Summary from BN.com: Todd Valmer should have known better. A farmer who's been through several disasters, he travels to Virginia to fetch his widowed mother to cook and help him around his Texas farm...or that was the plan until she keels over on the train and they get kicked off. Maggie Rose barters for a living and also makes soaps, lotions, and perfumes with a special rose recipe passed down from mother to daughter for generations. She hasn't wanted to marry...until that handsome Texan shows up. Her heart skips a beat, and when he proposes, a hasty marriage follows.
What ensues, however, is a clash of culture and a battle of wills--and it's clear they both mistook instant attraction and infatuation for love. As their marriage loses its sparkle and fills with disillusionment, Todd and Maggie must determine what is worth fighting for. He dreams of a farm. Maggie wants to fulfill the family tradition with her rose perfumes. Todd's mother, however, has entirely different plans for her son that do not include Maggie. In light of their hasty marriage and mistaken dreams, is there any hope of recapturing their love and building a future together?
Have you ever read a story where had a problem with either the characters or the plot so much that even though you eventually find yourself liking the story, you still can't fully get into it? That's what happened when I read this book. While eventually I found myself liking some of the characters and the story line finally grabbed my attention, due to earlier events I just could not get myself into the story as I normally would have.
Even though I have enjoyed Cathy Marie Hake's books in the past, this one fell kind of short to me. It took me a while to get into the story. When I started the book, I felt like I was dumped into the middle of the scene and felt a bit lost trying to figure out everything and everyone. As the story moved on, I did learn to like Maggie's character quite a bit. However, I did not like Todd from the beginning and his character didn't really grown on me throughout the book. It seemed to me that the only reason why Todd wanted to marry Maggie was just to find a caretaker for his mother. You can't tell me that he had fallen in love with her that fast after meeting her. I just got really annoyed with how he treated her in comparison to his mother. His mother is a completely different story in herself. I understand her feelings of helplessness after the stroke and I can see how she felt like she could have been a burden after the situation with her daughter. Still, it was getting to the point where she didn't want her son being married at all and instead of allowing Maggie to help them, she wanted her out of the house. She insults everything about Maggie and Todd doesn't really do anything to stand up for her. Even by the end of the book, I still didn't feel as if everything was resolved between the three of them.
Overall, this story probably is not my favorite of Hake's books. While I did like Maggie's character, the other two main characters just did not gel with me and I never got attached to them. I think this book is part of the Gooding series but as there is only a brief mention of Gooding, you don't need to read the other books in order to understand this one. Die hard fans of Hake will probably enjoy this book but casual fans should proceed
Serendipity by Cathy Marie Hake is published by Bethany House (2011)
This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance