Wanted: Convenient Wife
When preacher Hugh Arness advertises for a marriage of convenience, the single father's not expecting Annie Marshall to apply. She's too vivacious--and far too pretty. Yet Annie connects with his withdrawn young son, Evan, and he agrees to a trial period--which her grandfather will chaperone--until Christmas. By then he'll have found a candidate who doesn't make him long for more than he feels worthy of...
Security and her own home...Annie wants both, without the heartache love brings. Soon she's earning little Evan's trust, eager to show his papa that their partnership can work. She knows that Hugh needs tenderness, too. And maybe this Christmas could mark the end of their practical arrangement...and the start of a true union and real family.
This story made a big impact on me. Not only is it beautifully written with some heartbreaking issues like mental and physical child abuse, but the main characters and their faith in God is such a central, natural part of their lives, and it is openly, honestly, and unashamedly brought forward in every aspect of their lives. I loved it, it is an encouraging and inspiring example how to live your life when faith in God is your guiding light.
Hugh Arness is a kindhearted and a good man. Yes, he is the preacher, so one might expect that, but I think his character would have been the same no matter what his profession was. He loves the Lord and his son, that is palpable. All his life he has struggled with inadequacy, thanks to his mother's own problems. He is not looking for love, he has learned the hard way that hoping to be loved leads only for disappointments. He finds Annie Marshall way too attractive and lively and young to accept her proposal of marriage of convenience.
Annie is determined to start her own life yet to avoid love and romantic relationships to escape from more heartbreak. To marry the preacher and take care of his son, that would be enough for Annie for the rest of her life. If only her stubborn, meddling family would allow her to move on. Annie's heart is gold, she is sweet, smart, considerate, and kind. She radiates of life, goodness, and love, it was impossible not to smile when she walks into a room.
There is so much to love about this story I ended up inhaling it at one sitting, unable to put it down until the end. The characters are by no means 'perfect', they struggle with their faith and with their convictions, with their own character fails. Yet there is healing, there is growth, there is maturing, and most of all, there is love. The abuse Hugh's son has experienced, and his healing and learning to trust again touched my heart. The care and patience they show to him, space and time they give to him so he could feel safe and secure again delivered some emotion filled scenes.
Montana Bride by Christmas is a beautiful story on many levels, it is an exemplary tale of God's love, guidance, and living in faith and growing as a Christian. It is a beautiful story of the healing powers of the love of a family, the feelings of belonging, being accepted, being enough, being loved. It is an adorable story of falling in love despite all circumstances, against your will and better knowledge. The most delightfully charming ending to this absolutely lovely little family makes me still smile just thinking about it.
~ Five Spoons!