About the Book
Book: A Bride of Convenience (Bride Ships #3)
Author: Jody Hedlund
Genre: Historical Christian Romance
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Unemployed mill worker Zoe Hart jumps at the opportunity to emigrate to British Columbia in 1863 to find a better life and be reunited with her brother, who fled from home after being accused of a crime.
Pastor to miners in the mountains, Abe Merivale discovers an abandoned baby during a routine visit to Victoria and joins efforts with Zoe, one of the newly arrived bride-ship women, to care for the infant. While there, he’s devastated by the news from his fiancee in England that she’s marrying another man.
With mounting pressure to find the baby a home, Zoe accepts a proposal from a miner of questionable character after he promises to help her locate her brother. Intent on protecting Zoe and frustrated by his failed engagement, Abe offers his own hand as groom. After a hasty wedding, they soon realize their marriage of convenience is not so convenient after all.
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About the Author
Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.
Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).
When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.
As a result of the Civil War raging in America in the early 1860s, England faced a cotton shortage, putting the women and girls who worked in the cotton mills out of work and in even more dire straits than before. A group of these mill girls from Manchester became the second set of women to travel to Vancouver, British Columbia aboard one of the bride ships, this one being the Robert Lowe. What seems today to be an unfathomable institution offered hope and a chance at a future for young women otherwise destined to languish in extreme poverty and dreadful circumstances.
From among this group comes Zoe Hart, whose captivating story emerges from the pages of “A Bride of Convenience”, book 3 in Jody Hedlund’s Bride Ships series. From start to finish, her story is not what I expected, and that is part of why I love it so much! Despite knowing the man Zoe marries from the outset, there are so many twists and turns of the plot that this turns out not to be a spoiler. Two of the aspects that I consider to be integral to the best stories are the plot and the characters, and this novel skillfully demonstrates both. “A Bride of Convenience”, as indicated by its title, is about a marriage made at a moment’s notice when missionary minister Abe Merivale impulsively weds Zoe to protect her and a native baby left in their care.
Not only does Hedlund treat readers to an engaging storyline, she also creates multifaceted characters who rise from the pages with their own tragedies and triumphs, with relationships and behaviors that never seem contrived. The delightful, sage Mrs. Moresby again makes an appearance, as does a devious villain and several other colorful characters, although the majority of the narrative focuses on Zoe and Pastor Abe. Hedlund writes them beautifully, expressing their respective emotions and struggles, of which the other is often not aware. The weight and responsibility of being called to ministry and of being married to a minister are both well-articulated and are applicable to many in contemporary mission work as well. As Zoe comes to realize, “Maybe all God required was a willing heart and the trust that He’d work out the rest of the details in His timing and His way.” In the face of increasing obstacles and a seemingly hopeless situation, she makes a point that is startlingly simple yet profound: “But what if God’s the one who calls us? What if He’s the one who gives us our ministry? If God gives us our ministry, then no one else has the power to take it away.”
Of the three Bride Ships novels published thus far, “A Bride of Convenience” is my favorite. The history behind this program is unique in and of itself, and the narrative that Hedlund constructs only enhances the story. Readers will doubtless find some of themselves in the characters and hopefully glean inspiration from the fact that God sees the end from the beginning and has a good future planned for us, even when hope seems futile. After all, nothing is impossible with God!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and the publisher and was not required to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.
My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥