Romance and Reason: A Bride Most Begrudging

I actually talked a little about a Deeanne Gist’s novel A Bride Most Begrudging a long, long time ago, but the reason I wanted to use it for my first Romance and Reason post is pretty simply.  It’s one of my favorites.

I have a lot of contemporary authors that I love, but to tell you the truth, when it comes to books I list as my all time favorites, very few of them were published in this century.

To set the stage:
The year is 1643 and life in America is anything by civilized, especially when ships arrive from England with “tobacco brides” aboard.  Drew O’Connor isn’t looking for a wife he can buy with a barrel of the tobacco he grows, just a maid to take care of his house and help raise his sister.  But before long he finds himself in a marriage of convenience to one of the strangest and feistiest tobacco brides to make it to the New World.
Constance Morrow claims to be the daughter of an Earl, taken against her will and if she can’t be returned to her home, she would like to be left to attend her love of mathematical equations.
Life in the wild world of colonial America can change just about anybody, though, even the daughter of an Earl. And it might just take the daughter of an Earl to soften the heart of Drew O’Connor.

I love A Bride Most Begrudging for two specific reasons:
One: There is something deeper about it.
Let’s face it, any romance novel can basically be described as; Boy meets Girl…Boy and Girl have some serious problems…Boy and Girl overcome and live happily ever after. And even if that is the sum total of a story, if you’re looking for a romance, you’re still satisfied.  But A Bride Most Begrudging really does feel like more.  The blossoming, often humorous romance between Drew and Constance is great and you can’t help loving them both, but the spiritual struggles each has and the trials faced by the average person living during this time period give the story more depth than your average romance.

Two: The History
I am the first to admit that I am not the biggest fan of American history. Shameful, I know. And I probably wouldn’t have picked this up if my mother hadn’t decided to gift it to me. I discovered, however, an America I really didn’t know and it was fascinating.  The book is set after the establishment of colonial America, but more than a hundred year prior to the Revolutionary period.  It is a segment in history I don’t see much about and Deeanne Gist makes it very interesting.

I think I once described this as the sort of story that sticks to your ribs like soul food and I still would. Just like I still have to admit that as a Californian I know nothing about soul food, but comparing this book to tofu or In and Out Burger would have been wrong.

And I’m not quite sure how Deeanne Gist would feel knowing she’s made it to a place on my list of authors otherwise occupied by writers who have long since died, but that’s just where she’ll have to stay.

So, have you ever read a story set in this time period?

11 thoughts on “Romance and Reason: A Bride Most Begrudging

  1. Unfortunately, I don’t have any great conversations points or thoughts to bring to the table right now, although I do have two definite reasons for why that might be: A) No, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book from this time period. (Other than biographies. Which were obviously (ask any one of their bored readers) not authored by Deeanne Gist.)
    and B) I… weeeeeeell… (I’m sorry, I feel like I’m somehow betraying womankind here) I… um, really don’t read romance. Maybe I should clarify that. I am human. And female. And I do have a heart. I think. Oh, and I have read Pride and Prejudice. Which I enjoyed. But I must point out – P&P is actually a Classic… not Romance. :P

    Actually, I’m still trying to decide whether you have a knack for discovering the good books, or whether your gift is making any book sound good. :P

    NOT! :)

    1. Well, on consideration I believe you do have a heart, Miss Cara, irregardless as to whether or not you have somehow betrayed womankind. Though, I do believe when Jane penned P&P she did believe she was writing a romance and would probably be quite shocked to hear it is now considered a classic. lol
      But I think you might want to explore romances just a bit more before declaring the genre out of your reach. May I suggest….starting with this book. LOL

      And fear not, I would never use my powers to bring any book unworthy into the spotlight. ;)

      1. LOL!

        OK, maybe we can come up with couple of happy compromises here:
        (I think it’s very fitting to use the words “couple” and “happy” in that sentence, since this blog is about romance.)

        – I can include a request in my will for someone to ascertain whether I had a heart.

        – We’ll just say that Jane Austen wrote a Classic Romance… (which is not the same as regular romance, of course. It’s like, more classic.)
        BTW, I also like the writings of one Emily Ann Benedict, whose works must also fall under the category of classics. ;) Or maybe it’s just that authors who have a name starting with A are really A+.

        – I will contemplate the possibility of becoming a romance reader most begrudging if you agree to strictly recommend titles that have at least as much reason as they do romance… deal? ;)
        (Reason #57 why I don’t read romances – they are all romance and no reason. So there is no reason to read them.) lol

        Btw, when you said to explore a bit more before declaring the genre “out of my reach” … I just wanted you to know – it’s not that I don’t understand romances… I do have a brain. I think. HAHAHAHA

  2. Deanne Gist is one of my newer favorite authors. I’m not much of a romance reader, but if there is some good historical content and some kind of adventure, or at least verbal sparring between the romantic leads, then I like it. Gist is one of the few romance authors that consistently grab my attention from book to book. However, I haven’t read this one yet.
    I enjoy finding out more about American History through novels like Gist’s, she seems to do her research really well.

    1. Verbal sparing really is a must to make a romance truly good, Tyrean. And yes, I think the history is one of Deeanne Gist’s biggest pluses. I heard once that she spends a least a month on research before she even starts the story.

  3. To Cara:

    Fear not, when I said “out of your reach” I wasn’t talking about your cerebral reach, but simply outside of your general reading comfort zone. ;) And I do think it’s quite clever to use so many words that could be considered romantic…as if you are a closet romantic…but we won’t go there. lol

    Ah, yes, I have put down several romances on the grounds of, “Nobody is that stupid!” Mostly historical romances in which the “city girl comes out west” is portrayed as if she automatically looses the ability to think just because she is in the country. True, she might be appalled, but that doesn’t mean she’s brainless. lol

    It will be okay. You can trust me. (Although I do feel a little bit like Vadar tempting Luke to come to the dark side.)

    1. ROFL

      ROFL

      ROFL

      No, I haven’t learned to speak Russian, Vadar. It’s just that I find your writing amusing. And I do trust you, even though I’m pretty sure you’re not my father. :P

      I just realised that this comment is not even vaguely connected with romance novels. I should have predicted that I would turn the conversation to other topics sooner or later. lol

      Just to make sure we include something that relates (however distantly) to the original blog subject… I never said I had a problem with romance itself… it’s the romance NOVELS that I distaste. Mainly because of the affront they are to romance.
      That’s my reason. :P

      1. It is true…I am not your father. And romance novels really aren’t the dark side, though I think I understand the direction from which you are coming from. Many romance novels are affront to romance and others are a affront to intelligence. Together these facts have damaged the overall genre.
        Fight with me, Cara, and we might change this sad predicament!!

        And don’t worry about changing the line of conversation. It happens, and usually I’m involved. ;)
        (for instances, I was the one who brought up Starwars)

      2. I admit that maybe I might possibly, kinda sorta, somehow – perhaps – be taking things a bit too hard on the genre as a whole. (Although something inside me wants to shake its head in violent opposition at the remotest suggestion of that concept.) After all, it’s not like I’ve read thousands or hundreds or three romance novels. Well, maybe three. ;)

        Thought: Not only can they be an affront to romance and intelligence, but also reality. Because with at least *some (I’m going to be fair here) ;) of the books in this genre – which tends to be a female-oriented genre, with most authors and readers being women – the men don’t necessarily act like real-life men do, but they often act a lot like women want them too or think they will. Which means that some of our heroes think and behave in ways suspiciously similar to women. lol

  4. Haha, well, what you might be noticing is more of a market-driven bias rather than a purposefully desire to portray men. lol After all, publishers want to sell books and they’re pretty sure that romance readers would rather pay money to read about the guys of their dreams. Right or wrong, so it is.

    ….For me personally, I have noticed this. I am the first to admit that I do so love Henry Tilney (of Northanger Abbey), but that’s probably because he is so darn perfect. I mean, really, a guy who loves books, is ever happy, well mannered AND knows woman’s fashion. ;)

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