Have you ever stayed up late to finish a book? As a mom of young children, I can’t do that as much any more. However, my newborn happened to have a fussy night just as I was starting The Runaway Bride by Jody Hedlund. Perfect timing! He needed extra snuggles and I needed a book to read well into the night.
I have mentioned before how much I love historical fiction and this one didn’t disappoint. The Runaway Bride highlights the bride ships of the mid-1800s. Arabella Lawrence left wealth and family behind as she fled on one of the bride ships headed for Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Her plan is to marry a gentleman of status, someone who can take care of her and provide the level of comfort she is used to. Someone like Lieutenant Richard Drummond.
Peter Kelly is a troublemaker with a heart of gold. He may bake bread for the community, but he fights for justice, even if it lands him in jail. Again. His unconventional spirit and desire for a wife prompts him to board the bride ship to see the newcomers. A chance meeting with Arabella and Peter knows exactly who he wants to marry, despite their class differences. However he already disagrees with Drummond’s handling of the smallpox epidemic, so when he must compete for Arabella’s hand as well, Peter creates a double target on his back.
From the dangers they face from illness to hoping Arabella makes the right choices in her love life, the drama doesn’t let up. And if everything works out, will they still have to sacrifice it all in the end? Even though it is Christian Fiction, The Runaway Bride has steamier romance than I usually read, primarily as the characters wrestle with the proprieties of the times. Peter is perhaps the most impish in this aspect. But it makes him an incredibly lovable yet irksome character, and one of my favorites.
I highly recommend The Runaway Bride. The writing was excellent and the story captivating. My one caution is to begin reading it when you can stay up all night because you won’t want to put it down.
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in order to provide an honest review. 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.”