Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: Gideon's Secondhand Bride (Kristen Holt)

Neither John nor Millie wants another marriage, but practicality overrules everything else. John Gideon has three small children who need a mother. Millie needs somewhere to hide and someone to protect her and her son. A marriage of convenience is their best option, but when Millie's past catches up to her and their "business" arrangement stirs emotions neither of them are prepared for, they'll find themselves struggling to know what to do.

While I'm somewhat new to historical fiction, I have come to really enjoy the genre. It's a difficult genre to write well, but Holt really hit the spot with this novella.

The basis of this story truly captured the difficulties of this time period. John Gideon desperately needs help with his children, but propriety won't allow him to hire a nursemaid that lives in the house. Marriage is his only option, though it's what he wants least. Millie is fighting to survive her abusive husband. She wants to run, but has no relations that will take her in, no money, few opportunities to work, and no hope of a divorce even if proof of the abusive is shown. I loved getting this glimpse into the Post-Civil War Era on such a personal level. I'm not an expert on the details of the time period, but I felt the author did a good job of portraying it accurately so the reader felt they were taken back in time.

The characters themselves were very well crafted. The emotion each one was struggling to contain and deal with not only had depth, but a very realistic portrayal. John's guilt over developing feelings for Millie so soon after his wife's death will tear at readers' heart. I felt so bad for him, and wanted him to be happy, but I still understood why it was so hard for him. Millie was well done, also. She is scared, fearful of telling John the truth of her situation, but a good and kind person who is trying to make the best of a very difficult situation. Really, my only regret with this story was that it wasn't longer. I would have been happy to continue reading their story. I think I'll have to find a few more of Ms. Holt's books!

You can get your copy of Gideon's Secondhand Bride from Amazon