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Monday, February 6, 2017

By Proxy (Heart of Montana #1) [Jenny & Sam] by Katy Regnery

What a wonderfully sweet story! Though I've read MOST of Katy's work this is the only series left on my list and it's actually the first books she published. It felt different from everything else I've read by her, I"m not sure if it's the setting, the characters or what exactly but there was a sort of innocence and small town wonder I really enjoyed reading. Also, it's been awhile since I read such "low steam" novel and I gotta say, I didn't really feel it was missing. I didn't "need" it to feel Jenny and Sam's feeling for one another and though the romance part was quite short (in time), I could totally see why and mostly how they fell for one another. 

I'll start by explaining the "By Proxy" idea.. We get an explanation in the end of the first chapter but I was so puzzled by the whole thing I better explain it so you won't get confused as I was in the beginning. Jenny's best friend Ingrid, and Sam's cousin Kristian - BOTH serve in the army. But though they are a formed couple they serve VERY far away from one another. When a short vocation results in an upcoming baby, they decide to get married. But how do you get married when you're not even in the same continent? - By Proxy.. In Montana it's possible to get married with Proxies, which means there are two people who say the vows FOR the true couple who are unable to attend the ceremony together in the same place. THIS is how Sam and Jenny meet, they are suppose to say wedding vows FOR Ingrid and Kristian. Totally Bizarre. I got why Jenny wasn't hot on the idea, there is something a little bit upsetting about it. Sitting in front of a person you don't even know, saying vows for people who aren't even there. ALMOST getting married with a person you don't even know, while not getting married AT ALL. For Jenny there's also the part she sees this ceremony as a "one time deal", something she would say once in her life to the man she will spend the rest of her life with, and so saying it beforehand doesn't feel "right". Sure she'll do this for Ingrid, but inside she so wishes she could avoid this whole situation. 

Sam and Jenny start on the wrong foot when he is so late to the ceremony the judge left for the weekend leaving them with the only option of rescheduling for Monday. It's not what either of them wanted. Sam has a life FAR FAR away in Chicago and Jenny would gladly put this whole experience behind her - the sooner the better, and not miss any more days at school (she is a high school science teacher). So now they are stuck together for the weekend. Yeah I guess Sam could have stayed away from her the whole time but he decided to offer his apology for being late with dinner. They spend the whole weekend together and since it's nearing Christmas there is a lot of festivities in the small town Jenny and her family lives in. 

It was beautiful experiencing the small town of Gardiner, a little bit like Sam did, in a small wonder. The sweet caring people, the feeling of community. A cold place with the warmest atmosphere. Jenny, not just as a teacher is well loved and respected. She has three older brothers she calls "the boys", and they couldn't be farther away in person - three HUGE scandinavian protective guys. Sam was intimidated at first glance but once he got to know them a little bit they seem like a happy and mostly loving bunch. Jenny is the glue in the family. She left for a while for college but she came but when her mother was sick and never left after that. She had other dreams, but staying with her family was the only option she could think of after everything they went through with her mother's passing. 

Sam is a big city guy, even though his mother is originally from a small town in Montana (a few hours away from Gardiner). He LOVES Montana, it's a beautiful place which calms him and makes him happy, and yet he can't possibly make a life in such a small town. He works in finance, he is good at what he does, and the high profile company he works at expects him to put up an appearance, go to galas, charity events etc, and it's even better when he had Pepper, the celebrity "knock-out" he used to date. 

So though the attraction between them burns, they can't find a way to make a life together and so they have a lot of warm-cold moments where there are not sure what to do. It's so very hard NOT to fall for one another when Sam is such a wonderful caring guy, and Jenny is the most genuine sweet and yet courageous girl. Everything about each other appeals to them, except for the place they live in. They are both frustrated. Don't know what to think and especially what to DO. Jenny is SO small world, and Sam is SO big world. Their worlds just doesn't collide. 

I enjoyed this story SO MUCH. Jenny might be inexperienced with guys, but once she felt a little more herself around Sam we saw the sweetest girl. She is the rock of her family, she is loved by her community and it's not wonder why with such a big heart. She put herself on the side for her family, and now that Sam is in front of her, she isn't sure how or if she could have him. She can't see herself leaving Gardiner and he can't possibly live here. She wants him, she is overwhelmed by him. Sam on the other hand is struck by how Jenny is everything he wants and needs. After he and Pepper broke up he knew what he DIDN'T want, but he hadn't a clue what he actually does. His life in Chicago might be shallow but it's HIS life, it's everything he worked to become and he is proud of the place he got himself into. Though he loves Montana the small town of Gardiner has nothing to offer him, what would he do here? They both struggle so much with wanting and even needing each other and seeing if it's actually possible to HAVE one another. It's easy to see a possibility for them as the story progressed but they both have A LOT of thinking to do before either of them does any big step towards the other. For me it felt much more realistic, especially since they spend a short time before they realized how much they want to make it work. 

There is so much more I could say about this story, not to mention the side characters we're going to meet in the next installments. Mostly Jenny's brothers but also her dear friend Maggie and the principal of the school she teaches in. I really enjoyed my time in Gardiner so I can't wait to delve into the next one. 


Read on:
4-5 Feb-2017

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