Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: By Proxy

By Proxy
By Proxy by Katy Regnery
September 24, 2013
Boroughs Publishing
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Source: eARC from author for Honest review
Book Blurb:
Stubbornly small-town Jenny Lindstrom has misgivings when she promises to stand proxy in her best friend’s wedding—misgivings that are fulfilled when tall, handsome Sam Kelley walks into the courthouse an hour late. In order to keep her promise, an afternoon favor turns into a weekend of startling but undeniable attraction, threatening the well-ordered world that keeps her heart at arm’s length from any more pain.

Sam’s plan is to fly to Livingston, Montana, take vows for his favorite cousin, and return to Chicago as quickly as possible. But his plan is turned upside-down when he must spend a weekend with Jenny in Gardiner in order to keep his word. He doesn’t want to fall for the prim, proper schoolteacher whose small-town life seems to him like selling out, but the more time he spends with her, the harder it is to say good-bye.

When city and country come together for Christmas, the unexpected gift is true love.
My Review:

This is a very sweet and charming romance, and the perfect read for getting in the holiday mood, or really any time throughout the year to be in the mood for falling in love. I didn't know what to expect from this novel, as I knew nothing of the author or her style, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

As for the storyline, it seemed completely plausible to me. Maybe some won't, but I totally bought into this story. And I fell in love a little bit, too. The author made me believe in falling in love quickly, though I wouldn't categorize this as love-at-first-sight. I loved that the story initially revolves around the concept of a proxy marriage, or in this case, a double proxy marriage. I'd never heard of this, and I find it fascinating (and so relevant with all our overseas military). Then following along with this couple as they discover who each other are, as well as who they themselves truly are at a deeper level, and not just what they project on the surface, was really well done. The flow of the story and action kept me completely engaged, and I was eager to see how things would turn out. Throw in the joy of the Christmas season, a small Montana town, a bunch of big, blonde Swedish/ Norwegian brothers, and of course, the personal stories of our hero and heroine, and you've got the makings of the perfect read for sitting by a fire, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket, sipping cocoa.

As for the characters, I genuinely liked Jenny and Sam. They were not perfect, and fought against preconceived notions and expectations - city boy, country girl. But the connection between them was genuine. It was refreshing to read about characters who could be honest, even if it embarrassed them. No games were played or ploys were used. It was a relationship based on honesty, respect, mutual admiration, genuine care, friendship, attraction, and even laughter. I love that they were able to grow and change and improve themselves after just knowing the other for such a brief period of time. The impact was obvious. The time to self-reflect and dig deeper, do some soul-searching was perfect. I was worried things would go too perfectly, and I'm glad they had to look at so many things that the reader would be wondering and questioning. Also, while there is physical attraction and sexual tension between Jenny and Sam, I would qualify this as a pretty clean romantic read.

Bottomline: This is a sweet, charming, romantic read that completely hooked me, making me fall in love with the characters, the setting, and the beauty of finding that special someone to fall in love with. This is the first book of a new series, Heart of Montana, and considering I love all the characters we are introduced to, and loved the writing, I am definitely looking forward to more.
4-1/2 STARS
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