Review: A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist

I didn’t know I was thirsting for this type of novel until I glutted myself on it. The story itself is an inspirational set in America during the Civil War aftermath. I picked it up and read and read and read. It’s sweet and chaste, with both leads good God fearing people, which I found refreshing and charming. Deeanne Gist is a master weaver of storytelling, effortlessly combining fact and fiction into one cohesive whole.

The premise of the book truly is based on fact, which is really cool. Obviously the writer exercised creative license with her research but a good amount of that research appeared in some manifestation in the book. Clippings from newspapers, edited and/or condensed, are sprinkled throughout the novel and help set the mood. The letter to the heroine from her father was inspired by a similar missive one man sent his daughter. And so forth…

It does not talk down to you and doesn’t hold any ulterior religious agenda. Yes, both leads are Christian and quote the Bible, but neither they nor the author try to persuade the reader into Christianity or a particular sect of Christianity. There are only two churches and they’re named after the color of their paint. You shouldn’t shy from this book because of the fact it’s inspirational. I have limited experience in inspirational romance, but that will change because of this novel and Deeanne’s expert handling. I plan to get all of her published works from the library and glom on them.

When you open the book you are transported to 1860s Seattle (part of the Washington Territory at that time). Joseph Denton is a lumberjack whose land claim is in jeopardy because his wife died and never showed up in the Territory. It wouldn’t be an issue, except he’s being sued by a man he fired.

The judge through marriage is related to this man and while having a bias is pretty fair-minded toward Joe. He gives Joe a year to get a new wife or hand over his wife’s death certificate. Against his better judgment, Joe takes part of Asa Shinn Mercer’s bride importation project for the Territory. He would go East to get war widows and orphans and bring them back to the Pacific Northwest.

Anna Ivey, one of Mercer’s Girls, desires to be a cook and not a bride. When Mercer gives her a certificate for passage it’s with the understanding that her future employer would settle the debt and she would work it off. Needless to say Joe is not happy, but then it’s not Anna’s problem. Her paperwork from Mercer is different from Joe’s.

The judge is not happy but he gives Joe an extension. Joe is fortunate enough to have another choice, but the woman is old enough to be his grandmother and she hasn’t any teeth and refuses to wed until she gets them!

So Joe brings Anna back where she starts to cook for him and his men. Not even a week passes before news comes that his elderly betrothed’s husband is not dead, but very much alive and coming to claim his wife. That leaves Anna and Joe is more than happy to pursue her… but she can’t find out his intentions or about the returned husband until her answer to his proposal is yes.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: A Bride in the Bargain

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Eclipse Party Game Ideas

The official countdown for June 30th has begun. That means it’s time to get ready for your Eclipse party. Every Twilight themed party needs games. Below are some of the games you can entertain your party with while waiting in line or at home before/after the movie. (EDIT: Eclipse is being re-released for Bella’s Birthday September 13th, 2010. The movie will be back in theaters September 10, 2010. Who’s excited?)

Forks Yearbook:

You will need paper, pencils, and a timer.

How to Play: Players have one minute to name all the characters, actors, and places in the Twilight Saga that start with any given letter of the alphabet.

Who Wins: The person with the most names listed or with the most unique names listed (derived by crosschecking everyone’s lists) wins.

Eclipse Jeopardy:

If a small party, play as individuals. If a large party divide into teams.

Set up: You will need index cards, pencils, and tape. Come up with 5 questions to fit 6 categories for a total of 30 questions. Put the questions and answers on one side of the index card and the value amount for the question on the other side. Create a board from the index cards by taping them up on a wall or window.

How to Play: A player or team will pick a category and dollar amount. Someone will take the index card down and read the question on the back. A correct response earns the dollar value of the clue. If the response is incorrect, reveal the answer and no points are distributed.

Category ideas include: Individual Actors, Entire Cast, Movies, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Vampires, Werewolves, Humans, and Stephenie Meyer.

Who Wins: The person or team with most money at the end of the game.

Alice’s Visions:

(Game Name taken from Twilight Scene-It.) You will need paper and pencils or a chalkboard/dry erase board and chalk/markers.

How to Play: Players will try to stump the group by drawing scenes from the Twilight and New Moon movies. Each drawing is given three minutes. How many turns taken depends entirely on the amount of players participating, if necessary divide group into teams again. For every drawing guessed correctly, the guesser/team will get a point. In team play, if at the end of three minutes the scene is still unknown the team of the drawer will get one minute to guess. If they get it right the team earns two points.

Who Wins: Team with most points.

Twilight Charades:

Divide the group into Team Jacob/Werewolves and Team Edward/Vampires. Evenly. If there’s an odd number, have the person who sits out designate what the others will act out and keep time.

How to Play: Every member of the Jacob/Werewolves Team will impersonate a vampire or human character. It’s up to Team Edward/Vampires to figure out who they are as quick as they can. Afterwards it’s time to switch and the Edward/Vampire Team will impersonate a werewolf or human character (preferably different humans than already depicted) with the Jacob/Werewolf Team guessing.

Who Wins: The team with the shortest time wins!

Newborn Hunt:

Play in backyard, at a local park, or soccer field. You will need a flashlight and perhaps a pair of extra batteries.

How to Play: This is a mix of hide and seek and tag. Players try to hide from the seeker who guards the jail or safety zone depending on rules. If it is the jail, then all players hit with the light must go to the jail and wait. If it’s the safety zone, players will try to get there while avoiding the seeker.

Additional Ideas for Game Play:

  • Have players form pairs or teams. Any untagged pair or team member can release a caught person from jail.
  • If teams are formed and there’s no jail, just a safety zone, you can play by points. Team with the most safe people at the end of two rounds wins.
  • Play starts with just the seeker, no teams, as the seeker tags other players, these players join in the hunt. The winner is the last man standing. If a new round begins, the last player tagged is now the seeker.

Who Wins: No real winner. Game is ongoing as the seeker position is handed over, usually to first person tagged.

Standard Games:

Eclipse Game Prizes and Party Favors:

If you’re interested, here are some ideas for party prizes and favors.

Got other party ideas? Share them below!

Adapt New Moon Party ideas to your Eclipse Party: New Moon Bash: Party Ideas!; More New Moon Movie Party Ideas

Twilight and Eclipse Party Favors:

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Eclipse Movie Party Ideas Continued in Twilight Eclipse Party Ideas: Invitations, Food, and Supplies.