“Ask Me to Marry You” is a novella with an unusual twist on the age-old mail order bride story. In it, Audra Drysdale has come to realize that in order to save the family ranch after her father’s death, she needs a man to run it. Although she knows how to do it herself, her hands do not trust a woman to be in charge. Not only that but another rancher wants the ranch – and Audra. So…she has her uncle find her a temporary husband. Little does she expect she will want to make it permanent.
I am a new reader of Heather Blanton’s novels but what I have read to date has made me a fan. My only complaint about “Ask Me to Marry You” is that it ended much too quickly. I would have been quite happy with a full length novel. I loved her unique take on what she called a “male order bride”. The entire story was well-written and moved along at a fast clip. Her characters were well-rounded and realistic. There was just the right amount of action, danger, humor, and romance for a story of this length and the author made the characters’ faith seem natural and not out-of-place. I like the fact that Blanton is not afraid to present real life with all its grit yet manages to do so without offense. Did I say it ended too soon?
I have more of the author’s books on my Kindle. I really want to find time in my review schedule to work them into my reading. I am so happy that I ran across this author and would recommend her to anyone who enjoys a good Western romance.
A digital copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Though she’s loath to admit it, Audra Drysdale needs a man to save her ranch.
Her father has passed away and her hands are abandoning her like rats from a sinking ship. Worse, neighboring cattle baron Jess Fairbanks is making a play for the Diamond D and Audra, whichever he can get his hands on first.
Audra grudgingly accepts that the mere presence of a husband will keep her men working, and Fairbanks under control. It seems a perfectly reasonable idea, then, to ask her uncle, who is the town attorney and a matchmaker of sorts, to find her a groom—a “proxy” who will take her orders and dish them out to the men.
Dillon Pine is in jail for a conspiracy charge, but because of certain mitigating factors he’s deemed a good risk for an unusual form of probation: serving as Audra’s husband. After a year, he can abandon her and she won’t tell. By then, she will have proven to the cowboys she’s a competent rancher, and the cattle man next door will be looking elsewhere for a wife. But when word gets out that Dillon came to Audra via Evergreen’s matchmaker, he’s dubbed a “male order bride.” The resulting jokes at his expense are constant and brutal. Just how much abuse can Dillon’s pride stand?
When Audra discovers her father’s death was no accident, she realizes her new husband is in danger, too. And she cares . . . quite a lot, it turns out.
To save Dillon, she may have to let go of the one thing she’s fought her whole life to keep.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A former journalist, Heather is an avid researcher and skillfully weaves truth in among fictional story lines. She loves exploring the American West, especially ghost towns and museums. She has walked parts of the Oregon Trail, ridden horses through the Rockies, climbed to the top of Independence Rock, and even held an outlaw’s note in her hand. You can learn more about her and her work at https://ladiesindefiance.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/heatherfreyblanton. Sign up for Heather’s email newsletter to receive the latest book release updates, as well as info about contests and giveaways (https://ladiesindefiance.com/).
Heather is the independent bestselling author of several Christian Westerns, including the Romance in the Rockies series, which has sold over 40,000 copies. Intrigued by the concept of three good sisters stranded in a lawless Colorado mining town, a few notable Hollywood producers have requested the script for her first book in that series, A Lady in Defiance. Heather’s writing is gritty and realistic. In fact, her books have been compared to AMC’s Hell on Wheels series, as well as the legendary Francine Rivers book, Redeeming Love.
She writes Westerns because she grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne movies. Her most fond childhood memory is of sitting next to her father, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester!
She can be reached several different ways:
Christian Westerns is the genre that lets her write about strong pioneer women and men who struggle to find God and then live out their faith in real ways. Romance is always a strong element in her stories because it is such a beautiful gift from God, and a perfect reflection of how he loves His children: sacrificially and lavishly. Heather’s stories aren’t preachy or cheesy, but she hopes they are heart-warming, realistic, illuminating, and glorifying to God. Like good old fashioned Westerns, there is always justice, a moral message, American values, lots of high adventure, unexpected plot twists, and more than a touch of suspense.
“I believe Christian fiction should be messy and gritty, because the human condition is … and God loves us anyway.” — Heather Blanton