Equality and compassion are two key components of a healthy marriage. However, in Wanda E. Brunstetter’s historical romance, Kelly’s Chance, Kelly McGregor believes marriage is anything but romantic. Convinced that her abrasive father and her sister’s unfaithful husband are representative of all married men, Kelly swears she will never fall in love. However, when a handsome and devout shopkeeper, Mike Cooper, unexpectedly enters her life, she must face what she fears most—trusting her heart to a person she cannot control.
Pride and prejudice define Kelly’s view of love. Her entire life is devoted to working many hours leading mules up and down the canal towpath for her merciless, coal-mining father. As an aspiring artist, she dreams of opening her own gallery, but her father refuses to pay her for her work. As stubborn as the mules she leads, Kelly refuses to accept any help, even from Mike, who offers to sell her work in his supply shop. Yet, as their relationship evolves, her heart and her mind lead her in two very different directions.
The majority of conflict in the book is internal, revolving around Kelly’s skewed perception of men and marriage. Because the men in her life have disappointed her time and again, Kelly’s mind automatically transforms Mike’s innocent intentions into those of her overbearing father. As he attempts to earn her trust and reawaken her faith, Mike voices his concerns about waiting patiently for God to provide him with the Christian wife and family he desires.
A large portion of the plot is devoted to Kelly’s rekindled Christianity. Although she accepted Christ as her Savior when she was only a child, the resentment she harbors for her father and the preacher’s pushy daughter keep her from fully committing herself to the faith. However, through Mike’s unwavering example, Kelly learns the true meaning of love as expressed in 1 Corinthians 13:4, which says: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” Throughout the novel, Kelly’s mistaken view of love is reshaped in the image of Christ’s redemptive love.
Overall, the story is well-organized and the plot is appropriately arranged in chronological order. Although the characters are not deeply developed, their concerns are logical and the trials that test them are understandable. By the end of the novel, every loose end is neatly tied, propelling the story to satisfactory conclusion. Although this book could be enjoyed by women of all ages, I would recommend it to young women, especially those who have ever been hurt by a father figure in their lives. – Kara Hackett, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Life for Kelly McGregor is a daily drudge of driving her overbearing father’s mules along Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Canal. She dreams of one day owning an art gallery where her own drawings and paintings are on display. But these dreams don’t include marriage. . .not after seeing what her father has done to her mother. How then can Mike Cooper, a general store owner, make her realize he is different than her father and wants to support her artistic talent? Will Kelly learn that dreams can walk hand in hand with a love created by God?