I received a complimentary e-copy of the book Brides and Brothers, by Anneka R. Walker, from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
After watching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, my mom and I would often respond to sneezes with the line “Bless your beautiful hide!”, which was most appropriate after our sweet dog, Lillie, would sneeze. When I came across Brides & Brothers, a modern-day adaptation of the classic, on NetGalley, I was definitely intrigued by the premise.
Throughout the reading, the word “delightful” popped into my head when I would think about reviewing the book. I enjoyed meeting Camille and Aiden, getting to know them and also being introduced to the large cast of secondary characters. I was also quite impressed with Walker’s ability to create so many distinct characters. Although I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to distinguish between the many characters, I found that, as the plot progressed, it was pretty easy to remember who was who (though two sisters and twin brothers felt somewhat interchangeable).
I also really enjoyed the humor of the book. The characters were often doing surprising things, and I updated my mom on the narrative, several times.
I would have liked to see a little bit more development in Camille’s relationship with her mom.
Comparing it with the Film
I liked Aiden much more than I did Adam. Additionally, although it has been several years since I watched the film, I found that the book provided a lot more insight into the characters of the brothers and their love interests. In the movie, I didn’t really “get to know” the brothers, and their future wives felt even less distinctive. In contrast, the book introduced the female characters (the main character’s former roommates–basically) early on, as well as the male characters.
I was curious to see how the book would deal with the automatic-marriage arrangement, and was pleasantly surprised with the way that Walker built-up to the main characters’ decision to marry. I think it fit with the modern setting and was ultimately (mostly) believable.
I also enjoyed reading about the brothers’ romantic gaffes, and their choice to accept Camille’s (or Millie’s, as they called her) relationship advice. This felt consistent with the movie, as well.
Overall, I felt that the modern rendition did an excellent job of bringing the cherished tale to the present, while also making the male characters much more likable. Although they could be clueless and insensitive, they treated the women with a lot more respect than in the movie and I really liked that element in reclaiming the story. It maintained the overarching plot and humor, while also adopting a more healthy and respectful approach to relationships. For instance, Camille, instead of being forced to care for the men, offers to cook and clean because they are her family members.
Spiritual elements elements were more “told,” rather than shown. For instance, the narrator might mention that a character prayed, rather than actually showing what the character said in prayer, or how God specifically spoke. However, it is quite clear that characters attribute sovereignty to God and are seeking to follow Him. I would describe this as a definite Christian worldview, but not as a book that was particularly impactful to me on a spiritual level. Nonetheless, the book’s portrayal of purity was quite refreshing.
This is another book that was nice and clean, with Adam and Camille waiting until they were in a committed relationship before even kissing. I really liked that aspect of the book. I also appreciated that Aiden was such an awesome caregiver for his brothers– though he certainly gave Camille the short end of the stick, in the process. I would recommend this as a fun, light, clean read.