A March Bride: A Year of Weddings Novella by Rachel Hauck
Who doesn’t love to read a story about royalty with a touch of true love and romance? In this light-hearted Christian romance short story, Nathaniel was king of the small European country of Brighton. Susanna was an American from Georgia–home grown variety. They were as different as fire and water. When Nathaniel was vacationing on an island near Georgia, they met and fell in love before Susanna even knew he was a crown Prince. When his father passed away, he became king. Before he could ask her to marry him, he had to petition the parliament for an amendment to allow the king to marry a foreigner.
This story opens with wedding preparations in full swing and the big event only a few weeks away. Susanna had noticed that her intended has been a bit remote and preoccupied. She wondered if he was having second thoughts about marrying her. His actual concern was more serious than that, however. A rider had been attached to his amendment that his bride-to-be must renounce her American citizenship to become 100% Brightonian before they could marry. Nathaniel had fought that rider to no avail. Once he broke the news to her, all the cultural adjustments she had made in the past months became suddenly overwhelming. Susanna felt the need for some distance, so she flew home to Georgia to think things over. Nathaniel was left to wonder if she would ever return.
This was a sweet, modern fairy tale short story. It was not as original as I would have liked, but it was still a pleasant read. Susanna had some past issues to resolve and a need to re-think her identity. Could she really give up her American citizenship? Who would she be then? It wasn’t until her mother, Glo, and her sister Avery, and even the pastor of her local church had shared their wisdom with her that she finally came to terms with her identity as a child of God. Character development here was good, but I felt there was a lack of drive to keep the story line active and moving forward. However, I sense that this author can deliver a good story; I was just a bit disappointed in this one.
I had other issues with the character development in this book. One issue was lack of connectivity. I felt as if I had been dropped into the middle of Nathaniel and Susanna’s story causing me to struggle to sync with it until the very end when he woke up to the fact that he needed to woo Susanna all over again if their relationship was to survive this crisis.
Second, the author’s attempt to use dialect and accent to give voice to Susanna’s family and Nathaniel’s friends was haphazard and inconsistent. The language didn’t flow very well in spots, and at one point, I felt the family’s manner of speaking was more reflective of a Louisiana dialect than of a Georgian dialect. It felt contrived and unnatural. My suggestion to the author would be to drop the use of the dialects and concentrate on refining each character’s unique voice. This would include use of body language, gestures, habits and unique physical characteristics. Since this is such a short story, some of the issues I found could be improved by fleshing out the details a bit more to encourage greater connectivity with the readers.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Zondervan Fiction. 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.”