A while back my great-aunt passed away, and somehow my grandpa ended up with two boxes full of books. Almost all of them are ‘inspirational’ romances published by Harlequin as ‘Love Inspired’. At one point (not sure if you still can) you could subscribe and have a new book mailed to you every month. Aunt Darby did just that, and now I’m in possession of somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 or so of these ‘Love Inspired’ titles. Most of them are pretty cheesy but alright for a one-time fluff read. I’m sure that I’ll binge through some of them periodically. They’re perfect to grab out of the crate when I’m just looking for a quick, no-brainer book. However, most of them will probably end up exiting this house after that one-time read, because they just aren’t worth the shelf space to me. So if there’s one that sounds especially appealing to you… let me know, and I’ll be quite happy to mail you a gift! ;-)
Here’s the next round of five for this project – the first five can be found here.
The Pastor Takes a Wife by Anna Schmidt
This was a pleasant little story where single-mom Megan falls for the new pastor, Jeb. There was actually a little bit of grit to this story that I liked, but I just wasn’t feeling the chemistry between Megan and Jeb. I’m always annoyed when a story spends the majority of the time talking about why two people aren’t suited for each other – and then magically, at the end, they are!
Still, overall a nice little tale that was pleasant for a one-off read – 3/5.
A Mother’s Gift by Arlene James and Kathryn Springer
This is actually two novellas in one volume. The first, Dreaming of a Family, could have been an alright read, but Dixie was just over-the-top rude to Joel at the beginning. I found it impossible to believe that an adult woman would say the things she said to a comparative stranger, especially making fun of his physical handicap. It was just absurd. 2/5.
The second, The Mommy Wish, was better, but Julia of course has this deep, dark secret that if Nick knew about it, it would change his whole perspective of her, and she’s kept herself locked away and never goes out to see people and it’s been years of angst… and then the ‘terrible’ thing just really wasn’t that terrible. I mean sad, yes, but worth years of agony? Not remotely. Still, 3/5 for an otherwise fun story that did have some nice moments.
Triplets Find a Mom by Annie Jones
This one was so bad that I had to DNF about halfway through. I just can’t put my finger on what wasn’t working with this story. It was like chunks of it were missing. The story wasn’t bad, but the writing was honestly just kind of terrible. The characters didn’t make a lot of sense, and everyone was just sort of milling around. The concept was engaging and the setting was nice, but it was just so random and abrupt that I couldn’t get into the story at all. It was just… I don’t know. For instance, Sam is a widower and he has triplet daughters. Polly meets these girls for literally like 30 seconds. She sees them the next day, and knows which one is which, despite the fact that they’re identical. Like, just because Polly herself is a twin didn’t make me buy the concept that she magically can tell these identical girls apart immediately. Sam has this weird thing about dogs that made zero sense, so when Polly finds a stray, she is determined to find another home for it because she doesn’t want to ‘bother’ the girls…??? It was just stuff like that all the time. It felt like something was going to happen, and then there is just some weird thing out of nowhere instead.
Close to Home by Carolyn Aarsen
Probably my favorite out of the batch (although that isn’t saying much). Jace and Dodie were a good couple, and I appreciated the way that some sensitive topics were handled well. However, it took waaaaaaaayyyyyyy too long for Dodie to freaking TALK TO JACE. Like ONE CONVERSATION is all that needs to happen, and it dragged out way too long before that took place.
I was also a little uncomfortable with the concept that Dodie was ‘wasting her life’ because she hadn’t gone to college or pursued a career. As someone who did go to college but has not pursued a career, and has worked part time random jobs very contentedly my entire life, I felt vaguely insulted. Guess what, gang? A career isn’t the only way to find validation and purpose in life! Anyway – 3/5.
The Marriage Mission by Pam Andrews
This was actually a really pleasant, nice little story. I liked Mac and Jenny a lot and thought they made a great couple. However, I was so bothered by the message of this book. I kept reading because I thought it would actually get resolved in the end – but it really didn’t.
Basically, Mac has been working in foreign missions throughout his adult life. He has come stateside to a small West Virginia town to accept a year-long post at a local church while he recovers from an improperly-set broken ankle. There is the possibility that the church will call him to stay on permanently, and there is also a possibility that the mission he’s worked for will call him to another foreign post. Mac falls for Jenny almost immediately, and the feeling is mutual. But then it turns into this whole angsty thing about Mac feeling like he can’t ‘impose’ on Jenny by dating her when he isn’t sure if he is going to go back overseas, and Jenny feeling like she isn’t ‘worthy’ to go with Mac if he does go back overseas, yadda yadda yadda. And what bothered me was that neither of them ever acted like, I don’t know, that if they were a couple they would actually be a team and could work through these things together?! It was also never explained why Jenny couldn’t go with Mac if he did go overseas. I feel like basically all the missionaries I know are married, and not all of the spouses went to seminary? It seemed like Jenny’s compassion, hard-working attitude, and general common sense would make her an excellent missionary’s wife.
In the end, it’s all resolved because Mac decides not to go overseas – which didn’t feel like real resolution to me at all. Mac never had a conversation with Jenny about whether she would be open to going overseas. The insistence on the either/or scenario meant that so much of the tension in the book felt entirely contrived. So 2.5/5 for this one.