Would-Be Wilderness Wife
About This Book
Drew Wallin’s youngest brother is determined to see him married—so he kidnaps Drew a prospective bride. Not only is Catherine Stanway beautiful, but she’s a nurse who can help their ailing mother. Drew doesn’t have time for distractions—he’s too busy watching over his fatherless siblings. Yet he’s drawn to this woman who carries loss and pain equal to his own.
Catherine has traveled West to use her nursing skills to save lives, not to find a husband. She knows if she gives in to Drew’s matchmaking family, she’ll be risking her already bruised heart. But maybe it’s time she takes the ultimate risk to win the groom she didn’t know she wanted!
What grabbed me most about this story were the characters. Drew and Catherine were two strong-willed people unwilling to sacrifice their callings or their principles for the sake of his family’s romantic notions. Yes, they were instantly attracted to one another, but they fought it tooth and nail for what they each believed to be their higher purposes. And in the end, it was those purposes which brought them together all on their own. The writing was technically solid, the secondary characters were well-developed and leapt off the page (though Drew’s many brothers were a bit confusing at first), and the story wrapped up in a satisfying way with plenty to carry forward into the next book in this series.
As with the last Love Inspired book I read, I didn’t realize that this one was the second book in the Frontier Bachelors series, and while I can guess which returning characters in this book were the hero and heroine of the first book, Would-Be Wilderness Wife is a story that stands all on its own. I enjoyed the obvious homage to the classic MGM musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (a story which previously inspired one of my very favorite historical romance novels, Karen Witemeyer’s Short-Straw Bride), and with Catherine being a nurse in a time and place where practicing medicine was still a decidedly masculine field, found myself favorably comparing this story to Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. The Seattle lumberjack setting also reminded me greatly of Deeanne Gist’s A Bride in the Bargain. In each case, the heroine, hero, and crazy mixed-up family all live up to their inspirations.
I had never read this author before, and I almost gave up on this book at first, the way it started off so slowly and in a very cliché, love-at-first-sight fashion. The beginning was rough for me because it was one of those swooning-over-each-other-in-the-first-three-pages types of openings—complete with a silhouetted cowboy filling the door frame! I know it is the standard of Love Inspired romances that all their heroes and heroines must meet immediately (and given the short length of their books, I really don’t blame them), but this opening felt a bit too stereotypical even for them. I also felt like Drew and Catherine’s arguments against getting involved were a bit repetitive as the story went on, and wouldn’t have minded seeing some new obstacle thrown before them. I always prefer romances in which the hero and heroine have to earn their happily-ever-after, and I just didn’t feel there was enough tension in their romance for Drew and Catherine to really earn theirs.
But in the end, I’m glad I stuck with this book! It turned out to be a very enjoyable read, with some great laugh-out-loud moments, a fun historical setting, and strong characters I could really root for. Historical romance fans looking for a quick, escapist read will thoroughly enjoy Would-Be Wilderness Wife.
Available March 1, 2015 from Love Inspired Historical