Author: Deeanne Gist
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction
Pub Date: July 2005, Bethany House
Trade Paperback, 347 pages
Any ship arriving from England means good news for Virginia colony farmers. The "tobacco brides" would be on board--eligible women seeking a better life in America, bartered for with barrels of tobacco from the fields.
Drew O’Connor isn’t stirred by news of a ship full of brides. Still broken-hearted from the loss of his beloved, he only wants a maid to tend his house and care for his young sister.
What he ends up with is a wife--a feisty redhead who claims she is Lady Constance Morrow, daughter of an Earl, brought to America against her will. And she want to go straight back to England as soon as she possibly can. She hasn’t the foggiest notion how to cook, she dares to argue with her poor husband, and spends more time working on mathematical equations than housework. What kind of a wife is that? Drew's Christian forbearance is in for some testing.
Headstrong and intelligent, deeply moral but incredibly enticing, Constance turns what was supposed to be a marriage of convenience into something most inconvenient, indeed.My Thoughts
I've been having a good run of luck with Christian Fiction lately, which makes me glad that I didn't give up on the genre entirely as I had been thinking of doing. Gist's debut novel is entertaining and fast-paced, in short, I couldn't put it down.
Being a debut novel, it is certainly not without flaws, but they did not detract from the story too much. While generally a well-written book, there were times when the language felt forced--as if Gist realized she needed to make sure the characters were speaking correctly for the time, so she threw in some key phrases and words for good measure. Sometimes the dialogues felt a bit awkward but with time, I think that is a skill that Gist can perfect.
The story itself may not be original, but the likable characters and great pacing make for an enjoyable read. As with most (Christian) romances, we have a great deal of miscommunication and lack of communication between the story's focal couple, Drew and Constance, but for once I didn't find it to be so frustrating, and it actually kept me turning the pages. And while this may be a work of Christian fiction, it is thankfully not one that outright preaches to the reader, and that is certainly the way I prefer it. In fact, there is nothing in the storyline that involves a character on a mission to convert someone to Christianity, which is also refreshing. Though a Christian, myself, I have never been particularly fond of the preachy fiction that focuses on converting and saving people.
Overall I thought that A Bride Most Begrudging was a strong debut work for Gist, and I look forward to reading her other novels, as well.
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