Title: Married ’til Monday by Denise Hunter
Chapel Springs Series Book Four
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Romance
Length: 312 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
With a big anniversary party in the works for his ex-wife’s parents, Ryan has just one weekend to play Abby’s husband . . . and win back the woman of his dreams.
Ryan McKinley has tried to move on from his ex-wife, Abby. He’s sulked, he’s gotten angry, and ultimately he bought her dream house. Big mistake. Living alone in the massive two-story has only made him miss her more. When her parents call him out of the blue about their anniversary party in Summer Harbor, Maine, Ryan believes God has dropped a golden opportunity straight in his lap.
Abby McKinley never exactly told her parents about the divorce. A strained relationship with her dad has culminated in a distant relationship with her parents, but she’s finally succumbed to her mom’s pressure to make the drive for their 35th-anniversary party.
Then Ryan shows up on her doorstep, looking as handsome as ever. When he insists he’s going to Summer Harbor, with or without her, Abby knows she can’t say no. Her parents still think they’re married and now Ryan knows it too. It’s just a one-week road trip with the man who broke her heart. What could possibly go wrong?
Married ’til Monday is the fourth and sadly, final, installment in Denise Hunter’s charming Chapel Springs series featuring the McKinley siblings. This newest release is a second chance at love romance for brother Ryan as he tries to win back the love of his life, his ex-wife Abby.
Ryan and Abby have been divorced for several years, but Ryan has never stopped loving her. The two met in college and married soon after graduation but after a tragic loss, their marriage began to fall apart. Their once loving and close relationship was torn apart by numerous fights and when Abby finally called it quits, Ryan respected her request to leave her alone. When Ryan learns Abby never told her parents about their divorce, he jumps at the chance to attend her parents’ thirty-fifth wedding anniversary party with her. He hopes that their enforced time together traveling to and from their house, in addition to the weekend at her parents’ house will give him the opportunity to convince her to give them another chance. But Abby is stubborn and she refuses to even discuss their failed marriage but she eventually sees the benefit of clearing the air between them. While this gives Ryan hope she will be open to a reconciliation, she quickly distances herself from him both psychically and emotionally. Ryan refuses to give up hope, but will Abby decide to risk her heart again?
When Ryan and Abby first met, Abby was not looking for a relationship. But she found it very hard to resist Ryan once she realized he was very different from the men she had dated in the past, and slowly but surely, he slipped past her defenses and into her heart. Despite their rather hasty wedding, the two were deliriously happy at first, but after an unexpected loss, Abby’s grief gave way to anger and she turned her back on God while at the same time pushing Ryan away. Their last fight led to her walking out the door and filing for divorce. She has built a new life for herself and she loves her career as a private detective, but she has not really delved too deeply into the reasons why their marriage failed until after she and Ryan go their separate ways after the anniversary party. Abby is stunned to discover that her unresolved issues from her childhood are the impetus for her behavior that led up to their divorce. Of course, Ryan is not entirely blameless, but most of the fault lies with Abby and it is up to her to decide what she wants to do with this newfound knowledge.
Ryan’s childhood was fairly idyllic and he is still very close to his extended family. Abby never confided anything about her past to him, but from his brief introduction to her parents at their wedding, he knew that things between them were strained. During their weekend visit with her parents, Ryan begins to get a better idea of what her childhood was like, but he is still shocked (and angry) when he learns the complete truth about her past. This helps him understand why Abby finds it difficult to let anyone in, but he still does not fully comprehend how much her past continues to affect her. Ryan refuses to give up on her but he does come to the realization that their future is in her hands.
In the beginning, there is a lot of tension between Ryan and Abby. She is very antagonistic but Ryan is unfailingly cheerful and he is very patient with her. In spite of her animosity toward him, it is still obvious that she is attracted to him but she does everything she can to keep Ryan from getting close to her. Even when they return to their regular lives, Ryan tries to keep in contact with her, but Abby is very skilled at not letting anyone in. Although Abby won’t discuss her past, it is clear that her childhood was dysfunctional, but the whole truth is not revealed until almost the end of the story. Once she begins to make peace with her past, will Abby decide to give Ryan another chance? Or will she continue to protect herself from further heartache?
Married ’til Monday is a very sweet but incredibly realistic romance. Abby’s part of the storyline is very emotional and heartbreaking. Ryan’s problems center more around trying to reconcile with Abby but he also has an issue with his family that he finally decides to address. As always, Denise Hunter weaves some very important lessons of faith that are sure to resonate with anyone who has struggled with their spirituality after a loss.
Married ’til Monday is a marvelous addition to the Chapel Springs series. Like the other novels in the series, it can be read as a standalone, but I highly encourage readers to pick up the previous books as well.