Mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell is on her way to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store business when her train is held up by robbers and she loses her dowry. She’s further thwarted upon arriving in Salt Flatts only to find Axel, her groom, away on business.
Hoping a wife would push Axel to become a better business partner, William Stanton had encouraged him to seek a mail-order bride. With Axel gone, Will feels responsible for Eliza, so he finds her a place to stay and lets her help in the store.
Working together isn’t what they’d expected, and when Axel is further delayed, neither can ignore the sparks that fly. But Eliza is meant for Axel and is set on a future with the store, while Will is biding time until he can afford medical school.
Their troubles are far from over when Axel returns to town, however, and soon both Will and Eliza must decide what they’re willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams–or if God has a new dream in store for them both.
PUBLISHER: Bethany House Publishers
First of all, a huge thanks to Bethany Publishers and Melissa Jagears for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review! I really appreciate it.
Eliza Cantrell is ready to move on and pursue her dreams of being a businesswoman after being conned in her previous relationship. Her position as a mail-order bride sees her traveling out to Kansas to hopefully marry a man she’s been in correspondence with, but never met. After being robbed on her path to her new home, she arrives in Kansas completely broke a week early to find out that Axel Langston isn’t even there. Instead, she meets Axel’s best friend, William Stanton, who is taking over Axel’s storefront until he gets back (and doing a bad job of it, at that). Eliza utilizes her uncanny business sense to help William with the business and, quite unexpectedly, romance blooms between the two. Ooooh! Ahhhh! Pick up the book to discover more. Duh.
PG: Honestly, this book could be G depending on how you look at your ratings. Kissing, warm embraces, the like. This is Christian Historical Fiction! Nothing close to scandalous.
The last time I read a novel in the Christian Historical Fiction genre, I felt pretty let down. When I picked this one up, I was more than ready to be swept away in the world of Eliza Cantrell and William Stanton. And swept away I was! I haven’t read any of Jagears other works, but I think I will after reading this one. The writing flowed well and there was a great balance of narration, dialogue, and descriptions of the events throughout. I loved the switched narrations of Will and Eliza. I wondered what the other was thinking and it was wonderful to find out so conveniently. Will and Eliza were a treat to read. Both were believable in their character arcs and their growth as people founded in Christ. I loved how they both pushed each other to become better people (isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?). Instead of writing a flawlessly beautiful woman, I enjoyed how Eliza “wasn’t the prettiest woman in the world” (as described by Will early in the book). Will really fell in love with her soul, not her physical appearance (though he did think she was beautiful). I can dig that! 🙂
Christian themes were incorporated well and flawlessly throughout. I didn’t find mentions of Christ annoying or clunky which was refreshing. Plus, to be completely honest, I felt convicted by some of the words of advice the characters offered to each other in this novel. I think it’s pretty cool that God can use anything to touch people.
Also, though this isn’t really important, I’m kind of in love with the “pun” in this title. A Bride in Store? And they both run stores? HAHAHA. Nice one, Melissa Jagears. I applaud you. Only the Great Ones put puns in the titles of their novels. And the William Stanton model that they had on the cover is pretty attractive, too — have to admit.
Though the book kept my attention throughout, there were portions where the plot seemed to lag. For the most part, though, I have absolutely no complaints about this one!
Emily Hearn’s Like Ships Need the Sea is the perfect song for this novel. It’s simple and understated and lovely. ❤
Overall, I’d give this Christian Historical Romance a 4/5! It was a sweet story and I won’t be forgetting about Will and Eliza for awhile to come. There were plenty of twists and turns to this one and I’ll definitely be reading more of Melissa Jagears’ work soon!