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From House Calls to Husband

 
Finally His Bride
by Christine Flynn
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1240, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-24240-9
***
Finally His Bride is the fourth book in The Whitaker Brides series. This was my first exposure to the Whitakers, which meant that there were definite gaps in my knowledge of Whitaker history, knowledge that would have helped me with this story. I was lost when the Whitaker brothers appeared and became more lost when the Whitaker wives and various children arrived on the scene.

Erin Gray first met Trevor Whitaker when she was sixteen and he was eighteen. She was new in town, with her family uprooted after the death of her father. Trevor befriended this lonely, unhappy young woman and became her best friend.

Suddenly, inexplicably, he broke off all contact with her. Even after his father married her mother (another of the Whitaker books?), he continued to avoid her. He was at college, then she was at college, he was in vet school and traveling abroad, she moved to Los Angeles . . . minimal contact the whole time.

Now, nine years later, Erin has quit her job in Los Angeles and is staying at the Whitaker ranch while she hunts for another job. She had planned to be gone before Trevor returned, but it's not to be. They're wary of each other, and both fight the lingering attraction.

Finally His Bride is a hard book to analyze and review. With no external conflict, each chapter is a scenario dealing with Trevor's rejection, becoming milder each time and Erin's resolve to remain unaffected. Each chapter just brings us a little closer to the end and the ultimate resolution.

There's still one question that was never answered for me. At one point I considered rereading the book to see if I had missed a sentence or a paragraph, an inference, something which would explain Trevor's reticence toward Erin. I didn't think that he was jealous of her, nor did he consider her an ugly stepsister type. I also don't think that he begrudged that her mother married his dad. As best I could tell, he hadn't been made to feel unwelcome. Without that piece of information I was mystified. Misogamy and misogyny are never hinted at, but neither did I discover why Trevor turned on Erin. This missing puzzle piece made the book feel incomplete.

Even if I had known why Trevor behaved as he did, I doubt that my mind would change about him. Finally His Bride left me unmoved and other than being curious about Trevor's problem with Erin, no emotions were involved. Lacking any external conflict, the book deals with Erin and Trevor's acceptance that their long-ago relationship never died and that each is necessary for the other's happiness.

Finally His Bride is almost the perfect example of how I see a three-heart book. There was nothing really wrong with it. Conversely, there was nothing exciting, scintillating, fun or anything else of consequence to make it memorable, i.e., recommendable.

--Linda Mowery


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