Saturday, July 14, 2018

Jody Hedlund - Love Unexpected

All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.
An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.
Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

Comment: I got interested in this book around 3 years ago but I can't remember why... considering the plot, it probably had something to do with a marriage of convenience of sorts. I'm always eager to see how an author plays this trope out and how romantic or realistic it can be. At the time, however, I hadn't realized this would be an inspirational so of course one might call this a clean romance, with only one or two kisses between the characters. Knowing this, I didn't mind, because clean doesn't mean romantic or engaging. However, it wasn't much so, no.

In this story we meet Emma Chambers and her brother Ryan as they are trying to flee a burning ship after it was robbed by pirates. Emma and Ryan's money was also stolen so they are stuck in Presque Isle, Michigan until Ryan gets enough money again for them to go somewhere else. 
In the meantime, Emma is asked to marry Patrick, one of the men who rescued the survivors and who works in the lighthouse. He has a small son, his wife died recently and the reverend tels them they could be a good couple and help each other at the same time.
Emma and Patrick marry but since they are strangers to one another, it takes time for them to trust the other too. However, secrets from Patrick's past might destroy everything this new family has done already to find happiness...

I thought this story had a lot to be successful to me when I started reading. The ship's problems, the pirates, the rescue...I thought the foundations were great t start with but for me, the potential wasn't as well done as I imagined because the focus instead of being the community and the couple's relationship was how problems always follow someone and how Patrick's past was a dark cloud in their horizon.
I get it, this fits perfectly the inspirational side of the novel in which we are supposed to learn adversity must be fought with faith and prayer. But... I thought the story ended up annoying and boring here and there because of the lack of more optimism.

The plot had interesting elements and one can see the author put on an effort to teach us something, namely about how a lighthouse worked, how some details had to be used in order for ships to be guided.
I also think the descriptions were interesting and help the reader have an idea about what the characters are going through, especially the descriptions about struggles and actions.
However, for me, the atmosphere was a little too  dark toned, meaning, there was this sort of cloud of negativity and problems and difficulties which weren't very well balanced. It made the story feel a bit gloomy and not always captivating to read about.

Since this is an inspirational story, we don't have a lot of focus on the romance, only many references to how they wished to kiss the other and how they should trust and so on. Despite the obvious, inspirational romances can still be cute and sweet but I think this one lacked some chemistry and if this isn't evident to the reader it can get to a point where any character would do, and why bother with this couple in particular? I want to care for them and like them and not just because they are both goo people and deserving of good things or because they are believers. I think there are times where the aim to show them as having faith God is more important than their own feelings. One of the issues of inspirational and why only certain authors manage that perfect balance between every element in one.

All in all, this was sweet, had good moments but I think the atmosphere wasn't well balanced, the romance was bland at most and even the plot could have been done better.
Grade: 5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment