The story is fiction but based on some true events that took place. Asa Mercer actually did bring women from the East coast to the northwest territory to be brides for the over abundance of men. This was a wonderful story of true love, but maybe a bit predictable. I really like Deanne Gist and will listen to more of her books. Worth a credit?
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A Bride in the Bargain sounded like a really fascinating story, and based on the synopsis, I thought I would thoroughly enjoy it. While there were some things that I did like about it, there were several other things that I did not. The primary plot which I outlined above was my favorite and the most interesting, but there were at least three other secondary plots as well. Anna claims that before her father left to fight in the Civil War, they were a happy family, but the mere act of her father enlisting and going away seemed to cause the family to disintegrate.
I realize that a husband and father going off to war can be exceedingly stressful, but there are plenty of families who manage without falling to pieces like this. I just had a hard time believing that they were a strong, happy family to begin with.
On the contrary, they seemed pretty dysfunctional to me. The other thing that bothered me about this part of the story is that Anna was obviously quite wounded by all of these things, but then later has an instant epiphany after the town doctor counsels her for just a few minutes. This was something that was not believable to me at all. Instead the plot itself was overly convoluted and the denouement over-simplified, in my opinion.
Another plotline involved Joe needing to convince Anna that he wanted to marry her, because he had fallen in love with her and not just because he wanted to save his land. I think this part could have been very romantic, but it seemed to me that the author made Joe into one of those clueless alphas who barely has a romantic bone in his body.
Strangely, he did a decent job of being somewhat romantic while Anna was staying at his house as a cook for the logging camp, and I even liked their picnic on the huge tree stump.
Later though, that all changed for me. Another thing that bothered me about Joe was his intense love of the land. I understand how the land gets into the blood of the men who work it especially back in the days when so much of the country was undeveloped, but Joe just seemed to love it almost to the exclusion of anyone or anything else. Even near the end of the book when Joe has to make a choice between Anna and the land, he still briefly waffles.
Still, I really prefer my heroes to be so utterly in love with the heroine that she, without a doubt, always comes first and absolutely nothing will ever stand in the way of their love. For the most part, I liked the characters in the story, but I felt that the characterizations were pretty uneven.
I admired Anna as a strong young woman who had lived through the deaths of her family members with dignity and had managed to eke out a meager living for herself. Most of the time she seemed like a very gentle, kind person, but her occasional spates of temper, especially in the flashback with her brother, made her seem rather shrewish.
What in other heroines I have found to be an endearing spitfire quality, I think came off rather badly in Anna, because she was always arguing with someone she loved instead of defending herself against a villain or bucking the system like most spitfire heroines would be doing.
In fact, almost all the characters had some temper issues. All in all, I think I would have enjoyed these characters quite a bit if I had just been able to get a better lock on their personalities. As it was written, I felt like they were all over the place, and I was being constantly jerked back and forth between liking them and not being very certain about their motives. Joe ended up keeping a secret from Anna, but I thought his reasons for it were pretty weak. Another thing that I thought the author could have done a much better job with is the descriptive details.
I truly felt that this story had a lot of potential and in spite of my other issues with it, could have been great if there had just been more richness in the details. The first thing that comes to mind is that I would have liked to know more about what the lead characters were feeling for each other. Instead their feelings seemed rather stunted at times, and in my opinion, the author was doing more telling than showing. Finally, even though the setting was the beautiful, majestic forests of Washington Territory against the gorgeous backdrop of Mt.
I have read other books that were set in the same area of Washington, and the depictions were so vivid, I felt like I was in the heart of the forest and could almost smell the pine. Sadly, this was not so with A Bride in the Bargain. I will definitely give Ms. Gist credit for the one thing I thought she did describe fairly well, and that was how a lumberjack went about his work of felling trees.
I go into reading every book with a desire to not just like it, but to come away from reading it, thinking that it was fabulous. Unfortunately, A Bride in the Bargain fell short of that mark. I can say that it moved along at a fairly quick pace and kept me reading. Even though I had several frustrations with the book, I was never bored with it, which is always a positive. I also liked that the author interjected a bit of the real history of Seattle into the story, as well as a couple of real personages as characters.
Ultimately, I think that seeing so much potential in the story, but not having it live up to that potential, is what made me so frustrated with it.
A Bride In The Bargain
A Bride in the Bargain
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