Beneath a Prairie Moon

Beneath a Prairie Moon

by Kim Vogel Sawyer

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Overview

Beneath a Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Readers rabid for the sweet historical romances of Tracie Peterson and Tamara Alexander will flock to best-selling author Kim Vogel Sawyer's prairie-set heartwarmer of high society cast-off and the western town that welcomes her.

Abigail Brantley grew up in affluence and knows exactly how to behave in high society. But when she is cast from the social registers due to her father's illegal dealings, she finds herself forced into a role she never imagined: tutoring rough Kansas ranchers in the subjects of manners and morals so they can "marry up" with their mail-order brides. Mack Cleveland, whose father was swindled by a mail-order bride, wants no part of the scheme to bring Eastern women to Spiveyville, Kansas, and he's put off by the snooty airs and fastidious behavior of the "little city gal" in their midst. But as time goes by, his heart goes out to the teacher who tries so diligently to smooth the rough edges from the down-to-earth men. How can he teach her that perfection won't bring happiness?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735290051
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/20/2018
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 198,477
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 15.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

KIM VOGEL SAWYER is a highly acclaimed, best-selling author with more than one million books in print, in seven different languages. Her titles have earned numerous accolades including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband, Don, where she continues to write gentle stories of hope. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and grandchildren.

Read an Excerpt

One

Late August 1888

Spiveyville, Kansas

Mack Cleveland

“When’re you gonna have your letter ready, Mack? The fellas is gettin’ fidgety. They all wanna get the packet sent off, you know.”

Mack Cleveland paused in scooping nails into the scale’s bowl and sent a scowl across the counter to Spiveyville’s postman. The man’s grin, mostly hidden behind his overgrown mustache and beard, seemed to taunt Mack. “Didn’t I make myself clear the other night? I think it’s a fool notion, and I want no part of it.”

Clive Ackley’s thick eyebrows shot upward, forming a pair of fuzzy black tepees above his watery brown eyes. “You still takin’ that stand? Figured by now you’d come around, seein’ how every other man in town voted yes.”

Mack bit back an argument. Not every man in town attended the meeting. And the preacher hadn’t voted yes. But Preacher Doan’s vote didn’t count because he already had a wife. Mack gave Clive an up-and-down look, taking in the scraggly beard dribbling across his chest and his rumpled checked shirt stretched over his round belly. “Are you sending a letter?”

Clive jammed his hands into his trouser pockets and rocked back on his heels. “You can bet your buttons I’m sendin’ one.” He laughed as if he’d made a joke. The scruffy facial hair couldn’t quite mask a gap where a back tooth used to be or the tobacco bits caught between front teeth. “Can’t hardly wait to meet up with the gal who’ll be Mrs. Clive Ackley.”

Mack hoped whoever arrived to claim the title would have eyesight as poor as Clive’s or she might run screaming for the Pratt Center depot when she got a good look at her prospective groom. Mack dropped another clattering half scoop of nails into the tin bowl and examined the scale. Two ounces past a pound. He pinched off a few nails, and the needle jiggled a smidgen past the one. Close enough.

He lifted the bowl and poured the nails into a paper bag. After rolling the top down tight, he held the bag to Clive. “There you are.”

The man kept his hands in his trouser pockets. “I think you’re makin’ a mistake not addin’ your letter to the packet.”

Mack plopped the bag on the counter and gave it a little shove toward the postman. “Do you want these nails or not?”

Clive grabbed the bag, curling his sausage-shaped fingers around the rolled edge. He pointed at Mack with the lumpy bag. “You’re gonna be wishin’ you done somethin’ differ’nt when every fella in town except you is sayin’ his vows in front of Preacher Doan.”

Mack brushed bits of iron shavings from the counter and ground them into the planked floor with the sole of his boot. In his opinion, the ones wishing they’d chosen different would be all those men who trusted a matchmaker from Newton, Massachusetts, to find them wives instead of relying on the Good Lord’s guidance. But he’d said all that at the town meeting and nobody’d listened to him, the same way Uncle Ray hadn’t listened to Ma and Pa, so what was the sense of repeating it?

“Go ahead and send those letters, Clive. I hope it works out good for all of you.”

Clive shook his head, glaring at Mack in disgust, but he ambled out of the building without another argument.

Mack grabbed the broom from its spot in the corner and set to work, smacking the straw bristles against the floor with more force than needed to clear the wide planks of dust. Sweat dribbled down his temples and dripped off his chin, leaving little splotches on the floor that quickly dried in the hot wind coursing through the open front door and wheezing out the back. If he didn’t slow down, he might give himself heatstroke, but he had to channel his concerns somewhere, and the floor seemed a safe target.

Why wouldn’t the men in town listen to reason? Buying a bride was foolhardy. Maybe even dangerous. The fellows in Spiveyville might not be the smartest men in the state of Kansas, but they were, for the most part, an honest lot. How could they know for sure the women who came at their request were honest? Could any woman who would make herself available to travel to a town she’d never visited and marry a man sight unseen be one a decent man would want to wed? Not likely.

Some of these women could be trying to escape the law. Maybe they were women of ill repute. And the men of Spiveyville planned to send their letters and hard-earned money to a matchmaker states away without any guarantee they’d end up with a bride. Why would they be so reckless?

Mack leaned against the broom’s handle and sighed. He knew why. Because they were lonely. The same way Uncle Ray had been lonely. Truth be told, Mack was, too. His thirty-first birthday had passed a month ago, and he’d operated Spiveyville Hardware and Implements on his own for coming up on ten years. He wanted companionship—a family—as much as any other man his age did.

But lonely was one thing. Desperate was another. Gritting his teeth, he put the broom to work again. Every other unmarried man in Spiveyville could participate in the scheme, but he wanted nothing to do with any mail-order bride.


Mid-October 1888

Newton, Massachusetts

Abigail Grant

Abigail drew in a deep breath, allowed it a slow escape through her puckered lips, and finally reached for the doorknob. She gave the oval etched-glass knob a twist and pushed, pasting on a smile as the door opened on silent hinges.

Mrs. Helena Bingham’s gaze lifted from an open ledger on the polished top of the French Empire desk and settled on Abigail. Disappointment instantly sagged her lined face. “Here you are again.”

Abigail lifted her chin even though her pulse thrummed in an erratic beat. She dropped her valise next to the doorway and crossed the cabbage-rose carpet, the fraying hem of her deep-russet skirt grazing the thick fibers. “I assure you, there was no other choice. The situation there was—”

Mrs. Bingham held up one hand, reminiscent of a courtroom judge. “Let me guess. Deplorable.” She raised her snow-white brows. “Yes?”

Abigail pursed her lips. The woman needn’t use such a sarcastic tone. She tugged her little travel hat from her head and dropped it on the desk. A wavy strand of hair—defined as “mink brown” on her summary sheet—slid along her cheek, and she pushed it behind her ear with an impatient thrust. “Completely so. A creek for water, a dirt floor—dirt!—and a sod roof. Spiders descended onto the table during dinner.” She shuddered. “The place wasn’t fit for animals, let alone humans.”

Mrs. Bingham closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened them, the disapproval glimmering in her pale-gray irises pierced Abigail to the core of her being. “Abigail, Abigail, what am I to do with you?”

Abigail rested her fingertips on the edge of the desk. “Stop sending me to these barbaric locations for which I am woefully unsuited.” She shifted her attention to the stack of applications resting in a delicate wire basket on the corner of the desk. “Isn’t there at least one request from a gentleman?”

Even as she uttered the question, her heart divulged the sad truth. No gentlemen of prominent backgrounds relied upon a matchmaker to secure a bride. Their families and close friends guided them toward equally prominent prospects. At one time, she was considered a fine catch. But her family’s tumble from the social registers as a result of Father’s illegal dealings sealed her fate. She hung her head, bracing herself for Mrs. Bingham’s response.

“Perhaps you aren’t suited to matrimony at all.”

Abigail jerked, meeting the older woman’s unsmiling gaze. “N-not suited to…” After three years of harboring Abigail beneath her roof, had the matchmaker not learned how much Abigail’s heart yearned for a husband and family of her own? Why, even the Bible—what Mrs. Bingham herself declared God’s holy Word!—spoke of the wisdom of every man having his own wife, and every wife her own husband.

Abigail sank slowly onto the padded seat of the side chair near the desk and gaped at the older woman through a veil of tears. “How can you say such a hurtful thing?”

“Sometimes being truthful requires one to be hurtful.” Mrs. Bingham’s pale eyes held a hint of regret, but her lips formed a grim line. “How many times have you traveled to meet a prospective groom and returned dissatisfied?”

Abigail blinked rapidly. “I, um, I…don’t recall.”

“Six times.” Mrs. Bingham aimed a barbed look across the desk and steepled her hands on the ledger. “The first time, you claimed the house was too small and was without a cooking stove. The second time, the prospective groom had rotten teeth and bad breath. The third time, the distance from town was too great and you felt insecure. The fourth time, you said you couldn’t possibly marry a man with such a short stature. The fifth time, the town itself had no apothecary or millinery shops—how could you survive in such a barren place? Now, this time, the reason is a dirt floor, sod roof, and spiders descending during meals.”

“If you had seen the decrepit dwelling, you—”

“Abigail, you aren’t fooling anyone. Not even, I daresay, yourself.”

Abigail lifted her chin and narrowed her gaze. “What do you mean?”

Mrs. Bingham reached into a desk drawer and withdrew a small square piece of paper. She waved it gently. “I received this telegram three days ago. The same day you boarded the train for the return to Newton.”

Perspiration broke over Abigail’s frame.

“Shall I read it to you?”

Abigail wanted to refuse. She wanted to escape. But her tongue stuck to the roof of her dry mouth. Her quivering limbs resisted supporting her weight.

Mrs. Bingham slipped a pair of wire spectacles into place and angled the page toward the lamplight. “‘Sending her back. Too hoity-toity. Give me refund or new girl.’”

Humiliation swept through Abigail, searing her from the inside out. Had others sent similar messages? First rejected by young men from her rightful social class for her father’s sins, and then rejected by unworthy suitors for having manners too refined. Where would she find her place of belonging? The ache for a home and family of her own engulfed her and brought the desire to cry. But she sniffed hard, blinked away the moisture gathering in her eyes, and held her chin at a regal angle, the way Mother had taught her.

Mrs. Bingham flipped the telegram into the basket and pinned Abigail with a stern glare. “Tell me the truth. Whose decision was it for you to return to Newton—yours or his?”

She patted her forehead with the back of her gloved hand. “Well, I… He…” She swallowed and gripped her hands in her lap. “I suppose it was mutual.”

“Mmm-hmm.”

Abigail leaned forward slightly, beseeching the matchmaker with her eyes. “I’m a city girl, Mrs. Bingham. Send me to Boston, or New York, or even Philadelphia. I’m certain all will be fine if you’ll only match me with someone of similar background and breeding.”

Mrs. Bingham released a heavy sigh. “The description on the telegram—‘hoity-toity’—is far too accurate, and it is your biggest detriment to finding a match.”

Abigail hung her head, blinking back tears. How could refined manners be considered a detriment? Her earliest, most cherished memories were of tea parties with her dear mother, who patiently taught her how to use silverware, to pat rather than swipe her lips after small bites of pastries or sips of tea, to utilize proper speech and decorum. Now, with Mother gone, all that remained were memories and the refinement she’d learned from her gentle mother. Was she to discard these last bits of her former life for the sake of matrimony? Abigail forced aside her thoughts and focused on Mrs. Bingham’s stern reprimand.

“My clients are down-to-earth, hardworking, responsible men who are seeking down-to-earth, hardworking, responsible women with whom to build a lifelong relationship. Sending you to a city will not solve the problem, because you will take your snooty airs, fastidious manners, and unrealistic expectations with you.” She raised both hands in a gesture of surrender. “I’ve tried my hardest, but half a dozen failures is six too many for this business. If I continue to accept money for a match that cannot possibly succeed, you’ll damage my reputation as a matchmaker.”

She glanced toward the door, where Abigail’s carpetbag sat plump with all her earthly belongings. “Your bag is still packed. Do not unpack it. Instead, take it and—”

Abigail leaped from the chair. She clasped her hands beneath her chin, shamed by her behavior yet too desperate to do otherwise. “Please don’t remove me from your list of brides. Give me one more chance. I promise it will be different this time if you’ll allow me one more opportunity.”

Mrs. Bingham rose and rounded the desk, determination etched into her features. “I intend to give you one more opportunity. It—”

Abigail caught the woman’s hands and held tight. “Oh, thank you, ma’am.”

Mrs. Bingham withdrew her hands. “Will you kindly remain silent long enough for me to finish speaking?”

Abigail whisked her hands behind her back and closed her lips. But her chest rose and fell in rapid heaves of breath she couldn’t seem to control. Oh, why had Father chosen such an unsavory path? Maybe it would have been better if she had died of a broken heart as Mother had. At least she’d be spared the abject indignity of begging.

Mrs. Bingham sorted through a file on her desk and removed a fat envelope. She held it in front of her like a shield. “This envelope, sent by men from a small town in Kansas, contains sixteen written requests for brides.”

Hope fluttered to life in Abigail’s breast. Surely out of sixteen men, there would be one acceptable candidate for her hand.

“If the placement fees hadn’t been included, I would have discarded the entire lot. The letters…” The woman’s face pursed. “Suffice it to say, many of the writers of these missives are sorely lacking in the social niceties.”

Abigail bit the inside of her lip. The hope began to fizzle.

“But sixteen requests… As a good businesswoman, I cannot reject the potential income. Thus, I have been striving to secure matches for each of these men.”







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Beneath a Prairie Moon: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Laundry_Whispers 4 months ago
I'm no stranger to historical fiction as it is one of my favorite genres, however I've steered clear of mail order bride stories. . .until now. I'm going to take a detour here for a moment but it all comes together with this book. I just recently found out my aunt was a Harvey Girl (she married my dad's oldest brother and will be 91 later this year!). I've read a lot about this part of history and have always been amazed at these young ladies willing to leave their home and families and set out to carve a new life. Aunt Lora was lucky that she stayed in Kansas City where her family was (though she was born in Canada). She didn't have to strike out to the great unknown all those years ago like so many others. Mail order brides give me the same feels. Only with less of a safety net for them. They went out to parts unknown, many times alone or maybe with a couple of other girls they had recently met. They went out to meet a man they knew little about except what he might put on an application and pray for the best. Much like today, it's easy to leave so much out on paper. It's easy to not see your own faults to share on paper. And it's hard to find the louts from the winners. . .on paper. These girls literally put their lives on the line in an effort to carve a future for themselves. The girls with Bingham's Bevy of Brides, lead by Helena, were such women. Abigail was one such woman, who had taken that journey several times only for it not to work out and her to return. Sometimes her choice, sometimes not. If there was ever a perfect example of a Type A personality that would be Abigail! So well versed in the manners and expectations and 'society' that she couldn't let it go and embrace the idea that there were other perfectly acceptable ways to do things. Why must you always waltz when there's the jig? Why must you butter one small piece of bread at a time instead of the roll at once (hello! it gets cold and I like melty butter)? She held onto her old life, and the shame of her downfall from that life, which prevented her from finding a new life. Sound familiar? I mean we may not be hyper-focused on the things that Abigail was but we all have the ability to fall into these traits. Unwillingness to step beyond our comfort and familiar to find a new life. Sometimes in our own neighborhood and sometimes far away from family and home and familiar. This book was so much about redemption. The men's redemption in gaining manners and learning that wives aren't just to help do the chores and cook the food and mend and clean and and and. Wives were also hearts to be cherished, and love to be shared, and a lifetime to grow. Mack's redemption as he realizes that what he ran from is not a stone around his neck, while he grew up in a more western 'society' and knew the rules that Abigail couldn't let go of he had also found acceptance in his new community. Helena's redemption as she realized that perhaps there was more to making a match than reading an application. Abigail's redemption as she left go of her rigid adherence to her past and embraced that different didn't mean wrong or bad. I really loved this book. But then again, I've yet to meet a Kim Vogel Sawyer book I haven't enjoyed. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Edelweiss+. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
Laundry_Whispers 4 months ago
I'm no stranger to historical fiction as it is one of my favorite genres, however I've steered clear of mail order bride stories. . .until now. I'm going to take a detour here for a moment but it all comes together with this book. I just recently found out my aunt was a Harvey Girl (she married my dad's oldest brother and will be 91 later this year!). I've read a lot about this part of history and have always been amazed at these young ladies willing to leave their home and families and set out to carve a new life. Aunt Lora was lucky that she stayed in Kansas City where her family was (though she was born in Canada). She didn't have to strike out to the great unknown all those years ago like so many others. Mail order brides give me the same feels. Only with less of a safety net for them. They went out to parts unknown, many times alone or maybe with a couple of other girls they had recently met. They went out to meet a man they knew little about except what he might put on an application and pray for the best. Much like today, it's easy to leave so much out on paper. It's easy to not see your own faults to share on paper. And it's hard to find the louts from the winners. . .on paper. These girls literally put their lives on the line in an effort to carve a future for themselves. The girls with Bingham's Bevy of Brides, lead by Helena, were such women. Abigail was one such woman, who had taken that journey several times only for it not to work out and her to return. Sometimes her choice, sometimes not. If there was ever a perfect example of a Type A personality that would be Abigail! So well versed in the manners and expectations and 'society' that she couldn't let it go and embrace the idea that there were other perfectly acceptable ways to do things. Why must you always waltz when there's the jig? Why must you butter one small piece of bread at a time instead of the roll at once (hello! it gets cold and I like melty butter)? She held onto her old life, and the shame of her downfall from that life, which prevented her from finding a new life. Sound familiar? I mean we may not be hyper-focused on the things that Abigail was but we all have the ability to fall into these traits. Unwillingness to step beyond our comfort and familiar to find a new life. Sometimes in our own neighborhood and sometimes far away from family and home and familiar. This book was so much about redemption. The men's redemption in gaining manners and learning that wives aren't just to help do the chores and cook the food and mend and clean and and and. Wives were also hearts to be cherished, and love to be shared, and a lifetime to grow. Mack's redemption as he realizes that what he ran from is not a stone around his neck, while he grew up in a more western 'society' and knew the rules that Abigail couldn't let go of he had also found acceptance in his new community. Helena's redemption as she realized that perhaps there was more to making a match than reading an application. Abigail's redemption as she left go of her rigid adherence to her past and embraced that different didn't mean wrong or bad. I really loved this book. But then again, I've yet to meet a Kim Vogel Sawyer book I haven't enjoyed. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Edelweiss+. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
LynnLD 8 months ago
Meet Me Halfway! Several men in Spiveyville, Kansas are waiting for their mail-order brides to arrive from Newton, Massachusetts in 1888. When the stagecoach arrives, only two women get off, the owner of the matchmaking business, Ms. Helena Bingham and her assistant, Ms.Abigail Grant. The men are dismayed and shocked as they learn that they must take etiquette classes before their women will join them on the prairie. It doesn't sit well with them, but out of respect, most comply rather easily. The women are forced to put away some of their city airs as they learn about life in Kansas and the men work hard to please them. But the unthinkable happens when Ms. Bingham goes missing and all of them have to pull together as they pray for her safe return. Many twists, turns and a few surprises combine to make this a captivating and worthy read!
lolly-pops 10 months ago
BENEATH A PRAIRIE MOON is one of the few books by Ms. Sawyer that I've read. It is written in four points of view, Mack, Abigail, the matchmaker and the sheriff, and each part is clearly marked so readers won't get confused. From the beginning, Mack and Abigail clashed, but this is a romance so you know they will get their happy-ever-after. But how it will come to pass will keep the reader guessing, especially as Abigail is a society lady and Mack is a working class man. Plus all the delays keeping these East coast city ladies in a small western town overcome by dust storms and tumbling weeds, windstorms and tornadoes. The grooms are desperate for their brides but the matchmaker takes Abigail's complaints about deplorable conditions seriously and goes to check things out for herself, with Abigail along to teach the men proper behavior. The brides are left behind, so add upset bachelors to the bad weather and you have a lot of tension and unexpected twists. I wondered if the sheriff and the matchmaker would make a match too, but she was almost twenty years older than the sheriff so I doubted it. Another reason to keep reading! I enjoyed BENEATH A PRAIRIE MOON and if you like historical romances with a twist you will love it. Pick up this winner by Kim Vogel Sawyer today. You won't want to put it down. I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.
rkfall 11 months ago
Set in the late 1800s, Beneath a Prairie Moon was a story of mail-order brides from the east traveling out to Kansas. There was the main lady that men would write to and she would get to know what they liked and get to know what the ladies liked and match them up. She received word from many men from one town and decided to travel there and get to know them all in person. For me, this story held my interest and was a fun read with times of laughter and times of nail-biting, action-packed situations. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
MollyzReviewz More than 1 year ago
It's been quite some time since I've read Ms. Sawyer's work. So, I was pleased to jump back into her work. I didn't know what to expect with this new western novel, but once I sat down and opened the pages, I was quickly drawn to Abigail and Mack's story. Ms. Sawyer did not disappoint! I loved Abigail! She was forced to do something she didn't want to do, but in the end, it was definitely worth it for her! I loved watching her trying to play her role of teacher. And Mack.....oh Lordy! Swoon! I loved him. I felt for him on so many occasions! I loved watching him interact with Abigail and fight his true feelings. Ms. Sawyer definitely hit it out of the ballpark with this novel. It was a hit with this reader, 4 stars, and two thumbs for sure. Each page turn brings something new to the story, and as you read, you can feel the warmth of the Lord surrounding you. That feeling was a wonderful one! Ms. Sawyer, I can't wait to read another book by you! I won't be waiting so long this time in between reads. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review, positive or negative.*
BethErin More than 1 year ago
Readers of all ages will enjoy this lovely sweet and often humorous story! Abigail Brantley has lived a comfortable life in elite society and she's more than a little bit stuck in her prissy city ways. While I immediately sympathized with her plight, it still took me a little while to warm up to her. Mack Cleveland is my kind of guy, a faithful mister steady. He isn't quite as rough around the edges as other residents of male-dominated Spiveyville and despite the fact that he hasn't jumped on the mail-order bride bandwagon, the arrival of the fancy Eastern ladies soon improves his manners as well. Fans of Hallmark and simply sweet historical romance will be delighted by this book and I found it was a lovely change of pace! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
This is a gentle story set in the Midwest, and despite its slower pace, I was intrigued by the premise of a mail-order bride matchmaker attempting to improve the manners of the rough and tumble bachelors of a small ranching town. The story is told from the third-person perspective of four main characters, which I think contributed to the slow pace. I actually enjoyed most of all the perspective of Mrs. Helena Bingham, the owner of the mail-order bride service. She had wisdom and humor that Abigail was lacking for most of the book, and I appreciated her patience in training Abigail while Abigail trained the men ;) Abigail's attitude definitely improved over time and it was nice to see her grow and stretch and meet the challenges before her, including learning to look beyond the surface and judging a person by their character. Mack was just such a gentleman, and even though he has a tender heart, he also has a backbone. It was fun to see how his interactions with Abigail change as time went by. They become loyal friends that support each other, and I would have liked to see their romance heat up a bit... but it remained as tepid as their manners are proper. The sheriff made up the fourth perspective, but I really didn't feel like it added much to the story to tell his point of view. Battling the elements and solving a mystery added conflict and tension to the plot, and overall it was an entertaining read. (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
Suze-Lavender More than 1 year ago
Abigail was used to a rich and luxurious life. She has excellent manners, but is no longer part of high society. Her father's actions have given the family a reputation and Abigail lost everything she held dear in a short time. She ended up at Helena's mail-order bride business, but so far Helena hasn't been able to match her. To earn her keep Helena asks Abigail to assist her. They're traveling to Spiveyville in Kansas together, to take a look at sixteen men who have requested a bride all at once. To make sure the men are ready for their women, Abigail is supposed to give them etiquette and common courtesy lessons. How will the men respond when not sixteen, but just two women enter their town? Mack isn't interested in a mail-order bride. He wants to fall in love with a woman the natural way. He's one of the few men in Spiveyville who hasn't requested Helena's services. However, he doesn't mind helping out when the women are there. In a town that consists mostly of rowdy men Abigail and Helena need protection. There's only one sheriff and he could use some assistance looking after the women, so he can also do his regular job. Mack is someone with good manners, so the task suits him perfectly. Will Mack regret his decision not to ask for a wife when he gets to know the two women? Beneath a Prairie Moon is a wonderful heartwarming story. Abigail is smart and honest, but she doesn't easily fit in. She has excellent manners, but she uses her propriety as a mask. She doesn't want others to come close, because of all the hurt loving people has brought her. She has some trouble adjusting to life in Spiveyville. Most of the men are kind, but they aren't gentlemen. Making friends proves to be difficult, but Mack doesn't give up easily. I liked his strong and calm presence and his willingness to be there for others without asking for anything in return. This makes him a fascinating main character. I enjoyed reading about the adventures of both Abigail and Helena and the men living in Spiveyville from the moment the match-making women enter the town. It's such a fabulous idea for a story and I was captivated from beginning to end. Kim Vogel Sawyer has written a fantastic descriptive story. I could easily picture Spiveyville and its intriguing inhabitants. She combines surprising twists and turns with interesting dialogue and a terrific gripping ending. Beneath a Prairie Moon is a gorgeous story that completely enchanted me. It's charming, entertaining and enthralling. I loved every single page of this amazing book and highly recommend it.
joyful334209 More than 1 year ago
A Prairie Moon Is a book of hope, life, redemption and Faith. Now it is a Christian book but a warning - it does have two expletives in it. It was used to show the old times and there authenticities. It gets you thinking about how things were. It was rough in those towns. If you ask me they added nothing to the plot but that is me. The story shows you how a sinner can become a new - clean - person just like a bar can become clean - fresh - reborn - renewed - made over - this book shows how God works in the lives of the characters just light he works in the characters of our lives. I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and Netgalley; all of the opinions expressed in this review are all my own. if you would like to read more of my Christian book reviews go to christianlybookreviewers.blogspot.com
E_Espinoza More than 1 year ago
Beneath a Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a delightful historical fiction novel. Incorporating its own unique twist on the mail-order-bride saga, this book is encouraging, entertaining, and unexpected. At all times, this novel successfully balances history, romance, faith, and even a bit of suspense, making the story thoroughly readable and engaging. An enjoyable feature of this novel is its strong focus on community and the people that make a small town interesting, vibrant, and unforgettable. Within this book there were several characters to meet, to love, and to hold dear. The various characters are wonderfully endearing and well-developed. They are authentic and multifaceted, and their fears, hopes, desires, convictions, and choices make them heart-warming and relatable. Even though the characters struggle through real, trials that test their faith, the light of God’s grace and mercy shines through with hope, forgiveness, and restoration. These enduring themes of grace and second chances are integral to the story and are also deeply inspiring. I sincerely recommend Beneath a Prairie Moon. It is a book worth reading, complimenting, and sharing. Kim Vogel Sawyer is certainly a talented writer, and I would gladly read more of her novels in the future. *I was given a copy of this book from the publisher. A review was not required. The review I have written contains opinions that are entirely my own.
Abold24 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book that I have read by Ms. Sawyer. I thoroughly enjoyed this uplifting historical romance novel. The storyline was very entertaining and the reader is curious to what will occur in each additional chapter. If you enjoy historical novels, you will not be disappointed in this one. In this novel, Miss Abigail is sent to train a group of men into well-mannered, well-behaved husbands that will treat their new wives respectfully. She goes with her boss Mrs. Bingham. I found the story funny at times and suspenseful during other times. This novel is a clean-read with insight into the characters spiritual lives as well. I highly recommend this book! I look forward to reading more books by Ms. Sawyer! ***I was given a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher. This is my honest opinion. Even though I received this copy free, this is my own opinion.
FHlady More than 1 year ago
This book was a different take on the historical mail order bride books. Helena Bingham runs a mail order bride business. She is very conscientious in matching brides to husbands, but this time she has a tall order. Sixteen men in Newton Kansas have all requested mail order brides, so she wants to check them out before she does any matching. Abigail Grant has been sent back to Mrs. Bingham six times because of her hoity toity, uppity ways. Helena decides Abigail will accompany her to Kansas as an instructor in social graces to these 16 men. Full of humor and character-driven, this book was a delightful read. There were so many characters, both major and minor, in this book to love: Mack and Sheriff Bill with their care and concern for both women, Athol with his love for feeding the single fellows and looking out for Helena and Abigail, and the hilarious, rough around the edges, future grooms attempting to learn social niceties. Each of the characters got more complex as the story developed. Abigail was a character that drove me crazy at the beginning of the book as she stuck her nose in the air and looked down at all of the townspeople who didn't have her uppity manners and ways, but as the story progressed and Abigail saw the actions of the townsmen in particular, Abigail realized that caring hearts definitely out trumped perfect manners. Helena was a great support for Abigail which also helped in her development as a better person. The ending was super with a couple of surprise couples that were perfect fits for one another. Would love to see a sequel to this book to find out what happened to all the couples that Helena matched up.
sandralb More than 1 year ago
Beneath a Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer was a delightful historical Christian romance. It's not your normal Mail Order Bride story. This author is a master at character development. Abigail Brantley, one of our main characters, finds herself penny less and fallen from high society. This due to her father's illegal dealings and incarceration. She has no other choice but to sign up as a mail order bride with Mrs. Helena Bingham, of Bingham's Bevy of Brides. Abigail has returned, or been returned from her assignments six times. “Six times.” Mrs. Bingham aimed a barbed look across the desk and steepled her hands on the ledger. “The first time, you claimed the house was too small and was without a cooking stove. The second time, the prospective groom had rotten teeth and bad breath. The third time, the distance from town was too great and you felt insecure. The fourth time, you said you couldn’t possibly marry a man with such a short stature. The fifth time, the town itself had no apothecary or millinery shops—how could you survive in such a barren place? Now, this time, the reason is a dirt floor, sod roof, and spiders descending during meals.” Mrs. Bingham released a heavy sigh. “The description on the telegram—‘hoity-toity’—is far too accurate, and it is your biggest detriment to finding a match.” “My clients are down-to-earth, hardworking, responsible men who are seeking down-to-earth, hardworking, responsible women with whom to build a lifelong relationship. Sending you to a city will not solve the problem, because you will take your snooty airs, fastidious manners, and unrealistic expectations with you.” She raised both hands in a gesture of surrender. “I’ve tried my hardest, but half a dozen failures is six too many for this business. If I continue to accept money for a match that cannot possibly succeed, you’ll damage my reputation as a matchmaker.” When Mrs. Bingham receives a letter from Spiveyville, Kansas requesting 16 brides, she knows how she can use Abigail's short comings for a positive outcome. Mrs. Bingham and Abigail will take a trip to meet the 16 ranchers and shop owners in Spiveyville. With all of Abigail's training in decorum it should be an easy assignment for her to tutor these rough Kansas ranchers in manors and morals making them more suited to marry her Bevy of Brides. Mack Cleveland, a hard ward store owner has a dislike and bad history with mail order brides. His father was swindled by one and he doesn't want to have any part of this transaction. He wants a loving marriage like his father and mother had and trust God to provide the right woman for him. Mack finds Miss Brantley's “hoity-toity” attitude very off putting. Will these two get past their differences? Can two people so different come to a truce and at least be friends? God may have a different--and better--future planned for them than either could imagine. I found this to be a wonderful story and would recommend it. I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers through NetGalley, Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
ecclecticnurse More than 1 year ago
I wish there was a 3.5 star rating. I love Kim Sawyer' s books and the ending to this book was no exception. Kim does a lovely job of weaving together an interesting community that made you want to be a citizen of Spiveyville. Even so the first half of the book was a little difficult to get thru, and at times I wanted to shake some sense into Abigail. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who like Christian frontier fiction romance books. I was given an advanced readers copy to review.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
The author has offered us a different type of mail order brides, with many requests all going to the same town. Then she put a boulder in the way when the expected brides don’t show up in the prairie Kansas town, but only the owner and her helper arrive. Now you can just picture a young woman, and she is not spoken for, arriving to teach a bunch of small town men and farmers some manners. Oh, to be a fly on wall with some of the classes she offers and these poor men are required to attend, that is if they want a bride. There are some sad happening here where the sins of the father seem to come home when others put the blame on the child, so very unfair. Then there is child abuse, and putting such unfair blame on a child, the father of these boys is a bit unbalanced. You will enjoy being in this town and most of the people here, of course, every town has those other folks! There is a bit of romance here, and one I thought would happen sure surprised me. You will be in for a very enjoyable read! I received this book through Net Galley and WaterBrook & Multnomah and was not required to give a positive review.
SignGirl58 More than 1 year ago
What a guaranteed enjoyable book? Pick up ANY novel by Kim Vogel Sawyer! Her newest book, "Beneath a Prairie Moon," is no different! This time, I'm reminded of the magnitude of proper rules that dictated life for a well-trained lady in the 1800s. Abigail Grant's self-created assignment is to never be improper and her real job is to transform a town of unruly men. Sixteen men from Spiveyville have sent for mail-order brides, but are deemed ill-prepared, and the adventures that ensue are numerous and continuous! Who will outlast whom in the propriety battle? Kim Vogel Sawyer has a talent to create an inviting story, teach something, and pull heart-strings, all simultaneously. It is always a joy to see her name on the cover of a new book and she is one of the authors I always mention for favorite author suggestions! I was sent a complimentary copy of "Beneath a Prairie Moon" from WaterBrook Multnomah and I am happy to give an honest review of the book.
LGHudson More than 1 year ago
HEARTWARMING! I can’t remember if I’ve ever read a book about “mail order brides” but this was a delight! The whole idea of taking a highly educated, former society girl and turning her into a mail order bride is a bit mind boggling! What else does a girl with that background who suddenly finds herself an outcast from the society she’s known do? That was her only chance of finding a mate that hadn’t heard of the crimes her father committed and the shame he broughThe setting of Spiveyville, KS is wonderful place where the people in the community are more like family than friends. The characters in this novel are vividly portrayed and become people you want to know as you become involved in their story. The story is excellent as it involves Biblical insights, insights to life in that time period, desperation, redemption, reinvention and love. This is a wonderfully entertaining book with plenty of plot twists that will keep your attention from beginning to end. I was provided an ARC of this book by the Publisher. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and without influence.
SouthernGalLovestoRead More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite things about a Kim Vogel Sawyer story: getting to the end of the story and seeing how all the pieces fit together. One of my least favorite things about a Kim Vogel Sawyer story: getting to the end of the story and having no more pages to read. If you have followed my reviews at all, you should have picked up that Kim Vogel Sawyer is one of my favorite authors. She tells stories (frequently historicals set in her home state of Kansas) of hardship, struggles, love, and faith in a way that tug at the heart strings. Before the story is over, I have usually laughed, cried, and felt like taking some of the characters and "shaking some sense into them." Beneath a Prairie Moon is everything I have just described. The setting involves a kind of rough and tumble town that is short on females of marriageable age, which prompts many of the unrefined men of the town to send letters and money back East for the purpose of securing mail-order brides. When the manager of the bride service and her assistant make the long trek to Kansas, Eastern high society meets the unpolished prairie and all kinds of consequences develop. There is a lot of uncertainty and hard-headedness, and even some pretty dangerous situations. Before all is said and done, love shows itself in many forms -- expected and unexpected. As always, I highly recommend Kim Vogel Sawyer's latest book to all fans of great inspirational fiction. Thanks to Kim and her publisher for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.
JustCommonly More than 1 year ago
"People who can adapt to changes are much more content than those who are rigid." It's been quite some time since I've read a "mail order bride" story, but I remember them quite fondly. And I find Kim Vogel Sawyer's upcoming release, Beneath a Prairie Moon enlightening, for readers and definitely for the characters. Having experience setbacks in life, our main heroine, Miss Abigail Grant (Brantley) have some hard lessons to learn. Yet as readers, we learn with her. I love the premise of this not your typical "mail order bride" scenario. This time, the rugged men of the frontier will learn what it means to "court" and to take on a wife. Throughout the story, there's a certain way to the author's visualization and words that feels authentic and distinct at the same time. I enjoyed how many different personalities we've encountered, and also show the internal strength of women. I'm quite surprised by how much the author is able to put into this story. Romance, friendship, adventure and a message of God's unique plan for each of us, including matters of the heart. "Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?" In all, Beneath a Prairie Moon is a story of expecting the unexpected, and be pleasantly surprised by the good it is. Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion. Please note, all quotes are taken from ARC (essentially an uncorrected proof). Please do not share quote or if do, please verify with release copy.
Mar-J More than 1 year ago
“Why not set aside your stubborn pride and allow him to be your friend? You’ll be much happier.” An affluence heroine who had lost so much and a store owner hero in the developing town of Spiveyville, Kansas made Beneath a Prairie Moon, by Kim Vogel Sawyer, a beautiful Christian Historical Fiction. The rugged men of Spiveyville had contacted Helena Bingham of Bingham’s Bevy of Brides in Newton, Massachusetts to send them mail order brides. Abigail Brantley was one of the perspective brides; however, her standard for poise and etiquette was not in her favor for the men Helena had sent her to. The request from sixteen men in Spiveyville to Bingham’s Bevy showed their ruggedness, lack of proper courting and values in their letters to Helena. Helena proposed to Abigail that they journey to Spiveyville to educate the men on social etiquette, dancing, morals, caring and courting their perspective bride. Mack Cleveland, who had not requested a mail order bride, was appointed to pick up the women at the train station in Pratt Center, Kansas. The surprise was only two women were at the train station instead of the 16 mail order brides. Spiveyville men were not happy when they discovered the requirement for classes to wow their future brides but committed to the classes with the sheriff, minister and Mack watching out for Abigail as she taught. The unexpected events that kept happening and then a disappearance had everyone on alert. Will the men receive their brides they had sent money for? Will Abigail discover that her past societal position and affluence wasn’t all that make one happy and to love another? The author’s vivid descriptive words mixed with a wide aware of characters with a variety of personalities, happenings, struggles and victories through God’s plan for each one were genuine and true to the era. This will be a favorite Christian historical fiction on my list by Sawyer. I look forward to reading more of Kim Vogel Sawyer books in the future as her books are filled with God’s grace and hope through a fictional story. Thanks to Waterbrook publisher for a complimentary ARC copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
dhiggins4 More than 1 year ago
“Beneath a Prairie Moon” by Kim Vogel Sawyer is set in Kansas. This book centers around a group of mail-order brides who are coming to meet some potential mates. The story centers around Mack Cleveland, who is the only man who has chosen not to participate in this endeavor, and Abigail Grant, who was raised in a wealthy environment but now doesn’t have a penny to her name, thanks to her father. Although some people may really enjoy this book, this book was not my cup of tea. I have read another book by Kim Vogel Sawyer, and I enjoyed it. I’m not sure if this was just not my “genre”, if that is why this book didn’t hold my attention. I received this book from Waterbook Multnomah for my honest opinion.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Beneath a Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a historical romance novel that takes readers back to 1888. Mrs. Helena Bingham owns Bingham’s Bevy of Brides in Newton, Massachusetts. She is not surprised to find that Abigail Grant has returned once again. Abigail was raised to be a lady with a genteel education and refined manners. After the downfall of her father from his illegal dealings, Abigail found herself without a home and a fiancé. Helena knew Abigail would be a challenge, but she took her on anyway. The last gentleman (I use the term loosely) found her too “hoity toity”. Mrs. Bingham agrees to give Abigail one more opportunity. She has had a request from sixteen men in Spiveyville, Kansas who are looking for brides. Mrs. Bingham wants Abigail to give the men lessons in manners, table etiquette, how to court a woman, teach them to dance and proper decorum. They are met at the station by Mack Cleveland, the hardware store owner. Mack did not request a bride because he believes that only God can make a heart match. The enthusiastic grooms are not happy with the delay of their brides nor with the required lessons, but they will do what it takes to get wives. Events keep throwing Abigail and Mack together, but Abigail’s attitude makes it hard for him to get close. As time passes, Mack begins to see a different side of Abigail. Is there a chance for these two different individuals? Will Abigail realize that perfection will not bring her love and happiness? Beneath a Prairie Moon is a delightfully entertaining novel. The book is well-written and has a steady pace. I enjoyed the mail order bride angle that the author used in this story. It was unique (hooray). There are a wide variety of characters from the oh so proper Abigail to Athol Patterson who ran the restaurant (and did not appreciate anyone else cooking in his kitchen) to the evil Elmer Nance. It was nice to see the townspeople work together to help each other in times of turmoil (a bad storm and a kidnapping). I like how humor was interlaced throughout the story. Abigail and her sunburn (ouch) provided me with some laugh out loud moments (you would have to read it to understand). Beneath a Prairie Moon is a Christian novel and the author handles it beautifully. There are good lessons woven into the story about forgiveness, pride, the power of prayer, having faith, and following the path God has laid out for you. The story has a villain in Elmer Nance and a hero with Sheriff Bill Thorn. I kept hoping Sheriff Thorn would end up with a certain lady, but it did not happen. The ending will leave you with a smile on your face and a good feeling in your heart. My rating for Beneath a Prairie Moon is 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).
ndreader0783 More than 1 year ago
SPOILER ALERT I absolutely loved this book! In the time of the Wild West and mail-order brides, this story tastefully shares what life may have been like. Abigail’s transition in life and station makes for a great story of redemption, while Mack’s story of overcoming is a great example of a Christ-like love makes this story that much greater. I was bummed when Mrs Bingham didn’t remarry, to be honest, or even stay in Spiveyville, but she was a great co-leading character in this story, and an example of a woman who thinks of others before herself.
Sarah823SP More than 1 year ago
This book was written through the lens of four main characters thoughts. This style brought more depth to the book. But the characters are strong people that you love and want to get to hear the voices out loud and in their head, as it reveals so much more of how people live bravely in community and the courage it takes to be real with others around you. I found the book had a slow start, I just wasn’t sure where it was going. But as I kept reading, those details came alive, bringing reality and vulnerability to the characters and their lives. I adored the etiquette perspective brought to light throughout the book. I loved that some of the characters clearly had a growth mindset while others started with a fixed mindset. I also appreciated the non traditional roles of men and women that likely were the norm even in prairie life. My favorite aspect of the book was the authentic faith and prayers that were manifested by all the main characters. Life is messy and people can be ugly and judge, but this book-shares that there is always a flip side to review. Thanks for the chance to review an ARC. The book also ends with discussion questions if you are looking for a book club book or a book discussion in an educational setting. I think it would be a great book discussion with a lot of higher level thinking among the readers!