BOOK REVIEW: With This Ring? Novella Collection — The Husband Maneuver by Karen Witemeyer

With This Ring? A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry

With This Ring - Cover

How fun is that title? 🙂

I was very excited when Karen Witemeyer approached me, asking if I’d like to join her influencer team for the “With This Ring?” novella collection. I was a huge fan of her previous full-length novel, A Worthy Pursuit, and her novella in this collection followed up on a couple secondary characters’ love story. And just like “A Worthy Pursuit,” it didn’t disappoint. I’d give her novella, “The Husband Maneuver” 5 out of 5 Dime Novels! 

 Dime Novel pic Dime Novel pic Dime Novel pic Dime Novel pic Dime Novel pic                                                                         

Synopsis

Love isn’t always a fairy tale, and it doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes the best stories, though, are the ones that are the most unexpected. Join Karen Witemeyer, Mary Conneally, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears for novellas that celebrate the power of love to triumph . . . even when circumstances go awry!

“The Husband Maneuver” by Karen Witemeyer

When ranch foreman Daniel Barrett seems ready to leave her life forever, Marietta Hawkins decides to grab the reins on their relationship. But to have any hope of maneuvering him into a proposal, she has to act fast or risk losing him completely.

“Her Dearly Unintended” by Regina Jennings

Josiah Huckabee just wanted to make sure Katie Ellen Watson was safe, but when the only bridge to her farm is washed out, the two find themselves alone. Alone, that is, until a menacing stranger appears. Maybe by pretending to be newlyweds they’ll save their reputations–but can pretending to be in love turn into the real thing?

“Runaway Bride” by Mary Conneally

Hired to help Carrie Halsey escape from a dangerous man intent on making her his wife, Big John Conroy never expected the job to interrupt his solitary Texas Ranger life. But now that he’s promised to keep Carrie safe, he discovers he may just want to make a few more promises.

“Engaging the Competition” by Melissa Jagears

Harrison Gray and tomboy Charlotte Andrews have been rivals for years. With Charlotte intended for someone else, it seems they’ll never settle their differences until an accident changes things completely. When Charlotte breaks Harrison’s glasses–without which he’s nearly blind–she must help with his teaching position, and working together forces these former adversaries to reconsider everything.

What I Adored about “The Husband Maneuver” by Karen Witemeyer

Characters, Humor, and Themes of Waiting and Vulnerability in Love

Essentially three characters make up this story (and in a novella, you really don’t need more than that), but the main two are, of course, hero Daniel Barrett, and heroine Marietta Hawkins. I found these characters to be honorable, loveable, flawed, and gender-realistic. I identified with Marietta’s bookish, dreamer, try-so-hard personality, and can definitely see how that contrasted with Daniel’s literal, sensible personality, making them a strong pair.

These differing viewpoints also caused several humorous interactions and misunderstandings. That’s one of the things I love about the humor in Karen Witemeyer’s books. It feels like she doesn’t set out to write humor–the moments rise organically from the storyline and character’s contrasting personalities. To me, that’s what makes strong humor.

A couple of the themes included Waiting and Being Vulnerable in Love. So often in stories, pride gets in the way of people falling in love–they’re too proud to admit that they’re wrong, or admit that they’re in love, etc. While there’s nothing wrong with that romantic trope, I do think it’s used almost to the point of cliché. Daniel and Marietta show a different trope on their journey to romance–vulnerability. Circumstances lead them to become vulnerable with each other–truthful about their feelings, regardless of the possible rejection they face. Doing the honorable thing even if it’s hard. I found this approach to romance refreshing, realistic, and wholesome.

BONUS!

Publisher Bethany House also created individual covers for the novellas, which will release later this year. Want to see the covers? They’re so cute!!

With This Ring - Karen Cover           With This Ring - Mary Cover

With This Ring - Regina Cover           With This Ring - Melissa Cover

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