Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Bargain Struck by Liz Harris

I've never read a book like this before...I'm sitting here reeling and trying to gather my thoughts.

First, major points for uniqueness. It's def not a traditional romance. I hesitate to label it a romance, honestly. Instead of a man and woman meeting, feeling attracted to each other, falling in love, and ending with a wedding and passionate lovemaking before or after, you have instead, a wedding first, a man who treats his new wife like a cow and just mounts her night after night without even kissing her (thankfully the details are left out), no attraction at all till very late in the game, and maybe...just maybe some love later?

'Cause this is all literally a bargain.

"He was highly satisfied with the bargain he'd made with her. His side of the bargain had been to give her a home; hers had been to run the house, look after Bridget and be a good mother to any children they might have together."

Methinks she got the short end of the stick. :/

Regardless, I was taken aback by this story. He orders a wife from Omaha to help him in WY Territory, with his farm, his daughter, and making mini-mes. She has a scarred face and naturally, left that detail out as she knew he wouldn't agree to wed her then. He marries her anyway and she feels he's done her a great favor. Through them we see the hardships of farming and living and even town life of WY Territory. There's also a side story of poachers/cattle thieves, jealousy, a brother come back, and a woman making trouble for the new marriage.

It may seem as if I didn't like this story, but I actually did for the most part. I was intrigued, sucked into another time, and I have to admit, I found it all very thought-evoking. There is so much about people's behavior in this book and it made me take a long look at people. We're all guilty of these actions at times, we are. We can claim all we want that looks don't matter, but deep down inside, they do more than they should. When Conn abandons his wife to dance with the pretty girl all night, when the little girl avoided being seen with the "ugly woman", when the "ugly woman" felt grateful to be married and demanded nothing she was so dang grateful that someone had married her...all of this was thought-evoking.

How many of us are guilty or have been guilty of this stuff at some point?

That being said, there was much that irritated me though. The daughter, Bridget...what an evil, nasty little girl. Though she changed in the end, I was disgusted that no one ever made her apologize for her earlier nastiness. That there were never repercussions for her. The ending of this book disappointed me. The two who ride away....again, the villains face no repercussions for their actions and wrongdoings.

And the worse thing of all....and this grated on me more than anything...was how spineless and passive the heroine is. She spent the entire book apologizing for her ugliness and thanking her husband for marrying her in spite of it. And while he finally came to see the beauty IN her, she didn't. And frankly, I felt it was more important for her to realize her own self -worth than him. She never sticks up for herself, never says "No, I don't feel like it", just feels grateful someone married her and thinks she has no right to ask for anything else.

I think more could have been done with her, especially in the end.

I received this from the publisher.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, Tara, and I wonder just how man 'mail-order' brides in the 19th Century lived a life exactly like this? Awful