When I got The Bridegrooms, I knew it would be a romance—the cover alone leaves little doubt about that!—but I wish it had been an enjoyable romance! Each sister gets her own love story, but the novel mainly dwells on Vada’s romantic travails.
Vada, who has been in a committed relationship with Garrison for several years, suddenly finds herself attracted to two other men: Dave, a newspaper reporter, and Lucky, a Brooklyn Bridegrooms baseball player. This is understandable, as Garrison seems reluctant to marry Vada. But I wish the author had then taken the time to help the reader understand Vada’s attraction to each other man. Lucky LaFortune has an instant connection with Vada, but why is Vada attracted to Dave? He seems to pop in and out of the story just so Vada can ruminate about how things could be different between them. But he isn’t a fleshed out character, and he could quite easily have been left out of the novel. The Garrison-Vada-Lucky love triangle is certainly enough!
I wish more time would have been spent with Althea, who to me was easily the most interesting character. Althea quit speaking when Mrs. Allenhouse left, and she pours her thoughts and feelings into poetry. She becomes quite attached to the injured man, and I would have loved to watch their love story unfold. Instead, I had to read about Vada.
I also wish more time would have been spent on Vada’s dream of playing the violin with an orchestra. At the time (the 1890’s), Cleveland’s orchestra was comprised only of males; I’d hoped that Vada, who worked as the conductor’s assistant, would end up playing with them.
Another of Vada’s sisters, Hazel, has decided to move to Wyoming, where women can vote. I thought suffrage would be a major focus of the story, but it just gets a mention here and there.
Ultimately, this book seems like it could have been a series with one book focusing on each sister. Then each relationship could have been fully developed, rather than squeezed in around Vada’s. As it is, I didn’t enjoy this book very much.
Should you read it? Only if you have nothing else to read.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”