19 April 2010

REVIEW: The Bride Blunder by Kelly Hake

PUBLISHER BLURB:
Come visit Buttonwood for a marriage mistake like no other in the third novel of Kelly Eileen Hake’s Prairie Promises series. In the Nebraskan Territory of 1859, Gavin Miller writes home to request the hand of Miss Marguerite Chandler. Unfortunately, while he never forgot Marguerite was the French word for Daisy, he’d failed to recall that the two cousins shared their grandmother’s name, and Marge was the nickname of the wrong Miss Marguerite Chandler! When his surprise bride comes to Buttonwood, unexpectedly followed by the very cousin he’d meant to marry, will Gavin be able to solve The Bride Blunder?


LYNETTE'S TWO CENTS:

I love historical romances that take place outside England or Scotland. As Wendy has mentioned many times, about the only historical subgenre that's escaped those settings are inspirational romances. Yes, The Bride Blunder is a inspirational romance. Yes, I read inspirational romance novels. (I feel as if I should stand up and declare myself as if I were in an AA meeting.) Most people are more afraid to admit that they read inspirational novels than they do erotica ones.


The Bride Blunder took a clichéd premise (switched brides) and turned the story into something interesting and believable. The characters are fresh and three dimensional and the situations they find themselves in don't appear to be contrived. I love the setting, which takes place right before The Civil War in the Nebraska Territory.

The hero Gavin sends back home for a bride, Marguerite Chandler, only there are two cousins, named after their grandmother who live together and share the name Marguerite Chandler. The Marguerite whose hand Gavin actually wanted is engaged to another man, so the wrong Marguerite arrives in town.

I'm first to admit that this premise sounds corny, but the switched bride's story-line is actually handled well. Gavin's reactions and the way he totally fumbles in handling the situation is so typically male that even though I wanted to choke him, I felt his actions/reactions were written superbly. I admired Marg's strength and the fact that she refused to be considered a second-class citizen when compared to her more beautiful, out-going cousin.

What drove me crazy about The Bride Blunder was the lack of focus on the hero and heroine's relationship. The subplots overwhelmed the story. I found it hard to focus my attention on Marg's and Gavin's developing relationship. I mean it was real bad, to the point where when Marg steps off the stage coach and Gavin realizes he sent for the wrong Marguerite and it's told from a secondary character's point of view. It's not until pages later do we get Marg or Gavin's perspective. Frankly, the secondary characters developing relationship was strong enough to be in its own book and I personally wish that the author left them to another book and took the time to expand on expanding and resolving Marg and Gavin's conflict.

Because of that, while The Bride Blunder was a good story with an interesting setting, it's not a story that sticks in my mind after I close the page.

WHERE PURCHASED:
Received copy from Publisher to Review via NetGallery

RATING:
C


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