Book Review: A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears

A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears was a sweet story but one that I found a little plodding at times.

Everett Cline has the misfortune of having many would be bride but no actual wife.  Julia Lockwood is running from an unsuitable arrangement back home.  A meaningful friend thinks it would be great if the two of them get hitched…but things don’t always work out the way that they should.

Everett is understandably gun-shy when it comes to women, and pretty women are even scarier than those that are less than attractive and Julia Lockwood is definitely attractive.  Everett feels he doesn’t have much to offer Ms. Lockwood and so he keeps his distance for fear of getting his heart stepped on.  Will he ever be able to find the helpmate, partner and love he so desperately wants?

Julia wants to prove that she can be a helpmate, but as the pampered child of a business man, she knows more about servants serving her than actually serving anyone.  She worries that she will only be considered a pretty face and nothing more.  She wants to be a woman with worth.  Julia also has some deep secrets that she fears have ruined her for life.  Will she ever be able to be to get passed this or will it forever determine her future?

I found the plot plodding only because I felt the author took too long to develop the characters personas.  At times it felt that we were given the same information over and over again about these two characters but then it never really went anywhere.  I think the plot would have moved much more quickly and the relationship would have been better developed if the two characters were more open with one another earlier on.  A greater depth of character would have made this book a lot more interesting.  I was not emotionally involved in these two characters though I did think their story was sweet in a simple way.

The sub plot’s within the story were interesting, especially with Everett and all of his potential brides who no longer belonged to him and how that dynamic played out.  I sort of wished that Julia’s past came up to find her and I felt that was a little unresolved.

All in all, this is a sweet story about two people who are both looking for the same thing; acceptance for who they truly are.

I was sent this book by Bethany House Publishers.  I am under no obligation to review it favorably, but I did since I enjoyed it.

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Review: Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

 I was not sure what to expect when I received my copy of “Against the Tide” by Elizabeth Camden since I have never read any of her work before. The little bit I was given from Bethany House seemed interesting, but I was a bit concerned that it might not be something I would be able to sink my teeth into.  Usually…if a story’s back cover cannot capture my attention then I am sort of leery of the book…but I was am happy to say…bad pun coming…you cannot judge a book by it’s cover…er…back cover.

“Against the Tide” is the story of Lydia Pallas and Alexander Banebridge. Lydia is an orphan who grows up in Boston. She works at the Naval Ship Yard as a translator thanks to her early years living in different countries with her family. Lydia is tragically torn from her family when their boat does not return to harbor in Boston. Alexander Banebridge is an enigmatic man who visits Lydia’s boss on an infrequent basis. He is handsome in a classical sense, but he is remote. He never fails to mess with Lydia’s items on her desk whenever he comes to visit. Lydia and Bane (his nickname) strike up a partnership of sorts when he needs a translator.

The reader is taken on a wonderful ride through their unconventional courtship and as a watcher of this courtship dance, the reader is definitely rooting for Lydia to have love. Not just love, but also stability and a family. Someone to call her own. We find out that Bane also wants those things but for his own reasons, denies himself and her.

I like how Camden does not make the two characters overly sweet. It would not be with the keeping of their characters. They are both fiercely independent and have a good sense of self worth. Their love story is really a side note to the rest of the story which involves political intrigue, drug abuse, reformation and kidnapping. Faith does play a big part of this story but it is more subdued than other stories I have read.

I really enjoyed the pacing of this story, the characters and the plot. If you are interested in a fantastic read for a winter night (heck, any night) then this book is for you.  It’s a fascinating blend of history, great story and a wonderful (redemptive) romance.

Review: Taming the Wind by Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson delivers another great story in “Taming the Wind” the third book in the Land of the Lone Star Series.

We meet up with Carrisa Lowe, sister to Laura Reid. Laura married Brandon from the second book in the series, “Touching the Sky”. Carrisa is a widow with a little girl named Gloria. She comes out to be with her sister Laura to stay with her on her ranch while her parents are on a European Tour. Carissa has grown up a lot since the second book in the series. She is more thoughtful, more introspective and filled with more faith than before. She is also less spoiled than she originally was.

Carissa meets up again with Tyler Atherton, the man who saves her from death. Tyler has never forgotten Carissa since he saved her life. He has wondered about her and when he sees her again, he knows he is smitten. Carrisa’s daughter Gloria latches on right away to Tyler, whom she calls “Tyer” and wants him to be her daddy. Carissa cannot trust herself when it comes to men since her previous choice was a bad one.

Tyler has his own demons that he is facing with the horrific death of his father at the hands of Indians, the loss of his ranch due to his Confederate ties and his undying hatred to all Indians. Will his love for Carissa overcome that hate or will it doom both of them before they can ever have a start.

Tyler, Brandon and William (from the first book in the series) decide to take their cattle and horses to Kansas on a cattle drive. This will take them away from the women they love, but the pay off could potentially be big. Their women all come together at William’s and Hannah’s ranch and learn to live and work together. Carissa comes more into her faith because of the move but can she trust God that Tyler is the one for her?

An unexpected complication back home, the threat of Indian attacks and an old foe add to the mix to make this book a very satisfying read. Each of the books in this series can stand on it’s own, and I have to say that my favorite from the series was the second book, Laura and Brandon’s story. I enjoyed catching up with William and Hannah and how their lives have progressed from the first book. I liked how Tracie Peterson brought all the characters back and tied it all together. All in all, this was a very satisfying read for me.