Book Reviews

A Bargain Struck by Liz Harris

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List Price: £7.99


Paperback: 336 Pages.

Published: 07 September 2013 by Choc Lit

ISBN: 178189048X

EAN: 9781781890486

Does a good deal make a marriage? Widower Connor Maguire advertises for a wife to raise his young daughter, Bridget, work the homestead and bear him a son. Ellen O'Sullivan longs for a home, a husband and a family. On paper, she is everything Connor needs in a wife. However, it soon becomes clear that Ellen has not been entirely truthful. Will Connor be able to overlook Ellen's dishonesty and keep to his side of the bargain? Or will Bridget's resentment, the attentions of the beautiful Miss Quinn, and the arrival of an unwelcome visitor, combine to prevent the couple from starting anew. As their personal feelings blur the boundaries of their deal, they begin to wonder if a bargain struck makes a marriage worth keeping. Set in Wyoming in 1887, a story of a man and a woman brought together through need, not love -


3.0 Stars3.0 Stars3.0 Stars  by Anne

Roamance in the American West

This is one of a sub-genre of romance novel dealing with the concept of the mail-order bride. Connor is a rancher in Wyoming just as the American frontier is moving Westwards. Ellen is the woman who answers his advertisement and who comes to be his wife and mother to eight year old Bridget. Ellen has hidden something from Connor which gets their relationship off to a poor start and means that he mistrusts her. Bridget is not at all welcoming to Ellen and all the townsfolk think that Connor should have married elsewhere.

I think that this is probably a well researched novel and the author gives us plenty of atmosphere. She also allows the relationship between Connor and Ellen to grow rather than for everything to change very quickly. I think that the book is excellent at showing the vulnerability of a woman in the society at the time and the fragility of the life that they all lead. There is a good enough sub-plot about Connor's brother although I did think that the ending of it, whilst possibly realistic, was a bit tame.

Where I had issues with the book is in the amazing tolerance that Connor shows to his daughter's behaviour which is appalling. I just cannot believe that in the time and place in which this book is set that they would have such an understanding of child psychology that they would develop appropriate strategies - in fact, I am not sure that most families these days would put up with it either ! I was also a bit doubtful about the casual attitude that Ellen and Connor have towards church membership and attendance - again, it didn't ring true to me. In both these issues I thought that the author projected modern sensibilities on a story set in a very different culture.

This is an easy to read and pretty predictable romance with a few moments that make it engaging. The doubts I had about historical realism, however, meant that I maybe didn't enjoy it as much as I might have.

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