Can you believe it’s the end of March already? Talk about a month flying by… seems like just last week I was writing up the February tour reviews.
Anyway, this month I have one book and one DVD to share with you! Today we’ll take a look at the book, and next Monday we’ll talk about the DVD.
Synopsis (from the publisher):
One unlikely proposal.
Life has left few choices for Elvira Kilmer. Her hopes for marriage and a family of her own have long since passed her by, and her arrival on Dillon’s Island, nestled in the Susquehanna River, is not of her choosing, either. She needs work. And Jackson Smith needs a housekeeper.
Yet Ellie never imagined the widower would be so young… so handsome.
Jackson, on the other hand, has never met anyone quite so… plain. But he quickly comes to realize that Ellie’s presence may solve his own problems–both the rearing of his young boys and the scandal that surrounds his first marriage.
When Jackson offers her something quite out of the ordinary, will Ellie look beyond mere necessity and risk opening her heart?
A nice story without much substance.
The plot itself is mediocre and winds its way along without taking any risks or leaps, staying predictable and comfortable. Thus I would say, if you want a book that isn’t going to surprise you and that you can simply follow along for the sake of following a nice story, this one’s for you.
However, that’s also what bothered me. There weren’t any risks. The main character was flawless, despite the “secret” she held (which you can guess in the first 10 pages) — even the cookstove that she struggles with and burns food on isn’t much of a flaw at all, as it’s something external that she has to conquer. The things others see as flaws — she’s too old to ever find a husband, she’s plain-looking — aren’t flaws, they’re external obstacles. Where’s the internal development? Where’s the weak point that helps us regular people connect with the character?
The hero of the story is definitely flawed, but the problem is with his reactionary attitude throughout the novel. I understand why he does it, as the backstory clearly explains, but he doesn’t learn and reacts the same way every time. Yes, I get that he’s stubborn, but it would help to have a little more dialogue to flesh out the reactions rather than the basic “extreme action + consequence + revelation that he’s in the wrong” every single time.
Finally, the love angle. Oh, how this bothered me to no end. In a story like this, you know that the couple is going to fall in love by the end of the book, it’s no secret. You read these books for the journey, not for the end result, and that’s where the charm lies — or is supposed to. I kept waiting for hints on both sides, things that would make me believe that they were truly falling for each other, but I was disappointed and felt slightly cheated… because in the end, we’re told that they’ve fallen for each other, rather than truly and honestly shown. Personally, I thought the heroine’s side of the story was the most cheated of the two, as we learn in one sentence that she’s developed feelings for him, rather than having the reader follow the development of those feelings from the get-go.
Like I said at the beginning of the review, if you want a comfortable read, this is the kind of book to go to. It does exactly what you expect (in fact, my husband read the back cover copy, smiled, and proceeded to ‘predict’ the plot… which he got exactly right), and in that respect it does what it promises the reader it will do. So that’s a good thing!
I only wish that there had been some more risks taken within the story (and character development!), and that the love story follow-through hadn’t been rushed — a bit better pacing in that area would have made this a more well-rounded book.
I’d say this is another one for church libraries — many women borrow from their church libraries looking for “comfort reads”, so I believe it would find a wide audience there.
Want to try it out for yourself? Read an excerpt from the novel HERE.
Available now at your favorite bookseller from Bethany House,
a division of Baker Publishing Group.