Friday, April 23, 2010

The Substitute Bride: Christian Fiction with Conviction!

This is Most Demonstrably Christian Fiction I’ve Read Since The Pilgrim’s Progress

The Substitute Bride

Janet Dean
ISBN: 078-1-4268-4869-8
Steeple Hill Books
Inspirational Historical Fiction

Please…don’t let this scare you off. The Substitute Bride is not an allegory. (It’s actually stronger than an allegory given it’s ending and it’s authentic historical realism. You'll love it. Yes, you will.)

Spring 1899

While The Substitute Bride opens like a traditional mail-order bride story with a unique substitution twist, that’s not what the story is really about. True, the heroine, Elizabeth Manning, is running away from a terrible arranged marriage. Having no money, she switches places with a mail-order bride who has developed ‘cold feet’ at the train station. With her father and evil intended hot on her trail, Elizabeth has just minutes to choose between the devil she knows and a possible devil she knows not. Elizabeth gambles on the ‘unknown’ and takes the train to marry a stranger who lives on a farm in Iowa with his two motherless children

No Period of Adjustment!

You might expect a ‘period of adjustment’ but no…the wedding talks place within the hour. Now the story seems to become impossible. The hero/farmer lives away from town in a very primate farm house with an infant son and hostile pre-teen daughter who does not want to be replaced as ‘woman of the home.’

For about a fourth of the book the story focuses on these four people and the problem the heroine has trying to cook. At about this point I thought “This is not going to work. The scale is too small. The scope has to expand. You have to get out of that farm house!”

Well things start happening. Lots of things happen that the reader will never see coming. Once the action gets going, it’s like a snowball rolling down hill until the surprise and almost allegorical climax.

Christian Fiction with Conviction

The Substitute Bride is really about sin, pain, death, forgiveness, conversion, redemption, rebirth, and salvation. All these essential Christian elements are seamlessly woven into the storyline providing for a very rewarding romantic reading experience. As such, The Substitute Bride is a manifestation of God's power to change the lives of believers for the better.

Unique “Love Inspired” Inspirational Enjoyment

I have been reading Love Inspired Inspirational romances for years. The Substitute Bride is unlike any of the others I have read in the way it exemplifies Christian values. I really enjoyed reading this book.

As always, Janet Dean’s prose is crystal clear and a joy to read. I’ve read three Janet Dean romances and I’ve yet to encounter a single sentence that I had to read twice because the meaning was unclear. Indeed, the author reminds me of Franz Liszt in that Liszt was both one of the best composers of his time and also one of the best pianists. He would compose the music and then play it perfectly -- as no one else could. Janet Dean composes the best stories and then puts word to paper with unmatched crystal clarity. I actually derive a second level of enjoyement reading her books because I admire how well they are written.

The book sold out almost at once on eHarlequin but you should still be able to get a copy on Amazon. If you hurry!



  1. Vince, your review touched me and came at a time I needed it most. Thank you for your lovely words of encouragement! My goal as a writer is to honor God by revealing His power, grace and unconditional love through the lives of my characters. Characters I hope readers identify with and care about so the Christian message pops off the page and into their hearts.

    God bless you,

  2. Hi Janet:

    Thanks for coming by and commenting. I am looking forward to your next book and what surprises it will hold.