Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review: The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter

"The Convenient Groom" is the most recent in the series of Nantucket Island stories by Denise Hunter. Dr. Kate is an advice columnist and psychologist who has just written a book for all the single ladies, titled "Finding Mr. Right-For-You." As a fun aside, each chapter includes a little witty word on finding Mr. Right from Kate's book.

The good news for Kate? The book is scheduled to release on the same day as her wedding to Bryan. The bad news? Today is her wedding day, and Bryan just called to tell her that he's in love with someone else. Enter Lucas, Kate's landlord, who overhears the call and suggests that she marry him instead. After all, what is the worst that can happen?

I had previously reviewed "Love Letters", just over a year ago, from the same series, and I can tell you that I enjoy her characters, and the settings of her stories. But I can also tell you that the whole time I'm reading I just want those same characters to talk to each other. In my review of Love Letters, I wrote "Stop messing around people. Let’s just get honest with each other..." and I felt the same way in this story. Lucas loves Kate, but doesn't tell her - instead suggesting he'd be willing to marry her if she'd help his parents with  free marital counseling. Kate (as you might suspect) begins to love Lucas, but can't reveal her feelings because of fears from her past. 

I get it. I do. I get that its hard to talk about our feelings. And that in a marriage, and in a dating relationship, it can be hard to know what is OK to say and what isn't. It can be hard to be transparent about our feelings because we don't want to be rejected. But I don't want to live my life that way, at least as much as possible I don't, and so while I enjoy these books, they sort of frustrate me. 

The bottom line: Hunter writes good characters and authentic-feeling friendships and family relationships, but I wish that the hero and heroine would have their conflict throughout the book - with each other, instead of within their heads. I think that would make the story of Kate and Lucas more honest, more instructive, and ultimately tell us more about God's loving nature (which based on the discussion guide is a key part of the story of Lucas' love for Kate). 

I rate The Convenient Groom 3.5 bon mots out of 5. If you enjoy sweet Christian romances, you'll probably enjoy this one, but be prepared that you might be shouting at the main characters to just talk to each other already.

*** In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided with a copy of this book for free from Bethany House Publishers, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. If you are interested in reviewing books for Bethany House, click here. If you are interested in being  a part of Book Sneeze (a review program for Thomas Nelson) check out the tag on the right side of the blog. ***