We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog posts to bring you… okay, fine, nothing around here is regularly scheduled. But that’s part of the excitement, right? Er… *cough*… anyway… at least there’s one recurring feature you can count on, and that’s the monthly blog tour brought to you by Graf-Martin, Revell, and Bethany House.
If you’ve never been here before, here’s a recap: the Blog Tour happens every month in the final few days of the month… then we go back to talking about writing and other interesting books. Easy as that!
For June, we have 2 books to look at. I liked them both (surprise!), but we’ll start with the second favorite today and move on to the one I liked best tomorrow.
Here we go…!
A Tailor-Made Bride – Karen Witemeyer (Historical Romance)
Synopsis (from the publisher):
Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?
I figured this would be yet another hum-drum historical romance, though the concept of a dressmaker as the main character intrigued me. So, I read it… keeping in mind that it’s Witemeyer’s debut novel… and found myself pleasantly surprised by the characters, the story, and the overall feel of the novel.
To begin, the main character seems like a flawless heroine — that is, until she meets the hero, a young liveryman. When you read a book like this, you expect that they’ll hate each other from the beginning (despite the initial physical attraction), so that’s nothing new… but the real gem of this novel was the way the love story played out. Both hero and heroine exchange heated words on more than one occasion, and the heroine goes out of her way to learn the hero’s real name so she can taunt him with it, simply because he hates it.
Yes, it sounds trite when I write it down, but I thought the heroine was pretty darn cruel with some of her insults and how she responded to the hero, and I liked it. It felt real and natural, and the relationship as a whole drew out very well to the expected conclusion.
On the other hand, some of the subplots were a bit weak, especially the subplot featuring the hero’s sister and the man who wants to marry her (but she doesn’t feel the same way). The man’s reactions are violent and severe, but we don’t really see this until more than halfway through the book. It felt as though this subplot was missing some buildup, or like it was inserted after the fact to fill up more space in the story.
I understand what the author was trying to do with it, but it didn’t work for me.
Despite the awkward proportions of the people on the front cover (seriously… look at where the man’s knee should be and then where his waist is, then look at the woman… what the HECK?!?!), the story itself is sweet, relatively well-drawn, and more realistic than some historical romances I’ve recently read. We have a main character and supporting cast who are depicted as real people with real flaws, and although some of the subplots weigh down the story, I commend Witemeyer for her realistic historical portrayal of the period and for giving us a love story that doesn’t seem overly ‘set up’, if you will.
It’s the kind of novel you’d pick up on a rainy day if nothing else was around, or that you could pass on to a family member (or your mother) without feeling too awkward about it.
I will say that the Christian element is stronger in this book than in some of the other Blog Tour books I’ve reviewed, so if that’s not your thing, I’m not sure this one would be up your alley. Still, I didn’t find that it overwhelmed the story, so each potential reader will have to make a judgment call based on their level of comfort with Christian content.
If you’re interested in learning more about the author and why she wrote this book, here’s a LINK to a Q & A she did with the publisher — enjoy!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favorite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.