Review: Short Straw Bride
I really wanted to like Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer. It had all the right elements in place: it was historical fiction, there was a little bit of suspense and intrigue, and tension between characters. And Meredith herself was just such a likable, kind character. But for me, the story fell short.
Short Straw Bride is the story of Meredith Hayes, an orphan and ward of her uncle, who is being courted for her land in a deal that would vastly please her suitor and secure her uncle’s business. On an evening out with her suitor, she overhears a plot to burn the Archer brothers off their land, and remembering an kindness by Travis Archer from her youth, she heads out to the ranch to warn them. When she is injured, and forced to stay in their home unchaperoned, her uncle insists that one of the Archer brothers repairs her reputation by wedding her, and the brothers draw straws.
Meredith navigates a new marriage, a house full of recluse bachelors, and serious challenges to her safety with a surprising amount of grace. It is here, in the midst of these things that Witemeyer introduces the backdrop of Meredith’s faith.
As I said, Meredith is a very likable character, just not so realistic. Is it really possible that she would be forced into the position of marrying the man she fell for so very long ago, or that he would love her back? Would the family really have acted so chivalrously?
I am a huge fan of historical fiction, but I found that the context lacked in this instance. It was difficult to place historically based on the details we are provided with, which made the context, something that could have greatly enriched the story, into something quite a bit more nebulous. Concrete details added to the setting would have made it more believable and would have planted it more firmly in the category of historical fiction.
I give the Short Straw Bride two stars out of five. Witemeyer starts with a great concept, but unfortunately, it didn’t carry though for me.
*I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher for a fair and honest review.