To Have and To Hold by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller (Bridal Veil Island Book #1)
Bethany House Publishers, September 2011
Christian Fiction/Historical Romance
Ppbk 352 pages
Review copy provided by the publisher via HNR, thank you!
Review originally posted for Historical Novels Review Magazine, February 2012
Burton Book Review Rating:
When Audrey Cunningham's father proposes that they move to Bridal Veil Island, where he grew up, she agrees, thinking this will help keep him sober and close to God. But they arrive to find wealthy investors buying up land to build a grand resort on the secluded island—and they want the Cunninghams' acreage.
Contractor Marshall Graham can't imagine why the former drinking buddy of his deceased father would beckon him to Bridal Veil Island. And when Boyd Cunningham asks him to watch over Audrey, Marshall is even more confused. He has no desire to be saddled with caring for this fiery young woman who is openly hostile toward him. But when Audrey seems to be falling for another man—one who has two little girls Audrey adores—Marshall realizes she holds more of his heart than he realized. Which man will Audrey choose? And can she hold on to her ancestral property in the face of overwhelming odds?
A popular writing duo returns to historical romance with this formulaic novel focusing on faith, tragedy and hopeful triumph. After conquering alcoholism, Boyd has found God but not in time to save his ancestral home. He faces hard times while his daughter Audrey feels the burden of his mistakes during her struggle to secure her own future.
Struggling with her faith in God, Audrey is forced to deal with her family's changing circumstances of both financial hardship and the loss of loved ones. Bridal Veil Island is to become a resort town, and Audrey has to help see this plan come to fruition. As host to contractors and investors, forcing a Southern welcome so soon after the Northern Aggression is hard on Audrey’s family. When Marshall Graham arrives at Bridal Veil Island, Audrey is quick to judge and oblivious to Marshall's admirable qualities.
What is left for Audrey when the construction is over is up to her, but will she be able to see past her resentfulness and skepticism? Written in a slow fashion with a few twists, the reader follows along as Audrey battles obstacles and interacts with shady characters; those who don’t love Audrey’s stubbornness won’t love the novel. Audrey could come off as unreasonably righteous and stereotypical while she tried to determine what path to take, and as the main protagonist this was difficult to ignore. Aunt Thora and her shotgun was an amusing element, and I wouldn't mind hearing more of her own story. I would be interested to see what comes next in the Bridal Veil series.