ones that are just getting to know each other. Along the way they must depend on each other, and Marty comes to realize that God never left her alone even after going through the death of her husband. If you love Christian Historical Romances this one is your typical novel. Though slow in parts, Peterson brought the historical detail of the 1890's into her story. The ending was sort of abrupt and left me wondering if there will be a sequel because the story didn't seem to end. I have read other books by Tracie Peterson when she co-authored another series. This one didn't keep my interest like I thought it would. Peterson included a lot of the main characters' thoughts, but there wasn't enough communication between Marty and Jake. Thanks Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group for sending me a free copy to read and review!
Christian Western Romance Fans will LOVE this one!
April 7, 2014
Whenever I hear the name Tracie Peterson, I know I am in for a great novel, that will completely captivate me heart and soul. There is something about the unique way she writes so well that you are simply not just reading her novels, she takes you along for the ride and you become part of the story along with her amazing characters you can't help but love. In her latest series, The Lone Star Brides Series, she picks up on one of my favorite topics dealing with life in the west, mail order brides.
In the novel A Sensible Arrangement, Marty Dandrige Olson is looking for a way to escape her life in Texas. Since losing her husband to being gored by a long horn she is struggling with how to move forward in her life without him and without God. Blaming God for not answering any of her prayers, she answers an ad for a banker in Denver searching for the same thing as she is. A marriage without the possibility of love. One simply of convenience and in name only. Seems like Jake Wythe would be the answer to a prayer but Marty has all but abandoned any notion of God or prayer in her life.
Leaving behind all her worldly good, she takes a stagecoach to Denver believing it is more suitable for women traveling alone without a chaperone, at least that what she has been told. Now traveling in the company of other women, her stagecoach is attacked by bank robbers. Rather than become a victim of circumstances, Marty pulls the pistol she always keeps handy and aids the drivers in putting a stop to the robbery. When the stage comes to a full stop, Marty learns that neither the driver or shotgun are fit to drive the stage into town. Without help they will surely die, so Marty does what anyone would do, and drives the stage into town. She not only saves the lives of the two men on the stage, but also becomes the talk of the town.
Fearing this won't lead to a good impression on Jake Wythe as a women of good character, she fears she will be rejected and sent back to Texas. But Jake sees something more in Marty than just a good candidate for a banker's wife. He sees her heart of compassion and softness without any fear of what others may think of her. Fortunately for both of them, theirs will simply be a marriage in name only and he won't have to worry about where his heart may take him instead. But it seems like God has other plans in store not only for Marty and Jake, but for those who are surrounded by their good natures as well.
I received A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson compliments of Bethany House Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions are strictly my own. I love this book because it took me back to a much simpler time in a sense, where Marty is struggling with coming to terms with leaving behind her cattle ranching days for a life of leisure as a banker's wife, being waited on hand and foot wanting for nothing. Jake on the other hand, would gladly give up the life in Denver for his own cattle ranch. He's doing all he can to save up for his own, when rumors of an economic fallout begin to rock the social world in Denver. Will Jake and Marty be able to come to terms with a new future of compromise or will they both be faced with holding back secrets that they know will hurt the other if they should ever come to light? You'll have to see how these two work to make their differences work together and I for one can't wait for the next novel in this series. Warning: a bit of a cliff hanger ending but one I would easily give a 5 out of 5 stars for!
This is the first book I've read by Tracie Peterson and I'm sorry to say that I was quite disappointed. I have often heard how wonderful her books are, but I didn't enjoy this one very much.
The story begins with Marty planning to leave for Colorado to be a mail-order bride. It started out slow and there wasn't much to hold my interest. Thankfully it picked up about half way through and I was able to finish it. There seemed to be a lot of wasted detail and pages. This story could have been told as a novella and been excellent.
I found Marty very annoying, with her constant lying and commenting about how easy her new life was. She didn't seem very likeable to me. The only thing I remotely identified with was her opinion of the upper crust society she was thrust into. My favorite part of the whole book was when she finally stood up to them.
I didn't much care for Jake, either. We don't see much from his point of view and he seemed to be a very flat character. I knew more about the servants than him. There wasn't much to endear him to me. Yes, he was kind to Marty, but shortly into the book, he starts talking about his hopes and dreams, and doesn't even notice that Marty wasn't happy with them. This happens several times and he just ignores her comments and concerns.
This book is filled with descriptions and is well written, I must give Ms. Peterson that, but that seems to be all it is. There is very little dialogue between Marty and Jake, through they marry very early in the book. Of course, they come to love each other, but I have no idea how! How do you love someone that you never talk to or spend time with? It seems to be a mostly physical attraction on both sides, since all the comments are about their appearance and how attractive they are, or some other such thing.
I must say, that Ms. Peterson really drove home how lies can affect your life. I did appreciate that and there are several discussions about God, which were well done and didn't seem the least bit stilted. Though, I did find their faith rather shallow.
I would recommend this book if you area huge fan of the author, otherwise I would suggest skipping it.
I received this book from Bethany House Publishing for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
I had some problems with the theology in this book. At one point Alice says that Jesus is a part of God which really isn't true as Jesus is God; this is a form of modalism. I also had trouble with them accepting Jesus as their Savior since we are wretched sinners and cannot do this; instead Christ gives it us salvation as a gift. I also had problems with Marty thinking that she needed to do something to earn God's favor. This is really the same problem as the last one as God's favor cannot be won by us rather God gives us His favor because of His Son.
Setting aside the theological problems, the plot was okay. I would have liked to know more about the characters lives prior to them meeting. It would have been nice to have more background information about how life went on prior to their engagement. I think it would have made it easier to connect with them. I was disappointed with the ending of the book as well because it really cut the story abruptly. I felt the author was trying to make the ending of the book based on the spiritual well-being of the characters rather than where the story would have naturally ended had it been a story for the sake of a story rather than a story for the sake of the religious aspect. The whole book did not seem like it was about the religious aspect, but the last quarter of the book did seem that way. Also, it would have made more sense for the couple to communicate more. The lack of communication between the couple was really quite amazing. Perhaps it was common then for couples not to communicate very much, but it seemed like their lack of communicating was extreme. Regardless, I did enjoy the story and do wonder what will happen to Marty, Jake, the orphans, and Alice. I would read the second book in the series to find out what happened.
I received this book from the publisher at no cost in exchange for my honest review.