Customer Reviews


118 Reviews
5 star:
 (70)
4 star:
 (26)
3 star:
 (12)
2 star:
 (10)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best mail order bride book I've ever read. And I've read tons!
I can't remember the last time I stayed up into the wee hours of the night to finish a book. I could NOT go to bed last night until I had read the last page and I started in the afternoon. You know it's a fantastic book to hold my attention for over 300 pages, make me skip dinner, and then make me unable to rest until I finished to whole thing. I think it was about 2AM by...
Published on September 10, 2011 by Michelle Sutton

versus
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Guess I'm not as devoted
I really don't think I am a romance reader anymore. While I was never a huge fan of the genre, I found most Christian historical romances enjoyable in the past. Lately though, I feel like the stories are making me jaded. I'm not enjoying them the way I used to. Unfortunately this book falls into that category.

I usually like stories about mail order brides. I...
Published on October 1, 2011 by Deborah


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best mail order bride book I've ever read. And I've read tons!, September 10, 2011
This review is from: Deeply Devoted: A Novel (The Blue Willow Brides) (Paperback)
I can't remember the last time I stayed up into the wee hours of the night to finish a book. I could NOT go to bed last night until I had read the last page and I started in the afternoon. You know it's a fantastic book to hold my attention for over 300 pages, make me skip dinner, and then make me unable to rest until I finished to whole thing. I think it was about 2AM by the time I went to bed. This story was awesome! It started out sweet like any other Christian book but kept intensifying with each chapter. Important elements of the story slowly trickled out over time and made it impossible to put down.

I had not read any books by Maggie Brendan before and figured this would be like any other typical Christian prairie romance, but I decided to give it a try anyway. Boy, was I wrong about that! It was anything but typical. I am so glad I joined the blog tour for this book because this is one of the few Christian fiction titles available that deals with mail order bride issues that doesn't make you wait for the entire book while they "get acquainted," if you know what I mean. I was thrilled about that. I always figured in real life it didn't work that way, only in Christian books, LOL! And unlike many novels that deal with secrets, this one had situations that were believable and worked for me. I absolutely loved the characters. All of them. Even the meddling mother/mother-in-law.

This novel is not only incredibly romantic with a hero that is swoon-worthy, but it makes you think about communication in marriage and makes you want to be a better spouse. Seriously. I loved Peter. Absolutely adored him. And when he got upset I understood it. Rather than getting ticked off at him I just hurt for him. Same for Catherine. She wasn't a petty wife with dumb issues that are supposed to carry an entire story. She was like a real person to me. I loved her and her sisters. I especially loved the scenes with her and Peter and their coming together as husband and wife. Tastefully done, yet enthralling at the same time.

I wish all Christian historicals were this yummy and inspirational. I think more people would switch over from secular fiction if they found more books like these on the inspy shelves. The scriptures all fit perfectly, too, and there was nothing sappy about the faith element. It wasn't heavy-handed, but was clearly present. I can't say enough good things about the book. The writing was stellar, too. I highly recommend it. It's making my best fiction list for this year!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Mail-Order Bride Romance!, September 13, 2011
This review is from: Deeply Devoted: A Novel (The Blue Willow Brides) (Paperback)
This spring I read a beautiful mail-order bride story by Catherine Richmond (Spring for Susannah) and I was blown away and figured it would be a long time before I read another on par with it. This fall Maggie Brendan has once again proven that mail-order bride stories can be fresh and exciting. It just goes to show that even if you think there can't possibly be anything that hasn't been written before in a romance the right person with the right kind of talent may come along and blow that thought out of the water. Ms. Brendan is definitely one of those talents.

Catharine Olsen leaves the tragedy of her past behind her as she sails to America to meet her husband Peter Andersen little does he know that Catharine brings more baggage than just her mother's Blue Willow china. Both want their relationship to work but Peter's nosey mother, Clara will go to any length to prove that Catharine has ulterior motives when it comes to marriage. Secrets kept and a drought and pestilence threat could prove to be the straw that breaks their tenuous romance in two.

From the first page I was captivated. I loved seeing a real romance develop between two people who first fell in love through letters. It seems in most mail-order bride tales the love story unfolds gradually and by the end they're married (predictable) but not so with this book. Ms. Brendan does not shy away from issues like love and intimacy. Everything is tastefully done and not offensive in any way and the story just gets better and better.

The secondary characters are equally as impressive as the main characters. Catharine's little sisters, the nearly grown Greta and the precocious Anna definitely cause their fair share of problems but they support their eldest sibling as any sister would. I'm really looking forward to reading more of Anna and Greta in this series. It will be especially interesting to see what happens between Greta and her beau (who I don't like very much). Don't even get me started on Clara Andersen, oy vey that woman most definitely fits the meddling mother-in-law mold, however she does gain your sympathy by the conclusion of the book.

As far as romance goes Deeply Devoted is one of my favorites this year. If I hadn't already promised this book to someone else it would be going on my keeper shelf. Maggie Brendan has definitely outdone herself with this book, it is by far my favorite of hers to date. If you only read a few romances this year make sure Deeply Devoted is one of them.

*Thanks to the author and publisher for my review copy*
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Guess I'm not as devoted, October 1, 2011
This review is from: Deeply Devoted: A Novel (The Blue Willow Brides) (Paperback)
I really don't think I am a romance reader anymore. While I was never a huge fan of the genre, I found most Christian historical romances enjoyable in the past. Lately though, I feel like the stories are making me jaded. I'm not enjoying them the way I used to. Unfortunately this book falls into that category.

I usually like stories about mail order brides. I find the concept fascinating and terrifying for the women who went through this process. This is actually one of the few foreign mail order brides that I've read in Christian fiction so I found the twist to be unique. Not only did Catharine have to adjust living with someone she never met but she also had to adapt to a new country as well.

However, I never once clicked with Peter or Catharine. I think it all started when it's made known immediately that Catharine never told Peter that her sisters were coming with her to live with them. She says that she did it because she was afraid he'd say no, but you know what? He had every right to say no! All of a sudden now he's suppose to provide for 2 additional people that he had no idea about? What if he couldn't afford to keep them? She just didn't think and it really made me irritated and not a good way for me to get into the book. This is just one of the many secrets that the couple keeps from each other. Throw in a mother in law who is a big snoop and you have a recipe for trouble. I kept wishing that someone would just say something but no. The whole story revolves around people not telling the truth, the other party finding out the truth but not telling the other person they know the truth and everyone pretending everything's ok on the outside.

I also got very agitated at an exchange between the couple. Catharine is asking Peter about the soldiers in the area. Peter tells her "don't worry your pretty little head" about them. Instead of being insulted or offended by this comment, she is FLATTERED because she thinks he's telling her she's pretty! I was seriously disgusted by the way she is portrayed here and I asked others how they would feel and they all felt the same way I did. I can only guess that the author is trying to show Catharine as having low self esteem or something like that because otherwise this just seems that all anyone cares about is appearances and not smarts.

I did appreciate the presence of divorce during the time period and involving Christians to show that sometimes it is necessary. The author does also show the research that she did extensively in her notes at the end of the book. I did find it interesting that Peter's mother has secrets as well and is not the uppity woman she tries to be. I feel like there will be more to the sisters' stories in the future because I did not feel like I got to know them very much in this story. Unfortunately I don't think I'll be reading it after the way I felt with this book. I do think however that most fans of mail order brides and Christian historical fiction will enjoy this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast and Easy Read, October 5, 2011
This review is from: Deeply Devoted: A Novel (The Blue Willow Brides) (Paperback)
I read a lot of Christian love stories. Sometimes they just all sound the same. This one was refreshing and had some new spins.

I'm actually looking forward to the rest in this series, the Blue Willow Brides.

The characters were very easy to like and had me thinking twice about certain issues in history. One was the use of pesticides - I had no idea when people starting using them. That is the teacher - coming out in me.)

I could not recommend this book for the young at heart. It had adult only issues! Overall, it was a delightful book that was a very easy read.

Blessings to you! You are loved!

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Note: I was sent complimentary copy for review purposes only. This review has not been monetarily compensated. The review was my honest opinion and views and not influenced by the sponsor in any way.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Mail Order Bride Romance, October 5, 2011
This review is from: Deeply Devoted: A Novel (The Blue Willow Brides) (Paperback)
My Thoughts

Well, I love books about mail order brides, and this one was awesome, one of the best I've read! I was so touched by Peter's acceptance of Catharine's sisters and his attitude toward Catharine. And well, Peter was just a romantic sweetheart swooning his new wife and trying to please her in every way. And I am so glad he didn't let his mom ruin his life. Along with the characters of Peter and Catharine, I enjoyed the sisters as well as the other characters in this story. The author truly has a way of creating characters that capture your attention early in the story.

In Deeply Devoted, Maggie Brendan creates a wonderful romantic story of love, devotion and forgiveness, creating unique and remarkable characters that are so real and believable. And what a wonderful Wyoming town to live in with its kind and friendly people willing to help out when their neighbors are in need. And the author describes the area with its dryness, wind and hardly no rain, especially for a wheat farmer in such detail the reader is drawn into the setting as much as the story. I wanted to take a trip to Wyoming while I was reading this book!

If you like historical fiction this is a must read for you. Grab a copy of this book with a cup of your favorite coffee or tea and enjoy the journey of the wheat farmer and the mail order bride. You will not be disappointed! Now just waiting on the second book!

"Available October 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

I received this book from the publisher Revell to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lack of historical facts, April 1, 2012
I know many, probably most, readers of historical fiction just like the setting and don't care if the author runs wild and lose with historical correctness. For people like me who do care about a novel sticking with the time period, this book will grate on your nerves a little bit with sayings and phrases that don't match the time period in the first 2/3 of this book. It wasn't often that the author had very minor time warp slips that I didn't find too annoying until the 66% mark on my kindle. At that point the author brought a latter part of the 20th century dessert (Tiramisu) into use, and it seemed like every other page from that point on had some pretty obvious historical problems.

Other than jerking me around in a time machine, this was a fairly interesting novel. Had the author been a little more careful, I would have rated it 3.5, maybe 4 stars. One star is simply because it involved a mail order bride (my favorite!). In the middle, I found some of the interaction between Catherine and Peter contrived and just spinning wheels with the story line. Then suddenly the story picked up again and all the loose ends were quickly tied together. Not quite completely believably, but it wraps up.

For an author who writes a lot of historical novels, these slips are sad. I have enjoyed Maggie Brendan's novels in the past, but I will be less likely to buy one in future.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bibliophile Support Group Review, September 30, 2011
This review is from: Deeply Devoted: A Novel (The Blue Willow Brides) (Paperback)
Deeply Devoted is a historical romance novel written by Maggie Brendan, with Christian readers in mind.

It's 1887 and Catharine and her two sisters, Greta and Anna, are making a risky trip to Wyoming, leaving their home of Amsterdam, Holland behind for a fresh start. For these three lovely European ladies it's a both painful and hopeful change of pace - the memory of their recently deceased parents lingering in their hearts. They couldn't bring much with them, though Catharine made sure to keep her mother's set of Blue Willow china - even though there aren't many pieces left that are whole.

The only reason they've been able to make the trip to America is that Catharine is a mail-order bride. She's corresponded with Peter Andersen, a wheat farmer, for six months after reading his ad - and has agreed to marry him. But he doesn't know she's bringing two sisters with him. Nor does he know the anguished, and possibly shameful, past that she is hiding. If she were to tell him everything, surely he would not marry her. And if he didn't, how would she fulfill her vow to take care of her sisters?

When Peter and Catharine meet, Peter is delighted with her beauty and sweetness - though he's not too happy with the surprise add-ons. Can he support three more mouths? He'll do his best. But despite their mutual attraction - can they find a deeper connection? Can love really form when both may be keeping secrets? Maybe the only way will be by trusting in God...

I'm a huge fan of inspirational historical fiction! I always wish that Jane Austen had written more, as I love that witty, fun, insightful romance in a time period that is rich and full. I'm open to trying almost any time period - though not every book can be as awesome as Miss Austen, of course.

In Deeply Devoted we meet Catharine and her sisters right when they are about ready to step off the train in Wyoming. The town that will now be their home is quaint and small, though not so tiny as not to have a nice inn and restaurant. We immediately get placed in the midst of this whirlwind marriage. The initial meeting doesn't go off without hiccups, however, as Catharine's rather large omission of bringing her sisters' along is revealed.

There's an interesting dynamic is having the two sisters with Catharine and Peter, as that's not a common occurrence in mail-order bride stories. Not that I've read a ton of them, but it seems like a fresh little difference. Greta and Anna are definitely individual and likable, and I couldn't help but wonder if the next books in the series Deeply Devoted starts off (The Blue Willow Brides) will be centered on each of them.

I liked Deeply Devoted - but I kind of had a hot/cold relationship with it. For example, the characterizations of Peter and Catharine were a bit bland and monotone for me. They lacked a spark, both chemistry-wise between the two and personality-wise as individuals. Catharine's secret pain (which we only get hints of for a long time, until an anguished reveal) gives her a bit more depth of the two, but for a long time Peter was doing absolutely nothing for me, unfortunately.

I think what it might have been, in my opinion, was Peter's eagerness. In so many ways he just seemed like a wide-eyed little boy, instead of a hardworking man that resorted to a mail-order bride to fulfill his loneliness. I'm perfectly fine with a good guy - someone who is kind and sweet to women, but he just seemed a little... unrealistic to me. Now, you may completely disagree! He could be your absolute dream man - and you may think I'm crazy - I encourage you to read Deeply Devoted for yourself!

But before you go and think I only had negative thoughts about Deeply Devoted, stick with me here. As the novel continued, more conflict was introduced in a subtle way. Most of it was by the disruption of Peter's mother, who was none too happy to find out she had a new daughter-in-law, and Catharine's continued lie of omission. And eventually Peter became more attractive to me, funnily enough it was right around the same time Catharine started thinking the same thing. He grew on me slowly, though I would never say he's a favorite male lead of mine.

Yet there was enough gentle day-to-day interactions on the farm and slow-burn closeness developing between the two, that when things started to fall apart - I cared. In fact, the best part by far, for me, was the last quarter of the book. Both characters began to show their flaws and true selves, whether they wanted to or not, and Catharine seemed to grow more of a backbone than she'd shown up to that point. I was turning pages quite swiftly, worried about them and finally feeling more involved in the story.

I did very much enjoy Deeply Devoted, and was never once bored. It flew by, as romances are apt to do. The conclusion was touching and I would be more than willing to read the next novel in the series - it's just too bad I never felt the connection to the characters that would have made Deeply Devoted ten times better for me. Again, that's just my personal opinion - and you should read the book for yourself!!!

*Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

*I received a copy of Deeply Devoted from the Baker Publishing Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

*To read more reviews from the Bibliophile Support Group or comment on them, simply click on my Amazon profile and find a link there. For some reason the reviews never allow me to post the URL in the review. But I'd love you to check out my blog, where I post new reviews every Monday and Friday.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Sweet Blend of Cultures & Romance, September 25, 2011
This review is from: Deeply Devoted: A Novel (The Blue Willow Brides) (Paperback)
Peter Andersen is a simple farmer who longs for a bride of his own. Overlooking the local girls, Peter corresponds with a mail-order bride from Holland. Each letter he receives convinces him more that Catharine Olsen is the right woman for him. When she arrives, he is pleased with her beauty and sweetness. However, she failed to mention that she would be bringing her two younger sisters to live with them. Frustrated and unsure about this turn of events, Peter takes a leap of faith and marries Catharine the day after she arrives in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Settling into life as a married man and older brother-figure is undeniably difficult, but quite satisfying. However, when Peter's mother, Clara, conducts a private investigation, Catharine's secrets are exposed. Will their new relationship survive? Can Peter and Catharine learn to trust God and each other?

Deeply Devoted is the start of Maggie Brendan's Blue Willow Brides series. Filled with a tender romance between Peter and Catharine that many readers will enjoy, Deeply Devoted also addresses deeper issues of Catharine's previous failed marriage. This drama adds tension to the plot and keeps the plot from stagnating. Personally, I thought the story moved a little too slow, but other readers may feel differently. The characters of Deeply Devoted were well-developed and Clara's internal conflict was especially intriguing.

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "DEEPLY" ENJOYABLE!!!, September 9, 2011
This review is from: Deeply Devoted: A Novel (The Blue Willow Brides) (Paperback)
Maggie Brennan has done it again--stolen my heart with a love story that left me breathless. As gentle as a prairie breeze and as delicate as the Blue Willow china for which the series is named, Deeply Devoted captivates from the first page to the last with a tender tale that woos the heart and whispers to the soul.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Devoted, October 9, 2013
This review is from: Deeply Devoted: A Novel (The Blue Willow Brides) (Paperback)
I love mail-order bride novels, so when I saw Deeply Devoted I just had to read it. However, I'm so torn about what to give this book! It was one that I didn't want to put down and had to finish, but it was also so annoying at times because some of the aspects of the story were so unbelievable.

The story begins with Catharine along her sisters arriving in Wyoming from Amsterdam after six months of Catharine corresponding with Peter, her fiance. Peter had no idea that she was bringing along her two sisters, which is the start of the trust issues between them.

I loved most of the characters, even though they were a bit dull at times, so this is the reason I'm giving it a 3 star rating instead of a 2. I was strongly considering giving it a 4 star, but the negatives of the story were just too many.

For a story that takes place in the 1880's I found all the modern ideas very unbelievable. Women wearing overalls and thinking them cute. People considering a women of 18 all grownup and not needing, or allowing, anyone to tell her what to do anymore. But I think the attitudes regarding divorce were the biggest shock to me and the one I found the hardest to believe. I can't really get into detail about it, as the reason behind it is kind of a surprise, but I still had to mention it. Also the big scene at the end, which I saw coming, while very sweet was so ridiculous.

I plan on reading the next books in this series and am hoping that they will be better. If you love mail-order bride novels you'll probably want to read this one, but I would suggest borrowing it, if at all possible, first.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Deeply Devoted: A Novel (The Blue Willow Brides)
Deeply Devoted: A Novel (The Blue Willow Brides) by Maggie Brendan (Paperback - September 1, 2011)
$15.00 $13.50
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.