My Rating: 3 Stars
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.
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?
My Thoughts: I had thought for sure, by the description that I would love this novel. Mail-order bride stories always enthralled me, and this one had really good conflict between the characters, but nothing else. Everett and Julia had a lot to work through from their pasts in order to love each other. They both had fears and hurts to deal with.
Yet there was almost no outward conflict. From the first chapter, I thought there was a hint at a reappearance of Julia's past, but that never happened. And their current problems never boiled over. If either of these had happened, the novel would have been easily four stars, if not five. There were some other issues I wish had been addressed (like Rachel's meddling), but were of lesser importance.
Those who prefer a sweeter romance, with little external conflict, this book would be a keeper. The main characters were contently at odds and Everett was one of the most patient men I have ever read about.
I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.