Monday, July 6, 2015
My Review: The Marriage Agreement
I really like this cover. It's very pretty and very much a Love Inspired Historical. Honestly, there's a part of me that would like Harlequin to branch out a bit, cover-wise, but these are very recognizable and I don't have to sift through the other books they publish to find the good ones.
Promoted to Wife?
Always the dutiful daughter, Fanny Mitchell surprised everyone when she broke her engagement. Now she's working at the fancy Hotel Dupree—and falling for the mysterious, handsome owner, Jonathon Hawkins. But when she and her boss are caught in an unexpected kiss at a ball, will her reputation be tarnished forever?
The son of a woman of ill repute, Jonathon knows that gossip can destroy lives in an instant. And he won't allow sweet, lovely Fanny to suffer the consequences. When he proposes a marriage of convenience, Jonathon believes he can keep his heart to himself. But the more time he spends with Fanny, the more he realizes he may just be in love—with his wife.
About the Author:
Renee Ryan grew up in a Florida beach town outside Jacksonville, FL. Armed with a degree in Economics and Religion from Florida State University, she explored various career opportunities, including stints at a Florida theme park and a modeling agency. She currently lives in Savannah, Georgia with her husband and a large, fluffy cat many have mistaken for a small bear. Renee can be contacted through her website at www.reneeryan.com
My Review: 4 stars
The Marriage Agreement is the ninth book in Renee Ryan’s, Charity House series (if you'd like to see the full list, you can find it here). While I’ve read a couple of the books in the series, I actually haven’t managed to read them in any order. That being said, you definitely don’t have to start at the beginning to thoroughly enjoy this book. Though I’m sure it would have most likely helped me keep the characters straight while I was reading, I didn’t feel lost or spend the entire story trying to catch up. I confess, I didn’t have many expectations for this book, since I haven’t read anything of Renee’s recently. If I’d had any, I believe they would have been surpassed, as I immensely enjoyed this book.
I very much enjoy Renee’s writing style and this book is no exception! Her descriptions are great and quickly pull me into the setting and the story. I love the historical details she includes and appreciate the research that must go into her books. I do confess that there were a couple instances that I questioned Renee’s choice of wording as it didn’t seem to fit the time period. As I obviously didn’t live in the chosen period, I can’t say for absolute certain that it was not historically accurate, but regardless, the dialogue didn’t seem to fit the character speaking. But, this is mostly me nitpicking. The wording didn’t effect my enjoyment of the book or even give me much pause while reading.
This book definitely held my attention and didn’t want to let go! I found myself picking it up during every spare moment and not wanting to put it down. It kept me up well past when I should have been asleep and I grabbed it again almost as soon as I woke up. It is fast paced and never lags. The story flows quickly from point to point and I found myself rushing through it, all the while reminding myself to slow down and savor it. Obviously, the latter didn’t happen very often. Though, I must confess that I found the ending a bit abrupt. I do generally feel that way with most of the books I read, so this isn’t actually saying very much. I would always like the ending to be longer, simply because I’m rarely ready to say “goodbye” to the characters.
I really enjoyed the characters, as well. Fanny and Jonathon are both very realistic and I was able to easily relate to both of them. Fanny is sweet and kind, though somewhat impulsive. She is also strong, stubborn, and intelligent. I loved her heart for others, as she always tried to put them first. She loves deeply and forgives quickly, something I definitely need to learn. Jonathon is her opposite in many ways. He holds himself aloof from everyone, giving only the impression of openness. He has a good reason for this though - he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, nor does he want to be hurt. I loved watching him grow and change, as he learned to love Fanny fully and open himself to others.
The romance was very sweet, if a bit predictable. But that’s to be expected and I personally enjoy reading books where the “happily ever after” is a given, rather than a possibility. I adored watching both Fanny and Jonathon fall in love. They had several obstacles to overcome, something that made their happy ending even more rewarding. They must learn compromise and put their spouse’s needs before their own. I appreciated that Renee took the time to explore their marriage a bit and specifically point out that every marriage takes hard work and determination to make it last.
The spiritual element is an important one, for the story as well as the reader. Much of the focus is on forgiveness. I loved this quote that I feel sums up the theme quite well, “Forgiveness was hard, and came at a price, but the cost of bitterness was far steeper.” - Jonathon Hawkins* He had to learn how to forgive, but also how to accept forgiveness and God’s grace. I appreciated the care Renee used with this topic. It certainly isn’t an easy one, but she definitely does it justice, never rushing the story to make it fit within the constraints. There is a slow progression, allowing us to follow each step of his journey toward God’s grace.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romance and marriage of convenience stories!
I received an advanced reading copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
*Quotation used with permission from the author. I do not own any rights to the story. No infringement intended.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review! I hope you enjoyed it! :) As always, if you're interested, purchase links are below.
Barnes & Noble