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Sep 25, 2012

To Love and Cherish (Bridal Veil #2) by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

Patience is a forgotten virtue..

To Love and Cherish (Bridal Veil Island #2) by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller
Bethany House, August 2012
Paperback 368 pages
Review copy provided for free from Bethany House, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating: 3.5 stars

When Melinda Colson's employer announces they'll be leaving Bridal Veil Island to return to their home in Cleveland, Melinda hopes her beau, Evan, will propose. But Evan isn't prepared to make an offer of marriage until he knows he can support a wife and family. Evan works as the assistant gamekeeper on Bridal Veil but hopes to be promoted soon. 

Letters strengthen their love, but Melinda remains frustrated at being apart from the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with. Then she learns of a devastating hurricane in Bridal Veil and knows she must give up her position as a lady's maid and make her way back to Evan.
The destruction on Bridal Veil is extensive, meaning every available person is needed to help with cleanup and repairs. Melinda finds a new job on the island, but Evan seems even busier than before, meaning she still never gets to see him. Has she given her heart to the wrong man?
And when Melinda overhears a vicious plot against President McKinley, who is scheduled to visit the island, is Evan the one she should turn to? Will Melinda and Evan ever get the chance to stand at the front of a church and promise "to love and cherish"?

After having read and enjoyed the first book in the Bridal Veil series (review), I was looking forward to book two to revisit this resort style town and its endearing characters. The biggest disappointment is that the characters from the first book were not in this one, as these were all new characters. This is good for readers looking for stand alone reads, and if they started with this one they would not be missing out on any key points except for the struggles of Bridal Veil that the Cunninghams faced in book one.

We are introduced to a maintenance worker/gamekeeper Evan who is hoping for a promotion, and a lady's maid Melinda who wants nothing more than to marry Evan. Melinda sees things one way, and that is her way. Despite being offered sage advice from her elders, and ignoring Evan's clues that he is not ready to settle down with anyone, Melinda throws caution to the wind and leaves her position behind to stay on full time at the resort to be near Evan. She is lucky that she is offered a job there, but she is upset that Evan does not have a lot of free time now that she is close by. The two manage to grow further apart once Melinda moves to Bridal Veil, and Melinda doesn't like giving second chances when she sees Evan with another young lady.

I could empathize with Melinda to a point, remembering myself at her age believing that all we needed was love to survive. Evan had a smarter view of things, and wanted to be able to provide for a wife before obtaining one. Melinda grows impatient as each impediment to her plans causes a greater chasm. The story follows along this trajectory as we see how Bridal Veil runs itself, and some of the shady characters who visit along the way. It takes a climatic ending to get Melinda and Evan to work together while protecting President McKinley and Melinda and Evan finally reach an understanding. The supporting cast was an interesting one, and while I enjoyed the atmosphere and the plot twists, I felt like it had lost some of the zest and emotions that were present in book one. The major theme of  Melinda getting what she wants was just not that appealing after awhile. The Christian theme seemed a bit small to be marketed as such, but still To Love and To Cherish was a quick historical romance escapist read recommended for fans of these authors.