Friday, March 23, 2012

Sixty Acres and a Bride - Regina Jennings

"Sixty Acres and a Bride" is the debut novel of Regina Jennings, an author for Bethany House.
The first half of the book is about Rosa, a widowed Mexican senora that heads to Texas with her American mother-in-law.  Having been disowned by her own family for religious reasons, staying in Mexico was not an option.  When she gets to Texas, her mother-in-law's ranch has four years of back taxes due within three months.  They undertake the nearly impossible feat of raising that money in one summer.  When that plan fails, Rosa is encouraged to go ask her husband's attractive cousin for help in the middle of the night.  She succeeds, but she's confused when he proposes the very next day.  This marks the end of what I call the "Ruth plot" and the beginning of the second half of the book.  I absolutely LOVE that the author did not end the book here!  The second part of the book is the story of a couple who finds themselves married with every intention of  living as roommates rather than husband and wife.  The journey of their relationship is so fun.
I was impressed that the story did not end where I thought it would.  In fact, almost half of the book was still left.  It almost felt like I had gotten two books in one!Regina Jennings can write, and Chapter 14 is proof of that.  (One more chapter like fourteen couldn't hurt anything!)
Odd, but I noticed there was no thank you section.  I am probably the only person in the world that actually reads those things, but I find it fascinating to see who the editor was and the team that helped pull the book together.  You know, just in case I ever find myself in a position to need an agent.  Or an editor.  I went to Regina Jennings' website where she shares her journey to getting published.  This is pure gold for those who aspire toward writing!  I very much enjoyed her website and will come back often.
Now for the hard part.  My only criticism is that the first half of the book bore a bit too much resemblance to the story of Ruth in the Bible, which initially had me pegging it as clique.  I easily saw the parallelisms, and with the story of Ruth in the back of my mind, it almost distracted me from relaxing and enjoying the tale.  However, halfway through the book I revised my opinion entirely! The book moved quickly from one moment to the next, never pausing too long in one place.
Well done, Regina!  I'm looking forward to seeing what you bring us next time.
This book was a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

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