Josette LeBlanc needs a husband now or she’ll lose her father’s entire estate to her half-brother and stepmother, who will likely turn her out on the street. But who will marry the twenty-six year old daughter of a French fur trader and his Indian wife? In answer to a newspaper advertisement, Josie travels from St. Louis to Little Falls, Minnesota Territory to find out….
The more novellas I read, the more I am enjoying these short and sweet stories of love, faith, family, and romance. Last year I met Gabrielle Meyer at the ACFW conference and immediately was taken in by her warm demeanor. I was so pleased to see Gabrielle’s novellas included The Most Eligible Bride Romance Collection and The Convenient Bride Collection, both released from Barbour this year, because Gabrielle’s faith in God’s plans for her writing shine with an authenticity that I believe will draw many to their own faith.
“A Groom for Josette” from The Convenient Bride Collection is one such a story that recognizes God’s goodness and gifts in our lives. Josie LeBlanc is an almost-spinster determined to save her father’s company’s legacy in the shipping business. This feisty and brave young woman is character that many readers–especially women–will be able to relate to because of her strength, loyalty, and ability to recognize her faults. Hard-working and pragmatic, but also a woman longing for love and romance, I found Josie a character that I could easily envision walking the path God laid out for her in this story, as well as one that I wanted to be friends with. Alexandre Dougas, on the other hand, is not a character I wanted to be friends–I wanted to marry him myself! Strong and dependent, Alexandre spent a year travelling the Mississippi on a pilgrimage to strengthen his faith before taking a pastoral position in northern Minnesota to preach to traders and Indians. I found Alexandre to be loving and caring in a position that could have easily turned him dominant. While he ended up in an unexpected marriage of convenience, Alexandre always treated Josie with respect. Meyer created characters that brought this story to life through their warm hearts and strong faith.
My favorite aspect of “A Groom for Josette” is that Meyer has given readers much more than a mere marriage of convenience novella. Marriage of convenience stories often begin with a force or desperation between parents and a young adult as a way to remove themselves from an unwanted situation. While Josie does take the initial step towards marriage because of the limited options women had at the time to support themselves, her and Alexandre’s marriage is one both parties enter of their own accord. This mutual understanding of the situation allows their relationship to blossom into a beautiful romance that I did not expect in “A Groom for Josette.” Rather than rely on the discord of unhappiness that comes from someone entering the marriage due to force, Meyer brought in original and unique circumstances into her novella that allowed for a refreshing take on the marriage-of-convenience trope.
I whole-heartedly loved “A Groom for Josette” and am eagerly awaiting more stories from Meyer.
RATING: 4.5 stars
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for thirteen years and we have four adorable (busy) children, including a set of five year old twin boys! In my *spare* time I escape to bygone eras and write historical fiction.
I have two novellas releasing with Barbour Publishers in 2015! Four Brides and a Bachelor releases with The Most Eligible Bachelor Romance Collection in May 2015, and A Groom for Josette releases with The Convenient Bride Romance Collection in July 2015.
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