Sunday, November 25, 2012

Book Review: Mckenzie by Penny Zeller

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"'Desperate times call for desperate measures' is the reasoning that prompts McKenzie Worthington, a young lady of Boston’s high society, to respond to an ad for a mail-order bride for a man in the Montana Territory. McKenzie is desperate, after all, to save her beloved younger sister, Kaydie, from her evil, abusive husband, who robs banks for a living. And so, it is with reckless determination that McKenzie runs away from the comforts of home and hearth to head West and meet her new husband—whom she’ll divorce, of course, after she rescues her sister.

'Desperate times call for desperate measures' is the reasoning that also prompts Zachary Sawyer, a rugged rancher after God’s own heart, to post an ad for a mail-order bride in various newspapers across the country. Managing a ranch and caring for his adoptive son, Davey, has become more than one man can handle alone, and Zach prays for God to send him a wife with whom to build a life and share his dreams.

When McKenzie arrives at Zach’s ranch, she immediately puts her plan in motion, searching for her sister and doing all she can to keep her new husband from forming an attachment. But his persistent kindness and significant self-sacrifices begin to change her heart—and ruin her plans. God has a way of working things out to the good of those who love Him, though, as McKenzie will soon see."

I really enjoy mail-order bride stories. Penny made McKenzie unique in that McKenzie (the heroine) didn’t apply to Zach’s mail-order bride ad because she wanted to get married (as is usually the case in other mail-order bride stories), but because she needed a place to stay and someone to provide for her daily needs while she looked for her sister, Kaydie. This unique premise intrigued me from the start. And Penny’s smooth writing lulled me forward. So much so that I finished McKenzie fairly quickly.

The letter communication between Zach and McKenzie in the beginning of the book went on a mite too long and, although the story was interesting, it started to drag towards the middle. But after slogging through some mud, the story continued on its smooth pace.

To be honest, when McKenzie arrived in the Dakota Territory, I didn’t like her much. She seemed like a stuck-up, incompetent, and partially heart-less rich girl. Her only redeemable quality at that time in the book was her love for Kaydie and her willingness to “sacrifice” so she could rescue her sister. As the book progressed, however, the more McKenzie slowly transformed, the more I came to quickly like her– which, I suppose, was the author’s intent.

Now Zach, I liked from the start. And my admiration for him grew as I witnessed the way he handled his marriage in a godly way, overlooking McKenzie many faults, and bringing his cares to God. I loved how Zach’s faith infused every part of his life, including his willingness to search for McKenzie sister after he found out about her. And Davie was a wonderful addition to the book. He brought laughter wherever he went. Oh, and I can’t forget Lucille– the town’s busybody!

Seeing McKenzie and Zach fall-in-love was sweet. It was a painful moment when Mckenzie’s true intentions came to light. And to have her mother come to “rescue” her was the icing on the cake. But through this situation, we saw how far McKenzie had come in changing. And I loved her for it.

The finding of Kaydie was a joyous moment. Her plot ended a little too clean-cut for my liking and I’m fairly certain of how her story will end up; nevertheless, Penny created a satisfying ending to a satisfying read. I give this book 3.5-4 stars. An interesting, clean, and Christ-centered read. It can be bought at Amazon.

** Much thanks to the author and the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given**

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