Rock-solid and reliable, confirmed bachelor Caleb McCoy thought nothing could rattle him–until he discovers he needs to pose as Anna Bishop’s intended groom. After saving her life, his honourable code bid Caleb watch over the innocent beauty. And a pretend engagement is the only way to protect her from further harm.
Raised by a single mother and suffragist, Anna doesn’t think much of marriage–and she certainly doesn’t plan to try it herself. But playing Caleb’s blushing bride-to-be makes her rethink her independent ways, because their make-believe romance is becoming far too real…
I actually passed over this one a number of times before downloading it to review. It’s no secret religion and gender equality don’t often go hand in hand, and I made an assumption we were going to be “taught a lesson” about why feminism is “bad”.
However, I have actually enjoyed most of Harlequin’s so-called Christian historical romances, and I was in the mood for something with a nineteenth century US setting, so I thought I’d give it a go.
The Engagement Bargain actually turned out to be a solid read, and I didn’t feel offended. Author Sherri Shackelford bravely tackles some issues more conservative readers might not be totally on board with, and so I appreciated the book all the more. Mostly, I felt like neither hero nor heroine came out of the book looking too over-the-top in their views, and I thought the women’s suffrage topic was dealt with sensitively.
The Christian aspect is so minimal you probably won’t even notice it.
I was also pretty happy with the danger that ran through the story. The book starts with our heroine being shot as she’s speaking at a rally for women’s suffrage, and from then on there’s a bit of suspense running throughout.
I also liked the insecure hero who didn’t know the first thing about how to court a woman (he’d never even kissed anybody).
The only problem I had with him was that he was supposed to be a veterinarian and yet he fed stray kittens bowls of milk! Note to anyone who ever finds a stray cat: milk is dangerous, and will make the poor thing sick! It really stuck out to me because I’ve only just finished raising a litter of stray kittens!
I did think occasionally the pacing of the book was a bit off. There were a few too many characters crowding the scenes considering its length, and a couple of scenes I didn’t really feel were necessary.
However, I did like that taking a chance on this book turned out to be a good choice.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.