Customer Reviews: The Bridal Swap (Smoky Mountain Matches Book 2)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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on April 3, 2012
I couldn't wait to read this book after I read The Reluctant Outlaw by this author last week on my Kindle. Josh, the main character had intrigued me from the that book, so I was happy to see he had a story. I sincerely hope Karen Hirst plans on continuing with this series because it is very entertaining. She did a great job of creating "new" characters in this book. Sometimes authors tend to cookie cut the characters in their books, but this was definitely not the case with this book. Very beautiful book, great ending. I stayed up late to finish the book which is not typical of me. I bought and finished it yesterday. I also enjoyed getting to know the O'Malley family much better.
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on December 26, 2012
This is truly inspirational Christian Historical romance. The author, Karen Kirst, is a true wordsmith, being able to paint perfect pictures of scenery and bringing the personalities of her characters to life.

Josh O'Malley thinks he's waiting for his fiancee to step off the coach in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Instead, beautiful Kate Morgan, the bride to be' s sister, arrives to tell him in person that her sister, Francessca, already married another man back home.

The story builds as Josh must deal with this crushing rejection of his heart. We learn that Kate has endured a lifetime of rejection herself at the hands of her wealthy family. Karen writes eloquently so that the reader identifies with the emotions of the characters throughout the book to an ending that makes me ready to read this book once more.

I will buy more books penned by Karen Kirst. I highly recommend reading this book.
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on September 21, 2012
Awhile back I purchased a slew of "Love Inspired Historical" books, just to see what they were like. I had read several and had yet to be very impressed by either the author or the story line. Most seemed undeveloped and a few seemed far too sickeningly sweet and perfect to be considered realistic. I obviously ordered this one, so something on the back cover, or the reviews, must have tempted me, but when I received this book I kept placing it at the bottom of my "to read" pile with very low expectations.
One night I was feeling sick and just wanted something to read so I just picked up the nearest book. I only planned to read for 30 minutes or so but quickly found I couldn't put this book down. Karen Kirst's writing was SO MUCH BETTER than any previous authors I had read from this series/company. Her story was paced fantastically, the characters were more in depth and people you really found yourself rooting for, and it all just worked out to be a perfect, enjoyable, "can't put it down" type book.
I would put her writing style and skill right up there with some of my most favorite, and more well known, Christian romance authors (which I didn't expect from a book like this) and really look forward to buying any and every other book she puts out.
I will say this though, the cover description is lacking... I don't know but all I can say is when I read the back it seemed like the book would take a different direction than it did (one of a one sided attraction and desire to stay; which was definitely NOT the case) Also, the cover art is awful! Seriously. The characters are described to look NOTHING like the characters on the front cover. What is with that? The package just sells this book short of what it is.
Loved this book, HIGHLY recommend it.
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on January 4, 2014
Poor Josh, jilted at the stage coach never expected to fall for Katie, the younger sister of his intended. Loved it. Karen Kirst is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Can't wait to see what happens in her sweet Tennessee valley next. (And I have the next two books to be read next!)
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on May 16, 2012
I love that the setting for this story is Gatlinburg, TN, one of my favorite places in the world. The diversity of the characters are cleverly created and interwoven. Kate, a rich girl is falling for her sister's ex fiance, a skilled carpenter who begins to fall for her too. The problem is they come from 2 different worlds. The journey these two embark upon to find a love they both deem themselves unworthy of is remarkably written. I enjoyed it and can't wait to read the next book.
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on December 5, 2012
I will read this book again. It was well written and fun. The romance was believable. She is wealthy and he is a very hard worker who doesn't know if he can compare to what he believes that she deserves. The romance blossoms very nicely and in the end you think, her sister is such a dummy to have missed out on such a nice man.
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on October 14, 2012
I think this is the second book that I have read by this author and I was not disappointed, historical book are one of my favorite types of book after suspense/mystery. I was so happy that Josh realized that Kate was the perfect match for him. Hopefully there will be books about Josh's cousin.
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on September 2, 2014
This is a really sweet Christian historical romance. I really enjoyed reading about the development of the relationship between Josh and Kate. The story is a little angsty, but I liked the fact that it was subtly portrayed--enough to make me teary-eyed, but definitely not pounded to death. This is a well written book, and I absolutely loved the characters; they are all very well developed, and not just the protagonists, but the secondary characters too.

Josh is sweet, kind, loving, and hardworking. He met and fell in love with Kate's elder sister, Francesca, and has been courting her via letters for some months. The story begins with Josh awaiting the private carriage which is bringing his fiancée to his hometown so the two can be married. Imagine his surprise when, not Francesca, but a total stranger--who turns out to be Francesca's younger sister, Kate--disembarks from the carriage. Josh is devastated when Kate informs him that he has been jilted--her sister has married another man. Kate has made plans to remain in Josh's hometown for an undetermined period of time in order to take photographs of the area--she is a talented amateur photographer with ambitions of publishing a book of scenic photographs. When Kate's accommodations falls through, Josh brings her home to his parents, where Kate ends up staying as a guest for the next several weeks. From this point the story progresses at a nice, quick pace to the HEA.

During the time that Kate is a guest at Josh's home, the two get to know one another really well. They also share a strong faith in often in the Love Inspired novels one or other of the protagonists is either struggling with his/her faith, or simply doesn't have any, so it was nice to read a story where the h and H are equally strong in their faith. Josh is drawn to Kate, but he is distrustful. Kate is another heiress, sister to the woman who tossed him aside without a second thought. Josh thinks he must have been crazy to think an heiress as rich as Francesca could ever be happy living the humble life he could offer her, and he is determined not to make the same mistake twice. But he soon learns that Kate is nothing like her sister...she is truly a beautiful soul. Kate had been raised privileged, but lonely, and thanks to her uncaring family, has a sadly diminished view of her own self worth. Consequently, although Josh tries to avoid Kate and his growing feelings for her, he cannot resist her.

As for Kate, she too is very attracted to Josh. She feels safe with him and appreciated by him and his family in a way she's never felt before. Kate's own family treats her like a step-child and she has grown up believing that she is lacking in every way, never measuring up to her family's impossible standards. But Kate has a secret (regarding an indiscretion when she was younger) which she knows, if ever revealed to Josh, will result in his seeing her differently. Rather than take that risk, Kate is willing to give up the only man she has ever loved. The scene where she finally does confess her secret is heart-wrenching, especially when Josh reacts exactly as Kate anticipated. I have to admit, I cried like a baby. Sigh! Nevertheless, all works out and the two do finally achieve their HEA; and a very satisfying HEA it was too--although I would have loved to have seen Francesca and her parents get their comeuppance!

My only critique is that the aspect of the story regarding the man who is obsessed with Kate because she so closely resembles his late wife is a bit far-fetched--not that he is obsessed with her, but that Kate would choose to remain in an area where there is a potential danger to her well-being. I mean she could have chosen to return home at any time, and IMHO, that would have been the logical thing for her to do. After all, there are lots of other mountainous areas where she could take photographs for her book. That aspect of the story did serve to bring out Josh's protective instincts where Kate was concerned; however, so I'm guessing that was its purpose.

Of course as this is a Love Inspired novel, there are references to God and other aspects of Christianity, which, IMO, were nicely interwoven throughout the story. FYI, as you might expect with a Christian novel, this is a clean romance. Overall it was a very satisfying read for me and one that I am happy to recommend. Happy reading!
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on May 8, 2014
I love a good, clean romantic story and this was one I couldn't put down. This was my first non Regency romance and now I love this genre. I've read what I could from this series and truly enjoyed each book. The chemistry between the characters was wonderful!
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on July 31, 2012
I really enjoyed this book. The character's were believeable, warm, and had good values.
I liked the fact that there was more then one storyline. It's great to read Christian historical romance story's. As soon as I finished this book I went to see what else the author had written.
The next one I read by Karen Krist was even better. Wish there was more books by her. I 'm
now a fan and will look for her story 's.
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