Friday, May 29, 2020

Pretending to Wed by Melissa Jagears #BookReview


Book Description

It’s a match made in heaven…as long as they don’t fall in love!

The ranch Nolan Key has spent decades working for, even lost a leg for, is now his—or at least it should be. But an absurd clause in his father’s will means he’s in danger of losing the place to his lazy, undeserving cousin. Nolan finds himself scrambling to save his home—by proposing marriage to the town laundress.

Corinne Stillwater’s hands have betrayed her. Numb from hours of doing the same work over and over, her hands will only heal, according to the town doctor, if she gives up the laundry and marries. But she’s been stung repeatedly by love before, so that is one remedy she can’t swallow.

When Nolan offers Corinne a marriage in name only, how can she refuse? Such a partnership could give them the security they seek, but what if the ranch isn't as secure as they believe, and their lives—and dreams—aren't quite as compatible as they thought?

My Thoughts

In Pretending to Wed, we revisit our friends Jacob and Annie, Spencer, Celia, Leah, and other townspeople from the first Frontier Vows story, Romancing the Bride. If you read my review of ROB, you'll remember I loved these characters!

I enjoyed getting to know Nolan, the amputee rancher hero this time around, and Corinne, the laundress and inventor incognito.

This is a fun, quirky marriage of convenience story that looks at its own trope with a bit of a smirk, hence the first lines:
“This couldn’t be happening. Not unless he’d stumbled into one of those silly romance novels his aunt used to read.”
A very cute lampshade in my opinion.

The characters begin the story convinced they’re doing their future spouse a favor by staying single. When circumstances press them into desperate situations, they agree to marry one another as a business-only partnership to achieve their career goals. But when unexpected romance blossoms, past hurts, physical disabilities, and fears of failure hinder their growth in their relationship to the Lord and to each other. Through the story, they learn to overcome the spiritual, physical, and emotional handicaps that keep them from becoming who God wants them to be.

Like all of Jagears’ books, this story carries a message that will resonate with readers. In a world that interchanges the phrase “diamond ring” with “miracle happy pill,” this book shows us that marriage takes work, communication, commitment, resilience, faith, sacrifice, lots of gratitude, and good counsel.

While our generation says, “Physical intimacy now, marriage later…maybe…and if we don’t like that, we’ll split,” this book gives us a carefully handled illustration that reminds us “trying out” intimacy before marriage doesn’t guarantee compatibility. Without the commitment of marriage, how many would stick around and work through the hard things that cause dissatisfaction in relationships?

If you like to be warned about romance-y stuff: there’s romance-y stuff. This is a Christian romance novel. But this story isn't sappy, it's the opposite of sappy. It's smart, and serious, and straightforward and real, but at the same time, fun. For those who would prefer to know, the story takes on discreet conversations about complications with married intimacy. But Jagears handles the subject matter very delicately and closes the door before any real-time scene treads into the more private aspects of marriage. Kristi Ann Hunter's story, An Uncommon Courtship, approaches a slightly similar topic, but not the same, and the stories are vastly different.

With almost every Jagears book I review, I mention how much her writing reminds me of Lori Wick, the writer that got me hooked on Christian fiction. This story, in some ways, put me in mind of Megan and Bracken's relationship from Wick's book The Knight and the Dove. Melissa’s characters, dialogue, spiritual insight, and delightful “living room” voice keep me coming back for more of her stories. I look forward to reading more from her Frontier Vows series.

To Purchase or Preview Pretending to Wed, click HERE.

I dabble in graphic design for fun, and here are a few memes I created with my favorite quotes from the book. Feel free to share around any you like...


  1. I love how her books make me smile.

    1. Me too, Lucy! There is a particular scene in this novel with baby chickens that had me laughing out loud!

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