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A Madaris Bride for ChristmasA Madaris Bride for Christmas by Brenda Jackson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

* Received this book as a Goodreads First Read*

Hmmm…just finished the book and I feel… Meh…

Okay, so this book has a very consistent theme and repetitive feeling from the main characters, Lee and Carly. They are marrying for convenience and passion and not love…then by golly…they fall in love with each other. Didn’t see that coming, huh? I knew exactly where this book was going before I got there and that killed the thrill for me.

I think the author really spent a lot of time convincing us that the characters were passionate and not in love, then WHAM! They are in love. I would have preferred the typical love at first sight rather than a person marrying for convenience and for ownership of a shop and a luxurious lifestyle (while claiming Carly is not a gold-digger but takes a marriage proposition for her own shop). It felt too long and drawn out to get to where we already knew they would be. I felt the dialogue was also misplaced at several points in the book. Lee, the main male character, sometimes used the term “mercy” and I thought that sounded like an old woman or geriatric male. It just didn’t sound like a young, multi-millionaire. Then the 19 year old sister said “shabbily” in her conversation…and that isn’t quite how a teenager speaks in my mind. So at various points, I was taken out of the story. Maybe some of the terms were just “old” and the story was about younger people. Mama Laverne (the oldest character in the book at 90-something) was the only one that had the wit and youth to her personality.

The main characters were quite two-dimensional, so don’t expect to get a thorough background story or correlate it to any present feelings. You’ll hear about it but you won’t necessarily see the reaction through the characters. You won’t know any past story about Lee as he is absolutely ‘perfect’, of course. I felt like I couldn’t really connect with him at all throughout the book although his last letter to Carly was very sweet (too bad it was the last two pages of the book). Carly had a backstory but not one in which she ever stood up for herself…so it fell flat in my caring about what happened to her. Her sister was actually much stronger in her defense but I hated that Carly never really confronted her past, which made it just linger like a bad taste in my mouth about her as a character.

Also, the saving grace was the mobster story. I felt it was glazed over and not really detailed but it kept me from closing the book for good. I still knew what was going to happen before it did but I at least enjoyed it more.

I found myself rolling my eyes a lot in this book. It’s a truly sappy, gooey love story so if that’s your bag, then you’d probably give some extra stars. I, on the other hand, like a well developed story with a backstory that demands my attention and commands my emotions. This book fell flat in that aspect. I wouldn’t buy it but glad I got a chance to read another Brenda Jackson book since I liked a few of her other books.

– T.R. Horne, author of Breaking Mobius and Crazy Dirty Love, blogger at Raging Book Reviews www.ragingbookreviews.wordpress.com

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