Reviewed by Katie L.

A Bride in the Bargain is a very well researched, incredibly thought-out story based on true events. During the Civil War, there were many widowed young women on the east coast and many never married the lumberjacks in the Washington Territory. A man named Mercer brought the groups together but under false pretenses. The lumberjacks thought they were paying for a bride and the widows thought they were traveling to the other side of America for better jobs and new lives. A situation could be considered humorous looking back on it, but was certainly not when you were an unknowing soon-to-be bride!

A Bride in the Bargain centers on one such couple and even though the story is fictional, the author does a wonderful job at pulling from historical documents to give her characters and story depth. I must say that I was not intrigued by the title or the setting at first glance. I will admit that I judged the book by its cover. But this story cut across any social differences and I felt that it could have just as easily happened in the 21st century.

The main characters, Anna and Joe, were developed extremely well. The way the author unraveled the characters’ pasts was engrossing because she did not reveal everything at once, but gave away little bits and pieces when they fit with the current circumstance and made sense. Their backgrounds were like little stories in themselves. The side characters added a lot to the development of Anna and Joe’s personalities and backgrounds, and really rounded out this book.

A Bride in the Bargain is a great example of the way a book should be written. The author obviously thought about who the characters were and got to know them. She thought about what they would say or think or feel in every occasion and it made them stand out in the book as if they were real people putting on a play and I was just watching. The author researched this time in history so that the characters’ speech, clothing, actions, transportation, jobs, and even house arrangements would be true to the era in which it all happened. For someone who does not usually read romance novels, especially romance novels set on the prairie, I thought this book was entertaining and interesting. I wanted to know what would happen next and how it would end. I was afraid this book would be boring but I actually couldn’t put it down! I’m still not a romance novel type but I would definitely recommend a Deanne Gist book and would consider reading another one in the future.

Katie is a community college drop out who recently decided to go back now that she has finally found her calling: to be a social event planner. Katie and her fiance, Bart will be getting married next summer so her days and nights are filled with budget talk, cake pictures, and cardstock. Katie blogs on and off at Frilly Thinking.