05 December 2015

The Borrowed Bride (Seavers Brides, Book 1; Harlequin Historical No. 920)


So wrote Hannah Gustavson to her childhood sweetheart, the father of her baby. But with no response, she was forced to marry another man ... her lover's brother.

Tall, handsome and honorable, Judd Seavers could make any woman's heart race. Hannah was no exception, and she was awed by the ex-soldier who gave her his name.

A forbidden love as grand as the Rockies crested between them. But a shadow loomed. Would the baby's father come home? And if he did, would Judd return his borrowed bride?

Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, Harlequin Books, 2008.

How acquired: Unknown. I've had it for a couple of years, but do not remember where I got it.

First line: Hannah felt the approaching train before she heard it.

My thoughts: Quint is headed off to find adventures in Alaska. He's wanted to do so for awhile, but with his father dead and his older brother off fighting in the war, he had to stay home and keep the ranch running. Now Judd is coming home, and it's Quint's turn to travel, leaving his childhood sweetheart behind.

Judd and his best friend signed up together and fought together. But now Judd is coming home alone, with a broken body, a broken spirit, and nightmares.

Hannah is devastated that Quint is leaving. She writes to him every week, but there are no letters from him. No word from him, to her, or to his brother and mother. The night before his departure, she gave herself to him in a hay barn. And she soon realizes that she now carries a piece of him, growing inside her.

This was a sweet little story. When I picked it up I was looking for something light. It wasn't. It was in fact a little bleak at times, a little sad. Hannah is young and desperately in love with Quint, but realizing she's pregnant makes her have to grow up quickly. When Judd learns of her pregnancy, he offers marriage, in order to give her his family's name, make her child legitimate, protect her from disgrace. Judd's family is well off, Hannah's is dirt poor. It's to be a marriage in name only. Judd has divorce papers already drawn up and ready to signed the minute Quint comes home.

It was a valiant offer, but I couldn't help wonder what would have happened if Quint did come home, Hannah and Judd divorced, and Hannah married Quint. I can just imagine the gossip and speculation that would cause among the townsfolk.

But it doesn't matter, because of course as time goes by Hannah and Judd fall for each other. Hannah was a good character, sweet. But at times I wanted to shake her and tell her to quit pining for the brother who just up and left, without a look back, and appreciate the man taking care of her. Because I really liked Judd. He was a good man, with a lot of emotional scars, not just from the war, but also revolving around his father's death many years prior. With Quint gone, we don't really get to know him, but it's still clear that Quint is a boy, and Judd is a man.

The ending was satisfying, although part of the resolution felt a bit rushed. Quint does finally come home. His reaction was expected, but then he went from one extreme to another, and I felt like he bounced back unrealistically quick. However, it is Judd and Hannah's story, not Quint's, so I guess I shouldn't actually have expected much dwelling on him. But I do look forward to reading his story in the next book. 

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