Thomas Bledsoe and Kate Gruener are traveling the Wilderness Road when conflicts between natives and settlers reach a peak that will require each of them to tap into a well of courage.A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.Love and Adventure Are Discovered on the Wilderness Road In 1794, when Kate Gruener’s father is ready to move the family farther west into the wilderness to farm untouched land, Kate is eager to live out her own story of adventure like he did during the War for Independence and to see untamed lands. And she sets her sights on learning more about their scout, Thomas Bledsoe. Thomas’s job is to get settlers safely across the Kentucky Wilderness Road to their destination while keeping an ear open for news of Shawnee unrest. But naïve Kate’s inquisitive nature could put them both in the middle of a rising tide of conflict. Is there more to Thomas’s story than he is willing to tell? Is there an untapped courage in Kate that can thwart a coming disaster? Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear. More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
About the Author
Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When she’s not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. Connect with her at www.shannonmcnear.com, or on Facebook and Goodreads.
Read an Excerpt
Tennessee, Spring 1794 Bean's Station
My father used to tell the story, ... Kate murmured as she wrote, quill scratching against the page, "of how he and his fellow Hessians sailed down the Hudson with the British, preparing to attack Washington and his forces. When they came under fire, he and the other men of good, devout German stock, broke out singing hymns, believing God would preserve them. Colonel Rawdon commenced to mocking them for such simple faith. And that was the beginning of the end of my father's faith in the British."
Kate sat back from the page with its drying ink and gazed out the open window of her narrow attic room. Noonday sun spilled across the busy settlement and rolling forest beyond, still waiting for the green of spring. A tendril of breeze touched her cheek, and she reached to catch the sheet of paper just before it lifted from the bedside table.
She loved this story. It deserved to be told, how the wicked Colonel Rawdon cut his own hamstrings, so to speak, with his disdain of the Hessians' faith in such a time. But her father had forbidden sharing it outside the immediate family, even with those considered dear friends. Things were difficult enough in this new country, he insisted, without folk knowing he'd once fought on behalf of the enemy. And so, out of love for her dear papa, she'd held her silence.
She probably ought not commit such words even to paper. But the story burned within her, begged to be told.
And 'twas but one of many.
Ink and paper ought to be reserved for practical things, Papa maintained — keeping records, writing letters. Nothing as frivolous as storytelling, and personal journals were up for debate — but this, she told herself, was a form of record keeping. If a people lost their history, what was left them? Even the holy scripture devoted as much of its pages to histories as to psalmody and exhortation.
"Katarina Grace Gruener! Where are you?"
Oh bother! She thought she'd done enough of the morning's chores to allow for stealing a half hour to write, but apparently not. "Coming, Mama!"
Kate hastily recapped the ink and wiped her quill, then slid the written sheet carefully beneath the blotter, pressed the top layer down, and tucked both in the side of her clothes chest. It should be safe there from discovery, at least for the present.
Skirts fisted in one hand, she ran down the narrow stairs of the cabin they rented while Papa surveyed for the Wilderness Road to the north. Mama stayed busy taking in washing and sewing — as if three of Kate's younger siblings were not occupation enough. But Papa and Mama had agreed that Papa would save all of his wages that he could, and Mama would endeavor to keep the rest of them fed and clothed by her industry in this little town where the Wilderness Road dipped south from the Holston and Watauga Valleys before angling back north toward Cumberland Gap.
Kate burst into the morning room on the heels of her mother's call. Jemima Lytton Gruener was a formidable woman, briskly efficient even when loving, and Kate dreaded her ire. "I'm here, Mama."
Her mother's features flattened into disapproval, her lips thinning. "How many times have I told you we haven't the luxury of you sneaking away to read in the middle of the day?"
"I wasn't — I'm sorry, Mama." Kate held herself still and tried not to feel like a chastened infant still in leading strings — as Stefan currently was, playing with a pair of wooden spoons while tied securely to a table leg. He looked up with an adorably toothy grin and waved a spoon at her.
Mama nodded once and, reaching into the side of her skirts, pulled out a folded and sealed paper. "Very well then. I need you to carry this message to the tavern to be sent out with the next post rider, and see if anything has come from your papa. Wait if you must," she added, pressing the packet and needed coins into her hand. Kate swallowed her glee as she accepted the missive, but Mama's brown eyes were sharp. "Do not think this is reward for being slothful this past hour. Stay no longer than necessary."
She stepped outside to the blindingly bright day. The smell of lye stung her nostrils — Dulsey, their Negro freedwoman, and Betsy, Kate's younger sister, were hard at work washing linens in the small yard behind the cabin. Waving to them, and returning the smile she got from both, she hurried on, into the muddy path running behind their cabin and half a dozen others like it, down the hill to the tavern that served as the social center of Bean's Station.
Away from the house, she slowed her steps. The spring day was too beautiful not to savor. Clear blue skies, balmy breeze smelling of the land awakening from its long winter slumber. The hilltops beckoning, and the not-too-distant mountain — except that everyone was warned not to stray from the station itself. Not without an escort. A well-armed one.
Even so, a thread of longing whispered through her. Fear followed hard on its footsteps. What was she thinking? She'd likely not last an hour out there in the wild, forested hills.
The tavern loomed just ahead, a two-story structure of hewn timber that, like their cabin, hadn't had time yet to weather. Did any of the horses tied out front belong to the post rider?
She stepped lightly onto the porch and inside. Barely a hesitation in the rumble of conversation registered her presence as she paused, letting her eyes adjust to the dimness. The aromas of baking bread and tobacco smoke permeated the air.
Seeing no one she recognized besides the settlement folk, she made her way past the tables to the woman behind the counter. "Good day, Mistress Johnson. Has the post rider come yet? I've a packet for him."
A twinkle and a dimpled smile answered her, with the tilt of a head. "Just in and over there, speaking with Nat Carrington."
Kate swiveled to stare before she could stop herself.The Indian Affairs agent, here? Both men at the table looked rangy and trail worn — nothing terribly remarkable there, but appearances could be deceiving. She turned back to Mistress Johnson. "Is there trouble expected?"
The older woman's dimples flashed again. "Always, sweetheart. But nothing more than usual." She slid Kate a dripping mug. "Here, have some cider while you wait for them to finish talking."
* * *
Thomas Bledsoe took a better grip on his ale and leaned an elbow on the table. "Sounds easy enough."
Carrington's eyes measured him for a long moment before he gave an approving nod. "Heard a lot of good things about you, Bledsoe. And your family's a solid one. I've no doubt you'll be an asset to our government's efforts to make the frontier safe for our settlers."
Feigning a long swallow, Thomas rolled the words around in his head. "You'll pardon me, sir, but I hope I'm an asset to both the settlers and the Indians."
The other man's gaze flickered. "Of course."
"If you don't mind me asking," Thomas went on, "just whose side are you on?"
Carrington lifted his mug, but not before Thomas saw the slight hardening of his face. "The right one."
Carrington didn't answer. His gaze strayed past Thomas and he nodded again, slightly. "There's a comely miss waiting to speak with you, looks like."
Thomas's shoulders were already prickling from having to sit with his back to most of the room. He twitched a glance behind him. The young woman who he'd seen come in a few minutes ago still stood by the counter, trying to look casual, but the frequent glance toward him and Carrington betrayed her unease.
"Dan'l Boone says the three things a man needs to make it on the frontier are a good horse, a good gun, and a good wife."
Thomas cupped both hands around his tankard, ignoring the sly smile that curved Carrington's mouth. "Doing well enough with the first two, thank you."
Carrington laughed softly. "Of course, no wife at all is better than a bad one. But 'tis something to think upon, for sure." His eyes slid past Thomas and took on a gleam again.
To forestall further comment from Carrington, if nothing else — surely not out of his own interest — Thomas shoved back his chair and stood, then deliberately turned and walked toward the girl.
At his approach, the girl's eyes widened and her face went a shade paler than she already was, but she drew herself up and clasped her hands primly before her. Thomas didn't fail to notice the whitened knuckles. "Did you need aught, miss?"
She threw a panicked glance behind the counter, but Mistress Johnson had disappeared into the rear of the tavern. "I — I'm waiting for the post rider, sir. I'm told you are he?"
He gave a slight bow. "I am."
One hand groped toward her pocket slit. "I have a message. May I give it to you now, or ...?"
"I reckon now is fine, miss."
A blush stained her cheeks as she fumbled for the packet, and between the familiar annoyance at the girl's nervousness and his habit of noting detail in every situation, Thomas found himself absently assessing her. Blue flowered gown over a red-striped petticoat, some signs of wear but not yet threadbare. Average height, perhaps a little more slender than some wished — but he was used to that, with his own sisters — rosy cheeks and fair hair peeking from her very proper cap. A cleft in her pert chin that someone would doubtlessly find charming.
But not him. And certainly not today.
Sandy lashes lifted to reveal coffee-brown eyes. Now there was a combination he'd not often seen.
She held out her hand, and after the sliver of a breath, he remembered to accept the packet and accompanying coins. He peered at the addressee, then up at her again. "You're relation to Karl Gruener?"
Startled from her missishness, she snapped to attention, instantly wary. "Yes. He's my father."
"I have something from him then. Just came from the survey camp." He dug in the satchel still slung across his shoulders.
Blast her fluttering, anyway. This girl's family was the one he'd just agreed to guide northward on the Wilderness Road.CHAPTER 2
The wilderness was where Thomas felt most alive. He liked it best when alone, taking the road as fast as the terrain — and his mount — would allow, ears open to birdsong and the riffle of wind through the trees, head bare to the sun and sky when the day allowed. And thanks to the post-rider position, he knew well the road into Kentucky where he'd be guiding that party of settlers in a couple of weeks.
Besides the impending suspension of the post, he still wasn't sure what compelled him to offer when asked whether he knew of anyone able or willing to do so, but something about the man's earnest manner and his slightly lisping, accented speech tugged at him. Now all he could think of was how he'd miss the freedom of solitude.
After handing off the latest post delivery though, he was away south to the Watauga Valley to see family. It had been too long already, and who knew how long it might be before he returned.
The path from Bean's Station across the Holston was well worn enough, but winding due east toward the Watauga, it grew narrow and steep in spots. Thomas didn't care. Ladyslipper was as surefooted as she was fleet, and made light work of whatever trail he put her to.
Come to think, he wasn't sure just how long it had been since he'd seen his sisters. All at once? It had been years. And nothing against the others, but the eldest, Truth, remained his favorite.
Likely 'twas because she'd served as mother to them all since Thomas was nine or so. His other sisters were fine enough in their own way — he had to give them that, now that they were all grown — but none had the knack of ordering the household, of holding them together the long autumn their father had been killed after that terrible battle with Tories over in South Carolina. And then she'd had the audacity to go and marry one of those same Tories. Thomas smiled. His brother-in-law Micah Elliot had proved his worth as an over-the-mountain man many times over, after running to warn the settlement of impending attack by the Cherokee just a few days before Christmas.
And it was still their favorite story to tell, how Truth had fed Micah at gunpoint the first time she'd met him, on foot and starving from days of wandering the mountains.
Thomas wasn't sure who'd gotten the better end of that deal.
Micah had made a very decent older brother too, all things considered. Thomas could not deny his affection for Truth, and hers for him.
Crossing the southern spur of Holston Mountain, he slowed, breathing deeply of the laurel barely beginning to bloom. The sunlight fell in patches through the new leaves, oak and walnut and elm arching overhead. He hadn't thought he'd missed this bit of country — but he realized now he had.
Down into the valley and up over the next ridge he went, Ladyslipper scrambling over the rocks and finding her way as she always did. Once he descended the ridge, it was just another couple of miles over a road that once had been but a footpath — and then there, with the slope of a mountainside rising beyond, lay nestled the cabin and barn his papa had raised when they'd first come in '73. The sunlight pooled, jewellike, in the greening of the trees and the new fields spreading to either side of the cabin.
An unaccustomed tightness seized his throat. For a moment, he could not speak, then he swallowed and called out, "Halloo the house!" A knot of children — two in skirts and two in britches — emerged from the edge of the woods, watching. So much taller than when he'd seen them last — for that matter, the youngest of those was still in leading strings then. No one on the porch though, until he was well within sight as well. Truth herself stepped out, shading her eyes, then gave a whoop and ran to meet him.
He dismounted, laughing, and caught her in a hug that lifted her off her feet. "Hie, big sister."
"Oh you!" She squeezed him so hard, it nearly hurt, laughing as well. When he set her down, mist-grey eyes met his own and crinkled. Both hands came up to frame his face. "Look at you! It's been an age. Are you well? What brings you back?"
And then the children were upon them. "Uncle Thomas! Uncle Thomas!"
He embraced them all, overcome by the laughter and their welcome. "Here, stand back and let me have a look!"
At last they disentangled themselves, still bouncing and fidgeting. Thomas, the oldest at twelve, named after him as he was named after a grandfather. Magdalene, not quite ten, and then Abraham and Rebecca, five and eight respectively.
"Jacob and the baby are in the house, napping," Truth said when the older ones were finished filling him in on their ages and latest adventures. "And Micah should be home —"
"Long about now," came a male voice, calling across the field.
Beneath the brim of his plain felt hat, Micah's teeth gleamed white against his dark beard, and though Thomas topped him by half a head, his embrace was every bit as hearty as Truth's.
"Can you stay long?" he added to the questions already asked.
"A few days," Thomas said. "Been carrying the post from Bean's Station up the Wilderness Road, through Cumberland Gap and sometimes as far as Danville and Harrodsburg, but I've agreed to guide a party of settlers up that way. Will be meeting up with them in a week at Bean's."
"Well, come on to the cabin," Truth said. "We'll be having supper before long."
The inside of the cabin looked so nearly the same, he wondered whether he'd stepped back to his own childhood. Finger to her lips, Truth beckoned him to the lean-to bedroom, and he peered in at the small boy, still in skirts, asleep on the bed. A bundle in a nearby cradle squeaked and waved a wee fist. "Ah, now," Truth murmured, and scooped the baby into her arms. "It isn't time for you to wake, but perhaps your uncle wouldn't mind toting you a bit while I finish supper. Once I change your swaddling," she added, slanting Thomas a smile.
She accomplished that swiftly enough, both of them staying silent so as not to wake Jacob, and then tucked the tiny bundle into the crook of Thomas's arm. "Here," she murmured. "She'll need to nurse before long, but meet your youngest niece, Constant."
Such a little thing. A smile pulled at Thomas's mouth. "After Mama."
Truth nodded soberly. "It took me this long to work up the nerve for it."
Thomas shifted her more closely to his chest. "She's a sweet bit."
"That she is." Truth smiled again, brushing the baby's brow with her fingertips, then turned away. "Now. Supper."
A half-made mound of biscuit dough lay on the table. As she sank her hands into the mess, gathering in the flour, Thomas was struck by the strands of silver amongst the dark peeking from her cap, the fine lines at the corners of her eyes.
When had she begun looking like such a mama herself?(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Cumberland Bride"
Copyright © 2018 Shannon McNear.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
She's curious, he's reticent, and they are in for quite a bit of trouble along the way in the fifth entry in the multi-author Daughters of the Mayflower series from Barbour Books. Shannon McNear takes readers for a frontier adventure, blending nature, romance, faith and family dynamics with danger, politics, and period detail. Whether it is Kate Gruener's love of story, Thomas Bledsoe's past or his present relationship with his sisters, there is much to enjoy in this tale that depicts some of the dangers and hardships encountered in the Cumberland Gap of the late 1700's. Add to that some delightful romantic tension and strengthened faith, and you have one of the best novels of this series. Having only read a novella by this author previously, I was delightfully surprised to find that The Cumberland Bride was easily one of my favorites in the series. If you are a fan of American history in fiction, frontier romance and/or adventure, and a well crafted tale, this is a book for you. If you prefer that romance to be chaste and the inclusion of a faith element, then even more so. Though I've only previously read one novella by Shannon McNear previously, I predict that for readers of Historical Christian Romance, she is one to watch. Highly recommended. This review refers to an advance digital galley read through NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
Another well written book in the Daughters of the Mayflower series, you’ll be swept up into Kate’s Wilderness Road adventure. Historical facts, well developed characters, and great descriptions of the country make this an enjoyable read. Full of danger, clean romance, and faith I highly recommend it. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
I was captivated by this wonderful historical romance. The development of the characters was incredible. I felt an almost immediate connection with Kate as the book started off with her sneaking away to do something she had been told was a waste of time. She was writing down stories she had been told. I have always loved to “waste” time in reading. Thomas was torn between two lifestyles and two families. This really captured my interest and held it as he was trying to figure out where he fit in. It can be a very difficult journey to take for many different reasons. I loved all of the details given for how life was lived on the frontier in the 1790s. It was very interesting to read about the conflict between the Shawnee Indians and the settlers. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All of the opinions expressed are my own. Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions 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.*
Reading these book is "reading between the lines" of the history we learned in school.
This series keeps getting better and better! What an adventure this book takes the reader on. The setting, characters and plot are so well written. I could picture everything happening. Details are impeccable. To be honest, it took me a good solid 50+ pages to get into the book. After about page 50, the book came to life and I couldn’t put it down. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was in no way required to write a review. Receipt of the book had no influence on my review. All thoughts are my own.
Although the lovely dress on the cover does make an appearance, this story is no tea party, it is a thrilling wilderness tale of survival during a tumulous time. Kate has a lovely balance of feminity and fire and I absolutely love her for it! She has a nurturing spirit and she is also a writer which obviously gives her extra bonus points in my book. Thomas is a complex and rugged hero who is often broody. I admire his ability to protect and defend as well as his restraint and preservation of life. I highly recommend this story to readers who are fond of the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Early American time periods. Fans of Laura Frantz and Lori Benton will also be delighted with Shannon McNear's story. 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.
Kate Gruener loved to write. Not just any writing but stories about the lives of the people around her. And her favorite story of all is the story of her father singing hymns with his fellow Hessians as they came under fire from Washington and his men. Her father’s faith was mocked by the British, and he began to lose faith in the British. Now they lived in the land her father once fought against. Her father was no longer with the enemy, but forbid her to tell the story in a country so young. People might not be forgiving if they knew at one time he had fought with the enemy. Kate shouldn’t even write the story down, but write it down she did. Soon Kate finds herself on an adventure worthy of writing. She and her family are traveling the Wilderness Road toward western Kentucky. Their guide, Thomas Bledsoe, seems to have a story of his own, but he isn’t sharing. That doesn’t keep Kate from doing her best to discover more about him. The trail is long and sometimes boring, but there are times of intense adventure. And Kate’s habit of relentlessly working to discover the stories of others and writing them down may get her into more trouble than she can handle. I enjoyed reading The Cumberland Bride. The pace of the story was good. Although I expected Kate’s writing to get her into trouble, there is no way I saw some of the twists and turns in this story coming. I also really appreciated the author’s note and historical note. I recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I’ve been following and enjoying the Daughters of the Mayflower series, so I was excited to read The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear, which is book 5 in the series. This book is very well-researched and rich in historical detail. I learned much about the places, the time period, and the daily life of the people who helped settle along the Kentucky Wilderness Road. The characters were vividly drawn and engaging, and I was immediately drawn to them. Kate was an intrepid and courageous heroine, and Thomas was a tender and protective hero. For me, the first half of the story dragged a bit and had my mind wandering, but the second half was much more intense, and I was able to become much more invested in the tale. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series and learning more about the settling of America. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I enjoyed The Cumberland Bride. I thought it was a good mix of history and romance. I always like the stories about the pioneers heading west and this fit with my preferences very well. I must say that the story line was a bit predictable, but if you want a light read that will keep your attention, this is a good choice. I had not read anything by Shannon McNear before but I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another one of her books. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I’ve been following this series and enjoying the journey through time and generations. It’s pretty cool to see how our country has changed over the years. This book takes place as people are moving west. I always enjoy an inside look at this time in our history. For me I never really connected with this story. My mind was never fully enveloped in this plot and it was very easy for me to walk away. I can’t really explain why, I don’t know. But as always, this is my opinion only and I encourage you to read it for yourself if it sounds interesting to you. A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley.com. All opinions are my own.
This is a newer author to me. I had read her story, The counterfeit Tory which was part of the Backcountry Bride series. I was excited to read her first full length novel. The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear, and the fifth installment of the Daughters of the Mayflower series is outstanding. I have read all the other ones in the series and have been loving it. This is set in 1794 which is not a time period that I read a lot about. The author has created some amazing characters. This is well written, leaving me speechless and re-reading the twists and turns. The author has created a masterpiece with this story. Her descriptions and careful research lead you on a wondeful journey. I received a copy of this book through Barbour publishing. All thoughts are my own
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear was adventure from beginning to end. We follow a family as they attempt to cross the Cumberland Gap to the frontier of Western Kentucky. Kate Gruener's family is part of a group of travelers that encounter natural hazards, rough terrain, and the threat of tribal unrest. Kate has a knack for trouble and a thirst for peoples "stories". I think she is someone you would want to be friends with--there would never be a dull moment. She is intrigued by their trail guide who has some secrets of his own. His past experiences help to keep him and Kate alive during a harrowing kidnapping situation. As I mentioned before in a review of another book in this series, I am somewhat disappointed in the lack of connection among the books in the series. Oh, well. I still enjoyed this book and look forward to more in the Daughters of the Mayflower series. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I really felt like I was on an adventure with Thomas, Kate, and her family. All the history woven into this story really painted a picture of the journey and how the early settlers really valued their faith even in hardship. The historical detail is amazing as are the characters that really endeared themselves to me as I had to read the book straight through. I particularly became attached to Thomas and Kate as their sweet romance blossomed. I loved how all aspects of the historical facts were handled with respect and that the characters valued God and family. A wonderful journey and a good read.
I’ve read all of the books in the The Daughters of the Mayflower series. I have loved every single one of them, however, this one was my least favorite. I had a hard time getting into the story until about halfway through the book. I would give the first half of the book 3 stars & the second half 4.5 stars. I almost gave up finishing the book but I’m glad I stuck it out because the second half was really good. I did really like Kate & Thomas. This was the first book from this author that I have read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing & was under no obligation to post a review.
The year is 1794…a tumultuous time in America with many adventurous souls pressing westward. Karl Gruener has decided to take his family to settle in Kentucky. The journey will be long and dangerous but he feels it will be the best move for them all…his wife and their children. Oldest daughter Kate is a dreamer, a writer of her thoughts and of the stories she hears…everyone has a story waiting to be told and she wants to write all about it. Thomas Bledsoe is the young man who has been hired to guide them safely through the wilderness trail and to be on the lookout for any Indians they may encounter. He has spent most of his life exploring the rivers and forests, he has ridden the post delivering mail to the far-flung outposts and settlements, but now he’s ready for a change. Maybe as he guides this group he can confront some of the secrets of his past, the things of which he does not speak. The journey proves to be difficult and Kate seems to find more than her fair share of trouble. Somehow she can’t keep her eyes off of Thomas and she finds him watching her as well. She wants to know more of his story and he finds her exasperating but also charming. What dangers lie ahead as they push forward through the wilderness? Can Thomas keep them all safe amidst rumors that there are uprisings between them and their destination? This is a story of determination and courage, of love, faith, and hope…one I think you will have as difficult a time as I did putting it down until you read the last page. The Cumberland Bride is a work of historical fiction that has been well researched and well written. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own.
This was a delightful story of love in a wagon train. I loved all of the historical descriptions of life as pioneer. Kate is an adventurous girl who is full of life and energy. Thomas has faced a hard life and can't quite figure out why he is so drawn to Kate. Their story unfolds as they continue to travel to their destination. Wonderful love story, uplifting, suspenseful and everything you look for in a good read. "I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review."
The Cumberland Bride: Daughters of the Mayflower - Book 5 is a book you must read! Loved every part of it! Favorite character: Thomas! So loved how his story developed! I love the storyline which involved the Native Americans. Truly couldn't find any reason to put the books down! You'll love it, too! I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. All thoughts and comments are my own!
The Cumberland Bride, by Shannon McNear, is another in the fabulous Daughters of the Mayflower series. It is a historical fiction series that follows a family tree linked by the daughters across American history from the landing of the Mayflower through the events of World War II. In The Cumberland Bride, the author brings us to Tennessee in the mid-1790s and the reader meets Katarina Gruener, (curious--almost to the point of pestering, warm brown eyes and so full of grit and faith!) and her family following the Wilderness Way through the Cumberland Gap to frontier land in Kentucky. We also meet Thomas Bledsoe, their guide, a man who has determined to live a life alone so as to not "leave a woman cry over me" as he had done with his sisters, a man who does not know who he truly is or where he belongs. Beautifully written, the story draws the readers in right away and keeps their interest high with the struggles and dangers that Kate and her family encounter along the way, as they cross mountains, rivers and are sometimes plagued with dissension in the caravan and are ever on the lookout for Shawnee attacks. The personalities and emotions of the characters are realistic and relatable. The settings are such that the reader can easily visualize and even transport themselves into, feel the desolation of the wilderness with its rutted roads, dusty trails, and dangerous waters. The author adds in a lot of historical information and gives a glimpse of Native American life during this time period and of course, there is a romance--often tension-filled but sweet, none-the-less. The pages of this book were infused with drama, history, family, and emotional tension. and threaded throughout was the soft tender message of God’s love and the reality that there is no hope but in Him, God the Father. I am looking forward to reading more of this author's works and more, as well, in the Daughters of the Mayflower series, a series for those who love stories of history, adventure, romance, and family legacy. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions are my own.
Oh what a moving and emotional tale! The sparks of the romance were heart warming and made for a very satisfying read. The danger and trepidation of having to make the journey and decisions here were felt with every fiber. An amazing author who knows how to weave a story! Reading this made me feel for both sides during a time where tempers were high and attacks were always a chance with Indians and travelers. You will be on the edge of your seat flipping the pages fast to know how it all ends! Thomas and Kate were very well written with flaws to keep them relatable and lovable. A bookshelf keeper! I received this book from Barbour and this is my opinion on it.
A fantastic addition to the Daughters of the Mayflower series. This is the fifth installment, however the great piece of this series is you can start with any book as each can almost be looked at as a standalone with the way they are written and how the connections flow. The Cumberland Bride is officially my favorite of the series thus far. Shannon McNear's story telling talents has quickly earned her a spot on my "watch for books from the this author" list! If you are a fan of Lori Benton and Michelle Griep historical fiction, you will be captivated by Thomas and Kate's story. A rich, romantic tale with with well-researched historical detail. This is the story of guide Thomas Bledsoe who is hired to lead the Gruener and Jenkins families from Virginia to Kentucky using the Cumberland Gap. Due to Thomas' past experiences, he approaches life with the determination to never get in a situation that would end with a woman crying over him - however it is Kate's curiosity and interest that slowly shifts his thoughts to realizing he cannot live without her. Hardships and trials of traveling the Wilderness and an easily followed alternate in point of view between Kat and Thomas capture your attention and make this an immersive read. My initial picture as I dived into this tale was seeing the characters and slight reminder of Last of the Mohicans. I will easily recommend this book to any looking for a new read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I just finished the fifth book in the Daughters of the Mayflower Series. It did not disappoint. Each novel is written by a different author and Shannon McNear was a new author for me. I will be finding more from her in the near future. Jemima Lytton, a decendent of the Mayflower Lyttons, married a former Hessian named Karl Gruener. Their family made a choice to travel to the Cumberland Gap to start a new home and life there. Their oldest daughter Katarina becomes our main character in this story. Kate is a gentle spirited woman who loves writing down the stories of her family. As they travel she discovers that she loves writing the stories of other families on their journey, too. Thomas Bledsoe is hired by the Gruener family to take them and several other families from their current home at Bean Station to the Cumberland Gap area. He is a strong quiet man who takes whatever job he has very seriously. The Grueners need a guide because they will be traveling through some rough places with the threat of Indian attack. Thomas has ties to the Shawnee nation and his story unfolds as we move through the book. His skills become invaluable to the families as they travel and especially to the Gruener family. The story is one of danger and adventure as they enter new territories and landscapes. They encounter some difficult and dangerous moments as they travel. It is also a love story in an unlikely setting. It is a beautiful story
Adventure and romance in 1794 Katarina “Kate” Gruener is an outgoing young lady interested in the stories and history of anyone she meets. She is about to embark on her own adventure when her family moves from northeastern Tennessee to western Kentucky. Thomas Bledsoe prefers the wilderness and solitude over crowds and conversation. He has a past he prefers not to talk about. When Thomas agrees to scout for the Gruener family and their neighbors as they travel the Wilderness Road, will Kate convince Thomas to share his story? This is the first book by Shannon McNear that I have read, but I certainly do not intend for it to be the last. I thoroughly enjoyed this story! The characters were well developed, the story moved at a great pace, and the writing was not repetitious. The author obviously researched her subject carefully. Even the author’s note and historical note were interesting. I would highly recommend this book to readers aged mid-teen and above. I received a copy of this book through Barbour Publishing but was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
This is a good book. Kate Gruener father hires a guide to take them to Kentucky where he plans on settling. Kate is inquisitive sand likes to keep a journal of things going on-- sometimes little to inquisitive. Thomas Bledsoe is the man leading them on their journey. He was raised by Indians for few years so when the encounter them it helps and causes problem for him and Kate. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
I just love this series, it's like a quick American History refresh along with an exciting personal story! I enjoyed looking up facts that come up in the book and remembering historical facts and stories along the way. I just finished Cumberland Bride, Book 5 in the Daughters of the Mayflower series. I have read them all except one, and really enjoyed each one! The Cumberland Bride follows the Gruener family as they embark on a journey from Tennessee to settle on land in Kentucky. Kate Gruener is the eldest in her family and seemingly naive and smart at the same time. Her one true passion seems to be writing and gathering people's stories, although her family sees little use in this hobby as there are far more important things to be doing! As the family joins a caravan of sorts to make their way to their new land, they are joined by a couple other families, a leader, and a scout they've hired, Thomas Bledsoe. Throughout the travels there are dangers, mishaps and fear. As they take the Wilderness Road there is dangerous terrain, rivers to cross, as well as magnificent natural beauty. This author describes in such detail you can see the wilderness and the landscape. Kate is intrigued by the scout Thomas and finds herself drawn to him and wants to hear his story. Alternately Thomas seems to be drawn to her, although he can't discern why. The story is told from both points of view throughout. As they near their destination there is increasing news of Shawnee unrest and Thomas fears for the party. Will they make it safely to their destination or will there be trouble? While Kate prays unceasingly at times, Thomas can not bring himself to either find his lost faith or deem himself worthy. Such a wonderful story I enjoyed the history and the fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Love on the Wilderness Road This is the story of a group of settlers from Tennessee, traveling the Wilderness Road to the frontier of Western Kentucky. The characters are well described and the adventures on the trail are realistic; weather changes, river crossings, Indians. One young character is very adventurous and leads to many conflicts with the travelers scouts. The story is realistic and reflects the known adventures of early settlers. I enjoyed this book as a sequel in the Daughters of the Mayflower. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.