Forlag Bethany House Publishers
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When unemployed cotton mill worker Zoe Hart arrives from Manchester, she suddenly finds herself in the care of an infant girl. Without means of support, she enters into a marriage of convenience to local minister Abraham, Pastor Abe, Merivale, who offers them protection. They are determined to live by the convenience arrangement but are surprised how dissatisfied they both are with that part of their relationship.
A Bride of Convenience is book number 3 in Jody Hedlund’s 4 book series The Bride Ships, published by Bethany House Publishers. The setting is Vancouver Island and Yale 1863, and we get to follow unemployed cotton mill worker Zoe Hart when she just off the boat meets local minister Abraham, Pastor Abe, Merivale. She suddenly finds herself in the care of an infant and in a marriage of convenience to Abe, who promises to keep Zoe and the baby safe from looming danger.
Main character Zoe Hart is a warm hearted and assertive young woman who is escaping, family drug addiction and bullying to start a new life in the colonies. She struggles with self doubt but has a full set of admirable qualities I wish she would see as clearly as Abe does.
Secondary character Abraham Merivale is on a 5 year, unpaid, mission in British Columbia to build churches. He aspires to become bishop, but is more and more in conflict with the decisions to stay on his career track. I feel for him as his life seems so confined within the rules of English society.
A Bride of Convenience includes several dramatic elements so expertly written my neck hairs rose, including well crafted and dangerous villain character Dexter Dawson out to get Zoe. The thorough research shines through in the vivid descriptions of people’s lifestyles, interactions and clothing as well as the characters themselves.
The romance between Zoe and Abe took some time to develop as they both tried to live by the convenience deal. But close moments seemed to appear between them more and more helped by walks in the northern lights and the visit to a local hot spring. This was my favorite parts of the story I felt were particularly well written. A spiritual element was running through the book as the characters continuously prayed for support while trying to deal with tough times.
A Bride of Convenience included all my favorites: Exiting plot including romance and drama set in spectacular, exotic environments. I couldn’t ask for more. A Bride of Convenience is the second work I have read by Jody Hedlund. While I would have preferred to read The Bride Ship Series in order, reading A Bride of Convenience as a standalone worked perfectly. Just enough hints from the previous installment were given to help me pick up the essentials.
Fans of Jody Hedlund will absolutely love this work, as will readers of historical romance fiction. Similar author to explore might be Laura Frantz and Karen Witemeyer.
Thank you to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for this eARC, which gave me the opportunity to share my honest review. All opinions are completely my own.
My review: 5 stars / 5
Main reasons: Exiting plot, excellent writing, great romance,
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