To Love and Cherish by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

It is the late 19th century and Melinda Colson has lost both of her parents. Due to their debts and no inheritance, she is stripped of her wealthy and privileged lifestyle and thrown into being a common working lady’s maid. Mrs. Mifflin, once her equal now her employer is petty, selfish, and difficult. Melinda’s past experience as a socialite gives her great insight into the demands of Mrs. Mifflin. This causes her employer to greatly value her to the point she wants Melinda’s life to revolve around her alone.

During their winter excursion at a resort named Bridal Veil,  Melinda meets and falls in love with the assistant gamekeeper, Evan. She is sure he feels the same way about her. Evan is everything she wants in a husband, and his proposal for marriage cannot come soon enough. Her desire to be married and have her own home is exacerbated by her frustrating job with peevish Mrs. Mifflin.

Hoping he will ask her hand in marriage before they leave the island makes Melinda very anxious. She hints, flirts, and does everything in her power to persuade Evan to marry her. When he just doesn’t get it, she resorts to pouting and throwing fits. Poor Evan hasn’t a clue what he is doing wrong! Her time is unexpectedly shortened by Mrs. Mifflin’s decision to leave 2 weeks early to prepare for an important guest’s visit at home.

Shortly after their return home, a hurricane devastates the island.  She is terrified Evan is injured or dead. Impulsively she quits her job and hurries back to the Bridal Veil. She is positive now they will be married. . He truly wants to marry Melinda but is waiting on a promotion to make sure he can support her so she won’t have to work. When he explains this to her she is grows even more angry, arguing that she does not mind helping support their family. Their relationship continues to be strained and misunderstandings abound. Other events threatened to end their hopes of marriage completely.

I learned so many lessons in this book! Melinda was like  many women. They have the unrealistic expectation that the men in their life can read their minds! Instead of just saying what they want they hint and get mad when he doesn’t understand! Like most men, poor Evan truly did want to please her and couldn’t figure out what he was doing wrong. This causes needless tension in relationships when openness and honesty is all that is needed.

Melinda was a prime example of making plans and not waiting on the Lord. She wanted her way and she wanted it right away! She was lucky Evan was so patient with her impatience and immaturity. God’s timing is always right and we need to leave the “when” and “how” to Him.

The book also had many wonderful examples of not making assumptions on appearances. Melinda, Evan, and her brother Lawrence were all victims of circumstances making them look guilty when they were not. Tempers flared and judgments were rendered when they were innocent of any wrongdoing.  It is always best to seek out the truth before coming to any final conclusions.  We can’t always see the whole picture.

I found this to be a fun book with a surprise ending. I look forward to reading the first book and the third one to be published in January 2013.

I received this book free from the Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


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