With THIS Ring? A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, Melissa Jagears Bethany House Publishers ISBN 978-0-7642-1772-2

With This Ring?: A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry consists of four love stories that show love can be unexpected, unpredictable and often comes with surprises.
The Husband Maneuver, by Karen Witemeyer, opens in Freestone, Texas in 1892. Marietta Hawkins overhears a discussion she finds upsetting. Daniel Barrett, the foreman of her father’s ranch, is telling her father he is leaving to set up his own business. Marietta is devastated as she loves Daniel and has plans to make herself wife material in his eyes. What she doesn’t know is that because of a promise Daniel made to her father, he cannot and will not pursue her at this time. But, Daniel is struggling with his strong feelings for Marietta and his problem. When Marietta and Daniel find themselves alone together their relationship is put to the test. This is a cleverly told story about wonderful characters.
In Her Dearly Unintended, by Regina Jennings, readers meet Josiah Huckabee and Katie Ellen Watson. Josiah and Katie Ellen have a history that began in childhood. Josiah welcomes challenges, but Katie Ellen thrives on order and control. Time had not brought them closer together. A severe storm changes that and brings them together under the same roof. Unexpectedly, a mysterious stranger appears and Josiah comes up with a way to try to protect Katie Ellen. She is not exactly receptive to his plan, but it does meet with interesting results. This is a well written and engaging story.
Runaway Bride, by Mary Connealy, opens in Houston, Texas in 1879 and is the story of what happens when Carrie Halsey and her brother Isaac run away from home. Carrie has good reason to escape her dismal home. Her father, in order to pay off a debt, has promised her in marriage to a dangerous man. Carrie has no illusions about what her life would be like with this man. Barely having left home, they meet up with Big John Conroy who has promised to save Carrie. Facing danger every step of the way, Carrie and John’s relationship becomes complicated in ways they had never imagined. This is an exciting, fast moving and skillfully told story.
Engaging the Competition, by Melissa Jagears, is based on something Charlotte Andrews did years ago. Harrison Gray believes she embarrassed him when she picked up his gun and hit the targets he had missed. All these years later, he really hasn’t gotten over this. Harrison is a teacher now and Charlotte is about to marry a man she doesn’t love in order to save the family home. When Harrison is asked to talk to Charlotte about her plans he is conflicted, but he does approach her. It turns out to be a fateful visit. The author does an excellent job of presenting both character’s point of view. Can they overcome their past in order to build a future?

These stories are very special and well worth reading.


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