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It all started with an ad in a mail-order bride catalogue . . .
This charming bouquet of novellas introduces you to four Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue prospects in the year 1870, all eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they’ll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.
“And then Came Spring” by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has traveled halfway across the country to meet her match, arriving just in time for his funeral. Returning home seems like her only option until her would-be brother-in-law proposes a more daring idea.
“An Ever After Summer” by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she’s not what Matthew ordered. And what’s wrong with being a “Bible thumper” anyway? She’s determined to show him she’s tougher than she looks—and just the girl he needs.
“Autumn’s Angel” by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn’t come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. e trouble is, there’s no money to send them back . . .
“Winter Wedding Bells” by Mary Connealy
David’s convinced he’s not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he’s gone—nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Bestselling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher, author of more than seventy-five books, is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an eleven-time finalist and two-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award. In addition to many other awards, she is the recipient of lifetime achievement awards from both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin makes her home with her husband on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillion puppy named Boo and a persnickety tuxedo cat named Pinky. For more information, visit www.robinleehatcher.com, Facebook: robinleehatcher, Twitter: @robinleehatcher.
Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist who was first published in 2005 and has more than 22 novels to her credit. Along with her writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra is the author of the acclaimed Mule Hollow Matchmaker Series, the place readers tell her they wish was real. Her goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words. Visit her online at www.debraclopton.com, Facebook: debra.clopton, Twitter: @debraclopton.
Read an Excerpt
A BRIDE FOR ALL SEASONS
A MAIL-ORDER BRIDE COLLECTION
By Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2013 Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, RobinSong, Inc., and Mary Connealy
All rights reserved.
Colton, Kansas 1870
Sure as God made little green apples, Mr. Daniel Garrett would rue this day. Mary-Jo Parker would make it her business to see that he did. For two solid hours he'd kept her waiting at the train station. He didn't even have the courtesy to leave a message or arrange for someone to pick her up.
"Well, Mr. Garrett, I've got news for you. You'd better have a good explanation for keeping me waiting or the wedding is off!" Now she was talking to herself, but that was the least of her problems. She was cold and tired and hungry and ...
She hated admitting it, but she was also scared. What if she'd traveled all the way from Georgia for nothing? Her aunt thought her crazy to marry a man she'd never met, but his kind letters convinced Mary-Jo that she was doing the right thing. Don't let me be wrong about that, God.
She dug in her purse for her watch. Two hours and twenty-two minutes she'd been waiting! If her errant fiancé bothered showing up at all, it better be on hands and knees.
She slipped the watch back into her drawstring bag and reread the dog-eared telegram. All correspondence was screened by the proprietor of the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue, so the telegram was signed by Mr. Hitchcock. It clearly stated that her fiancé would meet her train. They would then drive to the church to be married posthaste by a preacher.
She stuffed the telegram into her bag and marched back into the telegraph and baggage office for perhaps the eleventh or twelfth time. Her high-button boots pounded the wooden plank floor like two angry woodpeckers. Nearly tripping over the threshold, she froze.
The last time her foot had caught in a doorway, a tornado blew the roof off her aunt's house. Mary-Jo gave the wood panel wall three quiet knocks. Warding off bad luck was a full-time job, but no matter how hard she tried not to tempt fate, misfortune seemed to follow her wherever she went.
Careful not to step on any cracks, she paced the length of the counter, waiting for the youthful operator to finish tapping the gilded telegraph key.
After a while, he swung around on his stool and peered at her from beneath the visor of his cap. He was probably no more than eighteen or nineteen. "Like I told you before, ma'am, no one left a message for you."
"Yes, you made that perfectly clear." She hadn't mentioned her fiancé by name. She was humiliated enough without the whole town knowing that she had been left not only at the train station but quite possibly at the altar as well.
"Could you please direct me to the nearest hotel?" After a hot bath and change of clothes, she was bound to feel more like herself. Maybe then she could figure out what to do.
Relief crossed the youth's face, but whether it was because she was about to leave or had finally asked a question he could answer, it was hard to tell.
"Just go straight up that street." He pointed in an easterly direction. "The hotel's on the right, opposite the church."
She stepped outside. Brr, it was cold. She pulled her shawl tight and straightened her bustle, but the more she tried brushing train cinders off her yellow skirt, the more they smeared. Giving up, she reached beneath the narrow brim of her straw bonnet to fluff her curly bangs and then patted down the sausage curls in back. Perhaps things would work out for the best. At least now she wouldn't have to meet her future husband looking like a ragbag.
Gathering the carpetbag that held her carefully sewn trousseau in one hand and her Singer Fiddle Base sewing machine in the other, she started on her way.
In his letters, her betrothed had described the town as thriving and he hadn't exaggerated. Wagons raced back and forth along the dirt road leading through town. Dust flew in every direction and her already dry throat prickled.
The buildings were mostly brick, though some were faced with what looked like marble or limestone. Between taking in her surroundings and trying not to step on a crack, she failed to notice the young boy until he plowed into her.
"Oomph!" she cried. Her carpetbag flew out of her hand, but she managed to regain her balance and hold on to her precious sewing machine. The boy, however, was facedown on the boardwalk.
"Oh dear." She dropped to her knees, setting the Singer by her side. "Are you hurt?"
He shook his head and climbed to his feet. He reached for his slouch cap and plopped it haphazardly atop stringy brown hair that hadn't seen a comb for a month of Sundays. Face flushed, he looked like he was trying his hardest not to give way to tears. She guessed his age at seven, maybe eight.
"Are you sure you're not hurt?" she persisted. He regarded her solemnly, and she tried again. "What's your name?"
"They call me Fast Eddie."
"I do declare, you can talk. Fast Eddie, eh? I guess I know how you came by that name." She pulled off a glove and held out her hand. The boy's eyes widened before taking it. "You can call me Miss Parker. I'm new in town and I'm mighty pleased to meet you."
The boy frowned as if he didn't know what to make of her. Still, she couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Never had she seen a sorrier-looking child. His trousers were at least two inches too short and his shirt had more wrinkles than a rotten apple. Where were his parents? And why wasn't he in school?
She didn't have the heart to lecture him or even demand an apology for nearly knocking her off her feet. Instead, she lowered her voice so as not to alarm him any further.
"Perhaps you could help me." Helping adults always made children feel important. "I'm looking for Mr. Daniel Garrett. He's a lawyer. Do you know him?" Though he'd never mentioned it in his letters, surely he had an office somewhere, perhaps even nearby.
The boy regarded her with eyes blue as the bright Kansas sky. Finally he nodded. "I ... know him."
"Praise the Lord." It was the first piece of good news she'd heard since arriving in town. Maybe her luck was about to change.
"He's my pa."
Had Fast Eddie punched her in the stomach, she wouldn't have been more shocked. Dumbfounded, she stared at him and felt sick.
"Did ... did you say ... he's your pa?" she managed at last.
Again the boy nodded.
Hand on her chest, she tried to catch her breath. Her fiancé never mentioned children. There had to be a logical explanation. Yes, yes, of course. There must be two Daniel Garretts in town, odd as that seemed.
"Are you his cantaloupe bride?" Eddie asked.
Her breath caught. "Do ... do you mean catalogue bride?"
With a nod of the head, the boy effectively wiped out any hope of there being two men with the same name.
Her body stiffened. Feeling suddenly light-headed, she forced air into her lungs. If the boy was telling the truth, that meant Daniel Garrett had a serious memory problem. Not only had he failed to meet her train, but he also had a son he'd forgotten to mention.
She stood and glanced up and down the street. This day was turning out to be a nightmare. She should have known better than to leave Georgia last week on a Friday. Everyone knew that traveling on a Friday was bad luck.
"Where might I find your"—she narrowed her eyes and ground out the last word—"pa?"
The boy's face clouded and she felt a surge of guilt. She didn't mean to take it out on him. None of this was the child's fault. She swallowed hard and tried again. "Do you know where I might find him?"
The boy pointed to the high-steepled brick church across the street from the hotel. He then tore away as if being chased.
She started after him, waving. "Wait! Come back!"
Eddie darted in front of an oncoming horse and wagon. "Watch out!" she gasped.
The irate wagon driver managed to stop in time, but he wasn't finished with the boy. He pumped his fist and railed against irresponsible youth in general and Eddie in particular.
Mary-Jo hated to see the child being yelled at, but a good tongue-lashing would probably do him a world of good. He could have been killed. As for his father ... not only had Daniel Garrett lied by way of omission, he also appeared to be a neglectful parent, and she had no tolerance for either.
She grabbed her sewing machine with one hand and her carpetbag with the other. Teeth clenched and bosom heaving, she marched across the street. She was so incensed she forgot to watch for cracks.
"You better be in that church praying, Daniel Garrett," she muttered. "Because when I get through with you, you'll wish you never heard of me!"
Mary-Jo charged inside the church. The door slammed shut behind her with a loud bang that made her jump. After setting her sewing machine and carpetbag in a corner of the narthex, she straightened her attire. Not a sound filtered through the thick walls or the doors leading to the sanctuary.
Having no idea what to say or do upon coming face-to-face with her errant fiancé, she plunged through the double doors. Expecting the church to be empty or near empty, she was shocked to discover the pews filled to capacity—on a Wednesday, no less. Every head turned in her direction, but no one said a word.
A man rose from several pews away and rushed up the aisle to greet her. It wasn't until he reached her side that she noticed the sheriff 's badge on his vest.
"May I help you, ma'am?" he asked in a hushed voice. Towering over her five-foot-eight-inch height by a good six inches, he had a rugged square face, a neatly trimmed mustache, and short brown hair. He regarded her with eyes so blue and intense that for a moment she forgot her reason for being there.
Gathering her wits about her, she spoke in a quiet but urgent voice. "I wish to speak with Mr. Garrett."
"I'm Sheriff Tom Garrett."
"Sher—" Now that she thought about it, Daniel did mention something in one of his early letters about his brother being a lawman.
"Mr. Daniel Garrett." She glanced at the nearby faces turned toward her and wished she'd changed at the hotel before barging in. Everyone else was dressed in black, and she stuck out like a sore thumb in her yellow outfit. She shifted her gaze back to the sheriff.
His brow creased. "Who might you be?"
"I'm Mary-Jo Parker." When the sheriff made no response, she added, "I'm Daniel's fiancée." Or was.
Sharp and assessing eyes studied her from beneath the shadow of his wide-brimmed hat, and her cheeks flared. Was that surprise on his dark, muted face or something else? Disapproval, perhaps?
"Tell him I'll wait outside."
"I'm afraid that telling him anything at this point would be ... impossible."
"And why is that, Sheriff?"
He stepped aside and inclined his head toward the distant altar.
A previously unnoticed pine coffin rested on a stand surrounded by wreaths of flowers.
She sucked in her breath. "That can't be—" She swayed and the sheriff grabbed her by the arm.
"Perhaps you should sit down, ma'am. Can I get you some water?"
Shaking her head, she regained her balance. "I-I'm all right. Thank you."
He released her. "Did you say you were Dan's ... fiancée?"
She nodded mutely and stumbled down the aisle toward the altar. Nothing seemed real. She had to see for herself.
"Ma'am," the sheriff called to her, but she kept going, ignoring the curious eyes that followed her down the aisle.
Daniel was dead? Not again, dear God. This can't be happening again. Please let this be a dream. Let me wake up and ...
She stopped in front of the coffin and stared in horror at the stranger she'd promised to marry. Daniel had the same sandy hair color as his brother and son. Two silver coins covered his eyes so she had no way of knowing if they were the same intense blue.
Suddenly the reality of her situation struck her—she was in the middle of who knew where, and her whole future, all her plans, had evaporated with the death of this man. The walls of the church started closing in, and it was hard to breathe. Whirling about, she picked up her skirts and raced up the aisle toward the door. The sheriff tried to stop her, but she ran past him and kept going. She grabbed her sewing machine and carpetbag and bounded from the church.
Moving as quickly as the weight of the Singer allowed, she didn't know she'd walked under a ladder until the man on top yelled, "Hey, watch it!"
Oh no! Now she'd done it! More bad luck. Hadn't she had enough already? "Sorry," she mumbled.
Blinded by tears, she ducked into an alley. Setting her sewing machine and carpetbag down, she slumped to the ground and bawled.
* * *
County sheriff Tom Garrett chased after the distressed woman in yellow. The bright sun nearly blinded him as he dashed out of the church and ran down the steps to the boardwalk. He looked both ways but the lady had vanished.
He wished now he'd been better informed as to his brother's plans, but the two were never close. Dan had moved back to town less than a year ago following the death of his wife, but even then they hadn't spent much time together.
He and his brother argued the last time they spoke, and Tom regretted that more than words could say. He was against Dan's crazy plan to send for a mail-order bride from the start. Not only did the idea strike him as distasteful, he considered it beneath a man's dignity to order a bride sight unseen like purchasing one's under-riggings.
And what was wrong with a woman who couldn't find a husband without the help of a marriage broker? Either she was lacking in looks or personality, maybe both.
Not that anything was wrong with this lady's looks. With her honey-blond hair, delicate features, and big blue eyes, she looked quite fetching. That could only mean one thing: she lacked something personality-wise.
Perhaps integrity. Old man Whitcomb's mail-order bride robbed him blind before taking off, never to be heard from again. A lawyer like Dan should have been more cautious, but once he got something into his fool head, there was no changing his mind.
The church door opened and Mrs. Hoffmann stepped outside, her huge black hat shaped like a ship. She owned the boardinghouse where Tom lived.
"Do you know if Barnes found the boy?" he asked. Eddie had taken one look at his father's coffin and taken off. His deputy sheriff chased after him. Garrett grimaced at the memory; the boy was like a wild mustang.
"Nein." Mrs. Hoffmann shook her head. "Not that I know of." She spoke in a thick German accent. "Who vas that woman?" She said something else in her native tongue, but Garrett didn't bother asking for a translation. "Imagine. Coming to a funeral dressed like a harlot!"
The woman's tendency to be judgmental irked him at times but he kept his annoyance at bay. With all her faults, she meant well and she was the only one willing to watch the boy.
Still, recalling the shocked look on the young woman's face, Garrett felt a need to protect her. He didn't approve of her reasons for coming to Kansas, but none of what happened to Dan was her fault.
"I don't think she expected to attend a funeral." Neither, for that matter, did he.
"Then she had no business barging into a church, of all places." The woman stabbed the ground with her cane and vanished back inside, the door slamming shut in her wake.
Garrett was about to follow her when he noticed his deputy sheriff walking toward him, shaking his head. Barnes was at least six inches shorter than Garrett and, at age forty-five, ten years older.
"Sorry, Tom. No sign of Eddie."
Garrett blew out his breath and, after scanning the street one last time, followed his deputy back into the church. Right now his top priority was to bury his brother. He'd deal with the boy—and the mail-order bride—later.
The note beneath the door of Mary-Jo's hotel room read:
We need to talk. Meet me in the hotel dining room at seven a.m. for breakfast. Sincerely, Sheriff T. Garrett
The bold script made it seem more like a command than an invitation. She swallowed her irritation. She couldn't imagine what the sheriff wanted to talk about, but he was Daniel's brother and she owed him a hearing, if nothing else.
A seamstress by trade, she normally had little time to fuss with her own clothes, though she had made a couple of new outfits to start wedded life. Today she chose the most conservative of the three, a pretty blue skirt and matching shirtwaist. Multiple rows of ruches circled the skirt and the delicate puffed sleeves complemented the carefully draped bustle in back.
Her aunt heartily disapproved of such frills, but Mary-Jo couldn't help herself. Sewing was a breeze with her recently purchased Singer. Once she got started on an outfit, she couldn't seem to stop adding embellishments. Fancy dresses required fancy hairstyles and she took special pains to smooth each carefully rolled ringlet in place. A quick pinch of her cheeks and she was ready except for her shoes.
She put the right shoe on first so as to prevent a headache or more bad luck. Then she braced herself with a quick prayer, for all the good it would do her. She had more faith in knocking on wood than she had in God.
She reached the hotel dining room before the appointed hour, but already the sheriff was seated at a table in front of the window overlooking Main Street. He rose when she approached and she was reminded once again how tall he was. He sure enough was pleasing to the eye and given the early morning hour, that was saying something.
"Thank you for meeting with me," he said, as if he doubted she would. His gaze lingered on her a moment too long, bringing a blush to her face. Seeming to catch himself, he hastened to pull out a chair for her. He then took his seat opposite. He'd removed his hat and a strand of sandy-brown hair fell across his forehead from a side part. Without his hat he looked younger, but no less commanding. He also looked tired, as if sleep had been as elusive for him as it had been for her.
"I apologize for yesterday," he said. "I had no idea you were arriving in town. Had I known, I would have arranged for someone to meet your train."
"It's me who should do the apologizing. I had no call to barge into church like I did." She should have known something was seriously wrong when her fiancé didn't show up as promised, but as usual she had jumped to all the wrong conclusions. She pressed her hands in her lap. "I'm sorry for your loss."
A muscle tightened in his jaw. "I'm sorry you had to find out the way you did." And as if there could be any question as to what he meant, he added, "About Dan."
"His son, Eddie?" The boy had been so upset he almost got himself run over. "Is he all right?"
Excerpted from A BRIDE FOR ALL SEASONS by Margaret Brownley. Copyright © 2013 by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, RobinSong, Inc., and Mary Connealy. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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.
Table of Contents
And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley.................... 1
An Ever After Summer by Debra Clopton.................... 99
Autumn's Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher.................... 197
Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy.................... 289
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Four talented authors got together and created an entertaining well written book. Enjoyed it!
I really enjoyed these wonderful and we'll written stories and wished to know more of their lives! I will am looking forward to reading many more.
Very good stories!
Four authors contribute to this Mail-Order Bride Collection. Each of the four novellas take place in a different season but with the same premise: a mail-order bride hoping to find ever-after happiness. Meddling in the mist though, is the owner of the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalog, Mr. Melvin Hitchcock, who takes it upon himself to “reword” each submission as he deems necessary for success. A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS: I found this collection of short stories to be a perfect light read. I was introduced to a few new authors, I enjoyed the bride-to-be basis of each, I was tickled by the stubbornness and determination of the heroines and I was thrilled I could start and finish each tale in just a short amount of time (during this very busy time of year). Most of the included story-lines I would love to see developed into full-length novels but will instead search out other books by these authors in hopes that they deliver the same enjoyment. RATING: 4 (out of 5) pennies *I received a complimentary copy of A Bride for All Season from BookSneeze and Thomas Nelson for my honest review*
A delightful bundle of four light-hearted, redemption-filled novellas written by four different authors best describes A Bride for All Seasons from The Mail Order Bride Collection published by Thomas Nelson. Each story represents a different season in 1870—a time when brides or husbands were hard to come by in many states. Each novella features its own unique characters and matrimonial prospects ordered by desperate bachelors from the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue. But sometimes you don’t get exactly what you ordered. The hopeful spouses all come with their own set-of-baggage and expectations – all of which lead to an amusing and entertaining narrative. The first novella is particularly moving since a key character is a troubled orphan boy. His story is woven into the narrative and ends with its own happy-ever-after. A Bride For All Seasons affords light reading with a biblical message. A perfect summer read. The charming tales included in A Bride For All Seasons are as follows: “And then Came Spring" by Margaret Brownley "An Ever After Summer" by Debra Clopton "Autumn's Angel" by Robin Lee Hatcher "Winter Wedding Bells" by Mary Connealy I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze.
This collection is written by four reader-favorite authors. The stories are tied together through: “THE HITCHING POST A mail-order bride catalogue for the discerning, lonely, or desperate…” And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley This first story begins with a great twist, has interesting characters, and illustrates how satisfying and peaceful life can be, when we are willing to put our trust in God. An Ever After Summer by Debra Clopton The overzealous editor of the Hitching Post causes a huge dilemma for Ellie and Mathew, but God is in control and He works everything out for this couple. I love Ellie. She is a wonderful and caring woman with an overcoming spirit. Autumn’s Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher Luvena is amazingly mature for being only 23 years old. Her quiet strength and trust in God are an inspiration. I love the storyline. It isn’t what I was expecting. Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy This unique story moves along very quickly with both the hero and the heroine being extremely adept at adjusting to adverse circumstances. Megan is a fun and spunky character. A Bride for All Seasons is an entertaining and inspirational mail-order bride collection of stories. I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys this type of historical fiction.
The Hitching Post magazine promises to bring together the right matches for catalogue brides. If that means reading between the lines and possibly sending the bride that is the antitheses of the request, then so be it. These marriages will work! But not without a few bumps… And Then Came Spring Mary-Jo Parker arrives prepared to be wed but instead attends her fiancé’s funeral. If that isn’t bad enough, she finds that his wasn’t quite as honest with her as he should have been – he didn’t need a wife, he needed a mother to his unruly eight-year-old son. Given the choice of returning to an unhappy household or starting fresh with the wayward child, Mary-Jo can’t help but think she’s needed here. Even if the boy’s uncle keeps getting in her way. Review: I LOVED this! Mary-Jo is amazing! I couldn’t help but to want to be there & was terribly sad when my journey was over. Author: Margaret Brownley Grade: A+ Ages: 14+ An Ever-After Summer Melvina is looking for her happily ever after when she responds to the mail-order-bride catalogue. After spending her life known as a murderess, because her parents and uncle died shortly after her birth Melvina is ready to start over! She changes her name to Ellie on the stagecoach ride to her new home and the family that desperately needs her. Except she arrives only to find that her husband to be wasn’t hoping for a real marriage – just someone to take care of his baby. It’s his job to protect Ellie and childbirth kills so he’s not planning to fall in love and go through that ever again! Review: Oh my! This was the absolute sweetest book! My heart just broke for Ellie and I loved watching the two of them at odds. They are hilarious! Author: Debra Clopton Grade: A Ages: 16+ Autumn’s Angel Luvena Abbott arrives with her nieces and nephews to become family to Clay Birch. She’s so happy to get them away from the shame that they’d been living under. Now they can start anew. But Clay wasn’t expecting a family. He wanted a wife – most specifically with no children – but that silly Hitching Post got it wrong! Clay’s only recourse is to get rid of them – because this isn’t a place to raise a family & he’s not a good enough man to be a father. Review: Oh, I SO loved Luvena! She’s a strong and true woman and has such a huge heart. Watching her trust in God daily was so heart-warming and sweet. This one is a MUST READ! Author: Robin Lee Hatcher Grade: A+ Ages: 14+ Winter Wedding Bells The Hitching Post can’t believe David Laramie would be so arrogant as to know what God will so, when Megan McBride receives his letter it’s missing an entire page explaining that he’s dying and really just wants a mother for his children. It’s not until after they’re married that Megan learns that David believes he’s dying… and David learns how stubborn Megan can be! Review: WOW! I LOVED this!! This was absolutely the greatest & I’d have spent the $ buying just this novella that I did on the whole book (trust me – that’s high praise!). I’ll be reading this again many times! Author: Mary Connealy Grade: A+ Ages:16+ Overall Review: I’m so sorry that I waited to read this book! This is one of the best books I’ve read this year! It’s a must keep book – and the only thing I didn’t like about it was the cover, that made it seem, to me, that the book was going to be depressing for some reason. More… Source: I’d forgotten that I’d gotten A Bride for All Seasons from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley & purchased it for my kindle on 12/20/2013 for $1.99. Overall Grade: A+ Ages: 16+ Steam: YA
I bought thus book because Mary Connealy wrote one of the stories, but I kept the book because all of the stories were great! Captivating characters. Unique plots. Fun reading. You will love them all!
The premise was was amusing and the stories played out well.
I absolutely loved this book! These little stories were so uplifting and you just get sucked in to the little stories and you can not wait to see how the women and men solve this problem.
This was a cute set of four novellas all tied together by the same Mail Order Bride company who kept editing their letters. Each bride and each groom are thrown together and not in ideal circumstances. I haven't read many novellas in the past few years because they all seem so rushed and not that good. While some of these stories were rushed others were well written and kept me in the story until the end. Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy, the final story was my favorite and I would have enjoyed reading a full version of this. Great writing. It's not easy to pack so many emotions in such a short set of pages. The other authors did well too and I enjoyed the main plot although this could have been expanded upon too. * I received this book free from BookSneeze as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review.*
I'm not usually one to read novellas, but after seeing the list of authors for the collaboration called A Bride for All Seasons, I thought it was about time I give them a try. I had to gear myself for the shorter stories, for what I usually LOVE are the long, complex books that might see everything in the whole story world change and have much more drastic character arcs. But that didn't mean I didn't end up enjoying these four short novellas. They were all very good for what they were... and I'll probably give more novellas a chance now that I've read this book. My personal favorite was Robin Lee Hatcher's "Autumn Angel". I would have LOVED to see this plot written into a full length book! I received a free paperback copy of A Bride for All Seasons from the publisher in return for this honest review.
Lovely and Adorable! “And Then Came Spring”—Margaret Brownley The summary for this story is a bit deceiving (fiancé vs. proxy-marriage) but that didn’t stop me from completely enjoying it. Margaret’s story of the difference between luck and faith is adorable and sweet with a good reminder to believe in God’s love. Mary-Jo is spunky and funny; she tries so hard to overcome the challenges of her upbringing but Sheriff Tom is not interested. At least not at first. Tom’s nephew, Eddie, steals the show with his antics and keeps the sad topic of the loss within a family from becoming too heavy. “And Then Came Spring” is a wonderful short read – absolutely charming! “An Ever-After Summer”—Debra Clopton I did not enjoy this story as much as I would have liked, though that could be chalked up to it being a short story. While the characters are strong, the pacing is off. The story begins well enough, showcasing the tension between grumpy Matt and the ever-positive Ellie. But the pacing falls off in the middle, and the plot arc happens too late in the story to give that feeling of completion. A lovely read, but that pacing issue frustrated me. “Autumn’s Angel”—Robin Lee Hatcher This story is filled with a wonderful sweetness. Both main characters are true and steady, never overreacting or bringing on unnecessary drama. The pacing is quick, and the plot grabs you from the start and whips you through to the end. Luvena and Clay are faithful, honest and absolutely lovely. I’ll be looking for more by Robin Lee Hatcher. “Winter Wedding Bells”—Mary Connealy This was absolutely my favorite story in the collection. There was something charming and pure about Irish Megan. David’s story is a bit loose though I would hope that was simply because of the constraint of a short story. I fell in love with these two characters and would have happily read a full-length novel about them. I will be stalking this author for more of her words. A Bride for All Seasons is an adorable work filled with little drama, plenty of romance and just enough words of faith to remind us that God will never give us too much to handle. A solid four-star read.
A Bride for All Seasons is a collection of four novellas, all written by well-known authors of historical romance: Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Robin Lee Hatcher, and Mary Connealy. The stories have completely different settings and characters, but take place in a different season of the year 1870. The unifying theme is the "creative" editing of Melvin Hitchcock, owner and editor of The Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue. The real star of this collection is someone we never actually meet: Mr. Melvin Hitchcock, facilitator of mail-order marriages through his advertisement catalogue, The Hitching Post. "Helping lonely couples was a calling. He had a way with words, and an inexplicable ability to read a letter and know what someone really needed." This clever theme is a fresh and entertaining approach to the mail-order bride storyline. I would love to have met this Melvin Hitchcock because I think he's a quirky character motivated by a true desire to see lonely people find companionship and love. With a stroke of his pen, he could turn "a 'chunky' figure into 'charming,' 'homely' to 'comely,' and 'undomesticated' into a 'willingness to learn.'" While I usually prefer the deeper characterization and complexity that a novel offers, sometimes it's just nice to sit back and relax with a novella collection, even with its predictable ending. In spite of a limited word count, these authors didan excellent job in letting the reader get to know the characters in such a way that their romance feels real. There's humor in the midst of need, and I especially enjoyed the glossary of mail-order bride advertising terms at the end of Margaret's story. Although I'd rather see a character connection in a collection such as this, I was quickly caught up in these stories and found them entertaining. The only negative for me was that the theme got a little old toward the end. If I had to give a rating, it would be 3 stars, which means it was enjoyable and worth reading. Fans of short, lighthearted historical romances will find A Bride for All Seasons very satisfying. This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers through BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review.
Loved every one of the novellas in this collection. I'm not too surprised since these are some of my favorite Christian authors. And I loved how they worked the seasons in as an underlying theme. Worth every penny
I was tickled to review this new book--a collection of novellas by four of the current best selling Inspirational Fiction authors in the market right now. These ladies are four of my most favorite of all fiction writers in general--so I was tickled to have them all together in one place! Even though this is a collection of four separate novellas, I'm going to review it as a whole book. Each of these stories is tied together with the common bond of the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue. In each novella the lead characters have corresponded via the mail-order bride catalog--the men being all out in the "Wild West" of the late 1800's and in need of brides--but some wires get crossed in their communication. This is thanks to the catalog's owner who takes it upon himself to make revisions to letters as he sees fit...and consequently there are rather large misunderstandings once they meet for the first time...which is what makes these books so fun! Each author writes in her own style which allows each novella to easily stand alone. Each of the main characters in the novella are nicely developed and the plots move swiftly but not so fast that things are unresolved. I enjoyed the background each author gave their heroine which drove them to answer a mail-order ad of these men. It's scary to think of what these women did--especially since it's based on things that really happened with the REAL mail-order brides of the Wild West! I think of all the novellas, my favorite one in the book was "An Ever After Summer" by Debra Clopton. I enjoyed the spunkiness of her heroine and the humor she injected in the plot. A nice bonus of the book was an authors discussion in the back of the book, where the readers get insights in the behind-the-scenes aspect of writing a joint book. I loved the tidbits each of the authors shared...ESPECIALLY that they are going to collaborate again on another book! If you enjoy ANY of these four authors, then I know you will enjoy this lighthearted book. It is an easy read and you will wish it was longer!
Four award winning authors, four books in one about four mail order brides. Now this makes for an interesting read. The man that operates the mail order bride catalog appointed himself not just as a go between but as a matchmaker of his own making, editing letters without the senders consent. Some of the women have traveled a long distance to meet their intended only to find there was a lack of communication between the two. How could so many important details be missing? It was very apparent they all had been deceived. Most of the women had no money to return to their previous life or other circumstances which prevented them from returning. Each story is unique in it's own special way. My heart ached for each family. The couples had faith in God that they were together for a purpose. Many of their personal problems gave them strength to carry on with the arrangement in hope for a better future, even though some were a little more skeptical than others. I highly recommend this book. I rated this book a 5 out of 5. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity/Thomas Nelson for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. This review is my honest opinion.
Disclosure: I received an e copy of this book to review, thanks to Booksneeze. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone. It's summer here (finally) and my favorite way to spend my evenings after the kids have gone to bed is relaxing on my balcony with a good book. And I'm of the firm opinion that books to be read on summer evenings should be fun, interesting, fast-moving books. Fortunately for me, I recently had the chance to review a new book called A Bride For All Seasons, which fit my criteria nicely. Even though the stories were all short, the authors managed to fit in a good amount of character development and fill the pages with interesting and romantic stories. I enjoyed reading about these brave women who left everything behind to seek out a new life on the frontier, and the men that were waiting for them. The stories kept me turning the pages to see what would happen, and I was honestly sad to finish the book. If you are a fan of historical Christian romance novels, and like a fun, fast read, definitely take a look at A Bride For All Seasons!
This book contains four short stories set in the historical era. Each story is set in a different season and deals with mail order brides. The owner of the catalog the people send the letters to would change the words just a little to help them out but it caused some problems along the way. What I liked: The stories were fun and enjoyable. I enjoyed reading them all. What I did not like: I thought all the couples would marry right away because they were mail order brides but most of them waited to see if it would work out before they got married. This is fine of course but it was not quite what I expected. Overall this was a enjoyable book and one I would recommend if you like historical fiction and short stories.
4 entertaining mail-order bride stories by 4 great authors And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley The longer superstitious Mary-Jo Parker waited for Daniel Garrett, the more mad she became. Finally after waiting for two hours she heads for a hotel when she is run into by a young boy, when she helps him up she asks if he knows Daniel Garret. Mary-Jo is shocked when he answers with a yes that's my dad, after all there was no mention of children in the ad posted in the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue. When asked where he is, the boy points across the street to the church. Mary-Jo dressed in a bright yellow dress rushes into the church where everyone is dressed in black on a Wednesday, then the sheriff informs her that Daniel is the man in the casket she hurries up to look at him then leaves. This is the second time she's been engaged and the second time to have her intended die. She just barely has money for a motel room for one night yet alone a return ticket to Georgia. An Ever-After Summer by Debra Clopton Melvin Eldora Smith is known as a born killer and has lived with her Aunt Millicent since she was born, according to Aunt Millicent she has killed three people. She has grown up with the whole town talking about her and even the kids taunting and calling her Murderin' Melvina. She has learned to depend on God so when Aunt Millicent found out that Melvin Eldora had been working on a farm and sometimes wearing mens jeans she slapped a copy of the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue in front of her and told her she had one hour to pick out a husband. When she saw Matthew's ad that he needed a mother for his two-year-old baby girl she knew that was the family for her. She didn't know that Matthew didn't want a wife and he didn't want a bible-thumper. Autumn's Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher Luvena was a single woman with the responsibility of her nephew and two neices. She had nothing because her father had lost the family fortune, her mother had died and now her sister and brother-in-law had died in a boating accident. When she saw Clay's ad for a wife to help him run the Grand Coeur she writes him as she's always wanted to be an opera singer. Clay sends the money for her to come but he's in for a surprise when she gets off the stage coach with three kids in tow. When he tells Luvena there's a big mistake here she faints but he takes her home and there is no marriage. She writes to the owner of the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue to inform him of the mistake and complain about the changes made to their letters to each other she then demands he run another ad for her, free of charge of course. Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy David, convinced he's going to die due to complications from pneumonia so he places an ad in the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue for a wife to care for his two sons and run his ranch once he's gone. Megan had raised her five brothers and thought this was the man for her. David didn't plan on her not believing that he had less than a year to live. Matter of fact she didn't find this out until they were married and headed home. He informed Megan that there would be no wifely duties as he didn't want to leave her with child, this doesn't sit well with this Irish woman. I'm surprised the owner of the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue survived after all of the ads and letters he changed to bring couples together. In this day, he would be sued many times over. These ladies just continue to put their best foot forward with their writing ability. They have some pretty entertaining stories in this book.
This was a charming set of novellas that I thoroughly enjoyed. All the authors did great jobs and even though they were novellas, I didn't think they were rushed and they told great stories. Not sure which one was really my favorite, I liked them all. They all had great faith elements in them also. I thought it was funny that Mr. Hitchcock changed the letters to get the couples together. He was a real matchmaker. Each couple had written to the "Hitching Post" to find a mate, but ended up finding true love, all in God's timing. Great job to all of the wonderful authors in this collection of novellas. I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
Four authors team up in their new book, "A Bride For All Seasons" published by Thomas Nelson give us three Historical Romances in 1870. From the back cover: It all started with an ad in a mail-order bride catalogue . . . This charming bouquet of novellas introduces you to four Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue prospects in the year 1870, all eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they'll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages. "And then Came Spring" by Margaret Brownley Mary-Jo has traveled halfway across the country to meet her match, arriving just in time for his funeral. Returning home seems like her only option until her would-be brother-in-law proposes a more daring idea. "An Ever After Summer" by Debra Clopton Ellie had no idea she's not what Matthew ordered. And what's wrong with being a "Bible thumper" anyway? She's determined to show him she's tougher than she looks--and just the girl he needs. "Autumn's Angel" by Robin Lee Hatcher Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn't come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. ­ e trouble is, there's no money to send them back . . . "Winter Wedding Bells" by Mary Connealy David's convinced he's not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he's gone--nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying? Melvin Hitchcock publishes something very similar to Facebook, because he doctors the ads that the men and women place, except that it has a very limited audience which are men seeking ladies to marry. Due to Melvin's editing four women travel to marry four men only to find that what they were expecting is not what the reality is. "A Bride For All Seasons" is great fun to read. Each story is set in different states so each story has a different feel to it. This is a book where you wrap yourself in a cozy blanket, make yourself comfortable in your favorite chair and have warm cider to drink as you savor each story. All the stories are so well written and the romance is perfect, tender not overboard or forced. Leave this book on your shelf so that next year you can re-visit it. Hopefully there will be another and make this a series. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. 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."
A Bride for All Seasons: The Mail Order Bride Collection It all started with an ad in a mail-order bride catalogue . . . Here are the stories of four couples who owe their wedded bliss to creative editing by The Hitching Post publisher. This charming bouquet of novellas introduces you to four Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue prospects in the year 1870, all eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they’ll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages. 1. “And then Came Spring” by Margaret Brownley Mary-Jo has traveled halfway across the country to meet her match, arriving just in time for his funeral. Returning home seems like her only option until her would-be brother-in-law proposes a more daring idea. 2. “An Ever After Summer” by Debra Clopton Ellie had no idea she’s not what Matthew ordered. And what’s wrong with being a “Bible thumper” anyway? She’s determined to show him she’s tougher than she looks—and just the girl he needs. 3. “Autumn’s Angel” by Robin Lee Hatcher Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn’t come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. ¬ The trouble is, there’s no money to send them back . . . 4. “Winter Wedding Bells” by Mary Connealy David’s convinced he’s not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he’s gone—nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying? This collection of four novellas by four different authors was a delightful read. The common thread of all four mail-order bride stories are tied together by the common matchmaker, Melvin Hitchcock of The Hitching Post, a mail-order bride catalogue with the highest rate of successful marriages. None of the couples that were matched up in this book got what they expected because Melvin edited their letters. This makes for some intriguing twists in these entertaining tales. This book is fun and entertaining a great summer read. There are also three discussion questions for each novella in the back. This would be a great discussion for any Book Club. I received copy of eBook from Thomas Nelson Publishers in their Booksneeze program for my review.
Four uniquely fun and fanciful tales of the wild west from capable authors. I enjoyed visiting the wild west, learning about ways of life and situational ethics of this historical time period. And.. I loved reading the situations that created the need for those ethics! Complex characters and plots kept me reading for more. The Hitching Post magazine owner and publisher takes his editorial responsibilities a wee bit too far. Determining whether the requests and replies will garner adequate responses, Melvin tweaks them accordingly. Unfortunately, he's never in attendance for the shocking consequences... Our four prospective grooms and brides-to-be are each as intriguing as their tales of woe. I loved the tensions created and the journeys to creative resolutions. The authors are adept at their craft. Well able to keep my attention through characterization, dialogue, description, and creative plotting. * My recommendation? Perfect summer getaway reading! *I appreciate receiving an ecopy from Thomas Nelson for reading and review without obligation.