Book Review: A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jaegers

brideforkeepsAlthough Everett Cline can hardly keep up with the demands of his homestead, he won’t humiliate himself by looking for a helpmate ever again–not after being jilted by three mail-order brides. When a well-meaning neighbor goes behind his back to bring yet another mail-order bride to town, he has good reason to doubt it will work, especially after getting a glimpse at the woman in question. She’s the prettiest woman he’s ever seen, and it’s just not possible she’s there to marry a simple homesteader like him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. Having finally worked up the courage to leave her life in Massachusetts, she’s determined to find a place where people will value her for more than her looks. Having run out of all other options, Julia resorts to a mail-order marriage in far-away Kansas.

Everett is skeptical a cultured woman like Julia could be happy in a life on the plains, while Julia, deeply wounded by a past relationship, is skittish at the idea of marriage at all. When, despite their hesitations, they agree to a marriage in name only, neither one is prepared for the feelings that soon arise to complicate their arrangement. Can two people accustomed to keeping their distance let the barricades around their hearts down long enough to fall in love?

Received in ebook format from www.netgalley.com and read on an ipad using kindle software.

I am hoping this is the Uncorrected proof rather than the final version of this story as it was let down by the formatting and transcription, meaning that parts of words were missing (predominately “f” and “ff”). This left the reader attempting to guess what the author was trying to say, which slows the reader down and rudely pulls the reader out of the narrative rather than letting them get fully engrossed in the story. Anyway – to the story:

Everett has been left down before – living as a farmer in Kansas is a hard and often poor life, and it’s a rare woman who will stay and marry such a farmer. Often women travel from outside as mail-order brides, and 4 women have already come to be with Everrett, but all have let him down in one way or another.

However Julia, with her own painful past, comes to town and the pair get married out of necessity rather than love.  Everett tries to do the right thing by Julia, who is immediately attracted to, but ends up shunning her. Since the two people, who didnt know each other really in the first place, dont talk to each other, the marriage never really gets going.

Much of the book concerns the struggle of both of them to work out what they need from each other and the marriage.  It took a long time for it to become clear this was a Christian Romance (I am not a huge fan of Christian Fiction as mentioned previously), however, as Christian Fiction goes …. this wasnt that bad (Gasp!). Everyone’s relationship with God is given a much lighter touch than in The Road Home (by Patrick E Craig), and for many of the characters you do get the impression that this is a path taken as a fundamental part of their life and they use it for guidance and living right and good, but that their every action is not determined by what they think their God demands.

The last section is where I find Julia, who has previously not had a relationship with God, gives it all up to God *just a little too neatly* in order to finish the book (but then I’m just a plain old cynic so I’m blaming me for looking at it this way!).

So in summary – decent historical romance, great for fans of Christian Romance, good for people merely tolerant to same or who are willing to read through to get to a decent story.

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