To Have and to Hold

To Have and To Hold, Bridal Veil Island Series #1

To Have and To Hold
Tracie Peterson & Judith Miller
Bethany House Publishers

The first books of adult Christian fiction I ever read –after Janette Oke’s novels, of course- were the "Ladies of Liberty" series by Tracie Peterson. Our former library had to have bought every single book by Mrs. Peterson within the month they came out, and so I became incredibly familiar with her work and have probably read at least three fourths of all the books she’s written. Even so, I’ve never really been a huge fan of any of her books, although I admit to enjoying several, especially the one’s she has co-written with Judith Miller. The library we go to now does not have a very large selection of Christian fiction, so when I saw that they had gotten the first book in the Bridal Veil Island Series, I immediately grabbed it. Here is the book description:

When Audrey Cunningham's father proposes that they move to Bridal Veil Island, where he grew up, she agrees, thinking this will help keep him sober and close to God. But they arrive to find wealthy investors buying up land to build a grand resort on the secluded island--and they want the Cunninghams' acreage.
Contractor Marshall Graham can't imagine why the former drinking buddy of his deceased father would beckon him to Bridal Veil Island. And when Boyd Cunningham asks him to watch over Audrey, Marshall is even more confused. He has no desire to be saddled with caring for this fiery young woman who is openly hostile toward him. But when Audrey seems to be falling for another man--one who has two little girls Audrey adores--Marshall realizes she holds more of his heart than he realized. Which man will Audrey choose? And can she hold on to her ancestral property in the face of overwhelming odds?

I admit to being entirely disappointed with this book- mainly because of the heroine. One thing that bugs me about a lot of Tracie Peterson’s (I haven’t read a whole lot by Judith Miller) writing is that the heroines seem extremely feministic to me. (Deborah from the Striking a Match series immediately comes to mind) But at the same time, many of her heroines do have their good points despite this (I did enjoy the Ladies of Liberty and the Broadmoor Legacy series to name a few). It’s just that so many authors seem to make the mistake of creating a "strong" or "independent" heroine that really just turns out into being a shrew. Not nice, language, I know. But that’s the first word that comes to mind when certain female characters remind you of Kate. This world seriously needs some Pertruchios. Sigh. Rabbit trail again…

Audrey, though she wasn’t really a "career" girl or anything, was just so stubbornly independent it was maddening. As soon as Marshall shows up, she immediately assumes he’s a drunk like his dad and is going to lead her own recovering-alcoholic father back down the path to perdition. This is before he barely says a word to her. I just wanted to shake her for the way she was so obnoxious! And then after days of rudeness, when she finally confronts him about why she’s been snapping, growling, and ignoring him and he tries to explain he is not an alcoholic, she won’t let him get a word in edgewise. I feel like also putting it in here that if I’d been Marshall, I’d a- pitched her. (Sorry, just watched Anne. Couldn’t help it.)Talk about prejudice. I’m no stranger to characters who make you grit your teeth, but when that character is supposed to be the heroine…sigh. In fact, there were quite a few characters I didn’t like. Yes, I’m a southern girl. But Yankee-hating Aunt Thora made me want to scream.

I also feel that the romance was kind of the clichéd type that sometimes makes you want to roll your eyes, and the bad guy was pretty obvious from the beginning. Eeek. I feel like I’m being so mean. But this book was just…eh. I even skimmed through some of it because it wasn’t really holding my interest. I hate writing negative reviews. I do. But yet I seem to write them so often. I do feel like I need to be honest in my reviews, so of course I’m giving my honest opinion…but. Yeah. I just didn’t care for this book so much. It definitely is not Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller’s best.

Rating: 4


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