Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell sets out on her travels a week early. But her plan goes sadly awry when her train is held up by robbers who steal her dowry and Axel, her groom-to-be, isn’t even in town when she finally arrives.
Axel’s business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor. When his friend’s mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store–where she quickly proves she’s much more adept at business than he ever will be.
The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school. However, their troubles are far from over when Axel finally returns, and soon both Will and Eliza must decide what they’re willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams–or if God has a new dream in store for them both.
This was my first read by Melissa Jagears. Apparently it is the second in a series, of which I didn’t read the first. I wish I had known because I dislike reading books out of order, but this story seemed to stand on it’s own, so I guess it was okay to do so.
It could just be me, but I felt confused at times as to who was speaking in this story. I’d think it was one character, only to realize it was another. The story-line was okay. I enjoy a mail-order bride story. The main characters seemed to suffer from a lack of communication and assumption-making that kept them apart far longer than necessary. Eliza, who apparently wasn’t all that attractive, had a habit of focusing on that much too much, repeatedly sighting that she wasn’t “pretty enough” for good-looking Will.
I felt that the spiritual themes and bible quoting was a little too heavy, especially since the characters seemed intent on following their own ideas rather than looking for God’s guidance. I found it a little odd that one of the characters was a “bearded lady”. It just didn’t seem to fit and I kept wondering why she just didn’t shave daily to solve the issue. She did end up being an endearing character, but it seems she could have had some more realistic reason that kept her from being accepted by the town.
Will was probably my favorite character, though he was much too hard on himself and much too broody. He seemed like a good guy and the most interested in following God’s leading in his life. Eliza seemed very focused on what she wanted and way too focused on her appearance. She did seem to deal with some of her issues throughout the story, but the story itself felt long, overly complicated and seemed like they could have worked things out differently in the end instead of having to make such drastic decisions.
I liked the book, overall, but I didn’t love it. It held my interest enough, but it’s not one that will stand out in my memory.
*I received this book in exchange for my honest review from Bethany House Publishers. Thank you!