Review of HERE COMES THE BRIDE by Laura Drewry (see her website)
Zebra Historical Romance, May 2005
When her father arranges her marriage to a Boston lawyer, Tess Kinley flees. She believes in marrying for love and she'll never love the lawyer. She's also dreamed of living in the country so she runs away and heads west. By the time she ends up in Gabe Calloway's ranch, she's exhausted, filthy, and been won and lost in a poker game. She takes one look at Gabe (Gabriel), decides he's her angel, and falls in love.
Gabe has no idea what to do with this strange woman who drops into his life and disrupts it completely. One thing for sure, though, he's not going to lose his heart to her. He's already fallen for a woman who claimed to love the country but then decided that the city was the only way she could get what she really needs. Tess may claim to love the land, but she only knows about it from her books. Gabe is certain that no city-woman can ever endure the hardships of Montana territory. Since his own mother gave up her life trying to have a baby far from doctors and medical care, he wouldn't want Tess to stay even if she would. He's had too much loss in his life and Tess looks like another coming up.
Tess realizes that she cannot control Gabriel's love--but the longer she spends in Montana, the less she wants to return to the city. Even if she can't spend her life with Gabriel, she wants to spend it here.
Although Tess doesn't think of herself as beautiful, that doesn't mean she isn't sought after--by other men in Montana, but also by the man who was intended to be her husband back in Boston. Living a quiet life in Montana isn't going to be an easy option for her--and having a woman who sets his blood on fire isn't an easy option for Gabe. But only if he can overcome the wounds from his past can he save himself--and Tess.
Author Laura Drewry spins a warm-hearted romance. Gabe and Tess are perfect for each other--he serious and concerned with consequences, she good-hearted but with an inclination to run off at the mouth when nervous and impulsive (an amusing moment comes when she fantasizes about a child with Gabe's looks and her common sense). Strong secondary characters, including Gabe's brother Bart, the neighboring ranchers who despise Gabe, and Rosa, the housekeeper add to the story's texture.
I would have liked to see the adventure side of the story more fully integrated into the romance rather than coming largely after the romantic resolution, but HERE COMES THE BRIDE is an enjoyable and funny tale.
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