Review: A Match for Bernadette
Marianne's Mail Order Bride (Book #11)
Independently Published
Brenda Larnell  |  Rating:  B+
REVIEW: I am so glad that I don’t have to place this story in a certain category. There are numerous elements at play in this Novella. First, A MATCH FOR BERNADETTE is part of a thirteen book series. Not only does it fall in the category of Historical African American Fiction, but also Christian Fiction and African American Christian Fiction. If you have ever read a Parker J. Cole story, then you know that the storyline will have unexpected twists and turns. Bernadette Hicks and Flavius Stone are the featured heroine and hero. These two have history that goes back to when they were slaves on the same plantation. The main setting for the story is Denver, Colorado, and it begins post-slavery 1875.

When we meet Bernadette, she is facing several life-changing decisions. Her adoptive mother is dying, and Bernadette has some decisions to make about her future. Will she stay in Cincinnati, or will she venture out on her own is just one decision that is on her plate. Everything comes down to what Bernadette wants her life to look like going forward. Without spilling too much tea, I will say that unknowing to her, Bernadette, aka Cissy, will be reunited with a man, Flavius, aka Big Tom, with whom she had a tenuous relationship while they were both slaves. There is a lot to unpack in this story concerning Bernadette, her post-slavery life, and the circumstances that brings her face-to-face with her past. Likewise for the hero, Flavius. He has to come to grips with his sullied past also. My reaction to some of the revelations that were brought to light was, “Wait! What?” They were a bit much, y’all. For example, everyone from Bernadette and Flavius’ past conveniently ends up in Denver, and Flavius had a twin living on the same plantation that no one knew about. It’s a lot to take in, and at the same time, it makes for a riveting read. Let me throw this out to top it off. Bernadette is a “Negro Quaker Preacher”, and she travels to Denver, at the insistence of her dying second mother, as a mail order bride. I’ll just leave that right there.

The minor characters, an eclectic group, play roles that support the major characters and add to the intrigue of the story.  Some are characters that have made appearances in previous books in this series. The minor character who really stands out is Diane Whiting. You’ll understand when you read the story. In spite of all the dark, mouth dropping revelations occurring in the previous chapters, the Epilogue produces a much-needed HEA for Bernadette and Flavius.

A MATCH FOR BERNADETTE is a lot of story packed into 157 pages. As an historical, the author intertwines her research of the Quaker religion into the storyline. It’s a good read, and I recommend it. Although it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. The cover is gorgeous!

1st June 2022 |