Temporarily Out of Stock Online
Meet four women whose lives are in transition and watch as something old, new, borrowed, or blue brings them joy, romance, and renewed faith. Betsy’s something old is a lost family watch. Wren’s something new is a home built with her in mind. Clara’s something borrowed is a farmhand from the neighbors. Darla’s something blue is her mother’s missing cameo. Will each woman find the treasure her heart is intent upon in these four historical romance novellas?
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
TRACEY V. BATEMAN is a past president of the American Christian Fiction Writers and has more than 30 stories in print. She believes all things are possible and encourages everyone to dream big. Tracey lives with her husband and four children in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks.
Joanne Bischof has a deep passion for Appalachian culture and writing stories that shine light on God’s grace and goodness. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, folk music, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life. She is a Christy Award-finalist and author of Be Still My Soul, Though My Heart is Torn, and My Hope is Found (WaterBrook Multnomah). www.joannebischof.com.
Mona Hodgson is the author of nearly 40 books, historical novels and children’s books, including her popular Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.
KIM VOGEL SAWYER, a Kansas resident, is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, writer, speaker, and lover of cats and chocolate. From the time she was a very little girl, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and seeing her words in print is the culmination of a lifelong dream. Kim relishes her time with family and friends, and stays active in her church by teaching adult Sunday school, singing in the choir, and being a "ding-a-ling" (playing in the bell choir). In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy.
Read an Excerpt
The Heirloom Brides Collection
By Kim Vogel Sawyer, Tracey Bateman, Joanne Bischof, Mona Hodgson
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Kim Vogel Sawyer
All rights reserved.
Tucker's Creek, Kansas October 1880
The horses pulling Betsy Lowell's wagon swayed toward the right side of the road as she tried to hang on to the reins with one hand and tightened her scarf about her neck with the other. The temperature had dropped at least ten degrees in the past hour since she and her grandpa left the cabin for town, and the morning's steady rain had frozen to icy pellets, driven by a gusty wind. Why they had waited until the end of October to get their winter supplies in the first place was beyond Betsy. She'd been after her grandpa for a month to get it done, but Pops always said there was plenty of time before the weather set in. Much as she'd like to point out that she'd been right, she thought better of it. No need to get him up in arms when he was trying to keep his horse upright.
"Mercy, Pops," she said, eyeing her grandfather, who rode his own horse next to the wagon. "You likely should've settled for the wagon instead of riding Job. Looks like we're in for some nasty weather, and you know how crazy that horse gets." But Pops never was one for wagon-sitting. He preferred the feel of the saddle, the strain of the bit. And Job, the four-year-old stallion, was about the strainingest-at-the-bit horse Betsy had ever seen. And ornery. You couldn't feed the animal a peppermint candy without him taking a nip at your fingers.
Predictably, Pops gave a snort. "Ain't never seen a horse yet I can't handle." He nodded at the two horses veering toward the woods. "You best worry about keeping the wagon on the road and don't concern yourself about me."
With a heavy sigh, Betsy added her other hand to the reins and righted the horses.
For once, Pops gave Job a yank, holding him back. "Now listen here, Betsy. There's something I got to say to you before we get to town. I reckon I ought to have told you this awhile back." He cleared his throat and paused for so long Betsy cut him a glance. He had a faraway look in his eyes that meant he was getting the words in his head, and she knew better than to press. He'd come out with it in his own good time. And from the way Job was pulling against the biting wind and stinging ice, Pops would need all of his concentration to keep the dumb animal from tossing him to the ground again.
They approached town in silence as the ice picked up in intensity. "Pops?"
"We're almost to the general store now. No time to talk. We'll get to it."
A frown creased Betsy's brow. The only time Pops had ever seemed this nervous about talking with her was the day he'd told her about her parents' accident and that she was going to come live with him from now on. If the news he was clearly avoiding was even half as bad, she wasn't sure she wanted to know.
Surprisingly, the weather hadn't deterred the folks of Tucker's Creek from getting out and about. She passed patrons going in and out of Miss Annie's restaurant, noted the seamstress working at her machine through the window, and had to pass Fields' General Store by a good six wagons down to find a place to stop.
"Careful getting down, Pops," she said as she set the brake and carefully negotiated the slick road up to the boardwalk. She watched him and noted with some pride that, for a man his age, he got around pretty well. In front of folks, anyway. Back at the cabin was another story, but she and Pops kept their business to themselves. And hardly anyone ever came to visit, so no one needed to know the state of the place.
Warmth from the stove greeted them as they entered the store. She smiled at a few familiar faces. Rather than the friendly greetings she was accustomed to on their rare trips to town, folks gave her tentative smiles and looked away. Everyone just seemed nervous. Betsy chalked it up to the weather and didn't take it personally.
The store was busier than usual, and Betsy loosened her scarf and unbuttoned her coat, figuring it might be awhile before Mrs. Fields or her high-and-mighty son, Stuart, was able to fill their order for new supplies. She retreated to a corner and watched as Pops beelined for the other side of the store, close to the stove where three other codgers sat jawing — more to keep warm, she figured, than adding to the Fieldses' pockets. The old-timers greeted him loudly as he helped himself to the pot of coffee staying warm on top of the woodstove.
Mr. Mahoney, the former blacksmith and owner of the livery stable before his son took over the business, moved over and offered Pops a seat next to him on a roughly hewn wooden bench. "What are you doing bringing that little girl out on a day like this? Don't you know it ain't fit out there for the likes of her?"
"A little cold ain't gonna hurt nobody," Pops said, waving away the comment. "My Betsy might be little, but she's as sturdy as old Job, out there."
The pride in his voice brought a smile to Betsy's lips. Pops might never admit she was a grown woman of nearly twenty years old, but he had never been one to coddle her just because she was a girl. She reckoned it was just too much for him to think about the day she would find a man and settle down. Of course, she'd never marry a man who didn't understand she came as a pair. Her and Pops. He hadn't abandoned her after her parents had died, and she'd never leave him on his own.
Their conversation faded into the background as Betsy roamed the aisles, looking over the ribbons and store-bought dresses she'd never have the courage to ask Pops for. Mama had taught her to sew as early as she could remember, and she'd always had a knack for it, so as young as she was when her parents died seven years ago, Betsy had the skills to make her own clothes and keep Pops' trousers free of holes and his shirts with a full set of buttons.
Reaching out, she allowed herself a moment to indulge, fingering a silken, red ribbon between her thumb and forefinger. She imagined herself with the ribbon braided into her dark hair and twisted atop her head as she danced with a tall, handsome gentleman. A smile touched her lips at the thought.
"That would be lovely on you."
Betsy jumped and dropped the ribbon. "Mrs. Fields," she said, pressing her palm to her stomach. "I–I'm sorry. My hands are clean. I didn't hurt it."
The older woman smiled, her brown eyes filled with kindness. "Of course you didn't hurt it." She reached out and pulled the ribbon from the bin, then held it against Betsy's cheek. "This is the perfect color for you. Shall I wrap it up?"
Betsy darted a gaze toward Pops, feeling guilty for coveting what he called "women's foolishness." "No, ma'am. Pops and I don't go in for such things."
At the disappointment in the storekeep's eyes, Betsy reached out and touched Mrs. Fields' arm. "But I thank you for your kind words. Perhaps I'll look at the red when it's time for next year's dress."
She knew that wouldn't be possible. Pops wouldn't stand for such a bold color on her. She would eye the beautiful blues and reds and even yellows, but ultimately, Pops would insist she pick up a sensible brown, perhaps a blue — if it was dark enough — but never, ever a red. And never any embellishments such as lace or a pretty scalloped collar. Pops wasn't harsh; he just wanted her decent. And Betsy would never give him any reason to be ashamed of her.
"Well if I can't interest you in a ribbon, what can I help you and your grandfather with today?"
With a last glance at the bin of ribbons, she reached into the reticule tied around her wrist and pulled out the list of supplies. "We're out of just about everything. Pops said we best stock up before winter sets in or he won't get his biscuits." She smiled, but Mrs. Fields frowned.
"So, you've found a new place?"
"No, ma'am. It's the same old cabin as always. Pops and I did put up a new fence by the barn last month. The calf kept getting out. He made Pops so mad I thought he was going to bust a vein."
"That's not what I —"
"About time you got around to waiting on us." Pops' voice filled the room. "Thought we was gonna have to head down to Rex's store if you didn't want our business."
Stuart gave a loud snort from behind the counter. Betsy knew exactly what he was thinking. Their account was embarrassing and long past due, but he didn't have to remind them in such a rude manner.
Heat seared Betsy's neck and cheeks as all eyes turned toward them. "Pops, they have other customers." She sent her grandfather a scowl that said everything she couldn't say out loud about what she thought of his rudeness. "It doesn't hurt us to wait our turn."
Mrs. Fields smiled and gave her a passing pat on the shoulder as she walked to the counter. Betsy noted with some concern that the older woman moved a little slower than usual and seemed to be favoring one side of her body. She wanted to ask if everything was okay but didn't want to pry.
Mrs. Fields set the lengthy list on the counter and turned toward the shelves behind her. A sense of unease twisted Betsy's gut as Stuart walked toward the counter, glanced at the paper, and frowned. He turned his back, leaned over, and said something to his mother. She spoke right back, equally quiet, lifting a ten-pound bag of flour from the shelf and dropping it firmly into Stuart's arms. Anger and humiliation shot through Betsy as Stuart turned and practically slammed the bag down. His gaze landed first on Pops, then drifted to her. Their eyes met.
Stuart Fields might have been just about the handsomest boy in their schoolroom, growing up, and he might still be the handsomest man in town, but Betsy didn't find anything attractive in that haughty look. She narrowed her gaze at him to show him she couldn't care less what he thought. Noting with more than a little satisfaction that his face turned red and he averted his gaze, she raised her eyebrows and gave herself back to looking at the dresses and ribbons.
* * *
Stuart squirmed a little as he turned away from Betsy Lowell's haughty gaze. "Have you seen the ledger lately? Mr. Lowell owes for the last two years."
Predictably, his ma's lips pressed together, and she raised her eyebrows as she pointed to the sugar sack. "Three of those," she said firmly.
Stuart rolled his eyes but did as Ma commanded. "Fifteen pounds of sugar. Where do they plan to store it?"
"Keep your voice down. I don't think Betsy knows."
"Knows what?" He ventured a quick glance at the pretty brunette who at this moment stood, arms folded across her chest, shooting daggers with her blue eyes. He didn't begrudge her the anger she directed his way. He had been unforgivably rude.
"About the bank."
Shock shot through him. "You mean she doesn't know Old Joe lost their land?" How could her grandfather have done that to her?
"That's exactly what I mean. That girl has no idea that tomorrow it'll all be gone. So don't be so unkind."
Stuart wasn't without a heart. Compassion tugged at him as he imagined her taking supplies home and setting up for the winter only to discover she was out in the cold. "Ma, where will they live?"
"That's for this community to help work out for them. We can't see them without a roof over their heads with winter coming on."
"You two gonna jaw all day, or you gonna finish up my order?"
Stuart stiffened his spine at the sound of Old Joe's voice. You'd think a man living on the charity of others would show a little more humility than the cross old man. It wasn't too difficult to see where Betsy's pride came from. Stuart would have liked nothing more than to mention the fact to Mr. Lowell, but Ma would dress him down good if he showed disrespect to any customer — especially an old man — and, though he couldn't fathom the reason, to this old man in particular. His pa had been the same way about Mr. Lowell. But Stuart had never understood the devotion.
Stuart pulled a crate from beneath the counter and began boxing up the supplies. "Almost finished."
"Don't forget the peppermints. My horse has a hankering for them."
Ma sent him an approving nod as he bit back the words he wanted to say and chose to be polite instead.
By the time the order was complete, Stuart had filled two large crates. He glanced at Betsy and noted with some surprise that she was focused on the ribbons in the bins next to the dresses Ma had ordered from Topeka. In his mind's eye, he could see her at eight or nine years old, long, dark braids tied with ribbons, but he couldn't remember anytime in the recent years when she'd worn anything but a dark dress, a man's coat, and a man's hat. Like today. The absence of any sort of feminine enhancements in no way detracted from her beauty. She might not be all that pleasant when she opened her mouth to speak, but only a blind man wouldn't recognize that Betsy Lowell was and always had been the prettiest girl in town.
"Get your eyes back in your head, son." Mr. Lowell's gravelly voice jerked Stuart from his thoughts, and he felt his ears warm as Betsy looked up at her grandfather's words just in time to catch Stuart staring at her. Her eyes grew wide, then narrowed. Clearly she didn't appreciate his admiration.
A low, almost indiscernible chuckle came from his mother. Stuart cleared his throat and grabbed one of the heavy crates from the counter. "I'll just take these out to your wagon," he said, needing to get out of there fast. Without pausing for his hat and coat, he carried the crate to the door and stepped out onto the boardwalk. He cringed a little, regretting his hasty exit. He knew his mother would pounce on his actions later, insisting he was sweet on Betsy — as she had insisted since he was a child and put worms on the little girl's desk or dipped her braids in his inkwell. And perhaps, as a boy, he'd had a particular admiration for her, but she certainly wasn't the sort of woman he was looking to wed.
He stepped carefully, noting the slick spots starting to form from the still-falling ice. He squirmed inside, kicking himself for staring at Betsy so openly that Old Joe and Ma had both noticed. Even if he'd had a schoolboy crush, he certainly didn't anymore. There were no less than half-a-dozen suitable young women he could court right here in town if he so chose. Young women without haughty eyes and sharp tongues. No, Betsy Lowell might be an uncommonly beautiful girl, but beauty was vain. He'd rather marry a homely girl — as long as she wasn't too homely — who had a quiet spirit and gentle words. Heaven help the man who got himself saddled with the likes of Betsy Lowell.CHAPTER 2
Betsy followed behind Stuart and Pops as the younger man carried the last crate to the wagon. Pops was clearly miffed and didn't even thank Stuart, which embarrassed her more than a little. She maneuvered carefully on slick boots as she walked around the horses and reached for the seat to grab on to while she hoisted herself up. "Can I help?"
She turned, surprised to find Stuart at her side, holding out his hand. Her stomach did a leap, and she swallowed hard. She was about to accept his assistance when Pops nudged Stuart out of the way. "Best you go see to your customers and stop trying to take liberties with my granddaughter."
"Liberties?" Stuart's tone clearly conveyed his outrage. Betsy didn't blame him one bit.
"Honestly, Pops." She took his hand. She couldn't remember the last time Pops had helped her into a wagon or held open a door for her. Even now his grip was so loose she would have felt more secure holding on to the wagon seat and getting up on her own. She turned purposely to Stuart. "Thank you for carrying out the supplies, Mr. Fields. We appreciate it."
Pops gave a humph but fortunately didn't say anything else insulting.
"My pleasure, Miss Lowell."
Pops snorted and stayed planted next to the wagon, staring hard at Stuart. "Well?"
"Yes, sir. I'm going." His gaze met Betsy's, and he offered her a wry grin. "Be careful. Looks like ice is making things slick."
"I will," Betsy said, nodding as she clutched the reins and released the brake.
Pops glared after Stuart as he walked back toward the store. "Don't be getting any ideas about that one."
"A girl's got to marry someone, Pops." Betsy grinned at her own teasing. Pops could be intimidating to folks who didn't know his gruffness covered a heart of gold. She'd figured it out when she was barely more than an infant, toddling around his cabin.
Excerpted from The Heirloom Brides Collection by Kim Vogel Sawyer, Tracey Bateman, Joanne Bischof, Mona Hodgson. Copyright © 2015 Kim Vogel Sawyer. 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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What a pleasure to read! Four Christian Historical Romances set in the early 1800s. I'm not usually a fan of short stories. I like to set my stakes and settle in for a long read. This book completely fulfilled that expectation. I enjoyed every bit of each story. Now, that doesn't mean that I didn't want to continue to read more. I'm hoping that there will be continuations of each individual story and they will all be series. Another book that I'm so glad I was able to read! Each girl has her own special situation, each has with a perfect ending. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Barbour Publishing - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.
Something Old: Betsy Lowell loses her grandpa's watch only to find it was sold at an auction. Poor Stuart lost his heart to her long ago, despite her stubborn disposition. Can he get her to forgive him before she marries another? Something New: Wren Cromwell gets a surprise when her childhood friend, Tate, returns unexpectedly bearing gifts from across the sea. Will she accept his special gift or send him packing? Something Borrowed: Moving from a big city to a small town to start over with her father on a rundown farm, Clara Frazier has many obstacles to overcome, especially when she needs help from the community. Letting go of her fear and learning to accept help begins to open up her heart and hope for a future that seemed closed to her. Will her neighbor Titus continue to visit them even when the work is done? Something Blue: Returning to her hometown after nursing school, Darla Taggart hopes to retrieve something she left behind, bury the past and begin again. Her hopes are dashed when she runs into an old beau, and the items she left go missing. Can she accept the grace offered to her by others, see herself as a new person, and be open to a brighter future? This wonderful collection of novellas set in the late 1800's was well-written, with many interesting characters and settings. They are all separate stories, spread across small town America, with the heroines sharing the dilemma of facing something new: losing a home, moving to a new town, starting over, renewing relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed each one of these, especially the wonderful heroes featured. The hardworking, kind, compassionate, caring men who reached out in friendship to each of the ladies in their situations were quite irresistible! The last story in the collection has connections back to the author's Cripple Creek books, with many characters appearing, but it wasn't hard to keep up; it made me want to read the series to get their backstories. Loved the sweet little girls in that one too. The message of hope, grace to start anew, and love shine through each story. Highly recommend this collection by some of my favorite Christian fiction authors, especially for fans of historical romances. (Thank you to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for the book provided in exchange for my honest, unsolicited review.)