A March Bride

July 3, 2016

A March Bride. Rachel Hauck. 2014. 99 pages. Zondervan Books. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.]

What girl doesn’t dream of marrying a prince and becoming queen in a faraway kingdom? It’s literally the fairy tale most girls dream of from the time they’re old enough to speak. That wasn’t quite what Susanna, a girl-next-door from Georgia, thought she was getting when she started dating Nathaniel. However, she soon finds herself head over heels in love and facing the prospect of becoming a part of Brighton royalty.

The hitch? She has to give up everything she has dreamed of. No small-town wedding with her closest friends and family looking on. No quiet life in America. She’ll even have to renounce her American citizenship. And as the wedding draws near, all her carefully laid plans are coming apart one by one.Soon, the weight gets to be too much, and she leaves Brighton to rethink her choices. Her faith is put to the test, but she’s not sure it will be enough for her to stay in Brighton.

A March Bride is refreshing. So many romance novels leave faith out of the examination of a relationship and impending marriage. With this book, however, Susanna’s faith is put front and center. As she grapples with her reluctance to let go of what defines her for the sake of her relationship with Nathaniel, she leans on her religion to help her process what is happening or could happen. Hauck was able to do this in a genuine way. It never felt forced and was written in a way that many readers could use to reflect on their own experiences. I think this is a great alternative to other contemporary romance books that put sex and other aspects of the relationship ahead of an honest examination of how ones’ beliefs impact relationships.

A March Bride is a novella, part of the “A Year of Brides” collection. As such, it reads a lot more quickly than what I usually prefer. I also felt that this made it feel rushed, particularly toward the end. In fact, I felt that the build-up was closer to that of a novel, but then it was cut short. I came into this collection of twelve stories not wanting to have any preconceived notions, so I didn’t look into whether these books were part of any series beyond the collection. As I was reading “A March Bride,” I felt as if I was coming into a second book in a series rather than reading a standalone novella. As it turns out, it is a sequel to Once Upon a Prince. I would definitely recommend reading that prior to A March Bride so one can enjoy the full scope of Susanna and Nathaniel’s courtship, then follow-up with the continuation of their relationship.

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