Title: A Bride at Last
Author: Melissa Jagears
Published: July 2015
Published By: Bethany House Publishers
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Christian fiction, historical fiction, romance
Date Read: August 23 2015
I received a copy of Melissa Jagear’s A Bride at Last from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
September 1895, a young woman by the name of Kate Dawson works hard to make enough money to support not only herself but an ailing friend and her young son as well. When her friend Lucinda dies of consumption in a dilapidated rooming house, her 8 year old son Anthony is left in Kate’s care. Little did she know that Lucinda had sent a letter to her son’s father before she passed on: a brutal man who she had run away from. When two different men come to town claiming to be Anthony’s father, Kate learns that there was much more to Lucinda’s story than she had shared with her. Silas Jonesey, a Kansas farmer claims he was Lucinda’s husband and he didn’t know his wife had been pregnant when she left him 9 years prior. The second man was named Richard Fitzgerald an abusive, alcoholic, gambler who kept Lucinda as a mistress. Both men are prepared to fight in court for legal rights over Anthony, but meanwhile Kate is devastated that she will lose the boy who she loved like he was her own son. When Anthony takes it upon himself to run away (not wanting to go with either men), Kate and Silas become close as they search for the boy. Will they find Anthony? Who will win the custody battle and what will become of the budding relationship between Kate and Silas?
Thankfully this third book in the Unexpected Brides series isn’t a continuation of the previous two novels and can be read as a stand-alone. A Bride at Last is an exciting adventure that keeps throwing in plot twists until the very end. If it weren’t for the spoiler of a title, it would have kept me guessing. Although I do understand that the author was just being consistent as the other two books have “bride” in the title as well.
Not only was Lucinda, Silas Jonesey’s mail order bride, but Kate too had been one as well. Fortunately (for the sake of the story) this arrangement didn’t pan out and at only 25 she was considered a spinster. My, how the times have changed since the late 1800’s. Some people today believe that 25 is too young to marry. Another example of how the times have changed is the stigma of two unmarried adults spending time together without a chaperone. This was mentioned several times as Kate and Silas searched for Anthony. It was considered so inappropriate that her job as a school teacher was in jeopardy. Appearances were everything.
I went through many different emotions as I read along. Firstly I felt so sad for the little boy who had not only lost his mother, but was about to be taken away from the only person who truly loved him. Kate was a headstrong individual who could be too independent for her own good. And Silas was a lonely man who had suffered greatly in his life and lacked confidence in himself.
There was certainly chemistry between Kate and Silas from the very beginning, but I wouldn’t call it instant-love. Instead the author took her time developing the feelings the two characters felt for each other. I admire Jagears for taking that approach, even if there were times when I felt their “does he/she” or “doesn’t he/she” dragged on too long.
A Bride at Last is a story of acceptance and trust that shows character growth throughout. I really enjoyed this book and hope that I get a chance to read the previous two novels and one novella that make up this series. I would recommend this to historical romance fiction fans.