I received a copy of SIXTY ACRES AND A BRIDE by Regina Jennings, from Bethany House. As I read, my feeling kept shifting. At first, I outright disliked this book. Halfway through, I began to like it, and by the end, I enjoyed the pages and wished for more.
The main character, Rosa, is a young Mexican woman who travels to Texas with her mother-in-law. Rosa’s husband, who she was never close with, died in a mining accident and his mother now seeks their old ranch. The ranch, however, has fallen into heavy taxes. Rosa turns to her late husband’s cousin, Weston, for help. A compromising situation forces them to get married, and they must learn to love each other.
While I enjoyed reading about a Mexican heroine, I would have liked to see more about her culture. The author did touch on a few aspects, such as Mexican dancing, and Rosa used a few Spanish words, but they felt contrived. Rosa also felt too passive. Things happened to her, rather than her making them happen – even when she catches Weston in the barn, the scheme had been hatched by the mother-in-law. The plot moved slowly, and at the beginning, I had trouble staying focused. The prologue felt forced and gimmicky. There wasn’t enough for a solid grasp. However, the scene is repeated at the end, which tied the prologue in well.
I was pleased to see a mixture of people who were good and bad to her, rather than a bunch of characters all acting the same. I never sensed much chemistry between her and Weston, though. Despite never getting a strong feel for any of the characters, I grew to like them by the ending. I also had no strong sense of the setting. Essentially, the story could have happened anywhere, in any place. All you would have to do is substitute Texas and Mexico. I enjoy stories that really ground me in the time.
Overall, the book made for an enjoyable read during my lunchtime breaks. If a sequel comes out, I will read it.