Book Review (Twice a Bride by Mona Hodgson)

I am keenly aware that writing a novel is an arduous task, an accomplishment only a relative few can claim as their own. It is with this understanding that I preface my remarks about Twice a Bride by Mona Hodgson. Twice a Bride is the first of Ms. Hodgson’s work I have read, though she has three other books in this series, The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek. Therefore, I review this book alone and not in the context of the series.

Twice a Bride takes place in Cripple Creek, Colorado in 1898. The burgeoning community boasts a considerable number of businesses, two boarding houses, an opera house, stores, restaurants, confectionary shop, and a professional photographer. Every modern convenience, including a rail station, electricity, and telephones makes this an inviting place to settle for late 19th century folks.

Having not read the previous books in this series, I met a number of characters with whom readers of Hodgson’s previous books would be familiar. The author does a good job of bringing new readers up to speed with the basics of each character’s backstory. For me, however, her characters were just that. Characters. They never became living breathing people. I didn’t fall in love with the characters, and had I really loved them, I might have been able to overlook one particular annoyance.

Prior to reading this book, I was unfamiliar with the word, reticule. It is chiefly historical, a woman's small handbag, originally netted and typically having a drawstring and decorated with embroidery or beading. (The definition is from the dictionary on my computer) I like learning new words, and here was another to add to my collection. But Ms. Hodgson used it to distraction, especially in the first half of the book. This is not the only evidence of redundancy in syntax, though it was the most obvious.

As a reader, I like to be swept into a story by the depth of the characters and the story itself. In short order, if the story is well written, I am unaware of the writing, and keenly aware of the fictitious world into which I am being drawn, as well as the lives of the characters, about whom I care in increasing measure. By the time I finish this kind of a read, I am disappointed that it’s over, and I continue thinking about the characters, and their what if lives for days.

Twice a Bride was not that kind of a book for me. I felt as if I had to force myself to keep reading, and when the book ended, I was both relieved and disappointed. Relieved that I’d made it through, and disappointed that it never took me to the place I enjoy going, where I willingly suspend my disbelief and surrender to a story. I will not go back to read the previous three books in the series; I have no desire to do so. If I could rate it by stars, I'd give it 3 stars.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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