Linda Lael Miller’s ‘The Marriage Charm’ Is An Enchanting Love Story [REVIEW]

Cowboy Wedding

Spence might be a good cop, but is he husband material? (Photo by Barry Lenard, Flickr)

In Bliss County, the local ladies have an agenda: they need husbands, and they are bound and determined to get them. Now that Hadleigh Stevens is sporting rancher Tripp Galloway’s ring on her finger, Melody Nolan plans to be the next bride to walk down the aisle. To date, she hasn’t exactly found Mr. Right. But securing her happiness may mean taking a harder look at the men folk in town. Find out who she snags in Linda Lael Miller’s The Marriage Charm. 

Linda Lael Miller's THE MARRIAGE CHARM - Credit HQN


A successful jewelry designer, Melody has a good life. After all, she’s not exactly unhappy. Seeing her friend get married makes her realize that she needs something… well, someone… to make her life complete though, something more than just her job, anyway. But all of the men she knows have traits that don’t exactly make them prize catches when it comes to matrimony.

For example, there’s the local chief of police, Spence Hogan. With his reputation for being a ladies’ man, he and Melody have a past filled with misunderstandings. And sometimes, it is hard to let go of old grudges. Suffice it to say, these two certainly have a lot of growing up to do when we first meet them.

As for Spence, well, he’s as courageous as they come—except when it comes to love. In that regard, he’s a little yellow and is happy women find his reputation a bit off-putting, especially those who have an inkling to rope him in as a husband. Yet when it comes to Melody, there’s something about her that strikes him differently… something that touches his heart.

The Marriage Charm is an enchanting feel-good story for anyone who has ever loved a cowboy (or at least has fantasized about one). Miller does a fine job writing captivating, emotional scenes featuring vivid characters we can connect with. She allows us to watch them grow as individuals over the arc of the novel, especially as they realize it takes perseverance and compromise to forge their own “happily ever after.” Also, she provides ample history on each character and grounds them in a well-drawn setting that helps propel the reader through the story.

This isn’t to say that Miller is without her faults as a writer. At times the pacing lags a bit, and there were a few story threads that just seemed a bit inconceivable. For example, early in the novel, Spence and Tripp have a conversation regarding the reasons he didn’t accept Melody’s initial proposal. Could it really be because neither person ever said, “I love you?” Also, the small town they live in seems like a hotbed for gossip, so how could Melody not know the exact relationship between Spence and Mrs. Arbuckle? These are little things, but they annoyed me enough to mention them here, and if a lack of verisimilitude doesn’t make you cringe, then these oversights won’t ruffle your feathers.

Still, this doesn’t stop me from being a Linda Lael Miller fan or keep me from recommending The Marriage Charm as a sweet story populated by charismatic characters and more than one hunky cowboy. It’s not her finest work, but it is still an enjoyable diversion for a rainy afternoon.

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Linda Lael Miller

Linda Lael Miller
(Photo by John Hall Photography)


The daughter of a town marshal, Linda Lael Miller is the number one New York Times bestselling author of Always a CowboyOnce a RancherMontana Creeds: Tyler, and more than 100 other historical and contemporary novels, most of which reflect her love of the west. Raised in Northport, Washington, Miller lived in both London and Arizona and traveled the world before she returned to the state of her birth to settle down on a horse property outside Spokane.

She sold her first book, Fletcher’s Woman, in 1983 to Pocket Books. Since then, she’s written historical, contemporary, paranormal, mystery, and thriller fiction, but ultimately returned to writing novels with a Western flavor and was awarded the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award from the Romance Writers of America in 2007 for her devotion to the craft. Now the Hallmark Movie Channel is developing a series based on her Big Sky Country novels.

To find out more about Linda and her books, visit her home on the Web at, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

By Linda Lael Miller
298 pp. HQN. $7.99

Purchase The Marriage Charm at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Harlequin, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

About Heather Fink
Heather Fink is a writer, bibliophile and award-winning librarian who loves to introduce the next generation of readers to the wonderful world of books. She currently resides in Texas.

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