It starts as a convenient marriage... Pretending to Wed by Melissa Jagears (Review & #Giveaway) @Celebrate_Lit

Welcome to my tour stop! Read my review and enter the giveaway below...

Pretending to Wed
(Frontier Vows #2)
By Melissa Jagears
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 376 Pages
May 28, 2020 by Utmost Publishing


It’s a match made in heaven…as long as they don’t fall in love!

The ranch Nolan Key has spent decades working for, even lost a leg for, is now his—or at least it should be. But an absurd clause in his father’s will means he’s in danger of losing the place to his lazy, undeserving cousin. Nolan finds himself scrambling to save his home—by proposing marriage to the town laundress.

Corinne Stillwater’s hands have betrayed her. Numb from hours of doing the same work over and over, her hands will only heal, according to the town doctor, if she gives up the laundry and marries. But she’s been stung repeatedly by love before, so that is one remedy she can’t swallow.

When Nolan offers Corinne a marriage in name only, how can she refuse? Such a partnership could give them the security they seek, but what if the ranch isn’t as secure as they believe, and their lives—and dreams—aren’t quite as compatible as they thought?

Pretending to Wed is the second book in the Frontier Vows Series by award-winning Christian romance author Melissa Jagears. If you like marriage-of-convenience stories that deal with the nitty-gritty of making a relationship work, you’ll love this authentic romance set in a time gone by that tackles issues still relevant for today.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

PRETENDING TO WED is a story of two individuals who find themselves in desperate circumstances and wed in order to help each other. Of course, their convenient business-like marriage starts to feel a bit more real as they start to fall for each other. Those who are fans of the author and convenient-marriage stories may enjoy this one.

Both of these characters were likable, even through their stubbornness. I developed quite a bit of empathy for Corinne. She's been taken advantage of in her past and then suffers through intense pain as she tries to provide for herself as a laundress. Nolan also had it a bit rough, particularly for needing to run a ranch and feeling inadequate sometimes, particularly with his father's voice in his head. They're both in difficult circumstances and the timing was right for a convenient marriage to help each other out. Of course, that puts them into a bit of playacting to fool Nolan's cousin and forces them to work together in close proximity. As they learn more about each other, they find that they both have vulnerabilities and strengths and that they might be able to have more than what they originally wanted. I enjoyed seeing them work through things, although a bit frustrating at times when they were constantly assuming things and not communicating. There was plenty of humor, chemistry, and some good side characters that made the story entertaining.

I also had some issues with the story. I felt like the characters seemed to lose their backbone at inopportune times, particularly in regards to Nolan's cousin and his fiance. I just didn't know how they could live in rugged country with their backgrounds and then put up with it all. It frustrated me to no end. There was also a lot of content regarding prior loss of virginity and marital relations, some of it a bit specific, clean, but still a lot more information and focus in the story on it than what is usually in Christian fiction. There were also a few wordings that threw me. Just some terms and some other phrases that felt very more modern than historical. Other parts didn't really work for me.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was an overall entertaining story. Not my favorite from this author, but those who don't mind some of the subject focus and who enjoy marriage-of-convenience stories may find this quite entertaining.

Content: Quite a bit of content referring to marital relations, references to a past affair and unmarried relations, so would recommend to adult readers.
Source: I received a complimentary copy through Celebrity Lit, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

Romancing the Bride
(Frontier Vows #1)
By Melissa Jagears
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 412 Pages
October 25, 2018 by Utmost Publishing


Marrying a stranger to save a ranch is one thing; losing the land on their wedding day is another.

Desperate to keep the ranch where three of her children and a husband lie buried, Annie Gephart must marry or sell. Which of the few bachelors in town would consider a surprise proposal to wed a plain widow with a rebellious daughter, a spirited boy, and unpaid taxes—without laughing in her face?

Jacob Hendrix has never fully let go of his ranching dreams despite ending up as a small Wyoming town’s marshal. The job wouldn’t be so bad, except he’s more errand boy than lawman. When Annie proposes marriage without a single coquettish bat of an eyelash, can he commit himself to a woman he hardly knows for a choice piece of property he’d be an idiot to pass up?

But taxes aren’t all that threaten Annie and Jacob’s plans. Cattle rustlers, crumbling friendships, and wayward children make this marriage of convenience anything but. When they lose what they’ve sacrificed everything to save, will the love of a stranger be enough?

Romancing the Bride is the first book in the Frontier Vows Series by award-winning Christian romance author Melissa Jagears. If you like heartwarming marriage of convenience stories, you’ll love this sweet romance filled with endearing characters.

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About the Author

Award winning author, Melissa Jagears, is a homeschooling mom who writes Christian Historical Romance into the wee hours of the night. She lives in Kansas with her husband and three children. Her ebook novella, Love by the Letter, is her ACFW Carol Award winning novella and free to try. You can learn more about her, her books, and where she hangs out online at

More from Melissa

The Elusive Electrical Spark to Awaken Frankenstein’s Monster

The plot of Pretending to Wed just wasn’t coming together for me. I had the romantic dilemma, but I didn’t love the characters. They were boring. And if I’m going to write a book, a.k.a. read it a bazillion times, I have to really want to read the book myself. I decided to take a break from the weeks of struggle and read. I was recommended a book because of the author’s great voice (I can’t recommend it because it’s not a clean novel), but I loved the fact that the heroine was a scientific illustrator. I wondered if I could give my heroine a scientific hobby and came up with inventing. That single character tidbit was the jolt that awakened Frankenstein’s Monster. She came alive! The research into what she could have patented at the time led my imagination to the egg hatching romance scene in the middle of the story and I was hooked! I couldn’t wait to read my book that didn’t yet exist. 

Tour Schedule

Texas Book-aholic, September 18
Inklings and notions, September 18
For Him and My Family, September 19
deb’s Book Review, September 19
Batya’s Bits, September 20
lakesidelivingsite, September 21
Genesis 5020, September 21
The Book Chic Blog, September 21
Betti Mace, September 22
Sara Jane Jacobs, September 23
Remembrancy, September 24
Wishful Endings, September 24
Life of Literature, September 25
Book Love, September 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Bizwings Blog, September 25
Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 26
Bigreadersite, September 26
Labor Not in Vain, September 26
CarpeDiem, September 27
Hookmeinabook, September 27
Splashes of Joy , September 27
Artistic Nobody, September 28 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Blessed & Bookish, September 29
Simple Harvest Reads, September 30 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Maureen’s Musings, September 30
NovelsCorner, September 30

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a Gift Certificate for the winner’s Choice of Book (up to 16.99 plus S&H) from Melissa’s Local Christian Bookstore, Faith & Life Bookstore, and a signed copy of Pretending to Wed!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Have you read the first book in this series? Will you be reading this one?

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