ByProxyHR (1)Heart of Montana Romance
Sometimes love finds you.  When city and country come together for a Christmastime wedding in Montana, the unexpected gift is true love.
Stubbornly small-town Jenny Lindstrom has misgivings when she promises to stand proxy in her best friend’s wedding—misgivings that are fulfilled when tall, handsome Sam Kelley walks into the courthouse an hour late. In order to keep her promise, an afternoon favor turns into a weekend of startling but undeniable attraction, threatening the well-ordered world that keeps her heart at arm’s length from any more pain.
Sam’s plan is to fly to Livingston, Montana, take vows for his favorite cousin, and return to Chicago as quickly as possible. But his plan is turned upside-down when he must spend a weekend with Jenny in Gardiner to keep his word. He doesn’t want to fall for the prim, proper schoolteacher whose small-town life seems to him like selling out, but the more time he spends with her, the harder it is to say good-bye.
When city and country come together for Christmas, the unexpected gift is true love.
My thoughts on BY PROXY ~ 4 stars

Sam Kelley and Jenny Lindstrom are thrown together by fate.  Sam agrees to stand proxy for his cousin Kristian.  Jenny has agreed to stand in for her best friend Ingrid.  This double proxy is legal only in Montana.  Small town vs big city in this romantic clash of cultures and values.  

Jenny is lovely in a completely natural way inside and out.  There’s not a pretentious or phony bone in her body and she knows how to give a heartfelt apology when she’s wrong.  She has what would, in today’s fast paced often selfish world, be termed out-dated values.  She doesn’t come across as prudish or holier than thou, just real, honest, and principled.  

Sam’s mother came from Montana and he spent time there every year.  Kristian has always been more brother than cousin to him.  He’s a Vice-President of Mutual Trust Associates and living the high life in Chicago.  Jenny and Gardiner are light years away from Chicago and its sophisticates.  Sam finds himself making comparisons, especially between Jenny and his former fiancée, Pepper.  

There’s a lot of humor in BY PROXY.   Sam’s reminiscing about his former flame, Pepper, made me laugh out loud. 

The truth? Oh, yeah. She was stunning, beyond stunning, walking-out-of-a-magazine perfect. But, she was also an expensive, whiny, demanding girlfriend, with a little added sprinkle of crazy for the up-close viewer. Sam had stayed with her for so long because he liked the powerful way he felt with her on his arm.

 Sam’s mental comparisons really play up the contrast between his and Jenny’s lives. 

It’s nice to hear someone really laugh.” “Oh, I love a good laugh. Your friends don’t laugh?” He considered this. Yes, they laughed: at a well-constructed barb at someone else’s expense, the shared delight in someone else’s misfortune, or a droll observation with a sophisticated, witty delivery. They laughed. But it was different. It was night and day from Jenny’s good-natured giggling. He shrugged noncommittally, turning his attention back to the pizza. “It’s good, right?” She smiled at him shyly, biting into her third piece. “Yeah,” he agreed, smiling at her, wondering what she’d be like if she let herself loosen up even more. “It sure is.” 

No games. No flirtatious comeback laced with innuendo. Her words were simple and honest, which made her more intriguing but also kept the ground moving under his feet as he realized it wasn’t familiar territory for him. Sexy banter was his forte, not simple honesty. “You keep surprising me, Jenny Lindstrom.” “Me?”  “You.”  

BY PROXY is a heartwarming old fashioned romance.  What I call a “fade to black”.  The most we get is a passionate kiss. I would have been really disappointed if a graphic love scene had been thrown in.  A look behind closed doors simply doesn’t fit with Jenny or her and Sam’s budding relationship. 

Ms. Regnery’s clever use of distance keeps Sam and Jenny firmly in the “in love” category rather than the “in lust” category.  Well played removing any and all doubt for me.

You don’t often find characters like those populating BY PROXY outside of Christian fiction, which this isn’t.  Sweet without being saccharine, BY PROXY speaks to values without being preachy and was a refreshing change of pace read.  I was feeling nostalgic, sentimental, and wondering about a move to Montana by the time I finished. 

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Katy Regnery
Katy is a 2013 NECRWA First Kiss and 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations contest finalist who has always loved telling a good story and credits her mother with making funny, heartwarming tales come alive throughout her childhood. A lifelong devotee of all Romance writing, from Edwardian to present-day, it was just a matter of time before Katy tried her hand at writing a love story of her own.
Katy lives in the relative-wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories of all can often be the messy or unexpected ones.
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