I’ve said it once before. God knows I never thought I’d have the occasion to say it twice, but only a romance novel can make the mail-order bride process sound enchanting.
1887 Debutante, Julia Crawford endures a lifetime of subtle ridicule as the plump, silly daughter of a premiere Boston family. Julia strikes out on her own to gain independence, traveling to the Midwest to marry an aging shopkeeper and care for his mother. Julia finds her new home rough and uncivilized after the sophistication of a big city, while closely held secrets threaten to ruin Julia’s one chance at love. Jake Shelling was sixteen and grew up quick when his parents died from influenza on the South Dakota prairie. Left with a half-cleared farm and two young sisters, he spent little time on his own needs . .till now. At thirty-five, he figured it was high time to have some sons and a mail order bride would suit him just fine. No expectations of love, just a helpmate from sturdy stock, ready for farm life. Will fate and chance play a trick on Julia and Jake?
This entire novel revolves around a case of mistaken identity. Well, make that two cases of mistaken identity. Julia arrives at the train station in South Dakota thinking she’s going to marry a 50-year-old shopkeeper, and Jake is expecting his Swedish mail-order bride. However, throw in a noisy train station and a priest, and Jake and Julia find themselves married to each other within about 5 minutes of her arrival in town. Although it’s pretty hard to believe that the priest wouldn’t annul their marriage after such an obvious mix-up, I’m sure as hell glad he didn’t. It lets us enjoy all of the fun consequences.
What’s the Rush?
Jake was initially quite persistent to try to have the priest annul his marriage to Julia. After all, he was expecting a 6 foot Swedish woman who could cook for him; not the unskilled debutante he was left with. That being said, he quickly comes to view Julia as his, and refuses to let any man take her away from him. Julia was also a bit hesitant to stay married to this farmer, but after realizing she’s stuck in this situation, she’s determined to consummate their marriage as soon as possible so that her parents won’t be able to take her back to Boston. Let’s just say Jake doesn’t put up much of a fight on that account.
I must say that although I was happy to see Jake and Julia come together in the bedroom, I was rather disappointed that it happened so quickly. I was kind of hoping for a longer period of awkwardness, where they need to learn to love each other. Instead, they basically fall in love after their first romp in the sack. I was looking forward to them sharing longing looks, perhaps their hands would brush together a few times before they could no longer deny their sexual attraction to each other. Nope! They get it all over with on the first freakin’ day!
No Wonder She Ran Away
Alright, I need to have a serious convasation with this woman’s family. They are all ridiculously embarrassed by Julia, and not just because she ran off to the Midwest to marry someone she’d never met. She has a secret past of her own, and her family treats her like an acquaintance rather than a family member because of it. Don’t you worry girl, I’ve got your back! Sure, your sexy as all get out husband has your back too, but let me at ’em, let me at ’em!
This is the second audiobook I’ve listened to by narrator Meghan Kelly. I’ll say, she definitely does a good job with the female lead character, but the supplemental ones have some room for improvement. The other female characters all came out sounding extremely whiney. I mean, sure, her mother and sisters were pretty bitchy, but Jake’s sisters were supposed to be strong and supportive characters. Instead, they came out sounding like 13-year-old brats. The male voices are also too deep, which makes their rhetoric sound cheesy and forced.
*A copy of this audio book was provided by the narrator for an honest review*
Series: Crawford Family, book 1.
Should you read it? You’ll experience a wide range of emotions with this novel. It will make you laugh, utter a few “oh snaps”, and even a couple “ermahgerds”.
Smut Level: There aren’t really any descriptive sex scenes, but there are a few scandalous scenarios for a historical romance.