Monday, July 27, 2020

A Bride of Convenience by Jody Hedlund - A Bethany House book review

Jody Hedlund, Bride ships, historic fiction, 1863 Vancouver Island

Jody Hedlund has a gift for weaving fictional characters into real historical events in a way that makes a reader want to read more. Her latest novel, A Bride of Convenience, is no exception. This well written book is set on and around Vancouver Island, British Columbia in 1863.

Abraham Merivale, known to locals as Pastor Abe is serving the Church of England during a five year stint as a missionary in the British Colonies. He spends most of his time in the mining camps outside of Vancouver, but comes down to check in with his Bishop and get supplies several times a year. He loves his job, the miners he serves, and the rugged mountains. What he doesn’t love are the Bishop’s ideas about how he should be re-creating the Church of England in the wilderness. Abe is more concerned with the state of men’s hearts than whether or not a new church building gets completed this year.

Zoe Hart has recently arrived in Vancouver upon one of the Bride Ships that left England, sailed around South America, and has brought dozens of former millworkers, all women, to this rugged land. She isn’t sure she wants to marry, unless it helps her find her twin brother who ran away from home after being falsely accused of setting a mill on fire. 

Zoe has a huge heart for others, and soon finds herself taking over the care of a native baby, Violet, whose mother died and whose English-born father has failed at mining due to his alcoholism. But she cannot keep the baby in the Marine barracks where the other bride-ship women are staying. The baby cries, and the women are looking for husbands, not outside responsibilities. While none of the women will be forced to wed, many are hopping to find either a husband of a job and leave the barracks as soon as possible. They do not understand Zoe's desire to take on baby that night prevent finding a husband, or a job.

Zoe is hurting from the loss of her friend who dies shortly after they arrive. Now she really needs the help of others, but isn’t sure whom to trust. Through an unusual turn of events, Pastor Abe finds himself suddenly without a fiancĂ© back home. He is reeling. Zoe is determined to find someone to help her find her brother. Local Dexter Dawson says he will take her if she marries him, but should she trust him? What about Pastor Abe?

Want to know what happens next? Pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online. It is also available as an E-book.

I found the storyline compelling. To think that literally hundreds of women arrived on a handful of bride ships, trusting that there would be something better than their lives in England when they arrived in Vancouver. What challenges and trials must they have faced back home to board a ship knowing they would very likely never return? Not only were they sailing half-way around the world, they were doing it through the same oceans that were filled with the warships of the American Civil War. 

One part I always appreciate about Hedlund’s series is that she includes some historical information at the end of each story. This helps the reader walk away with a deeper understanding of what parts of the story were history, and what were fiction. She often references the historic texts she used while researching as well.

If you are a fan of Jennifer Delamere, Elizabeth Camden, or Jocelyn Green you are sure to enjoy this third book in Hedlund’s The Bride Ships series. I give it 4.5 out of five stars.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

No comments:

Post a Comment