There is nothing left to keep Zoe Hart in England. Unemployed and struggling with grief, she decides to leave her bleak life behind her and emigrate on a bride ship to British Columbia–the place her brother fled to when falsely accused of a drastic crime.
Pastor to miners in the mountains, Abe Merivale discovers an abandoned native baby during a routine visit to Victoria and joins efforts with Zoe–one of the newly arrived bride-ship women–to care for the orphan. When Abe is forced to choose between following the strict rules laid down by his bishop and listening to God’s nudges to care for his people, he is left at a crossroads.
Determined to find her brother and to give the baby a home, Zoe rashly accepts a marriage proposal from a man who promises both. But Abe knows the man’s unsavory reputation. Intent on protecting Zoe and wounded by his own failed engagement, Abe impulsively offers his own hand instead. They hastily marry, but both soon realize the marriage of convenience they imagined is not so convenient after all.
Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher and author, the words and opinions below are my own.
The Bride Ships trilogy concludes with a beautiful tale of a mill worker, a missionary and the small child that brings them together. Whereas the previous novels were set in the city of Victoria, A Bride of Convenience takes readers to a rough and ready community once known as “the wickedest little settlement in British Columbia,” where Pastor Abe makes his home among miners and madams.
Pastor Abe is a man who believes that evangelism isn’t merely about preaching the Word of God. He insists on being a man of the people. He gets involved with the community and develops personal relationships. In short, he goes way beyond what is expected of him by legalistic Bishop Hill. Actually, the only part of this book I had a problem with was the bishop’s portrayal because I couldn’t accept that a man of God would insist only on the strictest form of evangelism. Still, it brought about the interesting question of what is a pastor’s role? Is it to only preach the gospel or to also get involved in social issues? That’s especially pertinent in these current times of change and uncertainty.
Despite that particular portrayal of a secondary character, however, A Bride of Convenience is my favorite of this trilogy. This is a story where you knew there had to be the required happy ending, but you couldn’t quite work out how it would happen. But happen it did, and I can safely say I believe that Jody Hedlund left the proverbial best until last in terms of storylines and the emotions provoked.
Does it help to have read the previous books? Let’s just say it’s worthwhile to have done so, although probably not necessary. Characters from the previous title, The Runaway Bride, reappear as quickly as the second chapter, and there are also references to events that took place in the earlier books.
Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker House Publishing)
Publication Date: 30 June 2020
Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.
Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).
When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.
Jody Hedlund’s Website https://jodyhedlund.com/