A Bride Most Begrudging
Published By: Bethany House
Book Category: Fiction, Christian
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Reviewed by Liz Wheeler
My favorite female characters in historical novels are my alter ego: the strong-willed woman willing to speak her mind. She's an anachronism in time for she demands respect and is openly intelligent. Of course, she has a kind heart. And my favorite heroes are those also with a toughened exterior, but the heart of a saint. And Deeanne Gist creates such characters in her first novel, A Bride Most Begrudging.
Lady Constance Morrow, intending only to say her last good-bye to her beloved Uncle Skelly, is shanghaied on a ship carrying felons to the New World in 1643. The men will be sold as indentured servants—and the women as brides.
Drew O'Connor, though not quite the gentleman farmer, raises tobacco crops. Having lost most of his family, including his betrothed, to the rough life in the American wilderness, he has no interest in a bride. However, he does need a maid and a caretaker for his three-year-old sister. To her horror, Lady Constance is sold to one man, and then lost to Drew in a card game. Of course her lack of training in homemaking on the frontier creates tension and humorous situations. Frontier life and the threat of Indian invasions create the conflict.
The interplay between Drew and Constance is creative and carries you through the book. Deeanne does a wonderful job describing the fabulous, virginal landscape. A flight scene near the end of the book is excellently written with its pace and suspense.
The story has two minor detractions. The "he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not" pendulum swings one too many times, and the romantic description becomes a little too intimate for a Bethany House publication.
This first novel is a good one. And, with the way the book ends, I foresee a second book continuing the O'Connor legacy.