Escape into the history of the American West along with five of today’s leading inspirational fiction authors who deliver exciting historical romances begun from advertisements for mail-order marriages. Placing their dreams for new beginnings in the hands of a stranger, will Cinda, Emily, Maura, Gabe, and Daughtry each be disappointed, or will some find true love?
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About the Author
DENISE HUNTER lives in Indiana with her husband and three active young sons. As the only female of the household, every day is a new adventure, but Denise holds on to the belief that her most important responsibility in this life is to raise her children in such a way that they will love and fear the Lord. "Stranger's Bride" was her first published novel. The message Denise wants her writing to convey is that 'God needs to be the center of our lives. If He isn't, everything else is out of kilter.'
JUDITH MCCOY MILLER is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her novels, many of which have appeared on the CBA bestseller lists. Judy makes her home in Topeka, Kansas. www.judithmccoymiller.com
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love chapter; and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.
DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.
Tracie Peterson, bestselling, award-winning author of over ninety fiction titles and three non-fiction books, lives and writes in Belgrade, Montana. As a Christian, wife, mother, writer, editor and speaker (in that order), Tracie finds her slate quite full.Published in magazines and Sunday school take home papers, as well as a columnist for a Christian newspaper, Tracie now focuses her attention on novels. After signing her first contract with Barbour Publishing in 1992, her novel, A Place To Belong, appeared in 1993 and the rest is history. She has over twenty-six titles with Heartsong Presents’ book club (many of which have been repackaged) and stories in six separate anthologies from Barbour. From Bethany House Publishing, Tracie has multiple historical three-book series as well as many stand-alone contemporary women’s fiction stories and two non-fiction titles. Other titles include two historical series co-written with Judith Pella, one historical series co-written with James Scott Bell, and multiple historical series co-written with Judith Miller.
Read an Excerpt
5 Historical Stories of Marriage Arranged by Letters Between Strangers
By Tracie Peterson, Mary Davis, Denise Hunter, Judith Miller, DiAnn Mills
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2002 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
South of Chicago, 1883
Cinda stopped just short of running into David Swan in his own front yard. In her worry, her gaze had been focused on the ground and not on where she was going. Now, she looked up at her best friend's new husband with an apologetic smile.
"Oh, hi, David. Is Allison inside?"
Cinda had rushed over to see her friend as soon as the mail had arrived. Normally, she strolled along, enjoying whatever pleasures the day had to offer; however, today in her haste, she had heard nothing but her own rushing thoughts and had seen even less. She hadn't even seen David until he spoke to her.
David was just over six feet tall, broad across the shoulders but lean in build, with a kind face and thin, sandy blond hair. He stood firmly in her path. "I won't tell you until you smile. You'll never get a husband with that scowl."
Cinda gave him a quick, forced smile. The last thing she felt like doing today was smiling.
"You're a pretty girl, Cinda. If you smiled more often and looked up once in awhile, you'd catch a husband in no time."
Her cheeks warmed at his compliment. She could see that look in his eyes — help poor, shy Cinda so she doesn't become an unhappy old maid. Why were all old maids assumed to be miserable? Wasn't it possible for a spinster to be happy? "Now, who said I was fishing for one, anyway?" she asked him.
"Aren't all young ladies looking for a man to put a ring on their finger?"
Here he was playing big brother again; she was irritated by his teasing, but if she could choose a brother, he would be David. She could see now he was amused. Putting her hands on her hips, she stood up to her full five feet, eleven and a half inches. Like this, she could intimidate most men unless they were young, handsome, and unmarried — then it was Cinda who was intimidated. She was tall, but she never felt she could measure up in the eyes of a potential suitor.
Less than two inches shorter than David, she was almost eye to eye with him, as she was with most men. "No, David. Some of us are independent souls and don't need marriage to feel complete." Her own words hurt her because she wasn't so sure she was an independent soul.
David opened his mouth as if to counter, but Cinda spoke quickly. "Allison? Is she inside?"
David's hesitation made her uncomfortable. She hoped he wouldn't harass her further. She had had enough for one day. "Yes. She's in the kitchen," David said finally with half a grin.
* * *
Allison glanced up at her friend lurking in the doorway and smiled. "Don't just stand there. Peel me some apples." Allison stood at the kitchen worktable, stirring the ingredients for a piecrust. "You can help me make these pies for supper."
Cinda had no siblings while Allison was the only girl of five children. The two had developed a special sisterly bond rooted in friendship.
"I'll just spoil it. You know I can't cook," Cinda countered, staying out of the way by the door.
"Nonsense. That's your aunt talking." Allison set a paring knife on the table next to a bowl of last year's apples she had brought up from the cellar.
Cinda sat down in one of the kitchen chairs. She thought Allison painted the perfect picture with her white apron over a light blue blouse and navy skirt and her blond curls pulled back with just a wisp dangling beside the smudge of flour on her cheek. She obviously enjoyed being a wife and mother-to-be.
Cinda forcefully pushed the thoughts away. She picked up an apple and started peeling. "How are you and the baby doing?"
Allison patted her growing stomach. "Great. He's an active one." Allison put a glob of dough on the floured end of the table. "David fusses over us already. He's going to be a great father."
"It's hard to believe you are six months along. You hardly show."
"Seven. It's this skirt and the apron over top." She smoothed the layers of fabric tightly at the top and bottom of her rounded tummy. She was definitely pregnant.
Cinda peeled apple after apple.
When Allison had the crusts rolled out, she sat down and sliced the peeled apples. "Out with it."
"What?" Cinda looked up from the apple she was peeling, surprised.
"You're frettin' over something. You might as well tell me before it spoils these pies." Allison waved her knife in the air.
"I'm sorry. I don't mean to bring my troubles down on you, but I'm in an awful fix. I don't know who else to turn to." Cinda let out a heavy sigh.
"What has your aunt Ginny done now?"
"It's not her this time, but I hate to think what she will say when she finds out." Cinda wiped her hands on the dish towel and laid it back on the table, then pulled a letter from her pocket. "It's this letter."
"Who's it from?"
Cinda lowered the letter to her lap and looked down. "A man."
"A man? Who?"
"I don't know."
"Didn't he sign it? Are you sure it's from a man then?" Allison picked up another apple and sliced it.
"Mr. Rawlings is definitely a man!"
"How do you know this Mr. Rawlings?"
"I don't," Cinda exclaimed. "That's just it. I've never heard of him until today when I opened this letter." She waved the letter in the air.
"It's probably just a mistake then. Take it back to the post office and tell them to return it to Mr. Rawlings." Allison let out a sigh of relief.
"I can't do that." Cinda could tell her friend was brushing this off as inconsequential.
"Then write to Mr. Rawlings yourself and tell him he made a mistake."
"I can't do that either."
"Why not?" Exasperation coated Allison's heavy sigh. "It would be the proper way to deal with it. Honestly, Cinda, when there's a man concerned, you can make a problem where there is none."
"He's coming here — today." Cinda's voice squeaked. "He's coming for me!"
When Allison's eyes widened, Cinda's stomach flipped. Cinda could tell her friend was trying to hide her surprise.
"Now, why would this Mr. Rawlings, whom you don't even know, be comin' after you?"
"I don't know." Cinda twisted her hands together in her lap. Her aunt had convinced her she was no good for any man; her tall stature had confirmed it in her own mind.
"It can't be all that bad." Allison patted Cinda's hand. "Read the letter aloud, and let's see what Mr. Rawlings has to say."
Cinda unfolded the letter and drew in a deep breath. "'Dear Miss Harrison,'" Cinda started calmly. "That's me. There is no mistaking that. I'm the only unmarried Harrison in town. In fact, I'm the only Harrison in town."
"Just read on."
"'I have enjoyed your letters and feel I know you well.'" She stopped and looked at her friend. "Did you hear that? Letters. With an s, meaning more than one. He has letters from me! I didn't write any letters. How can he know me?"
"Go on," Allison said.
Cinda looked back to the letter. "'After these months of correspondence, I look forward to finally meeting you.' These months!" Cinda choked out the words and looked wide-eyed at Allison. "He says he has been corresponding with me for months!"
"So far, there is nothing so terrible to have you so worked up."
"Oh, it gets worse. A lot worse."
"Just finish the letter. Or I'll be havin' this baby before I find out what all the fuss is about."
Fuss? Allison thought she was making a fuss over nothing. Well, she would soon see there was a great deal to fuss over. Cinda's hands shook as she continued.
Since we have come to know each other through our letters, and due to a deficiency of time, if it's all right with you, we will need to be married immediately and return for the spring planting.
Cinda's voice was fairly shaking by now.
I will arrive in the afternoon on the second of April.
Cinda meticulously refolded the letter. "That's what all the fuss is about."
The two women sat in silence for a few moments.
"The postman simply delivered it to the wrong house."
"No!" Cinda showed her the address. There was no mistake; the letter was meant for Cinda. "I'm a mail-order bride! What am I going to do?" This kind of thing might happen up north in Chicago — but not in their sleepy little town.
"There has to be a good explanation for all this," Allison said as she put the tops on the two pies and trimmed the edges. "Someone must have been writing to Mr. Rawlings using your name. Would you open the oven for me?" She picked up the pies and slid them into the oven.
Cinda closed the oven door. "Who would do that to me?"
The women fretted over that question while the pies baked. Finally, Allison jotted down something on a piece of paper and sent it off with the freckle-faced boy next door.CHAPTER 2
An hour after the note was sent, Vivian and Eve came prancing up onto the porch in a fit of giggles. Cinda and Allison were sitting in wooden rocking chairs on the front porch. Allison was knitting some booties for the baby, and Cinda was working on a half-sewn baby shirt. This was the first spring day warm enough to be outside, and despite their anxiety, they were enjoying the fresh air.
"Allison, it's good to see you looking so fit," Vivian said cordially.
"Yes. You do look fit, Allison," Eve echoed.
Eve wore a low-cut green velour walking dress with her shawl hanging around her elbows. Her black hair was pulled back in the front with ringlets cascading down behind. Vivian's tawny hair was done up in a stylish chignon with jeweled combs. She was dressed in a peach walking dress with a mass of ruffled lace about the neck, upper chest, and sleeves. Vivian could wear all that flounce because she was small, as were Eve and Allison. Cinda seemed to be the only one inflicted with height; she could never get away with all that frill on her tall frame. Suddenly, she drooped her shoulders and pulled her head down between them, feeling overly large.
Vivian and Eve turned simultaneously to Cinda. "How do you do, Cinda?" Eve said in greeting. She turned to Vivian and giggled again. A mischievous smile played on Vivian's lips.
"Sit down you two, and tell us all about Mr. Lucas Rawlings." Allison's irritation was evident in her tone.
The chastised Vivian and Eve sat down dutifully, one on a wooden bench and the other on a straight-back chair. "How did you find out about Lucas?" Vivian asked.
So these two are behind the mysterious letter. Had they written to Cinda pretending to be this man — or was there really a Lucas Rawlings? Cinda pulled out the letter. "I received this from him this morning."
"Vivian!" Eve scolded. "How did that get past you?"
"I haven't been at the post office much lately. My wedding is only two weeks off." Vivian folded her hands in her lap.
"Vivian, maybe you should tell us the whole story," Allison said.
"Oh, do let me tell it. It really is quite amusing," Eve jumped in, eager to tell all. "You remember when we stayed over at your parents' house the night before your wedding, Allison?" She paused until the others nodded, then continued. "Remember that advertisement in the ladies' magazine for finding a husband? Remember the letter we wrote? We sent the letter, Viv and I."
"It was just for fun. You said you weren't going to really mail it. I threw that letter away." Cinda was trying to convince herself that this couldn't be happening. Marry a stranger? The thought was appalling.
"I was the one who took it out of the trash. Viv and I rewrote it." Eve's grin widened as she pointed to herself. "We improved it."
Cinda felt the blood drain from her face. "I knew something bad would happen. I never should have agreed to let you use my name." She slumped in the chair and put her head back.
"Who else was there?" Vivian said. "Allison was getting married the next day. I had just gotten engaged. And Eve already had three beaus buzzing around her. It wouldn't have been fair to add another one to her hive when you had none."
"What happened after you sent the letter?" Allison's voice was tinged with annoyance.
"We didn't send it right away," Eve went on. "But about a month after we did send it, we received the first letter from Lucas. We wrote back to him, and before we knew it, we had a regular correspondence with the man."
"Regular correspondence!" Cinda gasped, confirming her fear. Her stomach knotted and lodged in her throat.
Allison gave Cinda a sorrowful look. "Where are the other letters?" Allison demanded.
Eve pulled a bundle of letters out of her reticule. "There are four of them." She handed them to Cinda.
Cinda stared at the stack, too paralyzed to take them from Eve. If she didn't touch them, they weren't real. It was all a bad dream, a nightmare.
Allison reached over and relieved Eve of the collection. "Shall I read them aloud, or do you want to read them in private?" she asked Cinda.
Cinda found it difficult to speak. All she could do was shake her head. She didn't want to know any more about the man. She wanted it not to be true. This couldn't be happening.
Allison took the top letter and opened it.
Dear Miss Harrison,
I acquired your name through the Matrimonial Agency.
Cinda grimaced. She closed her eyes to block out Eve's and Vivian's excited faces.
Allison hesitated a moment then continued.
I would very much like to begin correspondence with you. Since we live some distance apart, I'll have to court you by mail. If this arrangement is satisfactory with you, I will expect to receive your correspondence.
Cinda shook her head. No, it wasn't satisfactory.
"He's not very verbose," Vivian acknowledged, "but he does sound educated and refined."
"Educated and refined! He could be a desperado for all you know," Cinda shot at them.
Allison opened the next letter.
Dear Miss Harrison,
I'm sorry to say that I don't have a way with words as you do, but I will do my best to answer your many questions. I live on a prosperous farm outside a small town called Buckskin. Montana is the most beautiful country you will ever see. Majestic mountains that reach clear up to the big blue sky. Sparkling rivers and fertile ground. A man could grow just about anything here he put his mind to.
I am twenty-eight years old and share your love for the Lord. Life has not always been easy, but God has been good to me.
I have never been married, and so I have no children of my own. I do like children and hope to have some one day. Family is very important to me. It is the backbone of this country, God's own design.
I anxiously await your next letter.
Cinda could feel Vivian's and Eve's eyes on her. Allison opened the next letter.
No, no, Cinda wanted to shout. She didn't want to hear any more, but all she could do was sit there.
Dear Miss Harrison,
I do so enjoy your letters. To answer your further questions, most folks in town consider me tall, though I am not overly so. I have dark hair and blue eyes. Buckskin has a population of two hundred people, more or less, mostly cattle ranchers spread out across the rolling hills. We have a general store, telegraph-post office, church, and we even have a local doctor.
My farm lies to the south of town and supports six horses, twenty-five laying hens, a rooster, a milking cow, and a sow with nine piglets. There are also five apple trees, two peach trees, two cherry trees, and one plum tree, a large garden area, and even a water pump in the kitchen, as well as one outside.
The house is two stories with four bedrooms and a large front porch with two rocking chairs. Not far from the house are wild blackberries and huckleberries. The farm does quite well and provides a good life.
I look forward to your next letter.
He sounded like a peddler selling his wares. Cinda sucked in a small, quick breath as Allison unfolded the last letter. Wouldn't she ever stop this torture? Cinda bit her bottom lip, knowing that this was the one where he asked the question.
Dear Miss Harrison,
I feel as if I know you so well from your letters and have come to the conclusion that we would be most compatible. I can provide well for you and give you a good life.
Excerpted from Mail-Order Marriage by Tracie Peterson, Mary Davis, Denise Hunter, Judith Miller, DiAnn Mills. Copyright © 2002 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
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
His Brother's Bride,
Changes of the Heart,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Enjoyed stories very much. Historical facts seem to match same timelines. Glad I read about the early life of the strong and loving people during a time, we can not begin to realize. Great Entertainment.
So excited to read this book the first stories were great - believable with well thought out charcters and depth. Lofe like story lines. Real to life. The last one was schoolgirlish, very disappointing. Hence only 3 stars. Remove the last silly story, and I would have given it a five.
Mail Order Marriage: Five Historical stories of marriage arranged by strangers (various authors). Cinda’s Surprise by Mary Davis involves Cinda Harrison and Lucas Rawlings. Cinda’s friends decided to help her find a husband. Cinda agrees to the marriage and wonders why Lucas needed a mail order bride. Cinda discovers the answer when she arrives at his home. Will these two be able to make it work? His Brother’s Bride by Denise Hunter takes place in Cedar Springs, Kansas. Emily Wagner is traveling to Cedar Springs to meet her fiancé, Thomas for the first time. Emily is hoping this marriage will help her save her grandmother from her Uncle Stewart’s clutches. Emily arrives to find Cade Manning, Thomas’ brother. Thomas died before Emily arrived. Cade (a widower), though, needs a wife to help with the house and to take care of his son. Will Emily still be able to help her grandmother? The third book is Changes of the Heart by Judith McCoy Miller. Luther Buchanan opened a mercantile in Placerville, California. He needs a wife to help at home and around the store. He advertises for a mail order bride (but does not mention he wants help with store). Maura Thorenson feels that Luther’s ad is an answer to her prayers. Maura wants to get married, but none of the local men will marry her because of her affliction (as she calls it). Maura answers Luther’s ad but does not mention her affliction (you just know this is not going to go well). On the trip to California (aboard ship around the Cape) Maura meets Georgette Blackburn. Georgette desperately needs help and Maura is going to provide it. Luther is surprised when he picks up his fiancé. Is there a chance for these two? Mail-Order Husband by DiAnn Mills is set in Nebraska in 1880. Lena Walker is a widow with two children. They have a farm and she needs help to keep it. She advertises (the local men are disgusting) for a husband (a very rare occurrence). Gabriel Hunters answers her ad. He is a bookkeeper and loves to read. Gabriel figures his book knowledge will help him run a farm (he has never lived on a farm or performed manual work). Lena is shocked by Gabriel’s appearance (and manner of speaking), but Lena gave her word. Will Gabriel be able to work a farm? Can a marriage work between these two very different people? Forever Yours by Tracie Peterson is set in Bandelero, New Mexico. Daughtry Lucas is twenty-three and would love to escape her family. Her father and brothers are over protective. Daughtry runs away to answer Nicholas Dawson’s ad for a wife. They are married by proxy before Daughtry starts her journey. But Daughtry is not quite what Nicholas was expecting. Does their marriage stand a chance when her father and brother’s show up? Mail-Order Marriage contained some good stories. I enjoyed three out of the five of them (the first three). The story by Judith McCoy Miller was my favorite (and I wish it had been longer). I give Mail-Order Marriage 4 out of 5 stars. The stories are all well-written and interesting to read (just some more than others). They are all Christian stories with nice themes. There is no sex or foul language in any of the stories. They are good Christian, historical romance stories. The last two are good, but I just did not enjoy them as much as the other three (just personal preference). I received a complimentary copy of Mail-Order Marriage from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Five delightful stories of mail-order marriage bring five couples together. They will face the challenges of beginning life as a couple against the dangers and harsh reality of life farming or ranching in the west.
If you are looking for five amazing Mail Order Marriage books all in one. This one is for you. For some reason I just love mail order marriage books, they are always full of excitement, uncertainty and romance. Some you will not want to put down. I was given a copy of this book from net galley for my honest opinion. Cinda’s Surprise - by Mary Davis - Cinda is not sure what to think of the letter she just received. What is expected of her? When she finally decides to go through with her marriage to Lucas will she be able to be the wife he needs? When surprises seam to come at her in all directions will she keep her promise to him? Lucas needs to find Cinda and get home. When some complications arise will he go home empty handed or has God a plan after all. When his secrets reveal themselves is it more than Cinda can handle? When tragedy strikes will Cinda return or is it more than she can handle? This novel is full of surprise, laughter, love, family and forgiveness. His Brother’s Bride - by Denise Hunter - Emily is not sure what to do when she learns of her fiancés death. When she agrees to marry his brother Cade she may not be prepared for all that is in store. Will she ever get the desires of her heart? Can all this deceit lead to anything good? When Cade’s son and even Cade find their way into her heart is it all for nought? Cade is not sure why he asked her to marry him, other than he needs a ma for his boy and a helper on his farm. Will the guilt over having feelings for someone else ever go away? What ever is Emily doing with her time and what secrets is she hiding? Changes of the Heart - by Judith McCoy Miller - Maura is off on quite an adventure. Will Luther be all she hoped for and will he understand her deceit? When Maura finally mets Luther things are not quite what she expected, will she be able to go through will all of this or not? Luther really just wants a good helper, when he meets Maura he is not expecting her secret nor her friend. Will they have a change of heart or not? There are times in this novella you will want to just want to slap some people and tell them to grow up. There is much to learn, going to do and forgiveness to be given. Mail-Order Husband - by DiAnn Mills Lena has no where else to turn other than follow what she believes is Gods leading and put out an advertisement for a Mail-Order Husband. When Gabe steps off the platform he is not what she expected and wonders if she really heard Gods leading. Lena has a strong will and temper of her own. Gabe has never imagined doing anything like this. It is so out of character for him, yet he can’t deny feeling God is leading him to answer this advertisement. When he meets Lena old fears arise and he wonders if this is a big mistake. This is not your typical mail-order novella. There is romance and the sparks of getting to know one another yet it is full of much much more. We are introduced to many more people with whom their lives intertwine. This book has a lot to do with forgiveness and love. Forever Yours - by Tracie Peterson Daughtry is feeling smothered, when she finds an ad for a wife she wonders if this is her out. With her decision made she wonders if she made the right one. When she finally meets Nicholas she knows she loves him already. Yet there are secrets they both have that may put a strain on their marriage. Nicholas can’t believe his luck. Yet what secrets is she hiding and will she trust him enough to not ask to many quest
Five couples meeting through ads looking for mail-order marriages in the American West and the experiences and adventures they have along the way. Five wonderful stories with excellent characters and emotional stories that will have you escaping back to the Old West. Enjoyable read.
I really enjoyed reading every one of these stories. I felt like I really got to know each of the main characters, which doesn’t always happen in books with several stories. I ended up loving them all and couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. Every author in this book wrote a great story. My attention was kept the entire time, and I didn’t want to put the book down. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Romance. I had fun going to another place and time and know you will as well. I received a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
This book has 5 novel of marriages contracted thru the mail to form solid, loving marriages. To say all is smooth sailing would be an untruth, as rocky roads and relationships are in store for all five of these early pioneers lives in the West. All contain a solid story with good plotting and character growth, mystery, evil people and relatives that leave a lot to be desired. The authors demonstrated how God’s plan will work to his good and the good of each person involved. Each is a clean wholesome story of love and adversity in a time period when life was harder than we can imagine and each character has a wonderful love of God. All will keep your interest from the first story to the last and leave you wanting more. Cinda's Surprise by Mary Davis Cinda is an old maid with friends that want to see her married and out from under her Aunt's domineering and demeaning thumb. Cinda finds herself a mail order bride due to her friend’s interference and plotting. Off Cinda goes to the Wild West on a harrowing stagecoach ride with a new husband and a very unwelcome surprise waiting at the end of their journey for both. All is not as it seems with her husband, Lucas Rawlings, he has a huge secret; Cinda also is not all her friends wrote as she lacks housewife skills. I was enthralled with Cinda's situation from the first paragraph and loved watching her and Luke grow and mature to a solid loving marriage, but rocky would hardly describe their journey. Ms. Davis did a wonderful job of plotting and pacing this book. I was sorry to say goodbye to the characters. His Brother's Bride by Denise Hunter Emily Wagner headed west to marry Thomas; She arrives after a long extremely dirty journey to marry Thomas only to find he has died prior to her arrival. Cade, Thomas's brother, a Godly man and widower, decides to step into his place and marry Emily, as his small son needs a mother, however Emily is not all she seems. This is a story of old crimes, secrets, and mysteries, new hurts and sadness as Emily desires a real marriage and Cade wants one in name only, Emily has a secret that could tear her world apart, an evil Uncle of the highest caliber, a man and woman who need each other, Emily's Nana that is held by her Uncle as a pawn in his evil game, and Gods redeeming love. Ms. Hunter's plotting was spot on, character growth was wonderful, and the twists and turns kept me interested in what would happen next, and the pacing was good. This is another solid Christian story that has it all, love, secrets, mystery, and evil. Change of Heart By Judith McCoy Miller Luther Buchanan went west to prove himself to his father. He has a General Store in Placerville, California that is very successful and now he needs a wife and her extra hands to help with his store. Maura Rebecca Thorenson wants a husband and family. She answers Luther’s ad and heads west on a ship around the Cape. It was not an easy voyage, but she meets two wonderful women. One will be lost at sea; the other, Georgette, is unwed and pregnant. Things will blow sky-high when her future husband finally meets her, as Maura has kept a huge secret from him and she also fully intends to care for Georgette as long as possible. Luther is furious and feels used, he is also hard-nosed, arrogant, self-serving, opinionated, angry, considers Maura a cripple and doesn’t mind stating so to her, he has no intention of making this a real marriage; he is altogether a very cantankerous ill-temp
An enjoyable collection of nostalgic romances! Five couples meeting first through letters in answer to mail order ads, learn to work through their differences under difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances. Set from the 1850's to early 1900's across small town America, each story has a charm of its own. Cinda's Surprise: For someone who doesn't enjoy surprises, this poor gal sure gets a wagonload of them, and deals with each one with a lot more patience and grit than I would have! Good thing Lucas is kind hearted and good looking. Some good examples of forgiveness and love in this fun story. His Brother's Bride: Emily is stuck in a dilemma, between the growing love for her new husband and his sweet son, and meeting her uncle's greedy demands. Will love and truth triumph or get crushed under the weight of deception? This one has a nice lesson in being honest in relationships, and trusting the Lord with the details of our lives. Changes of Heart: This couple sure has a rough start, between his bitterness and hard-heart, plus her hurt feelings, it just may take a tragedy or a miracle to bring them together. It takes both! Lots of prayer, some good friends and a mangy dog help too. They had a lot to work through, but it was good to see them persevere and be committed to making their union grow in love. The description of life in a California gold town, after an ocean voyage around the Horn, was very interesting! Mail Order Groom: Lena and her two sons are struggling to keep their Nebraska farm going after her husband dies. They get a surprise response to the want ad for a mail order groom all the way from Philadelphia. Gabe fits the bill except he's never set foot on a farm; good thing he's a quick learner! Loved this story of a seemingly opposite couple who overcome many obstacles and dangers, with love, grace and a bit of humor. This one really captured my heart and was my favorite of the collection. What a great example of an honorable, humble, godly man Gabe was to his new family and neighbors. He's on my all time favorite heroes list! Forever Yours: This couple plunged right into married life after a few brief notes, and had a lot of excitement along the way. Life in New Mexico at the turn of the century was still pretty rough, but these two were determined to make a go of it. Loved how Nick was so patient with naïve Daughtry; their mutual respect for each other was admirable. There's quite a variety of people and settings in these five different stories. All the stories were quite enjoyable, including a lot of historical details, like their transportation, from a trip around the Horn, to train, stagecoach, wagon and horseback. Their different housing and work was interesting too, from life in a gold town store, to working a farm and living in a sod house, to living in an adobe home on a large cattle ranch. Something to interest everyone! Recommend for fans of historical Christian romance fiction. 4.5 stars (Book provided by NetGalley and Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.)