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A Bride in the Bargain

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  10,105 ratings  ·  781 reviews
In 1860s Seattle, a man with a wife could secure himself 640 acres of timberland. But because of his wife's untimely death, Joe Denton finds himself about to lose half of his claim. Still in mourning, his best solution is to buy one of those Mercer girls arriving from the East. A woman he'll marry in name but keep around mostly as a cook. ...more
Paperback, 365 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Bethany House Publishers
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Mrsbooks I laughed at this at first then realized it was serious. The author does not describe the wedding night. She does describe them before anything happen…moreI laughed at this at first then realized it was serious. The author does not describe the wedding night. She does describe them before anything happens once they enter the bedroom for the night. Here is the scene in question if anyone wants to truly see how nothing at all is described. Remember what is shown here is an already married couple.

For those that don't want a spoiler, the short version. They kiss, he undoes the buttons of her clothes and looks at her underwear which is not described besides saying she added some lace, frills and such.

Surveying the room, he wandered through it, pausing to open the wardrobe and peek inside, to poke the fire with an iron, to adjust the towel by the water pitcher, to look out the window at the view, to reposition the shell-framed Scripture he’d given her, to pick up her brush and run his fingers over the bristles.
She wasn’t sure how to proceed. She hadn’t had a mother to tell her of such things. Was he waiting for her to . . . to what? Undress? While he circled the room?
Her legs lost their ability to hold her up. She needed to sit down. But the only place to sit was the bed. She reached out and braced a hand against the wall.
He looked up, his interest in the brush forgotten. With slow, deliberate intent, his gaze traveled over every inch of her from the twinflowers in her hair to her gown’s V-neckline to the watch pin on her chest to the buttons running from her bodice clear down to the etching on the hem of her skirt.
The trembling in her legs spread to every place his gaze touched.
“You are beautiful.”
The heat in his eyes caused her to take a step back. Her petticoat touched the wall and bowed out.
“Your wedding gown is exquisite. I wasn’t expecting anything so . . . elaborate.”
“Several of the women helped me. They were all quite taken with the fabric. I never thanked you for it. It’s magnificent.”
Joe smiled. “My pleasure.”
The brush slipped from his fingers, clattering onto the dresser. He moved toward her, engrossed. Captivated. Absorbed. With the watch pin on her gown.
She thought of the thaumatrope and how the lumberjack practically swallowed up the woman. She backed completely against the wall.
He didn’t stop until his trousers touched the hem of her skirt. Still he looked at the watch pin.
Breathing grew difficult. Not like when she had an episode, but like when he kissed her. Really kissed her.
Finally, he raised his gaze. “Have I ever told you I love the way you smell?”
It was a compliment. She knew it was. But his choice of wording made her choke back a nervous laugh, which came out as a snort.
He didn’t notice. Instead, he freed the twinflower from her hair, held the bloom to his nose, and inhaled. She was glad she had the support of the wall behind her.
He tossed the flower onto the bed. She tracked its flight as it landed on the quilted cover.
Threading his fingers through her hair, he tilted her face up and gave her one of those kisses. The kind that made breathing difficult and standing near impossible. Still, she didn’t touch him. No matter how badly she wanted to. She didn’t dare.
Ending the kiss, he kept his forehead against hers, but his fingers trailed from her face to her neck to her shoulders to . . . her watch pin. He enfolded it with his fingers, his knuckles brushing her.
Her lips parted.
“It’s cool to the touch,” he said, his voice husky. “I expected it to be warm. Very warm.”
“It was my mother’s. I’ve gone without many a meal rather than sell it. It was all I had.”
“You have me now.”
Anna smiled. “Yes. Yes I do.”
Unpinning the watch, he laid it on the nightstand, then moved his fingers to her buttons.
She sucked in her breath.
“This gown is lovely, little robin, but there are some items of clothing I have wondered about and wanted to see for a long, long time.”
Joe slipped the first button free. Then the second. The third. On and on until the gown was held up only by her back and the wall. He encircled her waist, drew her to him, and kissed her again.
The gown fell to the floor.
Ending the kiss, he took her shoulders and placed her at arm’s length. She blushed, knowing he’d see how much time she’d spent embroidering her new underclothes. But every forget-me-knot, pintuck, ribbon, and scalloped frill had made her feel connected to him somehow.
His Adam’s apple bobbed. He fingered the crocheted edging on the neckline of her shift. “You did a beautiful job, Anna.” He looked at her. “But there are some other items I have wondered about and wanted to see for a long, long time.”
Her eyes widened. Scooping her into his arms, he lowered his mouth to hers and carried her to bed.


Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“Seattle, Washington Territory April 1, 1865 ATTENTION BACHELORS! Due to the efforts of Asa Mercer, you can now secure a bride of good moral character and reputation from the Atlantic States for the sum of $300. All eligible and sincerely desirous bachelors assemble in Delim & Shorey’s building on Wednesday evening.”

Anna Ivey is alone in the world and pretty darn poor to boot, and with the promise of a future in Washington Territory she signs on as one of Asa Mercer’s Brides. Although it turns o
Anne Osterlund
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Jo Denton runs one of the most successful redwood logging operations in Washington State, but his wife is dead. And he can’t seem to convince the judge of that. So half the land he owns goes up for sale if he can’t find himself a new wife.

Enter Anna. Who seems perfect. A Mercer bride who’s traveled all the way from the east coast to cook for Jo and his entire crew. She’s pretty. Kind. Smells like twinflowers. And makes the most spectacular doughnuts.

But no one told her she was coming out west to
May 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Mail-Order Bride Stories, Inspirationals, or Deeanne Gist
Reviewed for THC Reviews
"3.5 stars" I received an ARC copy of A Bride in the Bargain from the LibraryThing early reviewers program. It contains a plot device I usually enjoy, that of the mail-order bride, except with the twist that the bride doesn't know that she's bound for the altar. Once she finds out, of course she's none too happy about it, leaving her groom in the lurch, with seemingly no viable way to save half of his land grant that he has poured hard work into for more than a decade. A
Preeti ♥︎ Her Bookshelves
I'll confess I skimmed the later half as I just could not tolerate this annoyingly bossy h any longer. And her delusional arrogance and even the anachronism!

So, imagine a 19 y.o. penniless (completely! Can't even pay her fare) war orphan from the East who's is in a desperate situation (more on this later), reads an ad for women needed as wives and workers in the Washington Territory and signs on. This part is very interesting as a shipload of equally hopeful women travel 6-7 months down south,
Kellyn Roth
Actual Review: July 21st, 2018.


Second bluest skies host heated romance for a Christian novel.

This was actually a pretty amusing novel, but there was a ton of physical attraction between the leads. Basically, Anna is drooling over Joe’s superior muscles and whatnot, and it was soooo annoying – and then there were several almost-sex-scenes between the characters (who eventually married, of course)! Also, it rains a lot more in Seattle than in this book.

Content: 4/5 for multiple references of
Oh my gosh, that was such a cute read!!

Anna ivy is an orphan, who joined the Mercer brides. Although the man who brought her to Seattle, is a bit of a fibber.
She is being bought to be a bride, but she doesn't know that.
When she meets joe Denton, she thinks she is being contracted to cook for his lumberjack's.
Well she has another thing coming.
As Joe tries to make her fall in love with him, to keep his land. He ends up falling for her. Who knew!
Anyway as she becomes accustom to cooking for the
Willowy Whisper
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although I extremely enjoyed the book itself (and would have gladly given it a 5-star rating), I could not get over the "inappropriate" content. Although nothing bad truly happened, much was insinuated. It made me feel guilty to read the book. ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Plot - 4
Writing style - 4
Characters - 3.5
Romance - 3.5

In which a beautiful nineteen-year-old woman fell in love with her twenty-seven-year-old handsome employer who is supposed to be her husband due to the contact she signed in.

Plot - the whole thing was fascinating. The plot was like straight out of some KDrama or something.

Writing style - have no problem with it although I have to admit, I just skimmed the last 20 pages or so because I grew tired of the romance between them. Sorry.

The first
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This novel was very intriguing and once I began reading I couldn't stop until it was finished, I had to take a quick break late last night at about five in the morning, but that was only because I could no longer hold my eyes open.

I could not have asked for a better novel from Mrs. Gist. She is new author to me, but I was quiet please with the change of pace and her writing techniques.

From the beginning until the very end the characters were thoroughly developed and blended together as in real
Feb 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Here is a book I really wanted to give a 4 or 5 rating to but just couldn't for one reason only. That one reason, however, was a big one.
I just could not make the story's heroine, Anna, a sympathetic character no matter how hard I tried. Even though I understand Ms. Gist's reasons for Anna's behavior, she still came across as an incredibly self-centered girl who put her own worries above the welfare of everyone else. I actually hope this is just a personal thing because I think the story is wel
Feb 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Looking forward to the day I can read a Christian novel where the lead female character isn't a complete ninny. Today was not that day. Why can't the "heroine" ever have common sense or at least some shred of emotional stability?

I'm giving the book a 3 out of 5 because it did manage to make me want to move to the redwoods and eat potatoes and hotcakes every day, whatever a hotcake is.
I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I liked this one. I’ve read a couple other Gist books, which were okay and left me not really expecting to enjoy this one as much as I did. I totally got caught up in the story and the characters. I really liked Anna, she was pretty brave to escape the only world she knew to make a new beginning in Seattle. I liked that she stood up for herself and wouldn’t get bullied into things. I wanted to smack her parents, especially her dad, who really put some ...more
Aug 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The first chapter was a bit scattered and then it really picked up. Although I could foresees the outcome of this book you never know what twists an author may take. I loved Joe's masculinity and ability to work hard. The effects Anna has on him make all of his characteristics show even more. Anna is quite the little spunky girl and cook even I was hungry for one of her meals. Read this in 1 day if that'll give you and idea as to how much I loved it. I just love Deeanne Gist I think she does a h ...more
This was American Civil War era.

I enjoyed learning about lumberjacks. I liked aspects of
MC, Joe and Anna.

This story lacked logic?
(1) Mercer had a scheme where he charmed woman out
East & Seattle bachelors to fork over money to be paired
for marriage. Anna at 1st surmised she'd be a governess
or teacher in her new city, then Mercer made a deal she'd
be a cook, not a bride, for Joe. Joe was lead by Mercer to
believe Joe would wed Anna soon upon her Seattle arrival.
(2) Anna met widowed Mrs. Wren
Jenni C
Feb 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: clean-romance
Disclaimer: This book contains more references to "muscles" and "undergarments" than any other clean romance book I have ever read. While that may be a good thing for was not for me and ultimately earned it a three star rating - instead of a four or five star rating :)

Pros: The book has a great plot and strong, believable characters (the hero and heroine are amazing people). One of the best things about this book is the small witty dialog (when the author is not taking about muscles)
Jennifer AlLee
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Before I start reading a new book by Deeanne Gist, I make sure my schedule is clear - no deadlines looming, no appointments to get to - because I know once I start, I'm not going to want to stop.

In A Bride in the Bargain we meet Joe and Anna, two people who fall hard for each other, even though they're not looking for love. Despite their feelings, they're a stubborn pair, and the road to a happy ending is fraught with missteps, some comical, some nearly tragic. But the journey is a great one.

Oct 06, 2009 rated it did not like it
I did not finish this book. It was way to slow to get to the heart of the story. Already 10 chapters in and the bride had barely made it to the ranch.

This story is about a man who moved out northwest to make his fortune in lumber. He acquired his land through a government grant which requires him to be married. Wife dies before she can make it out there, so he takes part in a venture to bring women out to marry the lumberjacks. Through a series of misunderstandings, the chick that is brought to
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This was a fun historical Christian romance novel with some quite amusing scenes as well as some somewhat predictable plot twists, but I really liked it a lot, and it was one of those books that sucked me in and that I found hard to put down, which is why I went to bed after midnight when I'd finished the book. Anyhow, it is a well-written book for its genre, and it has earned a place on my favorites' list. ...more
Courtney | Soul of a Librarian
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Deeanne Gist is so talented at balancing chemistry, humor, and heart! This is a great read for those who enjoy clean historical romances with swoon-worthy moments.
Annie Hogle
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a good read! I loved the main characters... I especially liked how independent Anna was!
Mar 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
The time period is what really stuck out to me and encouraged me to give A Bride in the Bargain a shot. I don't see a lot of books set in the post civil war era, but it's an interesting time, full of possibilities. Gist has taken a number of historical facts and figures and worked her fictional couple into what otherwise was the real world. I loved the details and appreciated even more the afterword wherein she separates fact from fiction and clarifies any artistic liberties.

As a heroine, Anna i
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
I sort have this weird fascination with the 1860’s mail-order brides, so when A Bride in the Bargain popped up on my radar, I immediately snapped it up. The story revolves around Joe Denton and Anna Ivey. Joe’s a lumberjack living near Seattle who desperately needs a wife, a scarce “commodity” in the Washington Territory. Because he doesn’t have a death certificate for his first wife, who died before she joined him out west, Joe stands to loose half his land and his livelihood. After plunking do ...more
Aug 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Christian romance
Shelves: 2010
I really enjoyed this story by Deeanne Gist. Its the story of a woman running from an emotionally abusive family. Anna thinks she is going to be a cook for a logging camp in Seattle but in reality, the man who agreed to pay her passage to Seattle from Massachusetts, has signed her up as a mail order bride. Once she gets to Seattle, having traveled for nearly a year (by ship around South America), the last thing she expects is to be someone's wife. And in true stubborn woman fashion, she refuses ...more
Jun 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Author: Deeanne Gist
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-1-7642-0407-4
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Joe Denton really doesn’t want a wife. His first wife died ten years ago, but now the judge in Seattle is threatening to take away Joe’s land, since it is supposed to go to a married man. And Joe can’t produce a death certificate for his wife. In desperation, Joe buys himself a Mercer bride—and eastern orphan brought into the Territory by entrepreneur Asa Mer
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, historical
What a sweet little book this is. No really. Throughout the book I kept thinking to myself, “oh, how sweet.” Surprisingly enough this didn’t make me roll my eyes and toss the book over my shoulder. You see, to me sweet usually means blah, or boring, or possibly a diabetic coma, but not this time. What saves it from being too good to be true is the author’s attention to historical detail. She doesn’t pretty it up a whole lot which makes the secondary cast of characters much more human, therefore ...more
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have reread this book more times than I can count and have deemed it my favorite book for over 10 years. I just reread it again today and I have yet to find another book thats characters are so real to me and with chemistry that sparks off the page. This is probably one of the most swoon-worthy books I’ve read & set the standard for all books I’ve read since opening its pages as a teen.

I simply love everything about this book. The plot, character development...but most of all the descriptive
Janna Ryan
Aug 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Ahhh, another Deeanne Gist historical romance! How sweet it is! I enjoyed this particular book so much, it is actually based loosely on an actual event. Asa Mercer decides to leave the West and head East to bring brides back by ship for all the lonely fellows out West. Of course he charges the fellows a head hunters fee. Then he charges the women for passage. Then he hits the women up for more half way through passage and forgets to tell some of the women that they are actually supposed to get ...more
Jeannette Garcia
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book... I would actually give it 3.5 stars, but I figured I'd just round up =) I just loved the fact that the hero was a lumberjack. One of my favorite things to do was watch the lumberjack competitions on ESPN (when it was on that time of year). So I guess my love for lumberjacks is what made me really like this book. There's nothing better than a big burly, and might I add handsome, lumberjack!!!! I also like Anna's character. I thought she was definitely a good contrast to his ...more
It's been a few years since I've read a Christian romance (or any Christian fiction really), so on a whim I picked up A Bride in the Bargain at the library.

I would use the label "Christian" lightly. It seems to be more of a gateway book for those who enjoy secular "bodice-ripping" romance novels but are maybe looking for something a little toned down. Very little mention of God (and what is mentioned seems rather tossed in), and very little to no spiritual elements. God seems to be someone to w
It may have taken me longer to finish this book but that has nothing to do with my enjoyment. I loved this. This was my first Deeanne Gist book and it won't be my last!
JOE! I loved him! He was so sweet and honest and manly! Who knew a big lumberjack could be so swoony!
Anna was wonderful as well. I loved her stubborn nature and fierceness but also her kindness and compassion. I hated the guilt she carried for so long, I wish she could've been reasoned with sooner.
Ronny was a very small side cha
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With over a million copies of her books sold, international bestselling, award-winning author Deeanne Gist has rocketed up bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her original, captivating historicals. Her latest release, Tiffany Girl, was touted as a “Must Year of the Year!” by USA Today, was one of the Top 10 Most Anticipated Books of 2015 by Huffington Post, and one of WikiEzvid' ...more

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“Judge Rountree holds half my property in the palm of his hand." Denton's growl broke the silence. "I'd appreciate if you didn't insult him at all, much less in his own home."

"He named his children One, Two, Three, and Four," she said. "He deserves to be insulted.”
“Fir, cedar, pines, oaks, and maples densely timbered this section. But it was the redwoods that never failed to fill him with awe. Their feathery-looking needles and reddish bark. The way they stretched up to incredible heights and the sheer magnitude of their circumferences. How long ago had God planted their seeds? Hundreds of years? Thousands? As he stood amongst those mighty giants, he realized the land wasn’t his at all. It was God’s. God had formed and planted the seeds. He’d tended the soil and caused it to rain. He’d needed no man. Least of all Joe. Yet over and over Joe had thought of this as his own. My land. My logging camp. My house. My woman. My everything. Picking up his ax, he returned to his work. But in his mind, he reviewed a list of men in the Bible who’d left everything they held dear for parts unknown. Abraham. Jacob. Joseph. Moses. Even a woman. Esther. In every case, their circumstances were much more severe than his. God hadn’t commanded Joe to leave his land, though he’d prayed for guidance. Fasted. Read his Bible. But God had remained silent. Joe simply assumed God was letting him choose. But no matter what he chose, none of it was really his. It was all God’s. And God was sharing it with him. So which did he want? Both. Like a spoiled child, he definitely wanted both. But if he could only have one, wouldn’t he still be a man blessed? Yes. And he’d praise God and thank Him. But that didn’t immediately make the grief shrivel up and blow away. Eyeing where he wanted the tree to fall, he adjusted his stance. I want Anna, Lord. I choose Anna. Yet as long as he lived, he’d always miss this land. He’d miss the Territory. He’d miss the logging. He’d miss his friends. The cypress began to pop and splinter. Jumping away, he braced his feet, threw back his head, and shouted with everything he had. “Timber-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r!” The tree wavered, then crashed to the forest floor. Noise resounded through the copse. The ground shook. Debris flew. Before any of it settled, Joe fell to his knees, doubled over, and sobbed.” 3 likes
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