I read an eclectic mix of books. Mysteries, YA, biographies, and memoirs. The only genre I'm squeamish about is science fiction. Every now and then I do like to step outside of my comfort zone. The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter is outside of my comfort zone. Why? It's a Christian fiction book. I don't read too many of those because I'm afraid of being preached at. I didn't get that feeling until the tail end of the book. The rest of the book was quite enjoyable. The quirky plot line helped a lot.
Shay Brandenberger is a struggling single mother. She's raising her daughter, Olivia, at her childhood home in Moose Creek, Montana. Trying to maintain the family ranch is difficult. She's often too proud to ask for help, but Shay needs it. Having fallen behind on the mortgage, the bank is threatening to take it away. To make matters worse Shay is constantly worrying about what others think. She can't stand the "that's her" looks. Her husband left her and is now deceased. But the shame of being abandoned for the second time is almost too much for Shay to handle.
Shay was abandoned years ago by her high school sweetheart, Travis McCoy. Shay and Travis were all set to elope when he decided he wasn't ready. The lure of rodeo life was just too much for Travis. If you've grown up in a small town all of your life, I guess the lure of the big city is too much. But Travis lost major points in my book by literally abandoning Shay without any money or her personal belongings. While it wasn't intentional, it reeked of immaturity.
After a life on the rodeo circuit, Travis has returned to town to care for his parents' ranch. Despite years of estrangement, Travis and Shay will be forced to face their feelings for each other. A local celebration brings them together. The celebration has it all: food, music, and a wedding reenactment with Travis and Shay as the "happy" couple. This is where you need to stretch your imagination. Due to a confused Pastor and Travis and Shay's long-forgotten marriage license, the wedding turns out to be legal. That is what drew me to this book. How in the world is this possible and do they really want a marriage? Whose fault is it? Or is it simply an act of God. Travis is shocked but realizes this could be his second chance. Shay wants no part of him, but deep down she still has feelings for Travis. He wants to stay married and help Shay out financially. An injury forces Shay to broker an arrangement with Travis, which didn't seem very Christian to me.
A marriage of convenience just seems wrong. Despite all the good things Travis can do for Shay, I believe marriage should be out of love. Shay fights against Travis' attempts to show love. But she's always wondering if he has an ulterior motive. She can stand up to him so easily. She can tell him what she wants and doesn't want, but when it comes to the busybodies in town Shay's self-confidence seems to shrink. She gets too caught up in what people think instead of believing in herself. Travis constantly doubts himself when it comes to Shay. How many times can he apologize before he gives up? If you're looking for a light romance and can forgive the stretches in the plot, pick up this book.
Rating: Give it a try
Note: I received a copy from The B&B Media Group in exchange for an honest review.