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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Book Review: 12 Brides of Summer Novella Collection 1 by Susan Page Davis, Michelle Ule, and Amy Lillard

12 Brides of Summer Collection1

The Blue Moon Bride by Susan Page Davis
The Sunbonnet Bride by Michelle Ule
The Wildflower Bride by Amy Lillard
In Novella Collection 1 of the 12 Brides of Summer series

ARC, E-Book, 84 pages
Shiloh Run Studios
June 1, 2015
★★★★ ½☆

Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Western, Short Stories

Source: Received for review via Netgalley request

Love Is Buzzing in the Good Old Summertime!  Spend the sunny days of summer relaxing with an ice cold glass of lemonade and revel in the dreams of twelve brides who are a bit surprised by how the men of their dreams come into their lives. Journey to the Old West, stay on the prairie, and visit quaint small town. . .without leaving the comfort of your own front porch!

Summer has started and so has new chances for love in Novella Collection #1:

The Blue Moon Bride by Susan Page Davis
Ava Neal hopes moving west will be a new start, then she meets handsome Joe Logan who helps her hide her valuables when the train is robbed. Might their paths cross again?

The Sunbonnet Bride by Michelle Ule
After a tornado ravishes her family's farm, seamstress Sally Martin has to decide which man's courtship to accept: a banker who wants to loan money to ruined farmers or a teamster who uses his skills, strength and time to help rebuild.

The Wildflower Bride by Amy Lillard
Grace Sinclair would never dream of leaving her Ozarks, so when Ian McGruer visits for a wedding, she ignores her sudden romantic thoughts. Can Ian make her see the way of love?

As soon as I finished reading 12 Brides of Summer Novella Collection #4, I knew I wanted to read the rest of the collection. There is something about the quick nature of these stories that pulls me in and keeps me wanting to read more of them. So I figured that it would make sense to go back to the beginning and start with Collection #1 (although, they don’t really go in any sort of order, so you can read whichever you want).

Blue Moon Bride by Susan Page Davis left me with mixed feelings. The first few scenes start out with Ava’s sister and her impending marriage. This felt a little out of place for me as a first scene in the way it was written. While this sort of event could lead very well into a romance, it fell a little flat for me. But don’t be down for too long, shortly thereafter Ava is whisking away on a train ride west to visit friends where she encounters quite the dramatic turn (for one of these types of stories) in a train robbery. There is a good deal of action and adventure here for sure on the part of Joe Logan. I enjoyed the action scenes, but somehow didn’t love this story. I think the fact that I had a hard time getting into the story had something to do with it. I think I would have led with the train sequences and then introduced the sister’s wedding in some type of flashback or work it into a conversation.

The Sunbonnet Bride by Michelle Ule was different from many of the other stories in these collections that I have read so far in that you aren’t 100% sure who Sally will end up with. There are two VERY different men at play here and she struggles with the choice. I wasn’t in love with either of the men as leading men, but there was a favorite to be sure. I really liked the choice of the tornado aftermath as a storytelling devise. I have lived through the destruction of a tornado to my apartment complex and surrounding community, so I could truly buy into the response of the neighbors and towns to the destruction and the families (and I’m from the North East where you are not all the friendly with neighbors in apartments!). I found the story very sweet and endearing, and appreciated that she did not obviously have her mind made up from the beginning regarding who to choose (if anyone!).

However, just like last time, the final story was my favorite, and that was The Wildflower Bride by Amy Lillard. While these stories always end happily (the nature of the genre), there was a lot of soul searching regarding the decision that Grace would make at the end here. One of the character types that I have come to enjoy from these romance novellas is the secretly intervening parent. It is true that sometimes your parents know you better than you know yourself and that at times you just need help getting out of your own way to see more clearly. The father here was really cute and I think he stole the show! Super sweet, and in a few places sad, story that I loved.

As a whole, this collection was strong and left me craving more (the only reason why I did not immediately jump into Collection #2 was due to some downloading issues). I would probably place this book more in the solid 4-4.5 star category, just because I didn’t fall in love with the lead off story, which could potentially turn some pickier readers off. Good thing is, they are short stories, so you can finish one story that you may not particularly love in quick time so it will not feel like a time waste or anything of that nature. The Christian aspect I thought was well integrated and again natural to the characters and their circumstances without hitting you over the head with it.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Book


Also Part of the 12 Brides Series:

12 Brides of Summer Collection2

12 Brides of Summer Novella Collection #2

12 Brides of Summer Collection3

12 Brides of Summer Novella Collection #3

12 Brides of Summer Collection4

12 Brides of Summer Novella Collection #4

[My Review]

Find the 12 Brides Series (including the Christmas series): Website | Facebook

Find Susan Page Davis: Website | Newsletter

Find Michelle Ule: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Find Amy Lillard: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest


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