REVIEW: Waiting for Lily Bloom by Jericha Kingston
James Bloom has prayed three years for rain and five years for a wife. His dreams are demolished on Palm Sunday, 1935, when a catastrophic dust storm hits Oklahoma, and his neighbor’s niece has to ride out the storm at his house–-overnight. The next day, he’s forced to marry her, an East coast city girl who can’t speak. Could this be God’s plan?
Condemned to a future married to a stranger in the dusty Oklahoma wasteland, Lily Driggers longs for her home. Yet somehow, her new husband is the only one who understands her silent pleas.
As Easter approaches, Lily and James wonder if there is hope after the storm.
Dear Ms. Kingston,
Inspirational romances still seem to be the ones more inclined to use unusual settings or places. In a world filled with Regency/Victorian England, it’s nice to have some variety. This is primarily what made me interested in trying this book.
Since it’s a novella, things have to move fast. One minute Lily has just arrived from Georgia to visit her Aunt and Uncle in Oklahoma and the next a sandstorm of colossal scope has stranded her at their unmarried neighbor’s house overnight. This is a sweet romance with no sex and barely a kiss so of course nothing happened but in 1935 rural life that didn’t cut any mustard. To save Lily’s reputation, an immediate marriage followed.
Despite James having longed for a wife for years, he’s not picky. A strong woman who is suited to being a farmer’s wife is all he requires. Then after he suddenly gets a wife, he’s patience personified. The blurb doesn’t mention the other major event of the book so I’ll leave it at that though I will say that what happened wasn’t uncommon. Still James takes to his totally upended life with more heartfelt thankfulness than seems possible. I did wonder why he seemed totally unconcerned about whether or not he’d ever see his horses, cow or chickens again.
Lily is struggling to adjust just a bit more. Used to the finer things in life and not having mentioned any plans for marriage, she finds herself in a situation she never imagined. She can also be a bit more prickly than James who has a tendency to speak first and think second. But since he’s lived alone, this is more understandable. Lily is quite willing to take offence and hold onto it for a while leaving James as the one to apologize.
Still things go better than anyone might have expected until the final conflict. While James is very religious – though in a good way – Lily is more casual, though believing. The character who precipitates the make-or-break moment in their marriage is made to be the villain of the whole book and I hated that he was also depicted as disparaging of religion. He could have voiced opposition to the marriage on other grounds without using his lack of religious beliefs to paint him black. This took me back to the days in romance when villains were revealed to homosexual or made to be interested in un-vanilla sex as a short-hand for evil.
I enjoyed the setting and once James and Lily were more used to communicating, their relationship was fun to watch develop. It was a fast sprint to “I love you” but this is a novella so I wasn’t too surprised. I just wish religion wasn’t one of the main things used to make one character the villain. B-