February 2, 2012

Book Review: Marrying the Major by Victoria Bylin

Marrying the Major
At First Sight: Unsure where his fight with malaria will leave him, retired British Army Officer, Major Tristan Smith decided to take steps to secure his children's future, but that was easier said than done. His first step was to hire the Bradley sisters; the older, Bessie, in a nurse's capacity to help him fight off the malaria, and the younger, Caroline, to be a governess to his children. 

But things don't go quite as planned. Caroline and Bessie left their friends in Denver in hope of a good life in Wyoming. Secretly married when she was very young, and now a widow, Caroline always longed for a family of her own, and figured that if she couldn't have children, she could borrow some and love Major Smith's children. 

She didn't expect sparks to fly at their first meeting, not only because she found him kind of attractive but also because he was rather standoffish and bossy and made her angry and second and disarmed her the next.

Tristan certainly didn't want to find Caroline attractive, and he didn't actually want to re-marry at all, having loved his first wife Molly, who died of malaria a while back, and unsure of his own future thanks to the same disease.

But when then news that his two older brothers have died and that his father - an autocratic, tyrannical British Duke - is on his way to Wyoming to force Tristan back to England to assume the duties of heir, Tristan decides that the best way he can protect his children is by giving them a mother who will fight for them. 

And so, Tristan and Caroline enter a marriage of convenience, one that will be tested far sooner than either of them realize that the time. 

Second Glance: I wasn't expecting much of Marrying the Major, mostly because I had never read the author before and I hadn't heard much about the book itself. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a very enjoyable book, with nice characters and good story. 

Marriages of convenience are one of my favorite starting points for a story, I love how it usually starts with the marriage and works its way toward love and, in that regard, Marrying the Major was quite successful. I really liked seeing Caroline and Tristan get to know each other and discover each other's secrets. 

Quite a few things happen in the story but it didn't feel overly long, and that was nice. There are a couple of subplots that were nice and added to the story. I liked Tristan's children, particularly Dora was adorable. The Duke made for a good villain. 

I felt that, toward the end, the story lost a little of momentum, and that Caroline's insecurities took over from time to time, but other than that it was a lovely book. 

Bottom Line: Marrying the Major makes for a great read to spend the afternoon. It is Christian Romance (somehow I've been reading a lot of it lately), but the Christian part doesn't take over, and I always appreciate that. The book is quite tame too, by the way. But, all in all, it's an enjoyable story and I definitely wanna read more by the same author in the future. 

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