Thursday, 2 June 2011

Too Rich for a Bride - Mona Hodgson

Ida Sinclair has no intention to find a husband when she moves to Cripple Creek, the town where her sisters, Nell and Kat, discovered true love and settled down to start their families. Instead, Ida is keen to make a name for herself in the business world, working for the infamous Mollie O'Bryan. Mollie might have some practices that Ida's family disapproves of, but Ida is impressed by her achievements in a profession dominated by men. But despite her attempts to immerse herself in the world of business and to ignore the matchmaking efforts of her sisters and her landlady, Ida finds herself torn between the affections of two men. Colin Wagner, a successful lawyer, and Tucker Raines, a preacher who has returned to Cripple Creek to help out with his ailing father's business, find themselves drawn to the feisty, independent Ida. But will Ida tear herself away from her new job long enough to notice the attentions of these two men? And if she does, how will she know which man is right for her?

Although I've not yet had the chance to read the first book in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series, I can honestly say that this is a series you can jump right into and feel at home with. Mona has an excellent way of creating a family unit around her main character, not only with Ida's sisters and their husbands, but also the wonderful matchmaking landlady, Miss Hattie, who became a second mother to the girls when they moved to Cripple Creek, and eventually Tucker Raines. At the end of the book we briefly meet the youngest Sinclair sister, Vivian, and Tucker's sister, Willow, who I hope will feature in the next book in the series. These are definitely characters that you don't want to leave after one book, and I may even go back and read Two Brides Too Many.

While I loved the cast of characters in this book, I have to say that the plot wasn't the strongest one I'd encountered in a historical romance. Ida's desire to be a businesswoman was definitely unique, and I loved that Mona showed her readers that you can have both a career and a family. I have to admit that I really have no idea how stocks work, so I was slightly lost during the sections where Ida and Mollie discussed their work. There was a sense of mystery surrounding Mollie and her work and her relationship with Colin Wagner, and although I was happy with the outcome of this little mystery the climax came very suddenly and almost out of nowhere, and left me feeling that there hadn't been enough of a build up to it. Although I realise that the mystery was essential in Ida choosing between her two beaus, it seemed to get side-lined slightly in order to focus on the romance.

Like most romance readers, I could figure out who Ida was going to choose from very early on in the book, but this didn't spoil my enjoyment of the story. I loved seeing the relationship between Ida and Tucker developing, and their difficulties in overcoming the boundaries that they were certain were between them. I actually feel that I related to Tucker a lot more than Ida, and maybe this is because I'm not so confident and career-driven as Ida is. Tucker also had an interesting back-story, which gently unfolded as the plot developed. I did find the conclusion of Tucker's problems with his family to be a bit sudden and perhaps a bit too convenient, but otherwise I'd have to say that he was my favourite character in the whole book.

Too Rich for a Bride isn't one of my favourites out of the historical romances I've read so far this year, but it's definitely a sweet, enjoyable read. As this is only Mona's second addition to the world of historical romances, I can definitely see her writing improving in the future and maybe even coming to rival some of the stars of the genre. If you're a fan of historical novels set in the era of westward expansion, but wish your heroines were a bit more self-sufficient and interested in more than just romance and babies, then Too Rich for a Bride is definitely one to check out. 7/10

Review title provided courtesy of Waterbrook Press.

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