Saturday, April 12, 2014

Review: A Sensible Arrangement

A Sensible Arrangement (Lone Star Brides - Book 1) by Tracie Peterson

Publication Date: 04/01/2014
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Imprint: Bethany House
Genre: Christian/Inspirational Fiction
Pages: 336
ISBN-10: 0746210580
ISBN-13: 978-0746210587

(Received for an honest review from Bethany House)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, ChristianBook, Indiebound

Tracie Peterson on the WEB: website, blogfacebook, goodreads


Marty Dandridge Olson is ready to leave behind the pain of the past.Answering an advertisement for a "Lone Star bride," she leaves her Texas ranch and heads to Denver to marry a man she doesn't know.

Jake Wythe is the man waiting for her.Burned by love, he marries now simply to satisfy the board of Morgan Bank, which believes a man of his standing in society should be wed. Together Jake and Marty agree they are done with romance and love and will make this nothing more than a marriage of convenience. 

When missing money and a collapsing economy threaten his job, Jake's yearning to return to ranching grows ever stronger, much to Marty's dismay. But a fondness has grown between them, as well, further complicating matters.

What will happen when their relationship shifts in unexpected ways...
and dreams and secrets collide?


Christian/Inspirational readers often have go-to authors when it comes to great historical romance reads and Tracie Peterson is often at the top of that list. Peterson's 100th novel, A Sensible Arrangement is a well crafted historical romance with a Christian slant that will have readers clamoring for more. It is the first book in the new Lone Star Brides series and brings together two people who have a lot more in common than meets the eye. Weaving two great themes together, a mail order bride and a marriage of convenience, Peterson gives readers a novel that easily become a favorite.

What I liked:

Tracie Peterson is probably one of my favorite Christian/Inspirational authors. Though she has written 100 novels, I did not find her until a few short years ago. But once I did, I devoured the books she has written with great gusto. That sometimes happens when I find an author I feel like I can really connect to and understand. I am a former history major and historical detail is often very important to me in reading this kind of novel. Peterson is one of the best at making history come alive for her readers. She knows just the right elements to add to give each of her books the right balance between romance and history and A Sensible Arrangement is a great example of that.

Marty was a heroine that I truly enjoyed. She was a very capable and nurturing woman, with a loving spirit. She had seen tragedy in her life, but was able to withstand and grow. But she needed change. Her husbands death on the ranch was tragic and affected her so deeply that she wanted to leave that life behind. Who wouldn't? She didn't want to be reminded on a daily basis of what she had lost. I thought Peterson did a great job with the character and that she made her easy to relate to and understand.

Jacob is a man who acquired a very upstanding position on a Denver bank, but it requires attending a lot of social functions. His employers feel that he must be married in order to continue in his position. He hasn't had the best of luck when it comes to love and he doesn't want all the entanglements that go with it, so he decides to advertise for a bride. Knowing he wants to return to his love of ranching in Texas one day, he stipulates that he is looking for a Texas bride. I thought Peterson portrayed Jake as a man on mission. He wants to return to Texas, but in order to do that he needs a wife. He doesn't need a lover. I liked how determined he was and that both he and Marty are flawed. Nobody's perfect and it's a good thing too!

I loved all of the historical detail that Peterson weaves into this story. Colorado at the time of this book was up and coming with Denver as a major city and it's opulence and grandeur can easily be seen in Peterson's writing. The circumstances surrounding the repeal of the Silver Act and the political and social climate of the times was very well documented and Peterson uses it to her advantage. The best part of the book for me was the detail and description Peterson gives to the setting and the times. Very well done.

I also truly enjoyed the romance aspect of this book. Marty and Jake don't realize that by leaving out some of their own desires, they are compromising their relationship. Yes, it is a marriage of convenience, but trust is still so important in making any kind of marriage work. Marty wants nothing more to do with Texas, and the desire of Jake's heart is to return there. Keeping these facts from each other nearly destroys the possibility of real love for them and Peterson certainly makes it intense. This part of the book was realistic and believable. The characters were flawed and imperfect and redeemable.

The Christian themes were not preachy or overwhelming either. There was just the right balance to add to the flavor of the book. Peterson focuses on anger at God in this novel, through Marty's anger over the death of her husband. It was interesting to watch her fight against her own feelings to get back to a place where she loved and trusted God. Peterson did a great job with this aspect of the book as well.

What I didn't like:

Jake was very intense in his desire to return to Texas as a rancher. But I didn't feel like Marty had that same kind of intensity in her own desires. She eventually takes on the task of helping orphans which fills a place in her heart for children and that was a very good way for her to have purpose, but it is not one of the main themes of the novel and comes across as less important. I think more importance on this part of the book would have been nice.

Bottom Line:

This is a very well written Christian historical romance. There are few authors in this genre that really satisfy the historical elements for me and Peterson is definitely one of the best. I'm glad this is the first novel in a new series, because I enjoyed it very much and look forward to more.

Available April 2014 at your favorite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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

About the Author:

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 90 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Belgrade, Montana. Learn more at

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