Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: Four Weddings and a Kiss

Four Weddings and a Kiss: A Western Bride Collection

by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher
Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2014

Summer is a time to indulge in some light reading, and for me, that often comes in the form of a Christian romance. Four Weddings and a Kiss is a compilation of four novellas taking place in the post-Civil War West that fit the bill perfectly. The novellas are bookended by a prologue and epilogue regarding Reverend Gregory Miller. He is taking part in a weeklong revival meeting, working in conjunction with several other ministers. Reverend Miller recently broke up with Elizabeth, a young woman he loves but who he can’t imagine as the wife of a minister. She’s somewhat less than conservative and, despite his deep feelings, he feels that the marriage would be doomed from the start.

The other ministers are quick to offer their own take on the situation and are eager to share their own stories of couples who seemed doomed to fail, but never-the-less created a happy union. Their four stories are told as the four novellas.

The first tells of Maizy MacGregor and Rylan Carstens. Maizy has been raised by her father and has been doing the work of a man on their ranch since she was a child. Unfortunately, she has a tendency of wandering onto Rylan’s land. He warns her to stay off, but she doesn’t listen and comes face to face with a mean grizzly bear. Rylan saves her but breaks his leg in the process. When her father makes her care for Rylan in his infirmity, they both get more than they bargained for. 

Molly Everton and Jack Ludgrove are the central characters in the second story. Molly, a college graduate, works for her father’s newspaper. When he decides to appoint the next editor and turns the reins over to Jack instead of Molly, she is deeply wounded and determined to make the new editor’s life miserable. Meanwhile, Jack is being hit on by every eligible lady in the area, but he only has eyes for one.
Katie Pearl survived a tornado that killed her father, but suffers from what today would probably be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress syndrome. The whole town thinks she’s crazy, but she is determined to rebuild her life and that begins with rebuilding her house. Treb Rayburn’s horse dropped dead in the middle of nowhere (a.k.a. Katie’s town) and needs to make some money in order to buy a new one. Katie hires him to fix her place. In doing so, he will fix much more, but not without great cost. 

The last tells of a black widow, Grace Davenport. She’s a young woman who has had three husbands die under suspicious circumstances. She’s currently in jail, accused of murdering the last one. Her twelve year old son takes all the money he has, fifty-six cents, and sets out to hire the one good lawyer in town, Brock Daniels, to defend her. Brock has no intention of taking the case, or the boy’s money, but he agrees to meet with Grace. After doing so, and seeing the way she is being treated by both her own “lawyer” and the prosecution, he decides to defend her to the best of his ability. 

This is a great, relaxing read, and I love that there are four stories in one book. It’s a wonderful indulgence on a lazy summer afternoon. 

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