Shay Brandenberger has been disappointed in love, twice. Fourteen years ago she was left on the courthouse steps. The boy she had played with as a child, fallen in love with as a teen, and planned to marry right out of high school, Travis McCoy, had run out on her right before the wedding.
Years later she married someone else. They had a wonderful child, Olivia. But then he had left her and a few years later, had died.
Aged 32, Shay was a native of Moose Creek, Montana, and was trying to keep her family farm going. But she was behind on the mortgage payments and the power company had threatened to turn off her electricity.
Then Travis walks back into her life. He's back in Moose Creek after being on the rodeo circuit. He's made enough money to last him a lifetime. He's back to care for his parent's farm while they are on a mission trip. He has never lost his love for Shay. He knew it was wrong to leave her, even as he ran away from the wedding. But he was so young and the rodeo was calling.
Shay knows deep down she still loves Travis. He was her first love and she has never been able to let that go. But the hurt from his abandonment runs just as deep.
Then life for the both of them gets even more complicated as the Founder's Day celebration occurs. They separately agree to play the bride and groom at a reenactment. Then Travis gets the news that the “fake” wedding certificate he and Shay signed was, in fact, the real certificate from fourteen years ago.
The sparks fly as Travis wants to make the wedding work while Shay is just as determined to make him leave.
This is a unique plot. I've never seen anything like it. A bride left at the altar, so to speak. And then the marriage planned fourteen years ago happens, without the knowledge of those involved.
This was a pretty good read but I did have a few problems with the story line. Hunter does admit in the afterward that marriage licenses are not valid for fourteen years, as she has in her book. So she stretched the believability of the plot there.
Also, Shay's farm has a mortgage even though it has been in her family for three generations. The farm should have been paid off by now. But being behind on the mortgage is essential to the plot.
Also, Shay has the same problem over and over again. I got a bit bored with the repetition. There doesn't seem to be any growth in that area.
Also, Hunter writes of passion and some of the scene have a bit more passion than usual for a Christian romance. On occasion I felt a little uncomfortable with what I was reading.
The Christianity of the characters is well portrayed – a much appreciated aspect of the novel.
This is certainly not the best Christian romance I've read lately.
You can find out more about Hunter and her books at www.denisehunterbooks.com.
Denise Hunter is the award-winning author of eighteen romance novels. She began writing as a young stay-at-home mom, while her children napped. She has earned many awards and has been a RITA finalist. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three teenaged sons. Along with writing and spending time with her family, she enjoys reading, traveling and playing drums for her church's worship team.
Thomas Nelson Publishers, 304 pages. Publisher product information.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.