Rating: *** – 3.5 Stars
GENRE: Historical Christian Romance
BOOK SUMMARY: Recently widowed Annalisa Werner has the feeling her husband was murdered but can’t prove it. Alone with her young daughter in 1881 Michigan, she has six months left to finish raising the money needed to pay back the land contract her husband purchased, and the land is difficult to toil by herself. She needs a husband. With unmarried men scarce, her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.
For nobleman Carl von Reichert, the blade of the guillotine is his fate. He’s been accused and convicted of a serious crime he didn’t commit, and his only escape is to flee to a small German community in Michigan where he’ll be safe. He secures a job on Annalisa’s farm but bumbles through learning about farming and manual labor.
Annalisa senses that Karl is harboring a secret about his past, yet she finds herself drawn to him anyway. He’s gentle, kind, and romantic–unlike any of the men she’s ever known. He begins to restore her faith in the ability to love–but her true groom is still on his way. And time is running out on them all.
REVIEWER COMMENTS: While it took me a while to really get into the story, given the somewhat slow beginning, and a plot that was very predictable for me, I eventually started to look forward to reading this book each day and I finished it in a short amount of time. The story is told by both Annalisa and Carl’s point of view, however, it is Carl that takes center stage here, which I found different, and yet enjoyable. I liked his personality, his faith, and inner struggles, as opposed to Annalisa’s, who is portrayed as the submissive, weak character who is first subjected to her abusive husband, and then, to her family’s obligations. This is often the case in these types of books, and while I understand that the writers are trying to portray an accurate view of women in the 1800’s, I find it redundant and unflattering, and therefore, not enjoyable to read. So, the fact that there was more of a focus on Carl’s inner thoughts and dialogues, actually made the book more enjoyable for me. Eventually, Annalisa does develop into a stronger character, and the relationship between the two of them progresses throughout the book into a believable, genuine love and care for one another, with the ultimate happy ending.
SEXUAL CONTENT: A few passionate kisses
ADULT LANGUAGE: None.
*Conclusion: A sweet, historical romance that I found very enjoyable to read over summer break. ***My thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.