Have you ever read a romance that left you with a big, giant, foolish grin on your face? Amy Barry’s westerns do that for me; they’re delightful hoots with lovable characters and this one tops her last. Marrying off Morgan McBride continues Junebug McBride’s quest to get all of her older brothers happily married off, come hell or high water. There are hijinks to be had, kisses to be shared, and a very sweet romance at the center of it all.
Junebug McBride may just be the very best historical romance PoV character of all time. The funny, witty fifteen-year-old tomboy tries her darndest to take care of her four brothers, but she was not cut out for chores and housewifely burdens and – darn it – she wants some space of her own, too. With one brother, Kit, married off to Maddy (Kit McBride Gets a Wife) a year before, Junebug now has her eldest brother, Morgan, in her matchmaking sights.
Morgan, meanwhile, is planning on going back on the trail after years of tending to his siblings now that Maddy and Kit can watch over the place together. But Junebug wants to marry Morgan off – to keep him from leaving their little hometown of Bear Creek, Montana. This is going to be difficult as Morgan has “as much poetry in him as a cooking pot.” Her serious, stolid, bullheaded brother drives her crazy – but she, naturally, also loves him a bunch.
Junebug’s ad selling Morgan’s best (and worst) qualities reach Epiphany – Pip – Hopgood in Nebraska, but she picks it out of desperation more than anything. Pip is the last unmarried sister in her family and she definitely doesn’t want to end up an old maid. But Pip is not conventional in any respect – she’s much taller than most of the men in her hometown, and she is plain of face and filled with fearless opinions and brio. Her parents are getting desperate, and not a single man seems interested in her; in fact, her ancient last prospect has turned her down for a mail order bride. Out of desperation she turns to the Matrimonial Times, and picks out Morgan’s advertisement.
The problem is that when Pip arrives in Montana expecting to marry Morgan, he’s quite confused, as he’s definitely not looking for true love. A comedy of manners ensues as Morgan and Pip try to figure out how to fall in love (or if they even want to BE in love), Junebug tries to defend her actions, and the McBride boys try to take high tea. Can true love sprout from these humble starts?
Man, does this one sparkle, and the comedy flows with just as much speed as the romance does. Pip is a great heroine, looking for a household of her own but finding something much more interesting. She thinks the ultimate solution to her problems is to project ladylike elegance, but naturally that’s not gonna win her points in the McBride household. Only by convincing Morgan to accept the real her does she find love.
I actually sympathized with Morgan’s desire for freedom over romance; when you’re the responsible adult who’s dedicated your whole life to raising your siblings, of course you want to experience something outside of the small world you’ve made for yourself. That made him stand out from the many, many dukes, cowboys and pirates who have refused the call of true love because of their bad family experiences. The McBrides are close-knit, exasperated, loving, and anything but horrible people.
The romance that results has a lot of tension but it’s sensible tension; he’s being stubborn for a sensible reason; she’s trying to be someone else because she’s not going home. The end solution is the best possible one, and it even teaches Junebug a lesson or two
In fact, every character is memorable, even off-page ones who score passing mentions. I want a whole novel about the miners who live and work in Bear Creek. Heck, I want a YA novel about Junebug!
If you have any fondness at all for western romances, then make Marrying off Morgan McBride a part of your summer romance reading list.
Recent Comments …
I think that’s true for all lists. They are a reflection of where we are now, not an edifice we…
On my TBR!
Favorites listes are always a chalenge for me. I don’t have a favorite food or movie. What day of the…
We’re going for Top however our readers define it.
I believe the audio of book 2 is in the works :)
There IS room for both, but there’s still the possibility of the list being skewed because of “rose-coloured” voting for…