A Most Inconvenient Marriage
By Regina Jennings
Baker Publishing Group, 2014
With the war ending and no home to return to, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry a soldier named Jeremiah Calhoun on his death bed and go take care of his family and horse farm in Missouri. She arrives to a mixed welcome from his mother, sister, and neighbors, including Laurel, the sweetheart he’d told her about. But the horses hold promise and things are looking up – until Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, very much alive and not the man she married. Now she will have to fight to keep the new home she has already fallen in love with, and try not to fall in love with it’s stubborn but handsome owner.
Jeremiah had no idea he was married until he tries to kick his wife off of his property. Now he’s got his hands full butting heads with the woman who introduced herself to half the county as his widow while courting Laurel, who has taken up with another young man during his absence. But as he waits for Laurel to make up her mind, he finds himself fighting a growing attraction to Abigail who works tirelessly beside him to care for the farm and his terminally ill sister, belying his suspicions about her intentions. Add to that the constant threat of a gang of drifting ex-soldiers stealing and assaulting their way through the community and Jeremiah wonders if home will ever be a place of peace and safety again.
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I really enjoyed A Most Inconvenient Marriage. This was a really fun read with a story line I don’t think I’ve seen before. I liked how the story was layered so that hopes and hurts for multiple characters intertwined, first ratcheting up the conflict, then providing opportunities for mutual healing. Abigail and Jeremiah have great chemistry and play off each others stubbornness constantly. They are more alike than they think they are in many ways.
Laurel, Jeremiah’s intended, was an interesting support character. It was surprising to me that a character who was stringing along two men and interfering with the romance between the main characters could still be so likable. But she really was! Her inability to make a decision was frustrating at times, but she was so sweet and sincere that it was easy to forgive her for it. There’s host of other engaging supporting characters that help round out the story but each character plays a necessary role, so even though there are many it doesn’t feel cluttered or hard to keep up with.
Another thing I found interesting centers on the injury Jeremiah received during the war, which left one leg shorter than the other and made him rely on a crutch. Medicine and doctoring has always interested me and I particularly enjoy historical descriptions of medical technique. Giving Abigail the backstory of serving with a Swedish doctor during the war was a nice touch. This was significant because that doctor trained with Dr. Pehr Ling, the Father of Swedish Gymnastics, and had therefore learned massage and manipulation techniques that we are familiar with today as physical therapy, which could be applicable to Jeremiah’s recovery. Isn’t history cool?
Two thumbs up for A Most Inconvenient Marriage for great characters, a unique plot, and neat historical facts.