Thursday, June 12

Book Review: Bluebonnet Bride by Colleen Coble

My summer reading list is always heavy on historical fiction - I love the opportunity to travel vicariously to new places and to other time periods!  I recently finished Bluebonnet Bride, a sweet novella by Christian writer Colleen Coble set in Texas in 1907.  Since several of my favorite stories begin with adventuresome women arriving in the West on trains, I was instantly sucked in.  Elli Korpela has come to America from Finland as a mail order bride in order to escape a forced engagement to a greedy neighbor. Her handsome new husband Nathan has been working to support his family since he was a teenager and has had no time for courting, and wants a woman's help raising his four-year-old orphaned niece Hannah. 

After a picturesque wedding at Nathan's friends' mansion, Butterfly Palace, they return to a charming little house, but their newfound domestic bliss is quickly cut short when Elli is attacked by a nighttime intruder. As they begin to investigate the attack, Nathan and Elli aren't sure if the intruder was a striking worker from the granite quarry where Nathan is foreman, or someone working for Elli's former fiance - who she suspects killed her wealthy father. 

The story's central mystery - what is the intruder looking for? - was interesting enough to hold my attention, and while the intruder's identity was a surprise, the threat never seemed truly frightening.  Additionally, the subplot about labor problems at the quarry is never really resolved. 

As a novella, Bluebonnet Bride has lace space for character development than a longer work. Elli is devoted to Hannah even though to readers, the little girl is a flat porcelain doll of a character.  Elli and Nathan are more dynamic, and their romance is Hallmark-style perfection: even though they're both attracted to each other at first sight, Nathan remains respectful, considerate, and keeps his distance.  Elli falls in love with his devotion to Hannah and his protective nature toward her, and he falls in love with her spirit and determination. Their belief that God has brought them together gives them both a sense of security in their new relationship.  The romance is chaste enough that I would feel perfectly comfortable recommending this book to a younger reader.  The story is an easy read, and a great temporary escape from modern life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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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  1. I've read one Colleen Coble book and remember thinking it was really cute. I've been meaning to read more by her, and this seems like it would be a fun place to start.

    1. It was a super easy read, romantic without being graphic, and even though the characters were strong Christians I didn't feel like I was getting beaten over the head with religion, if you know what I mean.