The Kitchen Marriage (Montana Brides Romance)

Written by Gina Welborn
Review by Valerie Adolph

French immigrant Zoe le Fleur is forced to leave her employment as a cook—actually as a trained chef—in 1888 New York. Thinking she is headed to a new job as a chef in the West, she arrives to find she has actually answered a matchmaker’s ad to become the bride of a settler in Helena, Montana.

She is dazzled by her prospective husband, Jakob Gunderson, who is handsome, charming and attentive. His brother Isaak is the opposite—brusque and uncommunicative. Yet Fleur comes to understand his true value and realizes she loves him more than she loves his superficially attractive younger brother.

This is a delightful summer read without too much moralizing. Most of the characters are clearly defined with a strong moral compass and behavior that might be mistaken but never evil.

The story builds to a strong climax that reflects le Fleur’s strength as it focuses on the rivalry between the brothers. As the main character, her determination to build a life for herself based on her unique abilities reflects today’s values. She is a character not just of her time but of our time also.