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Monday, September 14, 2015

Book Review: 12 Brides of Summer Novella Collection 4 by Vickie McDonough, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, and Davalynn Spencer

12 Brides of Summer Collection4

The County Fair Bride by Vickie McDonough
The Honey Bride by Diana Brandmeyer
The Columbine Bride by Davalynn Spencer
In Novella Collection 4 of the 12 Brides of Summer series

ARC, E-Book, 154 pages
Shiloh Run Studios
September 1, 2014
★★★★ 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 towns. . .without leaving the comfort of your own front porch!

Summer's winding down and the nights are getting cooler, but love still warms the heart in Novella Collection #4:

The County Fair Bride by Vickie McDonough
Having spent a year in St. Louis, Prudy Willard returns to Advent, Texas, and fills the new mayor’s desk with her ideas for improving the town. The only thing they can agree on is initiating the county’s first fair.

The Honey Bride by Diana Brandmeyer
Katie Tucker must overcome her fear of the bees her father left as her inheritance to run the family farm and her fear of those like Pete Dent who offer to help her. He’ll rebuild her barn, but is his friendship genuine?

The Columbine Bride by Davalynn Spencer
Lucy Powell is widowed with two children, but she is reluctant to accept Buck Reiter’s help on her neglected farm. Can the old cowboy convince her his interest is more than charity?

I had the chance to read a few of the 12 Brides of Christmas novella collection this past winter and I loved reading these little, short, sweet stories; so when I saw that there was a 12 Brides of Summer novella collection that was being released this summer by the same authors as the Christmas collection I was excited to give them a go. This time, instead of being released as individual stories, they have been bundled into 4 novella collections, each containing 3 short stories of about 50-60 pages in length. I’m going to speak to each short story as well as the collection as a whole.

My favorite story of the three was The Columbine Bride by Davalynn Spencer. The storytelling here felt much longer than the 50ish page count that it actually was. Sometimes these romances can feel rushed to at least give you some result in the short page count, but this one did not feel that way at all. There was a very natural progression of gratitude becoming friendship, and then friendship turning into caring, and then without realizing that it has become something a little more. The four main characters, Lucy, Buck, and Lucy’s two young children, all had very defined personalities and I knew what made them tick pretty quickly. Buck is very much the horseman and uses a lot of horse terms to describe his family and Lucy’s family – the word choices of his thoughts provided even more definition to his character. The chapters alternate between being from Lucy’s and Buck’s perspectives and they flowed together seamlessly. I could certainly see this story becoming a full novel of the relationship and I would eat it up.

My next favorite was The County Fair Bride by Vickie McDonough. The story arc here covers the time period of developing, planning, and carrying out of a county fair in a small town of Texas – pretty much the length of a summer. While the story covers more time period that The Columbine Bride, the narrative felt a little more like a compressed timeline. I think the author felt the need to provide more backstory to tell of Prudy’s evolution from former mean-girl to reformed “nice” girl, which took up a little more of the space and maybe contributed to the feeling of a compressed story. That being said, I did find the evolution of the romance to be believable. There was action throughout, right from the first scene that made the story pop.

Finally, The Honey Bride by Diana Brandmeyer. While all three of these stories focus on women trying to find their way out of a hardship, Katie seems to be the one that had the most difficulty due to the nature of her personality as well as the event that takes place at the beginning. I think this is why I struggled to get to know her as well as the other two heroines. There was also a side focus on this periphery character, W.D., and I felt like it took away from Katie’s story some. I think that W.D. would possibly have an interesting spin-off story though.

In terms of the collection as a whole, I thought it was quite enjoyable. All three stories are quick reads – took me about an hour a piece. It was a nice break in between some lengthier reads and was still satisfying. There is nothing that ties the three stories together in any way besides that they take place in the summertime – but I was ok with that. In terms of the amount of religion incorporated in each story, I felt like it was well balanced and integrated naturally into the characters. As in life, some are more tied to their faith convictions that others, but it never roamed into the preachy territory. I was very happy with this collection and look forward to reading the others. You do not need to read these collections in any certain order as each story is a standalone story.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

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


Also Part of the 12 Brides of Summer Series:

12 Brides of Summer Collection1

12 Brides of Summer Novella Collection #1

12 Brides of Summer Collection2

12 Brides of Summer Novella Collection #2

12 Brides of Summer Collection3

12 Brides of Summer Novella Collection #3


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

Find Vickie McDonough: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Find Diana Brandmeyer: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Find Davalynn Spencer: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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