Unrequited love and a marriage of convenience... Finally His Bride by Jody Hedlund (Review) #newbooks #booktwitter #histfic #historicalromance #christfic #romancebooks

Finally His Bride
(Bride Ships: New Voyages #1)
By Jody Hedlund
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & eBook, 324 Pages
February 12, 2024 by Sunrise Publishing 


A new world. A new hope. An unexpected love.
What life awaits these brides?

With the cotton mills closed and hunger rampant in Manchester, England, Willow Rhodes’s family encourages her to join the bride ship bound for the Pacific Northwest, where she is assured of employment. Willow agrees to go with the hope that eventually she can save enough money for her family to join her.

Rebellious knuckle-boxing champion Caleb Edwards loves Willow more than life itself. But Willow has been adamant that she sees him as a friend and nothing more. Unable to watch her sail away, Caleb uses his prize money to pay for passage to Vancouver Island to be with Willow.

After arriving, Willow finds work as a maid and Caleb is a farmhand on the same property. As Caleb struggles to keep his feelings for Willow from growing, he’ll do anything for her, even take the blame for a theft to keep her safe. As the crime catches up to them, they’re forced to make choices that could finally rip them apart forever.

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My Review

FINALLY HIS BRIDE is about a man who has been pining for his best friend for years unbeknownst to her, and a woman who is trying to save her family by travelling across the ocean to a new life. Together they face the challenges of being immigrants, finding work and holding true to themselves. Fans of historical romance and this author will find some enjoyment in this story.

I liked the opening of this story where the heroine and hero were introduced as well as the heroine's family and what transpires to get them both on a ship to immigrate. I also liked how Willow finds two close friends in other women travelling with her. Caleb was a constant in this story. He was determined to watch over Willow and also earn his own keep. I really liked his character with the mix of brawn and grit along with the softness he has for Willow and her family. Willow is a sweet young woman who is doing her best to provide for herself and earn enough to bring her family over from England. She was full of integrity and kindness, and also a hard worker. It was rough for both of them to work all day, every day, doing back-breaking work as servants. I liked how close they were and that was a strong friendship between them before any romance blossomed. I also really liked the conclusion of the story that had a bit of a climax, but ended sweetly.

My only complaints about this story was the naivety of the heroine and some drama that rubbed me wrong. Willow felt really young and naive for having grown up in the slums of England and working in the mills. She would have been privy to a lot of different people, situations and relationships. I could understand her being in denial about some things but it felt like she was completely oblivious a lot more than she should have been, including to marital relations even though she was the oldest in a large family and with her background. She also seemed very trusting, which also didn't ring true to her background. She could have been innocent and street smart, but she wasn't at all. It also seemed that she and Caleb were also oblivious to their reputations. There was some drama between the two of them that was unnecessary and that part mixed with the rest rubbed me wrong in this story. I think Willow needed to have more depth and be consistent to her background. I think too, I just have fairly high expectations for this author so I was expecting more.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was a sweet story of hardship, friendship and unexpected dreams. There are threads of faith, perseverance and romance. An overall heartfelt read.

Content: Some non-descriptive violence, innuendo and references to marital relations off page.
Source: I received a complimentary copy through JustRead Publicity Tours, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Have you read this story or the Bride Ships series that preceded it? Have you read any other books where characters immigrate or come across on a bride ship?

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