Squeaky Clean Romance – Review of “Bride for the Innkeeper” by Jo Grafford

I know I’ve started a review with these words more than once lately but, as Yogi Berra once said, it’s like dejavu all over again. I’m not sure where to start, but here goes. “Bride for the Innkeeper” is a “Christian” romance. i.e. no sex and little to no romance aside from a few kisses.

Edward Remington has left his wealthy family back east and come west to take over the inn his grandfather bequeathed him. Knowing he’d need a woman to serve as hostess, cook, maid, etc he gets talked into going through a mail-order bride service that just “happened” to’ve received an application from a woman who had all the necessary qualifications. In a matter of a few days, Lacey Cleveland is on a stage headed west with her infant nephew in tow. Her sister had died and her brother-in-law is in prison so she takes the baby and leaves town hoping he won’t be able to find her. Her contract with Edward called for a one month trial period after which either could request an annulment if they weren’t happy. She has thirty days to make herself indispensable.

A lawyer by profession, Edward had turned his back on his wealthy family and his sizeable inheritance in order to take over the inn. Using only money he had saved from his earnings he and the three Howling brothers had repaired and refurbished much of the dilapidated inn by the time Edward brought his new bride home. And Lacey set about putting a woman’s touch on the interior. But what will they do when the brother-in-law gets out of prison and comes looking for his son?

If you’re looking for a squeaky clean historical romance, you will probably enjoy this. However, it’s not my cup of tea for a couple of reasons. First, the fact that it’s a “churchy romance” (my terminology) was my error. Second, the writing is a bit lackluster for my tastes. The author, Jo Grafford began this story introducing Jesse Howling early on and his two brothers shortly thereafter. At first their voices were a bit too cultured for rundown cowboys living in a mountain cave but later they sounded as cultured and “back east” as Edward. To say the voices lacked authenticity is an understatement. I just shook my head and kept reading. The plot basically was a matter of Edward’s faith as the source or his strength and success. And speaking of success, the transformation on the brothers was nothing short of miraculous. It pushes believability beyond the pale.

Since I’ve already touched on the dialogue I won’t belabor that point. Aside from the voices, some of the expressions were much too contemporary for this tale which is supposed to be set in the gold rush era. This is Book one of the Mail Order Brides of Christmas Mountain series. Three stars.

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2 thoughts on “Squeaky Clean Romance – Review of “Bride for the Innkeeper” by Jo Grafford

  1. Thank you for your kind comment. I’ve not done a good job of keeping up & connecting with the kind readers who comment but plan to change that.


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