Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell sets out on her travels a week early. But her plan goes sadly awry when her train is held up by robbers who steal her dowry and Axel, her groom-to-be, isn’t even in town when she finally arrives.
Axel’s business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor. When his friend’s mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store–where she quickly proves she’s much more adept at business than he ever will be.
The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school. However, their troubles are far from over when Axel finally returns, and soon both Will and Eliza must decide what they’re willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams–or if God has a new dream in store for them both.
A Bride in Store is the second in Melissa Jagears’ Unexpected Brides series and features two male characters first introduced in book one. It’s not essential to have read that book, A Bride for Keeps, but it is probably helpful to have done so. A Bride in Store is set five years later, but it does presume that the reader has a passing familiarity with the townsfolk of Salt Flatts, Kansas.
Jagears has written characters that sparkle, although they aren’t without faults. At times, Will comes across as a naïve do-gooder. It’s true that he has no idea how to run a profitable business, but his lack of business skills appear to extend to his doctoring as he rarely charges for his services. The townsfolk prefer to see him because the official doctor has a lousy bedside attitude, but Will isn’t entirely certain he’s cut out for doctoring. Meanwhile, Eliza is mostly self-centered. Her actions are motivated by her desire to be a store owner. As a result, she makes some dubious decisions. She’s ready to marry someone without getting to know them first because doing so will further her dream.
A Bride in Store isn’t a complicated read and can be read in short intervals whenever you have time to spare. It does come across as preachy in parts, and Christian readers probably won’t need the message of salvation. One lesson within, however, is about really getting to know someone. Eliza didn’t know Axel before coming west, which was probably a mistake. In contrast she gets to know a lady called Irena, who is considered an outcast by the town, and makes a wonderful friend.
Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of A Bride in Store, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read A Bride in Store? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 02 September 2014
Page Count: 368