Thursday, 30 August 2012

To Love and Cherish

Back Cover
Melinda Colson has been waiting months for Evan, the assistant gamekeeper at the Bridal Veil Island resort, to propose.  Without an offer of marriage, she must return to Cleveland with the family she works for as a lady’s maid.
Evan isn’t afraid of hard work, and he hopes to be promoted soon.  He wants to marry Melinda – but not until he’s sure he can support her and a family.
Letters strengthen their romance until a devastating storm strikes the island.  With no word from Evan, Melinda knows she must journey back to Bridal Veil in search of her beloved.
But the hurricane isn’t the last calamity to shake up Bridal Veil.  Melinda finds a new job on the island, but still no offer of marriage comes her way.  Has she given her heart to the wrong person?  Will she ever find a man to love and cherish?
To Love and Cherish brings veteran authors, Tracie Peterson and Judith Pella, together for a romantic historical collaboration.  This is the second novel in the “Bridal Veil Island” series, but I had no trouble jumping in mid-series.
This novel centres around two people very much in love, but having some serious communication issues.  Melinda desperately wants to marry Evan – the sooner the better.  She loves him so much and just wants to live the rest of her live with him.  Evan equally loves Melinda with the same fervour, and does want to marry her as soon as possible, but his moral convictions keep him from popping the question.  He knows that he is not financially able to support both himself and Melinda, and doesn’t want to put Melinda into poverty.  With a promised promotion coming soon, Evan has a hard time understanding why Melinda cannot wait until that comes.
The writing in this novel is really well-done.  The vast amount of expertise shared between Tracie and Judith is readily seen and much appreciated.  Too many novels are haphazardly put together without much attention paid to story development and grammar, and also the historical research.
But despite the high caliber writing, I found myself getting annoyed and frustrated with the characters for the greater part of the novel.  Melinda and Evan, for as much as they love each other, have a hard time understanding and communicating to one another.  For Melinda, she is unable to respect Evan’s desire to be in a position where he can support himself and her (and not to mention the children they will eventually have), and is constantly pouting and making Evan feel bad about his reasonable decision.
It felt like Evan, however, seemingly wasn’t making all the efforts he could have to seal the promotion.  Initially, he didn’t even want the promotion, and when the promotion was continually delayed, he didn’t raise the issue with his employer.  It leaves the reader wondering if the characters did have true love between them, or if at the end of the novel they would go their separate ways.
Overall, I was left with mixed feelings regarding the book.  The writing was well-done and the book had great potential, but I just didn’t connect very well with the main characters.  I am still looking forward to further collaborations between Tracie and Judith, however, as I have read some of their previous series (“Bells of Lowell” and “Lights of Lowell”), and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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