Annie's always wanted a home and a family. But will pretending to be a bride get her closer to her dreams?
All Annie Price has ever wanted is a place to call home. Growing up in the foster care system, that dream seemed far away, but now Annie's dream may be coming true. A friend she met in an online book group wants to retire and has offered Annie a fresh start managing her little bookstore. Believing the opportunity is an answer to prayer, Annie packs her suitcase and moves to Red Leaf, Wisconsin.
The residents of Red Leaf welcome Annie into the fold . . . everyone except the bookstore owner's son, Jesse Kent. But Annie refuses to let the handsome deputy keep her from embracing her new home with open arms. She even volunteers to help the local historical society refurbish an old church and agrees to be the "bride" for a special reenactment celebrating the museum's open house.
Jesse Kent can't believe his mother has handed the keys to her business over to a woman she met on the Internet. Annie's beautiful, of course, and smart as a whip, but what do they really know about her, anyway? What if she's come to their town just for his mother's money? The only way to see if his suspicions about Annie Price are true is to keep a close eye on her-even if it means he has to marry her! Planning their mock wedding will give him the chance to uncover Annie's motive for moving to town. But as the day of the wedding approaches and secrets come to light, Jesse must face the truth. He wants Annie to be his September bride . . . for real.
"A September Bride" is another winning entry in Zondervan's Year of Weddings series, and it features some of the strongest chemistry of any of the novellas so far. Annie and Jesse's attraction is palpable, and they're both very likeable characters. The supporting characters are wonderful, as well, and I hope author Kathryn Springer revisits Red Leaf in the future, as there seem to be a lot more stories there!
I do think "A September Bride" suffers a bit because of its novella length. Annie has a secret that sort of, but not completely, comes to light, and as it was so important to her, I was surprised to see it dropped. (It's one of those cases where Jesse knows the truth, but she doesn't know that he knows.) I'm sure that in a full length novel, it would have been explored.
While I won't spoil anything, I have to say that the end didn't turn out as I'd anticipated—and I think this novella is so much better for it! Kathryn Springer is definitely moving onto my list of authors to watch. 4 stars.
Buy the novella.
Read my reviews of the other "Year of Weddings" entries: December, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August.
Kathryn Springer, winner of the 2009 ACFW Carol Award (Family Treasures), grew up in a small town in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a weekly newspaper. As a child, she spent many hours sitting at her mother’s typewriter, plunking out stories, and credits her parents for instilling in her a love of books – which eventually turned into a desire to tell stories of her own. After a number of busy years, when she married her college sweetheart and became a stay-at-home mom, Kathryn rediscovered her love for writing. An unexpected snow day from school became the inspiration for a short story, which she submitted to Brio magazine. She went on to publish over a dozen more short stories for Brio, but it wasn’t until her youngest child started school that she decided to pursue her dream to write a novel. In August 2004, her Love Inspired® debut novel, Tested by Fire, was published. Encouraging women in their faith journey is the reason Kathryn loves to write inspirational fiction. She hosts a women’s Bible study in her home and volunteers in a local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) ministry. When she isn’t at the computer, you’ll find her curled up with a good book, spending time with family and friends or walking on the trails near her country home.