Wednesday, September 23, 2009

REVIEW: A Bride In The Bargain by DeeAnne Gist

DeeAnne Gist weaves a touching tale about mail order brides in her novel “A Bride in the Bargain”. I wish American history were this enjoyable to learn while I was in school, because this author has researched her subject matter impeccably and taught me a lot with her wonderful books. This story follows Joe Danton, the owner of a Washington state logging camp. He is in a serious predicament: he accepted a land grant to settle in the Seattle area, but his wife died before joining him in Washington, so he is now only entitled to keep half of the land. Unfortunately, he has put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into his land to make it a successful logging community. He must marry or lose his land and his business. He doesn’t want a wife – he loves his land. But he pays his money for a bride.

Anne Ivey is a destitute orphan from Massachusetts. She escapes her horrid existence by contracting to become a cook for a man in Washington state, feeding the lumberjacks in his logging camp. Anne figures it won’t be too hard since she is used to cooking for so many people in her current “job”. This is the perfect opportunity. She wants to make her own way in the world. She has no desire to marry since everyone she loves seems to die on her. She undertakes the long journey only to find that she has been purchased as a mail order bride. Then the sparks begin to fly.

This is an incredibly written story that grabbed my attention with the beautiful cover (your daughter is lovely, DeeAnne!), and captured my heart from the first page as I digested the plight of the brawny lumberjack. (Did you have the “Brawny” paper towel guy in mind for this character, DeeAnne?) The story will make you laugh out loud. It will make you tear up. It may even make you stop reading, glance wistfully at the clouds and imagine what it would be like to be one of these women who left positions of poverty in the east with the hopes of being taken care of by a non-violent man or given the chance to care for themselves in the west. This is one historical romance that you don’t want to miss!

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