These books were a Kindle set that I got inexpensively at some point because I am a HUGE sucker for the marriage of convenience trope. While these are listed as a series, they are only loosely connected (other than book 2.5 being a novella connected to book 2) and could easily be read as individual stories. However, I enjoyed them quite a bit, so I definitely recommend giving all of them a go!
- Love in a Fix
- Calling Love
- Waiting on Love (novella)
- Lost in Love
These are clean, Christian romances, and the religious themes are done very well, as they come through as just a natural part of the characters’ lives, rather than something shoehorned in to make a point. While prayer, churchgoing, and talking about God’s will/purpose aren’t a constant refrain, they are definitely a part of the story, so if that sort of thing bothers you, these books aren’t for you.
All four stories had fairly plausible reasons for the characters to get married, and I enjoyed watching them grow in their feelings and affections. Negatives for the series as a whole, though – they weren’t particularly humorous, and they were also very straightforward: you know exactly how they are going to end from the beginning, and there aren’t a lot of twists. (Have I been reading dark books? I kept expecting something terrible to happen at some point and then they would have to overcome it together. Like at one point in the first book, the male character goes up in the attic and I legit thought, “Oh, this is where the tragedy happens!” and was wondering if he was going to fall down the steps or have a heart attack or what. Well guess what – nothing happens to him! He just finds the box of Christmas decorations like he was supposed to! Is something wrong with me that I was little disappointed?? These books just needed a little spice!)
In the first book, Love in a Fix, a widow with a young son marries her (now-dead obviously) husband’s best friend, who has also been widowed. One thing I really liked in this story is that the characters never acted like their original marriages were a bad choice, or that they wouldn’t have lasted. They didn’t spend a lot of time comparing their new spouse to the old one. I’ve read other stories with a similar set-up, and it bothers me when the characters act almost grateful that the original spouse died so they could have this great relationship with a new person. This felt much more natural.
Calling Love felt like the need to get married was the most questionable, but I really liked the main characters as a pair, so I went with it. One interesting aspect of this story was that Archer is a mechanic, and I appreciated the way that Atwood discussed the way that many people looked own on him because of his blue collar career. As a college graduate who married a blue collar worker with no college degree, I’ve also had to endure snide comments insinuating that my husband somehow isn’t “good enough” for me… because I have a piece of paper and he doesn’t?? College has no bearing on how intelligent or industrious you are, and I know plenty of blue collar workers making more than their college-degree counterparts so. The concept that being a blue-collar worker means you’re a barely-competent high school dropout needs to seriously die. Anyway, I thought that was an interesting side story to put in there.
The novella in the series, Waiting on Love, was actually my favorite story out of the four. It’s about the sister of one of the characters in Calling Love. She got pregnant in high school, and the father of her baby took off for college and left her behind. In this story, it’s several years later, and Scott has recently become a Christian. Part of his examination of his life has made him realize that he wants to make things right with his old girlfriend and the daughter he’s never bothered to meet. I really enjoyed this story of reconciliation a lot, especially the way that Atwood shows how God has changed Scott’s life in a very tangible way. Becoming a Christian is so much more than just going to church or whatever, and this story really illustrates that.
The final story was probably the most melodramatic out of all of them, and was the only one that really used a miscommunication between the two main characters to further the story, a method that I always find annoying. (USE YOUR WORDS.) Still an enjoyable story nonetheless.
All in all, these were easy 4* reads. A little more humor and action would have been nice, but they were still very readable and relaxing, with likable characters and fairly believable scenarios. I’ll be looking out for more of Atwood’s works in the future.
Update: As I was writing this, I went ahead and checked Atwood’s other books, and she has several series, most of which are available on Kindle Unlimited……
Looks like I need to add these books to my TBR! And I agree with you about the whole blue collar thing. My college degree took me 12 years to pay off and none of the jobs I’ve had since graduating have utilized it in any way. I wish I would’ve just learned an actual, useful skill instead.
I really enjoyed these stories, but they were almost boring, if that makes sense. I was in the mood for something super relaxing and low-stress, so it worked out, but while I really liked the characters, I didn’t LOVE them, I think mostly because they weren’t really funny?? And that just turned into the longest sentence ever. Anyway, yes, I try not to get preachy about higher education (at least not on my book blog haha) but I just feel so strongly that college isn’t the answer for everyone, and it frustrates me that everyone assumes that you should just plunge tens of thousands of dollars into debt with no real clear direction in mind, and that if you don’t it’s because you’re a lazy loser. Both of my adult brothers tried college and just couldn’t figure out what to do, but now they are both working in the skilled trades making good money and actually enjoying their work at a very minimal education cost. ANYWAY there I go getting preachy, but you know what I mean! I think high school kids would benefit from being shown real options instead of just different colleges.
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