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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Guardian Bride by Lauri Robinson



Guardian Bride by Lauri Robinson
(The Quinter Brides – Bk. 4)
Author: Lauri Robinson
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (268)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Snake Quinter believes he dodged a bullet when he refused to wed the girl Ma was set on hitching him to. Then he wakes up. Not only had he been shot—twice, he and Summer Austin are definitely married.

For over ten years Summer Austin had known her life was tied to the Quinter family—her guardian angel said so. She was willing to do whatever it took to keep her siblings safe, but what would Snake and his family do when they discovered she, a half-breed, was responsible for their father’s death?

With trepidation, Summer follows the guidance of her guardian angel Jonas. Vowing to do whatever it takes to keep her eleven-year-old sister, September and her eight-year-old brother, August safe, she goes to Stephanie Quinter, known as Ma by her family. Ma takes them in and sets about to put their world to rights.

Summer’s self-esteem is zero from long years of abuse, much of it due because of her heritage. Moreover, the dark secret she carries makes her feel totally unworthy of help from the Quinters. Ma is unconcerned about heritage or secrets, but is more concerned that her son, Snake, fix the situation that he set in motion one night in a poker game. If you have had the good fortune to read the other Quinter bride books, you know Ma is a force to reckon with.

Snake, an industrious farmer and good business man, has plans that do not include a wife. When Ma shows up with Summer, Snake is willing to clear up a misunderstanding about who won the poker game but he has no intention of getting married. Little does he know what that special guardian angel has in store for him.

Guardian Bride is uniquely Summer and Snake’s story. Snake learns early on that a guardian bride with her own guardian angel is ‘a mighty fine’ thing to have regardless of how the wedding took place. She rescues him from almost certain death and tends him with hands as “soft as shadows on the wall”.

The Mexican trader Wainwright feels he won Summer from her father, July Austin, in a poker game. However, he wants September rather than Summer. When his claim is thwarted, he sets out to get what he wants and to get revenge on those who stand in his way.

Set in late nineteenth-century Kansas, Guardian Bride is chock full of ordinary life events, but the unconditional love of the Quinter family enriches life for all the people they are involved with. Summer, with her ten-year-old, dark secret, doesn’t feel deserving of their love that they give so freely. She carries a heavy burden of guilt, regret, and shame. Yet, she cannot deny the bound she and Snake have that seems predestined. She loves him with all her heart, body, and soul.

Summer’s brother, so full of energy and fun, “takes to the family like a rabbit to a cabbage patch”. However, September is hostile and declares often that they do not take charity. Only after sharing time with Snake does she come to realize what ‘true charity’ is—it’s nothing like she experienced in town.

A swarm of secondary characters make Guardian Bride a kaleidoscope of personalities, desires, and activities that melds the reader into the wonder of life that they live to the fullest. A fade-proof hue of Ma and Jonas’ story adds a glow to the mix, while the unique love and connection that the Quinter men have with their feisty, self-confident wives shines brightly in the ever changing patterns. But the most beautiful color in the kaleidoscope is Summer’s guardian angel and the unique role he plays in the lives of all the Quniters.

With memorable metaphors and a special guardian angel, Lauri Robinson sweeps the reader into the Quinters’ lives to vicariously experience the storm, fires, snakes, camaraderie, trust, and most of all the unconditional love that sparkles like the bright blue sky of a Kansas morning after a life-giving, gentle rain.

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