Saturday, October 1, 2011

Review: Deeply Devoted

Deeply Devoted (Blue Willow Brides - Book 1) by Maggie Brendan

Publication Date: September 2011
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Genre: Christian Fiction/ Inspirational
Pages: Paperback, 332pp
ISBN-13: 9780800734626
ISBN: 0800734629

(Received for an honest review from Revell Books)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository,, IndieBound

Maggie Brendan on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter



When Catherine Olsen leaves Holland for Wyoming as a mail-order bride, she brings some extra baggage with her: two sisters, her mother's set of Blue Willow china, and a tragic past. As she steps off the train, Peter Andersen is glad to see that she is everything her letters showed her to be. But he is a bit perturbed by her unexpected companions. How will he support them all? and what other secrets might Catharine be keeping from him?

Filled with sweet romance and vivid characters, Deeply Devoted highlights a clash of cultures as a highborn European and a simple wheat farmer learn to love one another and trust god with the past - and the future. 


Maggie Brendan explores the theme of communication and trust in marriage in her latest book, Deeply Devoted. Deeply Devoted is the first book in the new Blue Willow Brides series and focuses on the relationship between a wheat farmer and his mail-order-bride from Holland. Brendan is able to take the common Western idea of the mail-order-bride and give it an Inspirational fiction spin. With engaging characters and a very sweet and romantic plot this novel will appeal to Christian and Inspirational fiction fans as well as main stream romance fans. 

Deeply Devoted is a novel that has a lot to offer to readers from many different reading backgrounds. The main characters in the book, Catharine and Peter face a multitude of obstacles in their relationship and subsequent marriage. The cultural differences between them brings an interesting feel to the book, as well as dealing with secrets and issues from their pasts, and of course a meddling mother-in-law. Brendan is able to combine all of these ideas into a very engaging romance with an underlying Christian basis, that readers will love. 

This isn't your typical Christian fiction prairie romance. I tend to have some trouble with the repetitiveness that Christian fiction titles with a western theme typically have. It's the same story over and over again. I found Deeply Devoted to be quite different from the norm. Brendan is able to bring a fresh and unique approach to this book that is evident from the first chapter. I generally enjoy inspirational fiction that can transcend the reading barriers and I really felt that this is one of them. I can definitely see general romance fans enjoying this book just as must as Christian fiction fans. The faith issues are written with a light hand and are not overly dramatic or preachy. Brendan also does not leave the reader feeling let down by leaving all of romance behind closed doors. 

One of my favorite parts of the book dealt with how Catherine and Peter being so very different from each other in background were able to let each other grow and become the spouse they each needed. There love for each other jumps off the page and the reader will be cheering them on, even in the face of the obstacles they have to tackle. Clara, the mother-in-law, was in my opinion an essential character in this book. She provided much of the needed conflict to give this novel what it took to hold the interest of the reader, along with the secrets of Catharine's past. Brendan uses supporting characters like Catharine's sisters and Clara to bring the main characters closer together and allow them to see that communication is one of the most important issues in any marriage.

I recommend this book to main stream romance fans who like their books clean, but still passionate. I also recommend it to Christian and Inspiration fiction readers and those who enjoy books where the clash of cultures is an important element. I thought Brendan provided a book with thought out characters, issues that most people today have faced in their own lives, and clear cut spiritual values. This is the kind of book I would like to see more of in this genre. I have always thought Christian fiction should reach out and draw other readers in and this book does that. It's very approachable and a wonderful read!

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. 

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Maggie Brendan is the author of No Place for a Lady, The Jewel of His Heart, and A Love of Her Own. A member of American Christian Writers and the American Fiction Writers Association, Maggie lives in Georgia.