A wholesome contemporary romance set in small-town Montana.
Debut novelist Regnery presents a sweet tale of young schoolteacher Jenny Lindstrom; her world is turned upside down the day Sam Kelley walks into her life. Jenny and Sam meet in connection with the unusual wedding of Jenny’s best friend, Ingrid, to Sam’s cousin Kristian, neither of whom is present for their own wedding. Kristian is serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and Ingrid is serving at an Army hospital in Germany. Kristian and Ingrid seize on a little-known Montana law that allows couples to marry by proxy, meaning that if the couple finds people to stand in their place and recite marriage vows before a judge, they can be legally married. Enter Jenny and Sam. When Sam arrives for the proxy wedding, he’s so late that the judge has already left for the weekend. Sam is forced to stay in Montana for a few days if he wants to make good on his promise to Kristian. Jenny takes an immediate dislike to Sam’s seemingly pompous behavior, but she also sees there’s something intriguing behind his pretty face. Despite the dressing-down he receives from Jenny, Sam admires her simple beauty and her unaffected manner. After profuse apologies and some teasing banter, Sam wins Jenny over and convinces her to entertain him for the weekend. While bringing these characters to life, Regnery shows each beginning to fall for the other. She also infuses the story with information about Montana’s history and contemporary culture. As Sam begins to surrender to Jenny, he contends with the many obstacles that stand in his way: Jenny’s protective older brothers, his beautiful ex-girlfriend, the local principal who pines after Jenny and the fact that his stay is so brief. A chaste story as far as romances go, this adorable novel will disappoint readers looking for steamy sex scenes. The swift pacing of the narrative, however, and quick wit of the characters provide an undeniable appeal.
For those focused on lasting emotional connections reached through good conversation, this book is a winner.