Book Review: A Bride Most Begrudging, by Deeanne Gist

26 Jun

324022Genre: romance; Christian fiction; historical fiction; comedy

Plot Summary:  Headstrong Lady Constance Morrow’s life does a 180 when she is suddenly abducted and sent to the Americas on a ship full of prison women intended to be brides in the New World.  When Drew O’Connor wins her in a game of cards and subsequently is forced to marry her, a marriage of convenience that seems ANYTHING BUT gradually starts to change into a situation of “opposites attract.”

My Review:  This really was a rare book for me to pick up.  I don’t usually enjoy full-blown romance novels.  But the plot sounded interesting and I was curious, so I gave it a try.  I was aware that this was the author’s first novel, and although I thought at times that this fact was a little apparent, there was something that made me keep going.  I think it was because of the author’s descriptions that made me laugh.  This really was a humorous book!  I loved the part where Constance tries to behead turtles for turtle stew.

One of my favorite scenes is a conversation Drew has with his grandmother.  He is hurting over the many losses he’s had in his past and is afraid of opening his heart up to Constance.  Grandma shows him that he would never really be living unless he also loves.

Soon I got more and more sucked in.  The romantic tension was enticing; I wanted to know what happened next; I couldn’t get the story and it’s scenes out of my mind.  I practically thought about it all day long and couldn’t wait for the time when I could pick it back up and read the next part.  It got the heart thumping.  I felt addicted to it…

Deeanne Gist

Author Deeanne Gist

And that’s when I knew I had a problem.  Something wasn’t sitting right in me.  Now, I’m not in any way going to judge the author, her intentions, or other people who loved the book.  I am only going to review my reading experience.  I got about ¾ of the way through the story, craving more of it, when all of a sudden I sat back decided that it would be in my best personal interest to take the book back to the library and perhaps finish it at another time.  You see, it was that craving that was starting to scare me.  I know that this book falls under the category of Christian fiction.  The characters in the story were not acting improperly.  And since I have not finished it I do not know what happens next or how it ends, so I cannot make any case that it was graphic in anyway (though I have enough faith in the author that I highly doubt it and would be quite surprised if it was).  However, as the story progressed, I found that a lot of the plot hinged on the question: When will the hero and heroine go to bed with each other?  There certainly was a few Christian themes to garner from it, but this was what I was mostly taking away from it.  And I felt like I was starting to react similarly to how I might if I really were to read something explicit.  It’s what became the magnet pull back to the book for me.  It’s not that I necessarily believe that the book was naughty or dirty.  A married couple falling in love with each other in every way is a very good thing, so I’m not trying to be a joyless prude!  But I also didn’t need to excite my imagination and take it to the brink in a titillating way where I struggled against taking it farther.  It just didn’t seem like a healthy use of my imagination.  It was my personal reactions that caused me to make the decision to put it away for a while.

Maybe my experience was unique to me; perhaps others reading it would not be affected in the same way.  And I won’t say I never will finish it.  I hate to put a book down after investing 2 weeks of reading most of my way through it!  But at this point in my life, I did not feel it was a healthy one for me to continue with.  I suggest reading a few other reviews on both sides of the aisle before you make your decision whether or not to pick this one up.  LATER: After some time has gone by, I’ve decided not to finish reading the book.  Reasons being for the ones posted here, and because the story just wasn’t enough of a classic to make me want to go back to it.

I’m feeling sorry that most of my review has been on this topic.  Overall, I would say this book was definitely light reading and enjoyable.

Below is an interview with author Deeanne Gist, in which she is asked about the “sexual tension” in her books.  Agree or disagree, I appreciated listening to the honest discussion and her answers:





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2 responses to “Book Review: A Bride Most Begrudging, by Deeanne Gist

  1. Barb

    July 1, 2014 at 1:55 am

    I haven’t listened to the interview (didn’t think I had 30 minutes to invest in that at this moment!), but your dilemma is exactly why I hesitate to read (even Christian) romance novels. I am concerned about whether it is a healthy thing as a Christian to engage the mind in sexual fantasy, and I do think it is something that “sucks a person in.” I am glad you expressed your thoughts on this. I am glad to know that I am not the only one who isn’t sure that romance novels are the best thing for them.

    • booklearner

      July 1, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      I was a little hesitant to post this review because I don’t like sharing anything too personal, but then I figured I probably wasn’t the only one out there (and hey, I’m anonymous anyway)! I think everyone has their own tolerance level and not everyone is affected the same. I can’t quite say that all Christian romance novels are created equal. The part of the Youtube video that discusses her content is in the first 10-15 min. (the rest of the conversation is more about her writing habits…). In it, Deeanne Gist states that Christian romance has become ‘edgier’ in the last 10 years or so. I think in some respects this can be a good thing if used constructively, in that certain topics can now be addressed whereas they couldn’t be so much before. But I think that it should be kept constructive, not used as purely indulgent entertainment. I don’t know—probably future blog post article material! Thanks for commenting!


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