About the book: About the book: Marty Dandridge Olson is a widow looking for a way out of Texas. Widower Jake Wythe has secured a job as a bank manager in Denver, only to discover that the bank board wants him to be a married man. With Texas in his roots, he advertises for a Lone Star bride, and Marty answers the call. They both agree they are done with romance and love and will make this nothing more than a marriage of convenience.
Marty works to carve out a new life in high-society Denver as Jake works to guide the bank through a collapsing economy. But when money goes missing at the bank and accounting discrepancies point to Jake, he must find a way to prove his innocence. Yet all he wants to do is go back to Texas and own his own ranch. Marty, on the other hand, owns a ranch–one she’s never told her husband about. She hates Texas because it represents the losses in her life. But as the couple grows closer and love begins to bloom, Marty realizes she needs to tell Jake the truth. Can she come to terms with the past and her anger toward God in order to make room for love?
My thoughts: I have read several of Tracie Peterson’s books through the years and reviewed some here on Chat With Vera. Usually, I totally enjoy her stories, settings, and characters. I felt, though, that A Sensible Arrangement gets the Lone Star Brides series off to a rough start. Perhaps it is that I just didn't care for the story or just simply wasn't in the mood for this particular read at this point in time, but I don’t think that is the case. Things I liked about the story and book:
- The “mail order bride” or marriage of convenience was not a totally unrealistic happening during that time frame. It is hard for folks in 2014 to conceive of entering into such an arrangement, but it did happen and it was successful for the parties at least in some measure.
- Marty's feisty spirit during her ride into Denver on the "safe" stage coach when she virtually saved the day.
- The superior complex of the society dames is pretty much spot-on right. It happened then. It happens now. Marty’s finally standing up to them was strong.
- Marty’s caring contribution of herself and her efforts to the orphans got close to my heart. My own mother and her younger brother had to be placed in an orphanage at age 9 because her father died and her mother could not care for her. That was in the mid-1920s.
- The historic depression of the economy being woven through the story, though it seemed the story based the “crash” more on the collapse of silver and the gold not backing sufficiently. Here is a short paragraph from Wikipedia about that:
"The Panic of 1893 was a serious economic depression in the United States that began in 1893. Similar to the Panic of 1873, it was marked by the overbuilding and shaky financing of railroads, resulting in a series of bank failures. Compounding market overbuilding and the railroad bubble was a run on the gold supply. The Panic of '93 was the worst economic depression the United States had ever experienced at the time."
Now some things I did not care about in the book:
- I felt that Marty’s character was a bit contrived. I especially didn’t care for her begging repeatedly for Jake’s forgiveness.
- The story dragged in places.
- The ending was rather abrupt.
I can see subsequent books in the series having the orphans that are transferred to Texas play major roles. I also see Alice making an appearance either as a major player or just continuing her story in another setting. (You'll have to read the book to learn Alice's story.) I can also see a touch of Marty and Jake and their life-after-the-financial-bubble-burst. We’ll see.
Do I recommend the book. Yes.
GIVEAWAY: Litfuse Publicity Group is providing a copy for one of Chat With Vera's readers to win in a giveaway. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Begins April 17 & ENDS May 12 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open for USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of A Sensible Arrangement from Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of Bethany House a Division of Baker Publishing Group and the author, Tracie Peterson in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I received no compensation for this review.