A Bride of Convenience

Jody Hedlund. Bethany House, $15.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7642-3297-8

In the entertaining third installment to Hedlund’s Bride Ships series (following Runaway Bride) two good-hearted people find unlikely love as they struggle to fulfill their callings. In 1863, Zoe Hart takes a bride ship from England to Vancouver Island to find her long-lost brother, Zeke. Upon arrival, she, out of pure goodness, takes responsibility for an abandoned newborn half-native orphan, putting off most of the townspeople. But one disreputable man, Dexter, offers to take her to her brother if she’ll marry him. Abe Merivale, a minister who brought the baby to town and whose reputation was damaged by a failed engagement, warns Zoe away from Dexter and defies his bishop by marrying her himself. Back in Abe’s mountain village, they continue on the trail of Zeke and learn to care for their child while rejecting old fears. But Dexter follows them, and secrets from Abe’s past emerge, challenging Zoe and Abe’s commitment to each other and the search for Zeke. Hedlund vividly captures the spirit of pioneering in a lush Pacific Northwest setting, and her characters display faith naturally and realistically. Series fans are in for a treat. [em](July) [/em]