I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.By Proxy by Katy Regnery
Series: Heart of Montana #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Boroughs Publishing Group on 24 September 2013
Source: the author
Reading Challenges: 2013 In Uniform Challenge
By Proxy is a debut novel by Katy Regnery. Ingrid and Kristian want to get married as they have a baby on the way but can’t get married in person because they are serving overseas in different places. They asked their two favourite people, Jenny and Sam, to act as proxies for them in Montana which allows proxy marriages. A snow storm delays Sam so he and Jenny miss their appointment. Not wanting to disappoint Ingrid and Kristian, they decide to try again on Monday. Over the course of weekend he and Jenny start to fall in love.
Jenny has been raised in a fairly conservative family in a small town. When Sam calls her bitter she gets so distressed that she actually drives her SUV into a ditch. Her inability to deal with criticism seems to stem from her father and brothers trying to protect her from anything that might upset her. From Jenny’s memories we find out that she wasn’t always this way but far more daring. Her mother’s illness and death sapped her strength and she became a fairly compliant ‘good girl’ as she tried to keep her family together. Jenny’s relationship with the townsfolk suggests that she is a caring person but she gets quite judgemental when it comes to Sam’s lifestyle choices – she refers to his casual drinking as a vice and disapproves of him once living with his girlfriend. Sam’s interest in her puts her in an awkward position as she wants children but isn’t convinced getting involved with someone from the ‘big city’ is the right thing to do.
I didn’t get as clear a handle on Sam. We find out that he was living a fairly shallow existence in Chicago and Jenny is a refreshing change from his ex-girlfriend, Pepper. Jenny puts definite boundaries on how and when Sam can show affection and Sam really hasn’t got a clue on how to romance such a girl. Fortunately he takes baby steps otherwise I suspect he would have scared Jenny off. It irked me that he continued to compare Jenny and Pepper and couldn’t find one redeeming feature in Pepper apart from her looks. I have no problems being positioned to see Jenny as superior because she’s the heroine but does it doesn’t necessarily follow that Pepper has to be so vile.
We spend a lot of time inside our protagonists’ heads as they obsess over what they said to the other, how they said it and even what they didn’t say. I prefer to be shown not told and this style removed too much of the mystery and suspense that I wanted. Not surprisingly, the big impediment to Jenny and Sam’s happiness is their inability to articulate the thoughts that are running through their heads and compromise. Finding a middle ground is not something either had experience with as Jenny had never been in a real relationship and Sam’s was built on artifice.
There are some very strong Christian values in this novel. The romance is quite chaste and does not progress beyond descriptions of kissing. I like a little more sizzle in my romances so I don’t think I’m the target audience. Folks in the mood for a sweet contemporary romance featuring a ‘big city’ boy and a ‘small town’ gal with some traditional values are likely to enjoy this novel a lot more than me.