At Love’s Bidding
By Regina Jennings
Ozark Mountain Romance, #2
She sells priceless antiques. He sells livestock by the pound. Is he really the man to make a bid for her heart?
After helping her grandfather at their Boston auction house, Miranda Wimplegate discovers she's accidentally sold a powerful family's prized portrait to an anonymous bidder. Desperate to appease the people who could ruin them forever, they track it to the Missouri Ozarks and make an outlandish offer to buy the local auction house and all its holdings before the painting can move again.
Upon crossing the country, however, Miranda and her grandfather discover their new auction house doesn't deal in fine antiques, but in livestock. And its frustratingly handsome manager, Wyatt Ballentine, is annoyed to discover his fussy new bosses don't know a thing about the business he's single-handedly kept afloat. Faced with more heads of cattle than they can count---but no mysterious painting---Miranda and Wyatt form an unlikely but charged partnership to try and prevent a bad situation from getting worse.
I am so glad to have had the opportunity to review this book because I’ve found a new author to enjoy. At Love’s Bidding has what I enjoy most – rich characterization, humor, appealing hero and heroine, romance with chemistry, inspiration – all beautifully blended into an intriguing storyline. This book can stand alone, although reading the previous book, A Most Inconvenient Marriage, would give a better feel for setting and characters. I will definitely be reading Regina’s earlier novels.
The Ozark Mountain Romance series is set in a beautiful part of the country, the Missouri Ozarks. From the Boston auction house, to the small Missouri town of Pine Gap and its people, to the livestock auction house, Regina creates a vivid sense of place. The world of auctions takes center stage, and I loved the sharp contrast between the dignified estate-style auction of Boston and the carnival-like atmosphere of Missouri livestock auctions. There’s some surprising twists and turns, all of which lead to a flawless and satisfying ending.
Wyatt and Miranda are well-drawn characters that I cared about. With an uncertain background, Wyatt worked hard to prove his worth, only to frequently have his dreams shot down by a younger brother. Miranda’s strength is that, although she struggles with insecurity, she loves and is totally dedicated to her family. Both Wyatt and Miranda hate injustice and have a heart for those less fortunate. Faith is a natural part of their lives and Miranda comes to find her true self through her journey to the Ozarks.
Secondary characters, like Abigail, Jeremiah and Betsy from the previous book, add much richness. And then there’s Miranda’s Cousin Cornelius, a phrenologist who measures the size and shape of his patients’ heads to discern their character, personality, and mental state. I cheered at Wyatt’s words to him: “If you’re using science to put limits on what God can accomplish with a person, that’s where we part ways.”
The humor which Regina infuses into her writing is wonderful. You’ll find it throughout the novel, sometimes in laugh-out-loud scenes - like the first livestock auction and the headless chicken - and simmering beneath the surface at other times. But don’t be fooled into thinking this a “light” read. It does read easily, but there’s hidden depth in life issues – like social status, stewardship of wealth, and the heartbreak of dementia. I found Wyatt and Miranda’s patient, loving care for her grandfather most touching – and personally inspiring. These words from Miranda’s father should speak to all of us:
“We’ve learned many lessons from your grandfather over
the years, lessons that he enjoyed passing down.
Caring for him will be the last lesson he has to teach us.
It’s up to us to learn it well.”
Highly recommended. 5 stars based on how much I enjoyed the characters and story.
Regina has put together some great pictures, so be sure to visit her Pinterest board.
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of A Most Inconvenient Marriage, Sixty Acres and a Bride, and Caught in the Middle, and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children.
Find Regina online at reginajennings.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Litfuse landing page:
To enter the drawing for At Love’s Bidding, please share my Facebook post (click on link) and leave a comment here (plus name & email). I'm new to Regina's books, so if you've read any of hers, I'd love to know your thoughts.
BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Sunday, January 10. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail.
Eligibility: US residents