Monday, January 16, 2012

Review of "The Accidental Bride" by Denise Hunter

Rating: 3.5 Stars
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Synopsis from Thomas Nelson:  When a wedding reenactment turns real, Shay finds she’s an accidental bride.

Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana, on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite the hard work, she can’t seem to keep her head above water—and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but expected.

Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders’ Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high-school sweetheart—the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit.

Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busybody and an absentminded preacher, the make-believe vows result in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she may lose her home. If she accepts, she may lose her heart.

Shay isn’t sure if the recent events are God’s will or just a preacher’s blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?

Review:  Denise Hunter's latest release and a follow-up to A Cowboy's Touch in her A Big Sky Romance series certainly has an attention-grabbing title.  After all, how can two people really get married accidentally?  Hunter acknowledges that these circumstances are a bit contrived and highly unlikely.  Yet, for both the author and readers it is hard to resist such a storyline because it offers the potential for further blunders and moments of tension as the consequences of such an arrangement unfold.   

Because I read A Cowboy's Touch, I was looking forward to re-visiting Moose Creek, Montana and characters from the first series.   Shay and her daughter Olivia made appearances in the first book, and I was looking forward to reading Shay's story since she was portrayed as a hard-working and loving single parent, experiencing her share of challenges.  In The  Accidental Bride, readers will continue to see that Shay is independent and strong-willed.  These character traits are born out of past experiences and hardships, which include financial insecurity, being left at the altar by her high school sweetheart, and later being deserted by her husband.   There is no doubt that she carries layers of hurt, disappointment, and betrayal beneath her guarded front.   

The one person who threatens to break through these barriers is Travis McCoy, Shay's accidental groom and the man who jilted her.  I initially thought that I would not like Travis; but because Hunter switches viewpoints, we are able to see both of their perspectives.  There is no doubt that situations in the past were not handled well, but I found myself liking Travis better than Shay, which really surprised me.  I was actually irritated by Shay and her stubborn streak, especially during the second half of the novel.  While I understand the feelings that motivated her decisions, I  grew tired of her willfulness. Finally, when there was a resolution in sight, the novel drew to a close a bit too quickly for me, considering the obstacles that were encountered throughout the story.  

Denise Hunter continues to be an author who crafts well-written, modern romances.  The Accidental Bride began on a promising note, but I just could not always sympathize with Shay.  This lack of connection to a main character caused the story to be one of my least favorites of Hunter's.  Despite this setback, I still look forward to a possible upcoming third book in A Big Sky Romance series. 

I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from NetGalley, courtesy of Thomas Nelson.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

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