“A Bride of Convenience” by Jody Hedlund, out today, is the third in her bride ship series and perhaps my favourite! Whilst I recommend the entire series – roll on book 4 – you don’t have to have read the previous two to enjoy this one!
I took to Zoe from the first page, she is full of heart and sass. She has endured severe hardships in England and sees this journey to a new land as an opportunity to start afresh as well as heal an old wound with her brother. She doesn’t anticipate bonding with an abandoned newborn but soon realises she needs a husband if she is to provide and protect the little one and herself.
Abe is a missionary of the Church of England. Independently wealthy, he sees his time in British Colombia as a stepping stone in his career. He has his life planned out and his wife selected. However, his life is turned upside down when he receives a letter from his betrothed saying she is marrying someone else. A mixture of anger and a desire to protect Zoe, from men who would take advantage of her situation with the baby, drives him to marry her after knowing her only a few days.
The grounds for the marriage is understandably shaky and Jody gently unpacks how past hurts deeply affect how we process new circumstances. Whilst she doesn’t avoid tough topics, she includes a healthy dose of humour to balance it out. She also includes intrigue: where is Zoe’s brother and why is the local trouble-maker is so intent on pursuing Zoe even once she’s married?
Life in 1863 British Colombia is difficult for everyone and the novel explores what that was like for miners and those who lived around them, in particular, It also looks at the work of the missionaries. Abe is a wonderful character who grows immensely through the story to fully appreciate what it means to be called by God.
If you enjoy inspirational, historical romance, this one is for you! I loved it and highly recommended it, it’s a five out of five on the enJOYment scale.
From the back cover:
Unemployed mill worker Zoe Hart jumps at the opportunity to emigrate to British Columbia in 1863 to find a better life and be reunited with her brother, who fled from home after being accused of a crime.
Pastor to miners in the mountains, Abe Merivale discovers an abandoned baby during a routine visit to Victoria and joins efforts with Zoe, one of the newly arrived bride-ship women, to care for the infant. While there, he’s devastated by the news from his fiancee in England that she’s marrying another man.
With mounting pressure to find the baby a home, Zoe accepts a proposal from a miner of questionable character after he promises to help her locate her brother. Intent on protecting Zoe and frustrated by his failed engagement, Abe offers his own hand as groom. After a hasty wedding, they soon realize their marriage of convenience is not so convenient after all.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.