Wednesday, July 27, 2016

5 Wine Glass #Audio #Review of Grace: Bride of Montana by Debra Holland

Series: American Mail-Order Brides #41
Author: Deborah Holland
Narrator: Lara Asmundson
Format: Unabridged Audiobook, 3 hours and 45 minutes
Published: March 30, 2016 (Debra Holland)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Reviewer: Linda
Source: Author
Rating: 5 out of 5 Wine Glasses

Practical Grace Davenport thought she had her life all planned, including picking out the perfect husband. But she couldn’t have predicted the disaster that changed everything, leaving her no choice but to become a mail-order bride to a most imperfect man.

Linda's Thoughts:
Mine to protect. Mine to cherish.

GRACE: BRIDE OF MONTANA by Debra Holland is a truly lovely clean western historical romance! Before I even delved into it, I was captivated by the extra personal touches that were incorporated into this installment including that the author, herself, is featured on the cover AND that the dog in the story is patterned after the dog who owns the hunky male model featured on the cover with Debra. As with all of her books in this series, this book works exceedingly well as a standalone, if that is your preference.

This is the story of Grace Dickinson, who had her eyes set on another man until she discovered he was married and broke her heart, and Frey Foster, a skilled mason dubbed the 'Viking' because of his considerable size and his Norwegian ancestry. Both are genuine, realistic characters who are guaranteed to pull at your heartstrings with their emotions and histories. It is a real pleasure to watch from the sidelines as Grace's and Frey's relationship delightfully evolves from strangers to friends.
I just love the small, homey community of Sweetwater Springs where this story is set. It is always a joy to catch up with favorite characters who reside there from the former mail-order brides' books. Seth Flanigan and his feisty mail-order bride, Trudy, and Reverend and Mrs. Norton are two of the couples who have substantial supporting roles herein.

I can't imagine anyone other than Lara Asmundson voicing this series. She always delivers a polished, solid, totally awesome performance with her clear, pleasant voice that is wholly easy on the ear. She never fails to nail all aspects of the stories from seamlessly differentiating between the characters, to the pacing, to perfectly exuding the array of feelings displayed by the individuals in the story. I look forward to savoring many more of her renditions in the future.

Following please find a couple of my favorite quotes from this highly entertaining listen:

"Mrs. Flanigan made this for you and dropped it off earlier. So pretty, wouldn't you agree?"...
"White roses - the bride's flower," Mrs. Norton said with a lilt in her voice. "For unity, purity, and a love stronger than death." She touched the edge of a blossom. "And, in addition, you have chrysanthemums for fidelity, optimism, joy, and long life, with the color white standing for truth and loyal love."
As if caught in a spell, Grace stared at the flowers, a lump forming in her throat, the words echoing in her mind... Joy, truth, fidelity, a love stronger than death.
Mrs. Flanigan chuckled. "Mrs. Norton, you make the bouquet sound so poetic. I'm afraid I can't take credit for such a romantic arrangement. I chose the only white flowers still blooming in my garden."

Seth stepped out of the church. "Are you ladies ready?" He cocked an eyebrow at his wife. "The Viking's chomping inside, aye, chomping on his chainmail." His voice slid into a drawl for he obviously wanted to banish any female displays of emotion. "Another minute, he's liable to toss Grace over his shoulder and carry her off. Reverend Norton will have to chase after them, calling out the words to sanctify the rampaging abduction."

Being an avowed dog-lover myself, a particular heart-stirring scene involved Frey's dog, Gertie. I just can't resist sharing it. Following please find a small snippet from that segment:

"If any can show just cause why this couple may not be lawfully joined in matrimony, speak now or --- "Reverend Norton halted, looking behind them with raised eyebrows.
Before Grace had time to wonder why the minister paused - if someone was, indeed, objecting to their union - the rapid click of toenails on the wooden floor made both of them look back over their shoulders.
Frey groaned and made a face. "Gertie!" He released Grace's hand.
A brown and black dog trotted up the aisle to them, tail held high. She had soft brown eyes and a thin, dark line down the middle of her forehead that gave her a worried look. She stopped in front of Frey and looked at him, her head cocked as if in expectation. The tips of her ears flopped forward.
Seth burst into laughter. "Do you think Gertie's objecting to your marriage?"
Obviously aghast at his breach of decorum, Trudy gave Seth an owlish glare.
Frey shrugged in apparent chagrin. "I'm sorry. I left her tied up on my porch."
She looked from the man to his dog...
The dog sniffed her fingers. Seeming to approve, she edged closer.
Grace rubbed Gertie's head. "If Reverend Norton doesn't mind," she said to the dog, "I'm fine with you remaining for the rest of the ceremony."

I just love that scene and re-reading it makes me smile every time. The book is chock-full of scenes that will evoke similar emotions making it a read to enjoy over and over.

Debra Holland's books always bring joy to my heart and leave me with a feeling of warmth when all is said and done. This is a sweet and caring romance teeming with passion and fervor. I highly recommend GRACE: BRIDE OF MONTANA to anyone who enjoys mesmerizing, extremely well-written tales of historical western romance.

Suggested Reading Order: 
Grace: Bride of Montana is #41 in the unprecedented 50-Book American Mail-Order Brides series.
It is also part of the author's Montana Sky Series, which includes The Mail-Order Brides of the West, masterfully straddling both series.

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