A Most Inconvenient Marriage
About This Book
Abigail Stuart thought she was Jeremiah Calhoun’s widow. But Jeremiah Calhoun is very handsome, very alive, and very perplexed. Most inconvenient indeed.
With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun. They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he’s gone—a practical solution for both of them.After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain—until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail’s story.
Abigail is flummoxed. After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she’s never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before? How can she convince him that she isn’t trying to steal his farm? And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage?
I have read and enjoyed previous novels from Regina Jennings, and was particularly excited to read this one. I loved the premise and, combined with this wonderful, whimsical cover, I was expecting a lighthearted romance full of great tension and chemistry as Abigail and Jeremiah locked horns. In the end, the story didn’t quite match those expectations, but was still an enjoyable and entertaining read.
I enjoyed Jennings’ writing style; it was very fluid and descriptive without being too flowery, and also felt appropriate for the book’s historical setting. The dialogue was well-balanced with the prose, and each character had a distinct voice and personality. Abigail and Jeremiah were the obvious stars of the show, but the secondary characters were very well developed, too, particularly Jeremiah’s mother and sister, and the neighbor children who love to cause mischief at every opportunity. I liked both Abigail and Jeremiah immediately, and really felt I could get inside their heads and experience the story right along with them.
The overall story world was very well developed, and I enjoyed the unusual angle of a woman trying to run a horse farm, the Ozark setting in the post-Civil War years, and the lingering tensions between North and South and those caught up in a war they’d never really wanted to fight in the first place. There were a lot of great historical nuggets in this story, and the foundation is definitely built for future stories in this series.
Abigail and Jeremiah face some harrowing moments as danger threatens their farm, but on the whole there was no objectionable content in this story. This book would be appropriate for historical romance fans of all ages, and with its subdued spiritual themes woven intrinsically through the story, it is not so “preachy” that it would be off-putting to non-Christian family and friends.
My only real disappointments with the story revolve about conflict and romantic tension. I was really expecting the whole mystery surrounding the man Abigail married to play out for a bit more conflict and action: for Jeremiah to go to greater lengths to challenge her story, and for Abigail to have to rise to the challenge to prove herself and her identity. In the end, I felt this whole premise was resolved a little too quickly, and wasn’t used to quite as much effect as it could have been. I also felt the romantic tension was a bit too easy between Abigail and Jeremiah: they were a little too in love, too quickly for my taste. I would’ve liked to see them struggle with their feelings a bit more, and have a few more challenges thrown at them in order to make them earn their “happily ever after.”
The cover was a little misleading, too, I thought. It has a great, almost tongue-in-cheek feel reminiscent of Karen Witemeyer or Deeanne Gist, but the story turned out to be a bit more dramatic than I was expecting, especially regarding Jeremiah’s ailing sister and the whole subplot involving moonshiners. Not that the story wasn’t bad . . . it just wasn’t quite what I was expecting.
Overall, A Most Inconvenient Marriage is a delightful and entertaining story set in an unusual time and place in American history. While not quite the humorous, lighthearted story I expected, nor filled with as much conflict or romantic tension as I would have liked, it’s a great read for inspirational romance fans and one for the keeper shelf!
Available December 2, 2014 from Bethany House Publishers