Friday, August 17, 2012

Review of "Short-Straw Bride" by Karen Witemeyer

Rating: 4 Stars
~  ~  ~
Summary from Bethany House:  Four brothers. Four straws. One bride.
No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a long-standing debt compels her to take the risk.
Years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer comes across a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt prompt him to attempt to rescue her once again.
Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she vows to stand by his side. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her as merely a short-straw bride?

Review:  There are times when life gets busy and stressful, and I just want a lighthearted read that will allow me a bit of an escape.   When I saw Short-Straw Bride, I was immediately drawn to its story-line, and I couldn't resist turning the pages.   Short-Straw Bride opens with ten-year-old Meredith Hayes being taunted by school bullies as she walks home.  It is easy to immediately sympathize with Meredith's plight and to become enamored with Travis Archer, the young teen who rescues her. 

Although the premise of Short-Straw Bride is formulaic with a marriage of convenience as the basis of the plot, Karen Witemeyer  pens a novel that includes humor, heart-warming characters, conflict, and drama that are each interspersed at just the right moments.  The novel focuses on Meredith and Travis, but his brothers and Meredith's cousin, Cassie, as well as other supporting characters enrich the story.  

As an adult, Meredith continues to be "in love" with her hero from childhood.  She demonstrates a mixture of vulnerability, impulsiveness, tenderness, and stubbornness.  At times, I became annoyed by her willfulness, even though she had the best intentions.  During other points in the story, her courageousness was admirable.    Travis Archer was equally complex.  He displays compassion, yet possessiveness, and loyalty but a refusal to recognize a need for change.  The moments during the story as the love between Meredith and Travis develops and grows are heartwarming. Travis, especially,  must  take a journey that allows him to be open to not only Meredith's love and friendship, but that of his neighbors.  

On the surface,  Short-Straw Bride may seem to be just another story that involves a marriage of convenience.  The struggles that Travis must overcome represent challenges that we all face.  It is easy to develop a pattern of behavior that makes us feel secure.  For an outsider, change may seem to be an easy step to take.  Change allows for growth and new opportunities, but it also leaves us feeling a bit unguarded too.  The underlying theme of the novel conveys that only faith will allow us to break down these barriers and  provide the fortitude needed to face new circumstances.  

Karen Witemeyer has written another heartwarming story that readers will enjoy.  After being introduced to the Archer brothers, I hope that upcoming novels may include these characters as well.   Short-Straw Bride was a satisfying summer read for me, but it is one to be enjoyed at anytime throughout the year.   

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  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.”
Short-Straw Bride

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