Thursday, March 28, 2013

Courting Cate - a Bethany House Review

It isn't too often that I want to bang my head against a wall from the stubbornness and unmoving character qualities of a heroine. But that's what I desperately wanted to do while I read Courting Cate by Leslie Gould.

Cate Miller, a self-proclaimed spinster at age twenty-three, has tried her best to be happy with her life as her father's store secretary. Her father was considered wealthy, and any time that Cate thought a man might make a move on her, she and her fiery attitude cut him down. He was only after her father's money, right? Cate believed that she wanted to stay unmarried--let her younger sister Betsy have the husband and kids!

But when her father Bob decides that Cate has to get married before Betsy can, things get ugly. Cate, in her stubbornness, attempts to refuse. Betsy, flirty and friendly (unlike Cate), is already being courted. Knowing that her father has made this declaration, Betsy is driven to grief and hatches a plot to get Cate hitched.

When drifter Pete Treger comes to town looking for a job and a wife, Cate's family gets some bright ideas. (Or not so bright.) But Pete arrives in town with his own issues to deal with, and, like Cate, is about as stubborn as they come. When he gets a job working for Bob Miller in his store, he soon proves his worth to Bob. And Bob's decision for Cate to marry first is just all the more solid in his mind.

I found a few things in this novel that irritated me, and it's all about the character development. SPOILER ALERT!!

First was the feeling that the author was trying too hard to make these two butt heads. Their behaviors were very annoying to me. Second, Cate had no homemaking skills. This didn't add up for someone who had decided to be a spinster--she'd still need to take care of herself, right? Third, Cate raised her sister Betsy after their mother died, and Betsy ended up being a bit spoiled and conniving. Although I will say at the beginning of the story, Betsy didn't seem that way. The fact that Cate made a decision that would benefit Betsy so much seemed a bit too unreal to me. Fourth, Pete started out as this nice, friendly guy who doted on Cate, and then in the middle of the book he became this hard, uncaring person who paid her no attention. Shoot, he even made her hitch-hike to another state in the pouring rain!! For a guy who seemed to really really like her at first, this just felt unbalanced. Fifth, at the end of the story, Cate comes to an epiphany about Pete's family that was too rushed. When I read it, I turned back a page to see if I'd missed something--it was that shocking to me. Sixth, it was devoid of feeling between the two main characters until the very end, and even then it wasn't a "Wow, they are SO in LOVE!" moment for me.

I liked this story, though, because I think that Leslie genuinely had a nice story line. The plot was very much more developed than the characters were. Her description was very good, and the writing was very nice. There were bits of unpredictability thrown in that was refreshing. The story is written in First Person POV, and it read smoothly.

All in all, I liked this book and look forward to the next book in the series.

I received Courting Cate as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from Bethany House Publishers. My comments and opinions are my own.

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