Bethany House, 1st October 2013
I was interested in this book more because of the author than the genre or period setting which is frankly not my favourite. This is one reason for the perhaps slightly lower-than-otherwise rating. Nothing personal at all, it’s just that late 19th century America is not a setting that that I really go in for, it’s not familiar to me and doesn’t have the same attraction as others. Hence, I’m at something of a loss to understand some of the terms used for everyday items by the characters. Though I could have looked them up….
That said, A Bride for Keeps was a good story which I enjoyed. Given the common setting and the book being romantic fiction, at could have been all too easy for it to fall into the trap of being ‘more of the same’ alongside a lot of other such novels out there. Yet on the whole, I was impressed. It could be a cliched in places, but not overly so in my opinion, nor did it seem to be crammed full of ‘fluffy’ romance, addressing instead some deeper issues such as the basis of Christian marriage, and the characters’ inner struggles.Yes, the happy ending was inevitable, but the process was quite interesting and worthwhile.
It may be worth mentioning as content advistory that this issues include Julia having been possibly raped (and another man attempting to do so). Though this did not seem to be put across in a graphic way, it may be upsetting or unsuitable for younger audiences such as teens.
There is a gospel presentation of sorts, which some people might regard as ‘preaching’, but to me it didn’t come as self-righteous or pompous, nor the characters discussing spiritual matters as so many platitudes. Rather, their faith seemed more real, and their lessons drawn from life experience.
All in all, I think the author has done a good job of taking what were, at the simplest level, some fairly basic and oft-used devices, like a hurting protagonist with issues, and a marriage of convenience, and made from them a memorable and quite engaging story that seemed to rather stand out from the crowd. I would happily recommend, and am personally interested in reading the prequel novella Love by the Letter.
Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive one.