17 April 2014

Review and Giveaway: A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Petersen

Welcome to the campaign launch for Tracie Peterson's 100th book! A Sensible Arrangement launches Tracie's new Texas-based series, Lone Star Brides, that’s sure to please. As a special treat, devoted fans will be able to catch a glimpse of several popular characters from previous series.

Tracie is celebrating by giving away an iPad Mini and hosting a LIVE webcast event on 4/29.


One winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 29th. Winner will be announced at the A Sensible Arrangement Live Webcast Event on April 29th. Connect with Tracie for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Tracie will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of A Sensible Arrangement and join Tracie and friends on the evening of April 29th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!

My Review

Widow Marty Olsen is leaving her Texas ranch to be a mail order bride for Jacob Wythe, a banker in Denver. He’s a widower looking for a sensible wife for a marriage of convenience, because the board members of the bank feel a bank manager should be married. They need to keep up appearances, after all.

My real problem with A Sensible Arrangement was that I expect a marriage of convenience story to have a strong romantic element. While in real life these situations were undoubtedly the challenge of two complete strangers learning to build a life together, in Christian fiction (and general market fiction), a marriage of convenience is two strangers falling in love. This was a real weakness in A Sensible Arrangement—I never felt Mary and Jacob spent enough time together to develop a lasting relationship.

If you leave aside the fact that A Sensible Arrangement
wasn’t a romance, it did have several strengths. Marty was an interesting character. She was a strong and independent woman who makes her own choices (as illustrated by the fact she left a steady existence for the uncertainty of being a mail-order bride in faraway Denver), yet she was a compulsive liar who constantly tried to reconcile her lack of truthfulness towards Jacob as being for the best. I did find her lying somewhat tiresome, as I didn’t understand her reason for lying for most of the novel (and when it was finally revealed, it seemed a little illogical).

The Christian elements were strong, with a clear message of salvation, and a sobering comparison of Christians as opposed to people who go to church for social reasons (I suspect not a lot has changed in this regard since the 1890’s). The background to the plot was the collapse of the banking industry in Colorado due to changes in national legislation, and I thought this was interesting. We’ve all heard of the 1929 crash which started the Great Depression of the 1930’s, but I hadn’t known there were others.

A Sensible Arrangement is the first in the start of the Lone Star Brides series, but I suspect it draws on characters introduced in previous novels as the backstory has that quality of delivering a lot of information in only a few words. It’s Tracie Petersen’s 100th published novel, and it shows in the strong writing and the way she seamlessly integrates the history into the plot.

Overall, while I enjoyed the historical aspects and the relationships between the minor characters, I wasn’t convinced by the romance between Marty and Jacob. However, I’m sure Tracie Petersen fans will enjoy it.

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