Saturday, July 19, 2014

"a july bride" by beth wiseman

About the book (from the publisher): Can she forgive the man who left her at the altar?

Alyssa Pennington dated Brendan Myers for three years before she accepted his proposal. For almost a year, Alyssa's friends and family helped her plan a lovely wedding to take place in the church she'd grown up in. It was the happiest day of her life when she walked down the aisle to be united with the man of her dreams. But when Brendan left her at the altar, Alyssa was consumed by humiliation, embarrassment, and a broken heart that wouldn't allow her to trust anyone. Especially Brendan.

Brendan Myers knows he will spend the rest of his life regretting what he did to Alyssa, the only woman he's ever loved. Without her, his life is empty. In one fateful moment, he'd panicked, destroyed their future, and ruined everything. Now he plans to win her back.

But winning back his bride might prove much more difficult than he can imagine. And even if he does get her to the altar again, will she think turnabout is fair play?

My take: "A July Bride" turned out to be nothing like I expected—in a good way! When I began reading, I thought Alyssa and Brendan's reunion would be a fairly simple one, and I was a little annoyed that I thought I had it figured out so soon. But then Wiseman introduced Dalton, who also began vying for Alyssa's heart, and I wasn't sure who she would end up with or who I even wanted her to. The point of view shifts throughout the story among Alyssa, Brendan, and Dalton, allowing the reader to understand each of the characters.

That said, by about a third of the way through the novella, I knew who Alyssa would end up with, as one of the suitors became decidedly unsuitable. But I didn't anticipate exactly how things would resolve themselves, and I did enjoy the journey. I also appreciated what I thought was a fairly realistic look at marriage presented by Alyssa's best friend Sherry and her husband Monroe.

Some stories are suited for novellas, and others would function better as full-length novels. This is one of those stories that felt rushed as a novella. It covers the span of a full year, so much is left out/sped through. For example, Alyssa and Dalton's relationship—it took place over the span of several months, and while it moved a little rapidly, the pace wasn't unreasonable. But on one page, they've been dating for a few weeks in the early fall, and on the next page, it's winter and they've taken a major step towards marriage ... but the reader isn't privy to any of that. I would have enjoyed seeing the relationship develop a bit more.

Overall, "A July Bride" is a quick, enjoyable read ... I just wish it had been longer and more developed. It's not my favorite of the Year of Weddings novellas, but it's still pretty good.

My rating: 3-1/2 stars

Buy the novella.
See my reviews of Wiseman's The Wonder of Your Love and the other Year of Weddings novellas: December, January, February, March, April, May, and June.

About the author: Beth Wiseman is hailed as a top voice in Amish fiction. She is a Carol-award winner and author of numerous bestsellers including the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. She and her family live in Texas.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLookblogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. 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."

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