Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell sets out on her travels a week early. But her plan goes sadly awry when her train is held up by robbers who steal her dowry and Axel, her groom-to-be, isn’t even in town when she finally arrives.
Axel’s business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor. When his friend’s mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store—where she quickly proves she’s much more adept at business than he ever will be.
The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school. However, their troubles are far from over when Axel finally returns, and soon both Will and Eliza must decide what they’re willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams—or if God has a new dream in store for them both.
Eliza Cantrell has dreamed of owning her own store since she was a little girl. So when her father gives his store to her much-less-capable older brother, she feels betrayed. After making the decision to become a mail-order bride, she takes a chance and sets out a week early, only to have her train robbed and everything she had stolen. To top it off, when she arrives, her groom-to-be, Axel, is nowhere to be found. Waiting for him to appear, Eliza helps Will, Axel’s partner, out in their store, but she starts to wonder if this was the best decision after all. She and Will share a chemistry she cannot ignore, and how much does she really know about Axel anyway? When Axel finally returns, will Eliza go forward with her plans, or will she realize some much bigger dreams? And do they include Will?
A Bride in Store is the second book in Melissa Jagears’ Unexpected Brides series, but I cannot decide if it is my favorite or not. It was just so completely different from A Bride for Keeps that I really cannot compare them that way. Although, one thing I found in both—a deep spiritual struggle that I could relate to on many levels—even though the struggles were different. In A Bride in Store, there were so many issues that all of us face, such as difficulty believing in ourselves—which both Will and Eliza struggled with, though for different reasons—feelings of regret when someone passes and you feel you could have done more for them, or anger at the unfairness of an innocent child’s death before their life even begins. I will not give you the answers, partially for fear of ruining the book, but mainly because that is something for you to find out for yourself as you set out to read this novel. I believe each of us will see the answers a little differently, because all of us are not in the same place in our relationships with God, so I couldn’t accurately describe them anyway.
I also loved the way both Eliza and Will struggled with discovering what is really what their heart desires and what it was the Lord was calling them to do. Honestly, I think everyone has difficulty separating their desires from their callings; I know I have struggled with that on multiple occasions. And, Eliza’s fear was grounded. Say you follow your heart and give up your plans to chase the man of your dreams, what happens ten years later when life is hard, things are tough, and you miss the plans you had made. Will you be able to continue to let them go, or will you leave the man of your dreams for your long-lost plans? In all reality, the only answer I have for you is chase the Lord, do as he says, and everything else will fall into place. And, sometimes, you’ll be surprised when God blesses you more abundantly than you could ever imagine by giving you both, the man and the plans. You never know what could happen!
Anyway, A Bride in Store (obviously) gave me a lot to think about, and at the same time was still that sweet story I expected when reading the description on the back. It easily deserves all five bookshelves, if not more, and has become one to read again and again. I hope you enjoy it just as much as I did!
You can find every book from this series here.
All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Melissa Jagears and her publishers.