Abandoned by his mail-order bride, Silas Jonesey has fought an uphill battle to recover from a pattern of poor choices. Now his prayers for reconciliation have finally come true and his estranged wife has contacted him with her whereabouts.
Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but upon realizing she'd been deceived about her intended groom, she's now settled into life as a schoolteacher. When the mother of a student passes away, Kate assumes she'll take on care of nine-year-old Anthonyuntil two men suddenly show up in town, claiming to be the boy's father.
Silas can see Anthony loves Kate, so he enlists her help in reaching out to the boy and attempting to prove his paternity to the court. When a common interest in Anthony leads to an interest in each other and Silas and Kate begin to think they can overcome their rocky start, neither is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light. Can Silas, Kate, and Anthony's wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever?
"An author who keeps you guessing about how the couple will get together until the very end, Melissa Jagears's writing contains her trademark wit and a fresh spin that turns everyday situations into extraordinary ones."
Naomi Rawlings, author of Falling for the Enemy
|Publisher:||Baker Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade and the author of A Bride for Keeps and A Bride in Store, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She's a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Find her online at www.melissajagears.com.
Read an Excerpt
A Bride at Last
By Melissa Jagears
Baker Publishing GroupCopyright © 2015 Melissa Jagears
All rights reserved.
At the sound of running footsteps, Kate Dawson glanced up from dumping mop water in the alleyway outside the school building.
Anthony Riverton skidded to a halt in front of her, his little chest heaving as he drew in gulps of air.
"Why weren't you in school today?" She frowned at his tattered clothing. She needed to find him a decent coat before winter.
"Mother's dying." Dread strangled his words. "Tonight. I just know it."
A lump pushed against Kate's high collar. "She seemed better yesterday." Lucinda didn't have many days left, but Kate wasn't ready for her to leave yet — wasn't ready to assume responsibility for this boy all on her own. She hadn't saved enough money, hadn't figured out where they would live ...
"She coughed so much last night I couldn't sleep, and this morning she begged me not to leave." The nine-year-old swallowed hard, but his eyes were dry. "Said she'd be the one going. I thought she meant back to the laundry." His ragged voice barely registered. "And she's mumbling things about Pa."
Kate's breath stopped. "Your pa?"
The boy's arms hung limp at his sides. "Said he's coming."
She shook her head vehemently. "No."
"Said she wrote him."
"Wrote him? Whatever for?" She'd helped the two of them escape Anthony's father years ago — or at least the man Anthony had known as Pa. Had Lucy contacted him?
"Let's go." Kate leaned the mop against the schoolhouse door. She'd yet to clean Miss Jennings's classroom or the Widow Larson's, but a boy needed somebody with him when his mother took her last draught of air.
She sprinted after Anthony, her long-legged stride easily keeping pace with his. They darted down the convoluted streets of Breton, one of the many towns surrounding Independence, Missouri — a sprawling city they could get lost in, and where Richard Fitzgerald could never find them.
Surely Anthony had heard wrong. Lucinda had to have written someone else. She'd told Kate that Richard wasn't Anthony's real father months ago, but she hadn't thought to pry any further. The only other man she knew of in Lucinda's past was the husband who'd kicked Lucinda out penniless — who'd driven her to Richard. Was he Anthony's father or was there a third man?
Winding their way between factories and dilapidated apartments only impoverished factory workers would bother to live in, they ran for the boardinghouse where Kate paid for the Rivertons to lodge. The giant structure leaned, and its walls contained more bugs than the building had bricks, but Mrs. Grindall's was the only affordable place available. Lucinda's sickness had stolen her ability to work, and the landlord of the miserable shack they'd once lived in had not been gifted with compassion.
If only Kate could find them someplace better. But as long as she taught in the rundown section of Breton, that would never happen. Not only was the schoolhouse and surrounding neighborhood lacking, but so was the pay.
Lately, Lucinda had bemoaned the baubles and luxurious life she'd left behind so much that Kate had to keep reminding her of how her lover had treated her to snap her out of whining.
As a teacher, Kate wouldn't be able to provide Anthony with much, but he'd have enough. And most importantly, he'd be loved — which was better than anything Richard could give him.
But what if Richard was on his way to Breton right now?
What if he was already here?
The wintery air, like a cold, sharp knife, sliced in and out of her lungs as she breathed deeply with each stride. She sped up to tighten the distance between her and Anthony. Dodging a pile of litter, she darted around the sharp corner into —
Her shoulder slammed hard into a man in the boarding-house's alleyway. She stumbled, arms flailing to save her balance.
"Are you all right, miss?" He reached for her, but she righted herself without his help and shook her head. Good thing she wore sensible boots. Heels would have sent her sprawling.
"I'm fine." She waved dismissively at him, then ran the last few strides to the steps by the back door. She grabbed the balustrade's rounded newel, increasing her pivoting speed to gain the steps faster.
Anthony turned the knob and barged through the boardinghouse's sticky side door, which released a puff of hot air. At least Mrs. Grindall kept the place warm — overly warm, but better than the alternative.
A spooked mouse skittered across the stair landing, and Kate shuddered in the dim light despite the heat. The tiny rodent disappeared into a crevice in the wall.
Even though Anthony's quick thumping on the staircase probably woke anyone who might have been napping, she didn't want to annoy any residents, so she slowed. Although, considering the thin, grayish walls, the boarders likely dealt with all kinds of unwanted noises.
Once Anthony's pounding steps ceased, the boardinghouse seemed eerily quiet. A dog barked outside, a baby cried some- where down the corridor, pots and pans banged downstairs, and a lady sneezed across the hall, but what she didn't hear was coughing. ... Lucinda's ceaseless lung-emptying hacking.
Anthony stood in front of his room's closed door, his eyes open with alarm and his lips pressed tight, his nostrils flaring with each frantic inhale.
Kate took a gulp of the hot, stale air and put a hand on his shoulder. "Let's go in quietly. We don't want to disturb her sleep." At least she prayed the lack of coughing meant sleep.
She opened the door. "Lucinda?"
The stillness was palpable.
Kate approached the bed. "Are you awake?" Please, Lord ...
The woman's matted blond curls lay limp against her pillow, the purple beneath her eyes darker than Kate remembered.
Lucinda's eyelids were relaxed despite being half open. Her mouth slack, her body restful. An unusual peacefulness pervaded her face.
With a trembling hand against her mouth, Kate focused on the threadbare, disintegrating quilt covering Lucinda's chest.
Not even a flutter.
Anthony crept up alongside Kate and pressed against her heavy wool skirt and thick petticoats.
She put her arm around him, and they both watched Lucinda. The clock ticked unmercifully slow.
"She never said it." His scratchy voice warbled with tears.
"Said what, honey?" His tense muscles tightened as she slowly rubbed his arm from elbow to shoulder.
"That she loved me." He swallowed audibly. "Do you think she wanted to tell me that while I was gone?"
Warmth flooded Kate's eyes and throat so quickly she barely kept from crying. She tightened her grip on Anthony's shoulder. To lie or not? "I don't know."
She kissed the top of his head and walked him to the hard chair beside the single drafty window. She sat and tugged him into an embrace, but his body refused to soften. He stared out the window, and she held her tears.
Her heart fractured into painful shards as the quiet seconds ticked by. If only he'd allow himself to cry....
* * *
Silas Jonesey rubbed his eyes as he stared up at the front door of the boardinghouse on Morning Glory Street for the seventh time. It wasn't as if the two-story structure had the stability of the walls of Jericho. He could probably push the building over without circling it once, but his feet had refused to cooperate when he first arrived. So he'd marched around ... and around. However, his heavy traveling bag wearied his left arm and his boots had started rubbing his heels after several circuitous trips.
It was time to go inside.
Would she forgive him? He set his bag on the sidewalk and rotated his shoulder as he stared at the cracked windows. She'd only written him to ask for money, and no wonder — this boardinghouse was likely the worst building he'd ever seen that hadn't already collapsed in upon itself. The towns surrounding Independence had grown a lot since he'd last been in the area. Surely there were a hundred better places for his wife to lodge.
Had she known he grew up near here, only a day's ride away? Surely not. Independence was one of the largest cities in Missouri, so she'd likely come to this area looking for a job — just a coincidence.
He rubbed his chest pocket, the letter inside his shirt crinkling. She'd asked him to send her money, but he had to apologize in person and plead for a second chance. But if she declined to return to Kansas with him, was he obligated to keep her housed in Missouri? He wasn't wealthy. This autumn's rain deficit and summer's myriad insect infestations had bit into his savings — and that was before he'd bought the train ticket to Independence.
He rolled his shoulders. No sense getting ahead of himself. He'd come to confess his sins and ask for forgiveness — that's all he really wanted. If she forgave him, then he'd worry about what to do next.
He swallowed, grabbed his bags, and forced his feet up one stair at a time.
The grimy window beside the front door obscured his view inside, so after two knocks and no answer, he tried the door-knob. Open. Stepping inside, a shiver stole over him, despite the relief the cloying heat gave his body. He crossed to the desk in the back of the room but couldn't find a bell, and nobody lurked in the dimly lit interior.
Overhead, a baby cried and footsteps squeaked on warped boards, both sounds muffled by kitchen clanging noises coming from somewhere down the hallway.
"Hello?" Should he pound on something or search for the proprietor? He set down his bag and pulled off his scarf. He raised his voice. "Is anyone available to help me?"
A ruddy-faced woman with a stained apron and gray hair falling from an untidy bun stepped out of a door near the back of the hallway. "Whaddya want?"
"I'm here to visit Lucinda Jonesey. Do I —"
"There's no dallying with any of my guests. I don't run a —"
"No, ma'am." He cleared his throat. His face flamed hotter than the stifling room. "She's my wife."
"Lucinda who?" She lowered one brow, turning her head a bit to give him an unconvinced glare.
"Then you got the wrong place."
He glanced at the letter in his hand. "Is this 402 Morning Glory? She was here a month ago."
"All I've got is a Lucinda Riverton."
Riverton? She was using her maiden name? "That's her."
"She ain't got no husband." The lady took a menacing step forward, brandishing her wooden spoon.
"Not for the last ten years, no — at least we haven't lived together." Not as if he'd been the reason for that. "I promise if she's not the right Lucinda, I won't stay. Even if she is the right one, I'm not sure I'll be here long."
"Second floor, last door on the right." She waved her dough-covered spoon at a dark stairwell. "If I hear screaming, I'll thrash you."
He worked hard not to smile at the image of the round, flour-covered lady charging at him with a spoon. "That won't happen. She asked me to come."
Now, as for yelling? That might be a different matter....
"Fine." She turned and charged toward the door she'd left earlier. "Myrtle! If those potatoes aren't done peeled, I'll whip you within an inch of your life!"
Did this woman threaten everyone with a beating, or did she actually do it?
No voice responded from the back. Perhaps this Myrtle person knew the proprietress's threat was idle or she kept quiet to avoid confrontation.
Nothing but the sound of sliding pots and clanging bowls sounded from the back, so he grabbed his bag and headed to the stairs.
Carefully testing his weight on the splintered boards, Silas pushed himself upward, his heart pounding harder with each step closer to his wife.
Nearing the last door, he pulled off his hat and stuffed it deep into the pocket of his heavy coat. He cleared his throat and knocked on the door, which gave way under his fist. Something fluttered inside, but no one bid him enter nor asked his name.
"Hello?" Would he even recognize his wife? Ten years could certainly change anybody's looks, disposition ... wants. "Lucy?"
He looked behind him to make sure this indeed was the last door. If she wasn't inside, where should he wait? Would his estranged wife view his entering her empty room as an invasion?
He pushed the door, and his eyes lighted upon the bed where his wife lay, her blond curls as long and sensuous as they'd been during the seven months he'd known her.
But the rest of her? Tightness captured his chest, and he took a shuffling step over to lean against the metal pipe footboard. He dropped his carpetbag and reached out to jiggle her foot. "Lucy?"
Her eyes remained closed. Could he have come all this way to miss her? He'd only wanted to ask for forgiveness. She didn't have to actually give it.
He slipped around the corner of the bed and reached for her hand. Limp and pale but not exactly cold. Perhaps her slack jaw was from deep sleep.
He felt her forehead, then placed his hand against her breastbone. No heartbeat, no rise and fall of her chest. He blew out a breath, and his shoulders slumped as he carefully sat down on the dirty mattress.
Why hadn't he written his apology last month when her letter first arrived? Why hadn't God allowed him to ask for forgiveness? He barely knew the woman he'd spent a few hours with each night for seven months after a long day of homesteading. Six years he'd wasted hating her for leaving him irrevocably alone, and the last four years he'd lived in agony waiting for a chance to —
"She's not there."
He startled and shot off the bed. The woman who'd smacked into him in the alley sat in a rickety chair with her arm around the urchin he'd sidestepped in an effort to avoid being run into.
Had they been racing to Lucy's side at the announcement of her death? He glanced around but saw no one else in the room. He swallowed against the stone lodged in his throat and blinked against the warmth hazing his eyes. "How long has she been dead?"
The woman's escaped dark auburn locks were wild about her face, her cheeks pink from either crying or her brisk run. "My guess would be no more than fifteen minutes."
"Your guess?" He turned to face his wife's motionless, emaciated form. "Was no one with her?"
"No, we found her this way, though death wasn't completely unexpected." She stood and shoved the boy behind her. "And you are?"
"Her husband." He cocked his head at her sudden defensive posturing. "And you?"
The woman's eyes narrowed. "Miss Dawson."
Which meant nothing to him. "A friend of Lucy's?"
That's all she was going to say?
She stepped forward. "Why are you here?"
He pulled on his collar. Yes, why am I here, Lord? Why now? He'd spent over ten years alone when his mother had abandoned him at the orphanage, seven months a semicontent but delusional groom, and ten more years as an estranged husband.
And now he was alone again.
"I suppose the Lord wanted me to know of her passing." Not the greatest comfort, being that he was completely abandoned once again, but it was something. "She'd written for help." And she'd definitely needed it. How long had she suffered? Her haggard face indicated a lengthy illness.
"Why didn't you come for her earlier?"
He returned the woman's glare. If her eyes weren't scrunched with accusation and her lips curled with scorn, she'd be heaps prettier. "I suppose you fault me for the month I took to get here? I live in Salt Flatts, Kansas. I couldn't leave my homestead unattended without ruining everything I've worked for. I got somebody to take care of my property as soon as I could, and yet I still ... missed her."
He'd been walking outside for half an hour.
Was Miss Dawson right? Had he missed apologizing to his wife by fifteen minutes because he'd dragged his feet attempting to settle his nerves?
And why must this strange lady look at him so? What right had she to be mad at him? "Besides being named Miss Dawson, who are you?"
She took one step back, but her chin tilted higher. "So you're not here for any other reason?"
"Do you find evading questions amusing?"
Her eyes narrowed. "I need to know."
"Why must I inform you?" He set his jaw. He'd told her Lucy was his wife, yet Miss Dawson hadn't bothered to offer condolences, just a biting glare.
Her son leaned over to peer at him from behind her, and Silas sighed. He couldn't chide the boy's mother in front of him. Nor should they be arguing beside a dead woman's bed. He swallowed his pride, something he'd become good at these last ten years, and shrugged. "I came here for no other reason than my wife asked me to." He held out his open hand indicating the door. "Why don't we talk outside?"
He led the way out, holding the door open for the mother and son to follow.
Turning around in the middle of the hallway, Miss Dawson returned to glaring. "Did she say why she wanted you to come?"
"I'm assuming now it's because she was sick." He glanced back into the room, noting the blood-speckled handkerchiefs, the tonics on the washstand, the disheveled cot below the window. Who slept there? "Was she not alone?"
Excerpted from A Bride at Last by Melissa Jagears. Copyright © 2015 Melissa Jagears. Excerpted by permission of Baker Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am a fan of mail-order bride stories and 'A Bride At Last' features two. Kate Dawson was set to become a mail-order bride but never followed through with it. Silas Jonesy married his mail-order bride but the marriage was over after seven months. Kate turned to a life of teaching and Silas turned to a life of alcohol and other poor choices. Now, after almost ten years, Silas receives word that his wife Lucinda is dying and she has a nine year old son. He believes that he is young Anthony's father but another man arrives with the same claim. Kate, who has promised Anthony's mother that she will take care of him, is suddenly drawn into the efforts to prove his true parentage and forced to admit a growing attraction to Silas Melissa Jagears has created three intriguing and determined characters for readers of this book. Kate is determined to judge Silas without admitting that she also has faults; Silas is determined to improve himself for Anthony's sake and Anthony us determined to hold on to his beloved teacher. This is a sweet story of learning to trust God so that we can trust others and to accept love from unexpected sources. I recommend this to lovers of historical romance fiction.
A Bride at Last by Melissa Jagears is the final book in the Unexpected Brides series. Silas Jonesey’s mail-order bride disappeared after only a few months of marriage. After nearly ten years, Silas receives a letter from her asking for help. He travels to her home, intending to ask forgiveness for the rough beginning of their marriage and to try again as a family. Unfortunately, he arrives shortly after her death. Kate Dawson has been caring for her student, 9-year old Anthony Riverton, and his ailing mother Lucinda for the last couple of years. Kate plans to take Anthony as her own after Lucinda’s death, but complications arise when two different men arrive, both claiming to be Anthony’s father. Silas was an alcoholic, although he had now been sober for around four years. Earlier in her life, Kate had experienced abuse from an alcoholic and was unwilling to trust another one. She had been engaged twice prior to meeting Silas, and he was leery of trusting someone again who wouldn’t honor their commitments. Silas and Kate struggled to overcome these hard lessons and learn to trust again. The struggles Silas and Anthony faced as they forged a relationship were heart-wrenching. I enjoyed this story. The characters were believable, and they matured throughout the story. Although I read books one and two prior to reading this story, I do feel this could have been read as a stand-alone story. The characters from the other books only played a minor role in this story, and there weren’t any dangling threads from past stories. I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
A Bride at Last is an enjoyable, easy to read book. It has a story line that keeps your attention. The characters are realistic. Even though this is the third in a series it is easily read as a stand- alone. I enjoyed each one of the book. This author has the knack of bringing her stories to life. I look forward to reading more of her books. I received this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
Oh, where do I begin?! This story was wonderfully good. This story was surprisingly strong and captivating. It had me up nights reading to find out what was going to happen. I couldn't put it down. Kate is a young teacher who has been helping a woman and her young son. When the woman dies, she leaves her son in Kate's charge. But, soon a man by the name of Silas shows up claiming to be the boy's father and that's when things get interesting. This book is the third in the series but it is not necessary to read the others in the series first. This story starts out a little slow. It's not enough to keep you from reading, but be for warned it does take a few chapters for the story to really get going. I really did love this book from the very beginning, even with the slow speed of the story. The storyline builds really well. Melissa actually surprised me with some things in the storyline. When I thought the story couldn't possibly go anywhere else, she took me on another twist, Each twist and turn added great bulk and energy to the story. The romance is wonderfully written. So sweet and loving yet a little bit strong. Nothing offensive, just a strong romance thread in certain spots. I am now dying to read the other two books in the series. This is an excellent book for those romance lovers out there. With a little bit of mystery/suspense to round out the story, it most certainly will not disappoint. Thank you to TBCN for the opportunity to review this book. A positive review was not required.
A Bride at Last by Melissa Jagears is a book that had me emotionally spent. We have a story of two wounded individuals that are really trying to survive life the best way that they can and sometimes they make some really bad decisions. Silas Jonesy has not only been abandoned by his mail order bride, but he also grew up as an orphan. When he finally locates his bride after 8 years, she has died but he finds out she was keeping something from him. Enter schoolteacher Kate Dawson who lost her parents at a young age and then was abused by relatives, who has taken the now motherless Anthony into her care. However, at the risk of losing her job because of a town that does not care for a little boy, she must now fight for Anthony not only against Silas but another man who also claims Anthony is his son. Both of these characters don’t necessarily make the best choices, and understandably they are trying to protect themselves, but also frustrating as they end up making bigger problems. We are also treated to two very different towns: one that cares and one that doesn’t. This story brings back characters in the previous books but it can be read as a standalone. I think the biggest lesson I grasped from this novel was to take care of your responsibilities and to always keep your promises. I received this book for an honest review from The Book Club Network, Inc. and the opinions are my own.
When life doesn't go they way you had imagined it would, what do you do? Do you give up or do you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and somehow find the courage to continue moving forward? "A Bride At Last" by Melissa Jagears is the 4th installment in her Unexpected Brides Series and can be read independently of the other books. It's the story Kate Dawson and Silas Jonesey, two people filled with resentment and hurt. Silas Jonesey's life hasn't gone the way he had hoped. He has been abandoned by his mail-order bride after only a few short months. Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order as well, but when that didn't work out she became a teacher. When a young student's mother passes away, Kate assumes responsibility for her son, Anthony. Silas needs Kate's help to reach out to the young boy and to help prove that he is the boys biological father to the court. Neither Kate or Silas is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that come to the surface. Will Kate, Silas and Anthony unite as a family? Can two people who have a lot of baggage find happiness at long last? Although this book is a Christian fiction novel, there is a lesson we all can take from it. When we put our trust in God we can let others enter into our lives. We can forget our pasts and look forward to having happiness as we live our lives to please God. To me it was quite evident that when you put your trust in God you are able to learn to forgive and forget your past and look forward to the future the way that both Kate and Silas did. I thought it was a very unique way that Silas had of putting an item into a crate that symbolized a weakness they each had that had the potential to cause them problems. They then turned that crate over to the Rev. Finch as a way to commit to keeping their flaws from undermining their vows. The author Melissa Jagears has written put a fresh spin on a marriage of convenience story in "A Bride At Last". *Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of "A Bride At Last" from BethanyHouse a division of Baker Publishing Group. All opinions are 100% my own.
A Great Conclusion to the Series! Having enjoyed the first two books in the Unexpected Brides series, I eagerly opened this conclusion to the trilogy. In A Bride at Last, I was immediately drawn into the story and invested in the characters who captured my heart from the first chapter. The characters’ struggles are realistic and, despite the historical setting, entirely applicable today. Love, fear, substance abuse and recovery, difficult family situations, self-worth, sacrifice for others—I could go on, but this gives a quick snapshot of the breadth and depth of this novel. Life is lived in these pages, real life with flesh and blood characters who fail and triumph as we watch from the sidelines. I enjoyed the romance in the book, but I also appreciate that the storyline is about taking the risk of loving someone beyond the romantic sense—loving anyone can be dangerous because it makes us vulnerable, but not taking that chance is shown to be no better and just as painful in the long run. The spiritual thread is excellent in this novel and really added to my enjoyment; lately I have read a rash of books with missing Christian themes or outright objectionable content, but happily that was not the case here. Prayer is an important part of the characters’ lives as is a moment by moment reliance on God’s grace and guidance. To me, it never feels artificial but provides a great example of how we can “pray without ceasing” and what that might look like as it gets lived out on a daily basis. I would highly recommend this novel to fans of historical romance, especially those that deal with marriages of convenience and orphans. It is a thoroughly enjoyable story with a strong Christian message of forgiveness, grace, and moving forward despite the struggles of life. I will be watching for Melissa Jagears’ upcoming novels as her debut series has proven her excellent storytelling abilities, with this story being my favorite of her books to date! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network in exchange for this honest review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.
The title says it all. But, the fun in this book is how does she get there. The characters in the book are very well developed. The editing is fantastic (something that is a big factor in my enjoyment). The story flows well, you are not fighting your way through the pages. It is not a book that you just can't put down, but it keeps moving very well. The story is mostly light-hearted with a good Christian focus. But, it is Not a preachy type of book. You feel like you actually know the main characters. I truly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others that want a well-paced, Christian romance book. This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.
I was a little confused at first from the blurb on the back of the book. To me it read like Kate, the main female character, was the mail order bride, but that wasn't the way it turned out. She taught school and one of her students, Anthony, lost his mother to death. Kate loved him and took on his care until two men showed up, both claiming to be his father. Silas had been married to his mother who was the mail order bride. She left him eventually, but wrote him a letter right before she died asking for money. Richard had also been with his mother and was abusive to her and Anthony. Melissa Jagears takes you through a complicated story of abuse, past sins and a search for the truth. With no way to prove paternity like we have today, they must look for clues and word of mouth since the mother had passed away. Kate and Silas had both lost their parents at a young age, one to death and the other to abandonment. They wanted to make sure Anthony didn't have to grow up like they had. I've read several historicals lately and always find it funny how much stock is put on morals and what you can and can't do in public as a man and a woman. So many rules to follow so that the ladies reputation is not sullied. In light of today or even a decade or two ago, it all seems so ridiculous. I'm just glad God allowed me to be born in the 20th century. The story was quite entertaining and a nice little epilogue was included at the end. I received this book from the publisher through Bookfun for my honest opinion, which I have given.
A Bride at Last***** book 3 Unexpected Brides series by Melissa Jagears Years ago Kate Dawson was to be a mail-order bride but learned she had been deceived by her intended groom and vowed to never again quickly accept a marriage proposal. It is not easy for a single woman—a spinster—to find decent employment in 1885's Missouri, but Kate is thankful to have a job teaching at the local school. Even so, her life is not an easy one by any means. One of her students' mother dies leaving behind her 9 year old son, Anthony, in Kate's care. Homesteader Silas Jonesey's mail-order bride abandoned him—ten years later he has no idea where she is or if she is alive—until he receives an unexpected letter from her. Hoping to be forgiven for the past, he rushes to her side—but it is too late. At her deathbed, he meets Kate and Anthony—who he believed to be Kate's son and is shocked to learn that Anthony is his son...a son he knew nothing about. Before he can wrap his mind and heart around having a son, another man, Richard, shows up and claims Anthony as his son. How will they figure out who is the real father of Anthony? Wow, there is a lot to this story that captured my attention and held it to the very last page. At one point I was holding my breath during a suspenseful scene. I felt so sorry for young Anthony—he has had such a trying, sad life, full of heartaches. I wanted to hold him close and keep him safe. Kate also has had to struggle most of her life and I so wanted her to find someone to love and care for her. Along comes Silas, who has a wounded heart as well. He is another character that I wanted to find happiness, love and a family that will not abandon him like so many in his past. I couldn't believe the attitudes of the community and the school board towards their teachers and the strict restrictions they placed upon them. They were very judgmental and uncaring, despite circumstances the teachers may face. And then there is Richard, well he is one character that needed a good shaking and talking to. He is not a nice man at all with evil intentions...I did not like him. It was good to see Kate and Silas hold onto their faith, especially facing very difficult times. This is a great story with suspense, drama, an attempted kidnapping, faith and love that captures the reader. Twists and turns, unexpected surprises—some good and some not so good, loss and restoration that brings tears of happiness and sadness too. I liked the way we are given a glimpse into the lives of the characters eight years later at the end of the book. ~I won a copy of this book from publisher and the author, this is my honest review~
I loved this book. I loved Silas and Kate. I hope there is another book about them because I didn’t want this one to finish. It was a great book. I like this author. I received this book for free from the author and The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review. I have posted my review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Deeper Shopping (if it is there).
Thursday, August 20, 2015 A Bride at Last by Melissa Jagears, © 2015 Silas Jonesy has become used to riding the train with his round trips between his Kansas farm and those he has left behind in Missouri ~ only... he didn't know the whereabouts until recently. Receiving the name of the town from his runaway wife, he arrives a day too late. She has passed on. Unknown to him, she has a child; a nine-year-old son named Anthony. Anthony has someone who cares for him and thought she would be his overseer until Silas shows up and Richard, who Anthony had known as "Pa." Only it is more complicated than that. Richard's wife is barren and he comes looking for his son. Which of the three will be awarded Anthony by the court? A Bride at Last is a story of trust and letting the past go to be able to live in the now and future. It reveals the hearts and longings of those in the story, even those who are out for their own gain without regard for another. Miss Kate Dawson is the school teacher who had cared for Anthony and his mother, thinking she would continue to be his caregiver because of the closeness of her heart to him. Entanglement with Silas, although innocent, to the teachers' rules, becomes imminent that her future is unsecure. How can the welfare of a student become a search for more than she expected? I liked how the protagonists find out who they truly are by their willingness to risk sharing their weaknesses; foibles hidden even from themselves until they are awakened to the liability of them? How much of what we try to hid, or avoid, becomes the very thing that will free us, once it is revealed and dealt with? Finding they could rely on God when their own decisions waiver, becomes the very stepping stone needed to move forward. The Unexpected Brides series by Melissa Jagears: Intimacy with God and man cannot be had without trusting them with your weakness, Love by the Letter, to accept you despite your past, A Bride for Keeps, to help you succeed in your present, A Bride in Store and stick with you in the future, A Bride at Last. The novella, Blinded by Love, in The Convenient Bride Collection is an unofficial part of the series, taking one of the characters from Love by the Letter and giving him a happily ever after. Melissa Jagears is a homeschooling mom who writes Christian Historical Romance after everyone is asleep. She’s the author of the Unexpected Brides Series with Bethany House. The prequel ebook novella, Love by the Letter is free to try. You can learn more about her, her books, and where she hangs out online at her website. ***Thank you to author Melissa Jagears and to Bethany House Publishers for sending me a review copy of A Bride at Last. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
Set in the late 1800’s, this is Kate Dawson and Silas Jonesey’s story of failing relationships. Kate had almost married twice and Silas suffered from the loss of a mail-order bride. Both of them had deep issues concerning trust of the opposite sex. After Kate’s disillusionment with marriage, she put all her energies into teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. When the mom of one of her students became seriously ill, Kate took it upon herself to care for this child. Before the mom’s death, she wrote to Silas, the child’s father, to come and see her. When he realized he had a son and that his ex-wife was dead, he wanted to take the boy to live with him in Kansas. The child ran away and it took both Kate and Silas’ working together to find Anthony. The story winds around the budding fragile relationship of a man and a woman whose main goal was the safety of a young child. In this easy read, the author illustrated how we must trust God first in order to build trust in others. The characters were as real as people we meet every day and the problems they faced were universal. I received this free book from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
This is the 3rd (or 4th if you count the prequel) in the Unexpected Brides series. Even though this is a stand alone novel, all these books are great and will give you history on most of the characters in this book. So I recommend you read them all. (just saying) Silas Jonesey is just trying to find forgiveness and maybe fix his estranged marriage if he can find Lucy. When he is to late, he is thrown into a mixed up mess. Is he a father? and who is this beautiful Kate Dawson. Will they be able to find out who Anthony's true father is before it is to late? Will Kate ever love him or is her past more than he can deal with? Silas has many past heartaches he must deal with and overcome, he is a determined stubborn man just trying to do the best he can. Kate Dawson only wants what is best for Anthony. She never imagined Silas or the problems he would bring into her life. Is she destined to be on old maid for the rest of her life or is love ever going to be in her future? Kate is a stubborn, energetic loving yet scared girl who too must overcome some of her past to be able to move to her future. I love Melissa Jagears style, she really brings her characters to life. They have fun, spunky personalities, yet they all have their own problems. If you enjoy reading historical, good, clean christian romance you will love this one. I was given a copy of this novel from the author for my honest review.
Melissa Jagears in her new book, “A Bride At Last” Book Three in the Unexpected Brides series published by Bethany House brings us into the lives of Kate Dawson and Silas Jonesey. From the back cover: Abandoned by his mail-order bride, Silas Jonesey has fought an uphill battle to recover from a pattern of poor choices. Now his prayers for reconciliation have finally come true and his estranged wife has contacted him with her whereabouts. Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but upon realizing she’d been deceived about her intended groom, she’s now settled into life as a schoolteacher. When the mother of a student passes away, Kate assumes she’ll take on care of nine-year-old Anthony–until two men suddenly show up in town, claiming to be the boy’s father. Silas can see Anthony loves Kate, so he enlists her help in reaching out to the boy and attempting to prove his paternity to the court. When a common interest in Anthony leads to an interest in each other and Silas and Kate begin to think they can overcome their rocky start, neither is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light. Can Silas, Kate, and Anthony’s wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever? Melissa Jagears has put a lot into “A Bride At Last” and, considering the subject matter, you wouldn’t think the story is going to work. Well let me assure you not only does everything work but this may be Ms. Jagears best work yet. Kate, Silas and Anthony are three wounded individuals and, considering what they have gone through, rightly so. How these three are going to, not only get along, but come together as a family is an adventure that, for a little while, I thought was going to be a downer. How totally wrong I was. Ms. Jagears has given us a brilliant story of how God can restore each of us in our wounded areas and also give us the desires of our hearts. “A Bride At Last” is an exciting story filled with fun and Kate, Silas and Anthony are such wonderful characters that we fall in love with and want the very best for. On top of all this there is a romance. Ms. Jagears is an amazing writer and she has given us a work that is just plain enjoyable. Well done. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This is the second book I have read by Melissa Jagears. The first book I read was called a Bride in Store, which is book one in this series. I didn’t have the chance to read the second book in this series, but don’t feel it is necessary to read either of the first two books to enjoy this one. A Bride At Last is a great story about how everyone has things in their past that they aren’t proud of. Silas has a history of letting his past mistakes determine who he thinks he is. Kate has been through a lot so far in her life, and doesn’t want to ever jump into getting engaged again. She would rather just run away from situations instead of getting through them. Kate has been Anthony’s teacher for a while, and when his mom gets sick Kate does all she can do to help them. When Anthony’s mother passes away, Kate figures she is going to be the one taking care of him. She already loves him and can’t picture her life with out him in it. When two men show up wanting to be Anthony’s father Kate wants to run away more now then ever. But what would she do to support her and Anthony? Kate’s adventures are just about to begin and she has no clue what God has planned for her life. Will she embrace the future He has planned for her? Silas feels like his life has been in limbo for about ten years, so when he receives a letter from his estranged wife he leaves as soon as possible. Silas has always hoped that she would come back, but figures if she’s waited this long to contact him it must be because she wants something from him. Could this boy be his son? Silas would love nothing more than to have a family of his own, but how can he prove what he hopes is true in his heart? So many things happen in this story that I would love to tell you about, but don’t want to spoil anything. You’ll just have to read it for yourself. Will Silas get his hearts desire even if he can’t admit to himself what it is? This book is full of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. The author kept me interested and I really enjoyed getting to know the characters along the way. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House publishers and TBCN in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
Love for a child brings them together, but is it enough to keep them together? A Bride at Last is the third book in the Unexpected Brides series. It is about Silas Jonesey, a homesteader in the 1880s who was given up by his mother, then abandoned by his wife Lucinda. On her deathbed, Lucinda asks him to come to her, but he arrives after her passing. That is when he learns that he has a son, Anthony. Anthony is being cared for by his teacher, Kate Dawson. As they contend with each other for custody of Anthony, Richard Fitzgerald shows up at Lucinda’s funeral, claiming that Anthony is his son. Silas’ and Kate’s days are filled with time together because of Anthony. Each is attracted to the other, but their troubled pasts and their commitments to their livelihoods threaten to keep them apart. This book is filled with many plot twists, and I enjoyed it very much. I wish that I had read the previous books in the series, because I didn’t know if references to their pasts were from previous books, or part of the current story. I admired how the main characters were committed to doing what was right, first for Anthony, then for each other. Near the end of the book, Kate’s thoughts were, “If Silas was trying to be a better man, she’d work to become a better woman.” Those who enjoy historical, especially “prairie” fiction, will certainly enjoy this book. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.
Confronting fears is the only way to find love... A Bride at Last Unexpected Brides 3 By Melissa Jaegers Silas Jonesey's dream of having a family seems to be finally coming true - his long absent wife has finally let him know her whereabouts. But a happy reunion with Lucinda is not to be. In fact a reunion of any sort is out of the realm of possibility because by the time Silas arrives at Lucy's boarding house in Missouri she has died. But Lucinda has left behind a son that may or may not be Silas's son. Is a family still a possibility or did Lucy destroy even a chance at a relationship with his maybe son? Kate Dawson is determined to protect Anthony from the two men who may be his father. But a single school teacher with nothing but her job has little chance of keeping custody of a 9 year old boy. Could Kate and Silas be each other's chance for the family that they both dream of? And could Anthony be happy with the man his mother despised? But Kate and Silas both have pasts that could get in the way of their future together - a future both want and yet fear. A Bride at Last is a delightful story that examines family, fears, and forgiveness in such a way one empathizes with all three main characters and their points of view, while at the same time being frustrated at the total pigheadedness on each character's particular hang-up. If you've read Melissa's previous Unexpected Brides books you'll enjoy Silas's story. If you haven't, this story can stand alone and you won't be left scratching your head wondering what is going on in the story. Take a trip to the 1880's and a little place called Salt Flatts, Kansas with a little excursion to Missouri. Discover the importance of love and belonging along with Silas, Kate and Anthony. I was provided a free copy of this book by the publisher through the generosity of the author in exchange for my honest review.
A Bride At Last by award winning author, Melissa Jagears, is a story with many obstacles to marriage for Kate Dawson! This tale takes some unusual twists in uniting young Anthony with his biological father. Silas was left at an orphanage as a young child and was left at his homestead by his mail-order bride so he doesn’t feel worthy of a family. Kate has been engaged three times and always finds a reason to “run” from marriage. The book takes place in Missouri and Kansas in 1885 a period I enjoy reading about. Although part of a series, A Bride At Last can be read as a stand alone book. The book was well-written with interesting characters and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I received this book from www.bookfun.org in exchange for my honest opinion.
Kate Dawson has come to love one of her young students, Anthony. Consequently, she is helping to care for his dying mother and plans to take on the care on him once his mother passes. Unknown to her, Anthony’s mother, Lucinda, has written to two men, telling them to come get a boy whom she tells each one is his son. Silas Jonesey was abandoned by his mail-order bride seven months after their marriage. Not having a clue where she went, he has no idea that he may be a father. Unfortunately, Lucinda was a mistress to another man, Richard, who also claims to be Anthony’s father. As the two men await a court date to decide who is Anthony’s father, Anthony disappears. Kate and Silas desperately search for Anthony, fearing that Richard may have kidnapped the child. Kate and Silas begin to be drawn to each other, but each has issues with betrayal which may prevent them from trusting anyone. This book is the third in a series about mail-order brides. While it would be interesting to have the story about some of the minor characters in this book, it certainly is not necessary to have read them for the backstory to this book. This is not a cut and dried western romance. The love story takes several turns before it reaches a resolution. I especially enjoyed the epilogue to this story. One often wants a “what happens later” when the story ends. I received this from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
This was a very enjoyable, well-written story! There were a few twists, too, that I didn't see coming when romances are usually more predictable. I really liked Kate and Silas. They were written very well, with flaws and good qualities. They felt very much like real people. I also thought it was more unique that Silas seemed to have a harder time trusting and risking his heart than Kate. Silas seemed to have a deep faith in God and he often prayed and asked for help. It didn't seem like Kate's faith was as strong or that she grew much in the story. There were a lot of cute romantic moments. There's a bit of a mystery, too, where Silas wants to find out what happened to his birth family as he was sent to an orphanage as a child. Sometimes I thought the story lagged a bit or that something was taking too long to get resolved. Some of the characters in Melissa's previous books make an appearance or are featured prominently, but this book worked fine as a stand-alone. I hadn't read anything by Melissa before this book, but I definitely plan to read her others! I highly recommend this book if you like historical romances! I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
The beginning of A Bride at Last where readers meet sweet Anthony, feisty Kate, and an unsure Silas was a great start to this story. It pulled me in immediately with its full characters, heart-wrenching story, sweet inspirational moments that weaved seamlessly through the story, a boy whose life had been nothing but rough, and a romance with plenty of sparks. Needless to say my interest continued all the way through to the end. Kate was such a fun, strong, and lovely character. The love she had for Anthony was great as was the love that began to grow for Silas. I loved her spunk and her need to run. Silas had his struggles, but I love the honorable and trustworthy man he was and how he cared for both Anthony and Kate. Anthony added to the story, although I would have loved a little more from his character. There were other characters that I liked as well mostly in Silas's hometown, who cared for both Silas and Kate. Some of the characters were from prior books in the series and have my interest piqued. There were plenty of twists and turns in the story, which kept it interesting and moving along. Some of them surprised me and I loved how the conflict was resolved, especially one involving a crate and an old bottle of wine. The romance was sweet and swoon-worthy and the inspiration felt completely natural, which is just how I like it. I'd highly recommend A Bride at Last to those who enjoy reading Christian historical romance. It was an enjoyable read and I'll be going back to read the rest of the series as well as whatever Jagears writes next. Content: Clean Source: I would like to thank Bethany House and Litfuse for my complimentary copy, which did not affect my review in any way.
Such a good book! I've been fighting a bit of a reading slump lately but I had this book finished in about twelve hours, it was that good! Since I knew that Silas was going to be the hero of this book I payed extra attention to him in A Bride in Store, and while he had some changes to make I just knew that he would become a man to be proud of. And boy was I right! I loved how real the author made him, he overcame his addiction but the temptation was still there and it was inspiring to watch him fight to maintain what he'd worked so hard for. I loved how much he was willing to sacrifice for Anthony, and how hard he worked at being the best father he could be. Kate was fantastic too. I loved her selfless love and care for others, especially Anthony. Both Silas and Kate had painful pasts that made them scared about surrendering to love and it was beautiful to watch them both overcome their hurt and find healing with God and each other. So in closing, this book (well this whole series) is amazing and I heartily recommend it! I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Endearing and Entertaining One of the things that makes Melissa Jagear’s books so good is that although you sort of know how the story will end, you have no idea how it will get there. The author always chooses series of events that have not just one, but various elements of surprise. The result is a story that will be difficult to put down until you’ve read all the way to the very last page. The author also throws in some suspenseful events that keep the reader guessing and turning pages to see how it’s all going to go down. Suffice it to say that A Bride at Last, the third book in the author’s Unexpected Brides series is no exception to that formula. Silas Jonesey has not had the easiest life, nor has he always made the best choices. One of those not so good choices was getting a mail order bride who walked out on him a few months into the marriage. However, Silas has since then worked at turning his life around. Years later he receives word from his estranged wife, and he sets out to see her unaware of the surprise that’s waiting for him. One part of that surprise is in the form of Kate Dawson, a school teacher. Kate Dawson has also had here share of difficulties in life. She was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but that didn’t work out. So, now she finds herself a school teacher. Little did she know that one day she’d be faced with an event that would turn her life around and bring her face to face with Silas Jonesey. I liked how Silas and Kate’s relationship evolved. The evolution involved some surprising twists and turns that kept the story moving. The story’s elements of intrigue and romance are also accompanied by a message of faith and hope. My favorite scene involved a crate, a bottle, and boots. It was beautiful, meaningful, and touching making A Bride at Last a very entertaining and endearing read. *****I received a copy of this book from Bookfun.org in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and viewpoints are my own.