Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Bride In the Bargain by Deeanne Gist

Joe Denton settled in the Seattle territory because they were giving away 640 acres to married men. Unfortunately, his wife died before she could travel out to the beautiful house he’d built for her as he also built a thriving lumber business. Now, ten years later his livelihood is threatened because he has no wife and can’t find a copy of her death certificate. If he doesn’t get married, and SOON, he will lose half of his land. Local businessman Asa Mercer to the rescue! For a cutthroat nominal fee, he will travel East to secure young brides for the lonely men. Joe asks for a woman who can cook and signs on the dotted line.

Anna Ivey is a Civil War orphan. She has a pretty good job as a cook, but her boss is a sleazebag (my words, not hers obviously). After he corners her one too many times, Anna decides to answer an ad in the paper which asks for cooks and nannies for families in the Seattle territory. Replies should be made to Asa Mercer. Anna has to finance her journey but she signs on the dotted line.

So, Joe thinks he’s getting a bride and Anna thinks she’s getting a job. Won’t they be surprised? J

I came across A Bride in the Bargain while looking through book review magazines and thought it sounded pretty good. A young Civil War widow heads to the Pacific Northwest to marry a lumberjack. So, I put in a reserve for it then it sort of slipped from my mind until the book came in for me. The cover was cute, featuring a young lady in a terribly formal dress leaning on an ax. But then I noticed the Bethany House label and realized I would be getting no hot lumberjack action as this is a Christian historical romance. I read it anyway and was pleasantly surprised. There were a few cheesy moments and only occasionally did the religious discussion become kind of cloying. I enjoyed it for its funny moments AND for Mrs. Gist’s truly sexy descriptions of a handsome, shirtless, sweating, nice-guy lumberjack (as they all are in my imagination). All in all, a fun and quick read. I wouldn’t hesitate to try another of her works.

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