12 August 2016

Review: The Bluebonnet Bride by Pamela Tracy

Amazon Description

Amy has never had a home. Will she find one in the arms of a cowboy?

This is Daniel Starr's year. He's moving up the rankings on the bull-riding circuit and is determined to catch his twin brother. Nothing is going to stop him. Well, almost nothing. When his beloved grandmother falls and needs a caretaker, Daniel finds himself on the road back to Pecan, Texas, rather than making the next rodeo. Why did this happen now? And why, when he's jeopardizing his career to come home, does Miss Bossypants Amy Benjamin think he's not doing enough?

Amy knows all about the swashbuckling Starr Brothers, but anyone who turns his back on her beloved Pecan--and on his own grandmother--doesn't deserve admiration. If Amy had been lucky enough to have family like Grandma Starr, her life would have been so different! Well, she's going to make sure Daniel does his duty. But the longer he stays in Pecan, the harder it'll be to see him go…

My Review

This is a short romance novel, part of the Brides series, but it can easily be read as a standalone novel (or even out of order, as I mistakenly read The Butterfly Bride first).

I very much enjoyed the developing relationship between Amy and Daniel, partly because the writing was so good. Lines like this brought a smile to my face:
She'd been there, done that, and sold his belt buckle on eBay.
Funny. I like funny. And I liked The Bluebonnet Bride. The writing was excellent, the characters were fun, and there were a lot of quirky secondary characters which added depth without overwhelming the story. This can be a difficult path for authors of short novels, and Pamela Tracy trod the line well.

The two faults I found with The Bluebonnet Bride was the treatment of Christianity, and the length. My issue with the faith element was that people kept making a big deal of the fact Amy didn't go to church and everyone else did, including Daniel. I assumed this meant everyone except Amy was a Christian, so the romance couldn't get started until she'd also become a Christian (because that's normal in Christian fiction—unequally yoked and all that).

Yet I realised after finishing that none of the characters actually talked about God, only about going to church. And Amy certainly didn't have any revelation about God that would change her views on faith. It made the novel seem a little empty. On this basis, I'd categorise The Bluebonnet Bride as a 'clean read' rather than a Christian romance.

The length wasn't necessarily a problem: I knew it was going to be a short novel. It was more that the story finished abruptly at the 85% mark on my Kindle (right when I was expecting Amy's conversion scene), and the rest of the book is filled with excerpts from other books from the publisher—which was odd, because I don't recall this issue with The Butterfly Bride.

Thanks to Serenade Books for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Pamela Tracy at her website, and you can read the introduction to The Bluebonnet Bride below:

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