Short~Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer


No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can’t bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

Four brothers. Four straws. One bride.

Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?

My take:~

Witty. Mellifluous. Joyous. These are the words that spring to mind when I pick up a Karen Witemeyer novel, and I find myself grinning before I’ve even cracked open the cover. Short~Straw Bride is another delightful historical romance from Karen, written with smooth prose, packed with unconventional yet appealing characters, and overflowing with fun and faith. Amid the humour and entertaining mishaps, Karen weaves spiritual truth and moving moments that also speak to the heart. Meredith, Travis and the rest of the Archer boys will take a place in your heart in short order and putting the book down with become nigh on impossible! Be sure to add all Karen’s books to your must read list – you won’t be disappointed with any. I’m now waiting impatiently for Crockett’s story, set to arrive in 2013.

With thanks to Bethany House for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras
Character spotlight on Travis & Meredith
Interview with Karen
Reviews of A Tailor-Made BrideHead in the Clouds & To Win Her Heart
Karen’s FamilyFiction Plus interview
Visit Karen’s website
Buy Karen’s books at Amazon or Koorong

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8 Responses to Short~Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

  1. I found Meredith immediately lost her spunk and sass the moment she married. As happened with A Tailor-Made Bride ( most specifically ) and lesser so with Head in the Clouds and To Win Her Heart, I was disappointed to find that the shot-gun wielding, trespassing lass exchanged independence for constant need of protection. She was bartered to become a Short Straw live-in-cook and maid for the Archer brothers; rather than a Short-Straw Bride infused with love, communal devotion and passion. The moment you step across the aisle, seems Witemeyer’s unintentional thesis in my perspective, is the moment your life becomes an uninteresting whirl of cinnamon crisps and taking your horse out in the rain DESPERATE for rescue. I prefer my heroines to remain sassy and independent and strong. Marriage should be about equality and not: “oh look! we got ourselves a cook!” To say nothing about the awkward similes, her penchant for interrupting narrative flow with italicized prayers and the jutting dialogue overtaking any moment of competent descriptive passages. Your experience with this book and mine are polar opposites. As for the unconventionality of the characters: I find them copies of previous Witemeyer characters: if not in exact circumstance at least in traits, pursuits, what they lobby and what they want. :)

    • Hi Rachel ~ you are right – your thoughts are not my thoughts! I think Karen’s books are delightful. I enjoy the lightheartedness and joy they evoke in me after a hard slog at the office or other difficult times. I think I’m fortunate (especially as a reviewer) that I enjoy a huge range of books in all genres, with the exception of Sci-Fi, so can select authors I love to fit my mood and circumstances. I remember a few years ago, I had just lost my grandma and was struggling with the precursor to her passing and was due to read one of Steven James’ books – I couldn’t even attempt it despite the brilliance of his writing!

      We can agree to disagree on this one, my view is not that Meredith loses her sass and independence. I’d be interested to hear what others think on this – Rachel and I aren’t the only ones with opinions! And just a heads up in case anyone is feeling antsy, different views should be considered a great thing – without them, we’d all be reading the exact same story told in the exact same way! I’m all for open discussion that is undertaken with respectfulness and consideration.

      For my mind, every author who dares to write a book, pour months and often years of their blood, sweat and tears which open them up to public scrutiny is courageous and deserves to be respected for that alone!

      I’m sure we will talk again, Rachel – on books we mutually love and ones we don’t 😉

      • I hope we talk again, too! one of the areas in which I find that dialogue around Christian fiction differs from that in the secular book realm is that there seems to be a tendency to shy away from dialogue and to speak negatively about a book or to admit to having a different opinion from the norm. I certainly go against the grain when it comes to authors like Witemeyer (her popularity is evident from the marketplace and from her amazon reviews) and I know I certainly appreciate when interesting dialogue commences as a result of a book I have read.

        Like you, I appreciate a myriad of genres and love to settle in to whatever world I most feel like communing in: whether it be Christian historical romance, or a romp through Dickens….. the great thing is that I know my taste is varied and the numerous blogs I follow (including this one ) highlight the different opinions and perspectives one has on a certain book. Personal experiences (like the one you mention above), personal viewpoints and personal tenets of faith ( seeing as we are speaking to inspirational fiction here) all contribute to a reading experience and all provide comment chains such as this one with a spark of individuality. No two readers are alike and, thus, no matter the author’s intent, no two readers are going to come away from a book with the exact same post-book euphoria. :) The wonderful thing, agree or not, is that we have open and spicy forums for discussion, a world wide web wherein an australian like you and a canadian like me can pull up for a proverbial cup of tea and dialogue :) that is an awesome thing :)

  2. YAY! Glad you enjoyed this one… one of these days I am going to get to mine. :-)

  3. Rel,
    I love the forum you offer here for open discussion about books. I’m going right out to buy this book tonight, so I can form my own opinion!

    I appreciated Rachel’s thoughts here in the comments as well, even though they present a different view.

    A good reviewer uses their skill to point out, as respectfully and honestly as possible, the errors and technical issues they perceive within a story.

    A great reviewer does this, but goes even further. Great reviewers analyze the technical issues, but also understand that the act of writing and reading fiction is both personal and emotional.

    Great reviewers understand that it’s not really possible to savage an author’s story without savaging the author. Because the author has poured their time, their passion, their faith, and their very heart into the story’s telling. Their story is an extension of them.

    And great reviewers know that the power of affirmation of what is great and praiseworthy in a story (and something great can be found in every book) can be as strong a motivator for improvement as a negative review.

    Balanced reviews, which are honest but humble, affirming and still discerning, and aware of how subjective and emotional our processing of stories can be, are the best of all worlds.

    One of the things I love about your reviews is your commitment to see what is beautiful and praiseworthy about an author’s writing, and to highlight that, while also addressing with grace the areas that frustrated you.

    You have set a standard for other reviewers to aspire to, and I applaud you for it:)

    • People who comment in such an encouraging way make Rel blush and have her thinking they have slipped a little extra something into their tea!!

      Kel ~ I love how you have expressed what a great reviewer has the privilege of doing – I’m going to come back to this comment time and time again to refresh myself on how to write great reviews!

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