13 March 2014

Review: Vow Unbroken by Caryl McAdoo

Nice Cover

Susannah Baylor has raised her daughter and nephew single-handedly since the death of her husband, a man her father never wanted her to marry. As a result, she’s vowed not to marry again without the permission of her father, even though he lives in Tennessee and she’s in Texas. However, Sue’ immediate problem is her need to get her cotton crop to market. She is forced to ask local layabout Henry Buckmeyer for help taking the wagons through the Jefferson trace.

The opening was excellent, pulling us straight into the action and giving us a sense of Susannah’s personality (and faults) without bogging the story down in past history. It moved quickly to the central plot, the need to get their cotton crop to market, and the central conflict, her relationship with Henry. I understand she was used to making all the decisions for herself because her husband was dead, but it didn’t speak well to her character that she didn’t ask for or receive advice from anyone.

This was my main issue with Vow Unbroken—I didn't like the way Sue related to Henry at the beginning, and she didn't improve any by the end (if anything, she showed that at twenty-eight and after ten years of widowhood, she hadn't matured beyond that impetuous teenager who married against her father’s advice).

Vow Unbroken ticks all the boxes for a Christian historical romance. It’s set in Texas. The research is excellent. It has a plucky if infuriating heroine, a too-perfect hero, some light-hearted moments between the struggle to survive in the West, and a Christian message. But I found it all a bit too formulaic. It didn’t have the injection of realism or humour that sets some books apart, like those from Carol Cox, Jen Turano or Karen Wittemeyer. I didn’t feel that excitement, that hard to define 'wow!' factor. I’m sure lots of people will love this, but I couldn’t get past the annoying heroine.

Thanks to Howard Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Caryl McAdoo at her website.

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