You know you are going to be in for a treat, when the next book you are going to review is a novella collection written by four of the top female inspirational romance authors on the market right now. When the book is a series of short romance stories set in the late 1800's, in a town called Dry Gulch deep in the heart of Texas...well, you better just find a good place to relax, grab your favorite drink and enjoy the next few hours as your travel into the Wild West!
This book was an easy pick from the books to review list, because not only do I love historical fiction, but I also love novellas. The fact that these novellas are each written by 4 of my favorite writers of the Inspiration Fiction genre was just icing on the cake.
A Match Made in Texas focuses on the town of Dry Gulch, TX in the late 1800's. Each novella in this book begins with a mysterious set up of a bachelor with a lovely bachelorette by an "anonymous" source. Through a lot of hilariousness, matching of wits, and setbacks, these four couples find love. In the fourth story, you finally meet the "anonymous" matchmaker--and get to go along for the ride when she finds a love of her own too.
Out of the four novellas included, I think that I enjoyed the second one the most. An Unforseen Match by Regina Jennings is the tale of Grace and Clayton. The heroine Grace is a former schoolteacher forced to leave her much loved job because she's going blind. Thanks to the generosity of the town and with a little help from her friends, she is set up in a recently vacated home on a small farm...but it's definitely a definite fixer-upper. She gets help from a mysterious stranger named Clayton lured by a anonymously written classified ad for a handyman. Clayton intends this to be a temporary stop--only to make enough money to continue on to Oklahoma for the big land rush...but there is something about Grace that just might keep him from moving on.
I felt that of all the stories, it had the best plot. I also think it had the most back-story on each character. I loved Grace's independent spirit in spite of her rapidly onset blindness. I also love Clayton's attentiveness to her need for independence and how he encourages her even when he sees her getting downhearted. I really wanted it to go on and on and I was happy to see a brief mention of Clayton and Grace in the final story.
Of the four stories I think the story that needed the most added to it was probably the final novella about the matchmaker herself. In Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy we meet our tenderhearted meddler (who I will not name so as not to spoil it for you!!) and learn of her long held crush on the banker's son. When her world is turned upside down, it is our little matchmaker who becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme! I didn't feel like there was enough background on each of the characters. It was too rushed. I really was hoping for more as this character is the linchpin for all the other stories and I wanted to know a lot more about her. But I guess that's the downside of a novella! It's short!
So, how would I rate this book?
If all the novellas had been as well done as An Unforseen Match I easily would have given it 4 or 4 1/2 stars...but it was still a good book and one I would recommend to all of you Inspirational Historical Fiction lovers!
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