Everett Cline will never humiliate himself by seeking a mail-order bride. Not again. He’s already been jilted by three mail-order brides and figures a wife just isn’t in his future. However, a well-meaning neighbor hasn’t given up on seeing him settled, so she goes behind his back to bring yet another woman to town for him.
Julie Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiancé. A mail-order marriage in faraway Kansas is a last resort, but she’ll do anything to leave her life in Massachusetts and the heartbreak she’s experienced there.
Although Everett doesn’t see how a beautiful, cultured woman like Julia could be happy sharing his simple life, he could really use a helpmate on his homestead. Determined to prove she’s more than just a pretty face, Julia agrees to a marriage in name only. Faced with the harsh realities of life on the prairie and hesitate to explore the tentative feelings growing between them, can Everett and Julia ever let each other in long enough to fall in love?
I started reading A Bride for Keeps feeling unsure of how it would turn out. I worried that the premise of the novel (marriages of convenience) had been done so many times (Janette Oak’s Love Comes Softly and Deeanne Gist’s A Bride Most Begrudging come to mind), that it would be difficult to bring something new to the table. But Melissa sure surprised me! She crafted a wonderful romance with characters that have depth - they had real-life issues and insecurities to work through. Over the course of their journey, they begin to realize that with God, all things are possible. A rich and lovely story, it ended all too soon and left me wanting more.
A debut novel for Melissa, A Bride for Keeps, shows a great deal of promise for this new author. It was a great historical romance and I will be looking forward to her next book!
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.