Book Review: 12 Brides of Summer Novella Collection #4

The County Fair Bride by Vickie McDonough

The Honey Bride by Diana Brandmeyer

The Columbine Bride by Davalynn Spencer

The fourth and final in this series of monthly Collections is another great choice for quick, satisfying summer “beach” reads for those of us who enjoy Christian historical fiction set in the American Old West. As I previously noted in my reviews of the first, second and third Collections, each seem to have been selected with a similar catalyst, in this case it is adversity and characters fighting against or embracing their human natures.

Each of the heroes is ready to embrace the desire for family, while each of the heroines is working to overcome a fault.

Prudence returns to her hometown, determined not to be the “mean girl” of her past, only to revert to her old ways when confronted by the interim mayor. Adam has stepped in for her ailing father and is not prepared for how attractive he finds the whirlwind that is Prudy.

Katie is fighting her timidity in order to provide for the young brother left in her care. Pete Dent sees Katie’s strength and is more than ready to help out, both on her farm and with her shyness. The appearance of a drunken man, hired by Katie’s father prior to his death, challenges both of them to walk in their faith and show Christian charity.

Buck Reiter helped raise his now-grown nephew at the expense of starting his own ranch and family. One look at young, widowed Lucy Powell and her children, and Buck rethinks his plans to set out on his own. Lucy is battling a sense of resentment over her husband’s death and is reluctant to accept his help on her ranch.

As is unfortunately a frequent aspect of such short stories, there is a certain lack of depth and development and rushed feeling a reader must strive to accept. That said, each story in this Collection is a delight and I would be happy to read expanded versions of any of these short stories (I know they call them novellas, but I think the length of each story is too short to qualify – just my little quibble with all 4 Collections), with Davalynn Spencer’s Buck and Lucy topping the list. Each of these particular stories read as though they are related to an ongoing or upcoming series and W.D., the drunken ranch hand from Diana Brandmeyer’s contribution, would be a good candidate for a further story of his own. I had previously only read a novel by Vickie McDonough which I thought was an average historical romance that had been revised and reissued for the Inspirational Romance market, so I was happily surprised by how much I enjoyed her story. It was refreshing to have someone like Prudence, who was probably the “mean girl” of a previous novel, as the main character.

4/5 stars for entertainment and integration of faith. I very much enjoyed having characters who turned to God, not just due to adversity, but as a matter of course. Diana Brandmeyer’s Katie in particular strikes me, in hindsight, as someone simply walking in her faith as best she can.

This review refers to an ebook copy, read courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.   It’s publication date is set for September 1, 2015 and at approximately $1 per story is, I think, well worth the cost of the ebook if you are a fan of historical Christian romance.

If you read or have read this collection, what did you think?  Have you read a novel by any of these authors that you would recommend?  Let me know in the comments!

The 12 Brides of Summer: Collection #3 | Shiloh Run Studios, an imprint of Barbour Publishing Inc., August 1, 2015 | review copy


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