Denise Hunter. Married ‘til Monday. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2015.
Have you ever read a book that reminds you all the world of a place (or places) where you’ve lived previously? I spent much of my graduate school experience living in Indianapolis. Whenever I read Denise Hunter’s books that are set in Indiana, I find myself reminiscing about the places and people that made it such a great place to live for those years. When I discovered that one of the primary characters in her most recent novel, Married ‘til Monday, lived in Indy, I couldn’t wait to read the novel.
Married ‘til Monday, the fourth book in Ms. Hunter’s Chapel Springs Romance series, follows the eldest son of the McKinley family. Ryan McKinley coaches football for the local high school, but still dreams of his college sweetheart and ex-wife, Abby. When Abby’s parents call to invite him to their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary in Maine, Ryan quickly realizes that she has kept their divorce a secret from those who should be closest to her. Before they know it, Abby and Ryan are on a cross-country road trip that offers them a chance to find out the truth behind the failings of their marriage. With a nervous dog in tow, a tiny car, and too much time on their hands, they discover that they are in for the ride of their lives and a God-given second chance.
In Married ‘til Monday, Ms. Hunter displays her award-winning ability to create a cast of engaging characters, who personify the real-life challenges faced by Christians. The truth behind Abby’s past and the challenges that tore apart her marriage will rivet readers who enjoy emotionally-driven plotlines, while Ryan and his extended family will continue to delight fans of the Chapel Springs series.
Overall, I liked Married ‘til Monday as a library read. However, I would likely rank The Wishing Season as my favorite book within the Chapel Springs Romance series (its review will be posted at a later date). While Married ‘til Monday remains true to Ms. Hunter’s style, I never became entirely immersed in the story. I’m finding in my reading of this and other books that I rarely enjoy emotionally-driven plotlines and, instead, prefer external conflict. For instance, I really enjoyed the scene in which Ryan and Abby are stranded in a fishing shack for several days. The scene was one of my favorites, in part, because it highlighted Ms. Hunter’s ability to develop unique and likable characters who could simultaneously grow personally and further a plotline. In addition, it offered some of the few laugh-out-loud moments of an otherwise serious novel. In comparison, the emotional plotline of the novel significantly slowed the pacing in key sections and resulted in secondary characters questioning the actions of the primary characters. At that point, I had to agree with their assessment and found myself wishing for the book’s final resolution.
Fans of both Denise Hunter and the Chapel Springs Romance series will definitely find Married ‘til Monday to be a worthwhile read. Additionally, those who typically read Christian fiction by such authors as Susan May Warren and Colleen Coble will likely also enjoy reading Denise Hunter’s works.
Special thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for an advanced copy of Married ‘til Monday!