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Some days I wonder how Harlequins are titled. This is not the first one where the title seems generic. Off the top of my head, I would have called it “Love at Second Sight.” However, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Homespun Bride is a Love Inspired Historical, so it’s both Christian and set in the past, with very little sensuality. Originally published in August of 2008, it’s now available as a free e-book and is by Jillian Hart.

We are in Angel Falls, Montana, in 1883, and our heroine, Noelle, is blind. She lost her sight in a wagon accident that also killed her parents, and after the accident her fiance dumped her as she was “damaged goods.” As the story open, another wagon accident sets her up to be rescued by none other than her former suitor, Thad, who had run off years earlier. So Noelle and Thad do the dance of re-establishing their relationship. He doesn’t care that she is blind, and she doesn’t care that he is poor, and eventually they talk about why he ran off.

The problem with this type of story is that we miss the initial meeting and discovery of the other person, which can be a lot of fun (yes, your truly is currently dating). These two are already in love, and just dealing with a setback or two. I was also unhappy with the solution to Thad’s poverty – he’s rescued by Noelle (yes!), but in a manner that hides her contribution. For the most part though, Noelle is presented as a strong and independent woman whose only real handicap is her inability to acknowledge her desirability.

Hart does a great job of presenting the world from Noelle’s point of view, describing scenes  by their sounds. An early effective comparison of footsteps to a metronome seems jarring, until we learn that Noelle teaches piano. Whenever it starts to snow, we learn this as Noelle feels the snowflakes on her face. Somewhat more intrusive to the narrative are hints about the romantic activities of Noelle’s numerous cousins. I sense a series, and in fact this book belongs to two different series. The Christian elements are well integrated into the story, apart from the cutesy town name that seems required for all Love Inspired stories. Overall, an enjoyable read, though more for the quality of the writing than the story.

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