Review: The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter
It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
***Special thanks to
Audra Jennings – The B&B Media Group – for sending me a review copy.***
Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!
Visit the author’s website.
List Price: $15.99
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 3, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1595548025
- ISBN-13: 978-1595548023
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
and—despite her most valiant effort—Shay Brandenberger’s eyes darted toward the
entry. An unfamiliar couple entered—tourists. She could tell by their khaki
Eddie Bauer vests and spanking-new hiking boots. Look out, Yellowstone.
she checked her watch and took a sip of coffee. Five minutes till she met Miss
Lucy at the Doll House, forty till she met John Oakley at the bank. What if he
said no? What would they do then?
waved her hand too close to Shay’s face, her brown eyes widening.
her Saturday was breakfast with her daughter, and she couldn’t enjoy it for the
dread. “What were you saying?”
pancake-sticky plate and heaved a sigh worthy of her twelve-year-old self.
“Never mind.” She bounced across the vinyl bench, her thick brown ponytail
swinging. “I’m going to meet Maddy.”
but Olivia was out the door with the flick of her hand.
Silverware clattered and scraped, and the savory smell of bacon and fried eggs
unsettled her stomach. She took a sip of the strong brew from the fat rim of
not look. I will not—
girl, and gathered Olivia’s dishes. “On the house today.”
said, then made off with the dirty dishes.
Mabel Franklin gave Shay a pointed look.
foal the week before. It was the neighborly thing to do.
wave. She pulled her wallet from her purse, counted out the tip, and dragged
herself from the booth, remembering her daughter’s bouncy exit. Lately her
thirty-two years pressed down on her body like a two-ton boulder.
both ways before exiting the Tin Roof and turning toward the Doll House. She
was only checking sidewalk traffic, not hiding. Nope, she wasn’t hiding from
anyone. The boardwalks were busy on Saturdays. That was why she hadn’t come to
town for two weeks. Why their pantry was emptier than a water trough at high
into the cool, welcoming air of Miss Lucy’s shop.
the middle of helping a customer, called over her rounded shoulder, “It’s in
the back.” Miss Lucy’s brown eyes were big as buckeyes behind her thick
glasses, and her white curls glowed under the spotlights.
entered the back room and flipped on the overhead fluorescents. She scanned the
boxes of doll parts and skeins of yarn until she found what she was looking
for. She approached the box, lifted the lid, and parted the tissue.
folded and tucked away. Shay ran her fingers over the delicate lace and pearls.
Must’ve been crisp white in its day, but time had cast a long shadow over it.
Time had a way of doing that.
She remembered another time, another dress. A simple white one that hung on her
young shoulders, just skimmed the cement of the courthouse steps. The ache that
squeezed her heart had faded with time, but it was there all the same. Would it
ever go away?
the task at hand. The gown seemed too pretty, too fragile to disturb.
box, then shimmied from her jeans. When she was down to the bare necessities,
she stepped carefully into the gown. She eased it over her narrow hips and slid
her arms into the long sleeves. The neckline was modest, the gathered skirt
fuller than anything she ever wore. Here in the air-conditioning it was fine,
but she would swelter next Saturday.
hitched the skirt to the top of her cowboy boots and entered the store.
the door. When she turned, she stopped, her old-lady shoes squeaking on the
linoleum. “Land sakes.”
the skirt. It fell to the floor with a whoosh.
“And with some low heels it’ll be the perfect length.”
have to do. Button the back?”
toward a small wall mirror flecked with time, and began working the tiny pearl
forced its release, then frowned. Wedding gowns were bad luck. She’d sworn
she’d never wear another. If someone had told her yesterday she’d be wearing
this thing today, she’d have said they were one straw short of a bale.
between her shoulders, and Shay lifted her hair. The dress did fit, clinging to
her torso like it was made for her, wouldn’t you know. Even the color
complemented her olive skin.
Brandenberger wearing this valuable piece of Moose Creek heritage? A white
wedding gown, no less. If she didn’t have the approval of her closest friends
and neighbors, what did she have? Not much, to her thinking.
shimmy right out of the dress, tuck it into that box in the storeroom, slip
back into her Levi’s and plaid button-up, and go back to her ranch where she
could hole up for the next six months.
Lucy had nimbler fingers. Of all days to do this, a Saturday, when everyone
with two legs was in town. And she still had that infernal meeting with John
forgot Jessie was going out of town.”
cow dung.” The woman’s marionette lines at the sides of her mouth deepened.
after all Miss Lucy had done for her.
dropped her hair and smoothed the delicate lace at the cuffs.
is smiling down on you today for your kindness.”
another. It was her neighbors she worried about.
the talk of the town on Founders Day.”
would be thinking about the last time she’d worn a wedding gown. And the time
squeezing her shoulders. “You look quite fetching, like the gown was made for
you. I won’t have to make a single alteration. Why, it fits you better than it
ever did Jessie—don’t you tell her I said so.”
was right. The dress did make the most of her figure. And she had as much right
to wear it as anyone. Maybe more—she was born and raised here, after all. It
was just a silly old reenactment anyway. No one cared who the bride and groom
behind her. She glanced in the mirror, over her shoulder, where a hulking
silhouette filled the shop’s doorway. There was something familiar in the set
of the man’s broad shoulders, in the slow way he reached up and removed his
cage, squeezed the air from her lungs as if she were wearing a corset. But she
wasn’t wearing a corset. She was wearing a wedding gown. Just as she had been
the last time she’d set eyes on Travis McCoy.
When the book arrived, my sister immediately took and read it (she rarely does this with my books that arrive in the mailbox). She later asked me, “Don’t you have the first book of the series?” It took me a minute to realize that The Accidental Bride is the second book of the Big Sky Romance series and I had read/reviewed the first book, The Cowboy’s Touch. Of course, I just had to devour The Accidental Bride. When I read The Cowboy’s Touch, I had expected the second book in the series to be about Wade’s bachelor best friend, Dylan. Hence, I was more than a little surprise to find this book about Shay instead. Looks like poor Dylan has to wait a little longer to find his girl!
For a book in the Christian genre, The Accidental Bride surprised me by being a little heavy on the romance content. Of course, nothing explicit is described, but plenty of hints is given. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the story. I like it even better than The Cowboy’s Touch because of the characters. I found all of them very likeable. Shay is a feisty lady with a soft side. Her fiery character lends many interesting and funny points in the book. Travis is a (very) patient man with plenty of fine points, if not for the past that is hounding him.
The Accidental Bride is about second chances and forgiveness, similar themes to that of The Cowboy’s Touch. Reflecting back on the book, I realize that its plot is quite unrealistic, and consists of just the type of stories that happen in fairy tales with happily ever after endings. After all, it’s not easy to buy into a story with an “accidental” marriage. No matter how good Travis is at answering questions, I definitely wouldn’t buy into it. Also, there isn’t much of a climax or build-up to a climax in the story.
Yet, I enjoyed every page of the novel. Aside from the characters, the comedy is hilarious. Most of it stems out of the hurt Shay has, but while you can pity her, it’s difficult not to laugh. And I loved the usage of slang in the conversations. They made the Texan and cowboy mood in the story more realistic. After considering the plus and minuses in the book, I have to say that The Accidental Bride is my current favorite cowboy read. Some might feel uncomfortable with certain scenes, but the book isn’t graphic, nor is it preachy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through The B&B Media Group, Inc. book bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed 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.”