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The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake

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Review of The Bride Bargain

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The Advocate

The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake

Reviewed by Vickie McDonough

"...a fun, delightful read set on the Nebraska prairie."

Clara Field is determined to reach Oregon so she and her aunt Doreen, the woman who raised her, can start fresh. But when Clara’s ox goes missing one morning, the crotchety wagon master leaves them behind. Desperate to catch up, Clara and Doreen stop in a small town called Buttonwood to see if the wagon train has passed through. When they discover they are two days behind, Clara’s hope dwindles. Dare she try to catch up and risk their lives traveling alone across the prairie wilderness?

A friendly storeowner makes Clara and her aunt an offer they can’t refuse—live in his big home and cook and clean for him until another wagon train comes through. Josiah Reed’s home is the nicest in town, and a quick friendship forms between the three of them. With Josiah’s first grandbaby due to arrive soon, his son, a doctor from Baltimore, agrees to come and mind the store while Josiah visits his daughter. Just before he leaves, Josiah strikes another bargain—if Clara can find a bride for his son, he will sign the house over to Clara and her aunt. Clara will be able to provide a home for her aunt, and they won’t be forced to endure the long journey over the mountains to Oregon.

When Clara meets Dr. Saul Reed, a man very determined to remain a bachelor, she knows her job will be difficult. She takes inventory of the marriageable women in town and starts scheming. But will her plan backfire when Dr. Reed learns of her bargain with his father? Will Clara and Doreen be forced to leave the town they’ve come to love?

Author Kelly Eileen Hake is well-known among Christian romance readers for her novellas and shorter novels, but The Bride Bargain is her first trade size novel. She doesn’t disappoint with her cute and quirky story of a young woman who will do about anything to reach her goal. The heroine and hero don’t meet until about a fourth of the way through the book, but there are plenty of things happening to keep the reader’s interest engaged, including a trouble-making leather-eating ox, a feisty orphan, and a very unusual patient for Dr. Reed. Ms. Hake will keep readers smiling as they enjoy watching Clara do her best to pair up Dr. Reed with one of the town’s eligible ladies—and she just might get a surprise at the end. With lively characters and a humorous slant, The Bride Bargain is a fun, delightful read set on the Nebraska prairie.

Vickie McDonough is an award-winning inspirational romance author. She has written four Heartsong novels and five novellas. Her stories have placed first in several prestigious contests, such as the ACFW Noble Theme, the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest, and the Texas Gold contest. She has also written books reviews for nearly five years and enjoys mentoring new writers. Vickie is a wife of thirty-one years, mother to four sons, and a new grandma. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, gardening, watching movies, and traveling. Vickie loves hearing from her readers via e-mail.