Monday, August 30, 2010
Review: A Bride in the Bargain
Author: Deeanne Gist
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction
Pub Date: June 2009, Bethany House
Paperback, 362 pages
Book Source: Purchased from BJ's Wholesale
In 1860s Seattle, redwoods were plentiful but women scarce. Yet a man with a wife could secure 640 acres of timberland for free.
Joe Denton doesn't have a wife, though. His died before she could follow him to Seattle, and now the local judge is threatening to take away his claim. In desperation, he buys himself a Mercer bride--one of the eastern widows and orphans brought to the Territory by entrepreneur Asa Mercer.
Anna Ivey's journey west with Mercer is an escape from the aftermath of the Civil War. She signed on to become a cook--not a bride. When she's handed over to Denton, her stubborn refusal to wed jeopardizes his land. With only a few months before he loses all he holds dear, can he convince this provoking, but beguiling, easterner to become his lawfully wedded wife?
While A Bride in the Bargain is published by a Christian publishing house, I think it is safe to say that this novel is perhaps more of a historical romance. There are some mild Christian references, but nothing that is overly preachy--meaning this is my kind of Christian fiction. No one was trying to convert anyone or force someone to church every Sunday.
I thought this story was a very enjoyable read, though at times Joe's and Anna's interactions were frustrating and perhaps not quite believable. Some of the blunders that both made along the way just didn't seem realistic, though I suppose that love (and desperate circumstances) can make you do and think crazy things. Why Joe chose to keep certain information and events from Anna just didn't seem to me to make a lot of sense, and I thought that Anna had a tendency to overreact, as well. In the end, though, everyone lives happily ever after, and isn't that really what is most important?
I think that my favorite part about the book was not actually in the story, but it was the author's note at the end, where I learned that this story is based on real historical events. The information Gist provided made the story that much more intriguing, in my opinion, and gave me a deeper appreciation for this book. Fans of both Christian fiction and historical fiction should give Gist's books a try--I don't think you would be disappointed!
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