Come along on a romantic journey jam-packed with all the angst of marriages founded upon practical choices as well as coercion. Meet nine couples who barely know each other before they find themselves suddenly married—to please family, to stem the tide of gossip, to save the land—and joined for life. But can love grow when duty comes before romance?
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.80(d)|
About the Author
Novelist Angela Bell is a 21st century lady with 19th century sensibilities. Her activities consist of reading voraciously, drinking copious amounts of tea, and writing letters with a fountain pen. She currently resides in the southern most region of Texas with pup Mr. Darcy and kitty Lizzie Bennett. One might describe Angela’s fictional scribblings as historical romance or as Victorian history and steampunk whimsy in a romantic blend. Whenever you need a respite from the 21st century hustle, please visit her cyber-space parlor www.AuthorAngelaBell.com where she can be found waiting with a pot of English tea and some Victorian cordiality.
Angela Breidenbach is a bestselling author, host of Grace Under Pressure Radio, and the Christian Author Network's president. And yes, she's half of the fun fe-lion comedy duo, Muse and Writer, on social media.
Note from Angela: "I love hearing from readers and enjoy book club chats. To drop me a note or set up a book club chat, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know if you'd like me to post a quote from your review of this story. If you send me the link and your social media handle, I'll post it to my social media with a word of gratitude including your name and/or social media handle, too!"
For more about Angela's books (especially more Montana-inspired romances) and podcast, or to set up a book club chat, please visit her website: http://www.AngelaBreidenbach.com
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/AngelaBreidenbachInspirationalSpeakerAuthor
Lisa Carter and her family make their home in North Carolina. In addition to "Mule Dazed," she is the author of seven romantic suspense novels and a contemporary Coast Guard romantic series. When she isn't writing, Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales, teaching writing workshops, and researching her next exotic adventure. She has strong opinions on barbecue and ACC basketball. She loves to hear from readers and you can connect with Lisa at www.lisacarterauthor.com.
Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Carol Award winner, and a RITA®, Christy, and Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist. She is the bestselling author of the Wild at Heart series, Trouble in Texas series, Kincaid Bride series, Lassoed in Texas trilogy, Montana Marriages trilogy, Sophie’s Daughters trilogy, and many other books. Mary is married to a Nebraska cattleman and has four grown daughters and a little bevy of spectacular grandchildren. Find Mary online at www.maryconnealy.com.
Rebecca Jepson is a homebody who loves a good book, a cup of freshly ground coffee, and all things autumn. She is the author of A Highbrow Hoodwink, a novella included in the ECPA bestseller, TheLassoed by Marriage RomanceCollection. In addition to writing, she works as a paralegal and volunteers in various ministries at her church. She lives in Reno, Nevada, with her husband, Mike.
Amy Lillard loves nothing more than a good book. Except for her family. . .and maybe homemade tacos. . .and nail polish. But reading and writing are definitely high on the list. Born and bred in Mississippi, Amy is a transplanted Southern Belle who now lives in Oklahoma with her deputy husband, their genius son, three spoiled cats, and one very lazy beagle. When she’s not creating quirky characters and happy endings, she’s chauffeuring her prodigy to guitar lessons, orchestra concerts, and baseball practice. She has a variety of hobbies, but her favorite is whatever gets her out of housework. An award-winning author, Amy is a member of RWA and ACFW. She loves to hear from readers. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. For links to the various sites, check her website: www.amylillardbooks.com.
ECPA- bestselling author Gina Welborn worked for a news radio station until she fell in love with writing romances. She serves on the American Christian Fiction Writers Foundation Board. Sharing her husband's love for the premier American sportscar, she is a founding member of the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club and a lifetime member of the National Corvette Museum. Gina lives with her husband, three of their five Okie-Hokie children, two rabbits, two guinea pigs, and a dog that doesn't realize rabbits and pigs are edible. Find her online at www.ginawelborn.com!
Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than eighty novels with almost two million copies in print in the US and abroad. She has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and is the winner of the 2014 Inspirational Romance of the Year by Romantic Times magazine. Kathleen is a paralegal, a proud military wife, and a tenth-generation Texan, who recently moved back to cheer on her beloved Texas Aggies. Connect with her through social media at www.kathleenybarbo.com.
Multi-published author and RITA finalist, Rose Ross Zediker, writes contemporary and historical inspirational romances and has over eighty publishing credits in the Christian magazine genre for children and adults. Rose works full time at the University of South Dakota and writes during the evening or weekends. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.
Read an Excerpt
The Lassoed by Marriage
By Mary Connealy, Angela Bell, Angela Breidenbach, Lisa Carter, Rebecca Jepson, Amy Lillard, Gina Welborn, Kathleen Y'barbo, Rose Ross Zediker
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
On a Sunday in June of 1865
Gwen's husband suffered quite the shock upon lifting her Brussels lace veil at the conclusion of their wedding ceremony. A most natural response, when taking into consideration that Lord Carlyle had rather expected to see her sister.
Cynthia, his betrothed.
Poised at the altar of St. James's Church, dressed in a gown of white and a veil of falsehood, Gwen held her breath. Lord Carlyle's complexion dulled. Mouth agape, his brown eyes gawked at her as if he had unveiled a diseased hag, not a bespectacled spinster. She clutched her white rose bouquet, hands trembling. Please God, don't let there be a scene.
Clearing his throat, the bald vicar repeated himself. "I have pronounced thee man and wife, Lord Carlyle. God will not take offense if you kiss your bride."
Gwen's cheeks flamed under expectant gazes. God might not object to such a display of affection, but Lord Carlyle appeared to object more than she had feared. A furrow entrenched along his brow, deepening by the second. She never should have allowed Mamma to push her into this scheme. Yet now it was too late. Here she stood, before a hundred guests, at the mercy of a man whom she'd met but twice and never shared a word.
Would Lord Carlyle expose her sham?
With visible effort, Lord Carlyle closed his mouth into a firm line. He thrust a rigid elbow in her direction. Gwen's head lowered as she slipped an arm through Lord Carlyle's. There would be no kiss. Not today, not ever. In silence he led her up the church's middle aisle bookended with smiling faces, feathered bonnets, and wildflower garlands.
Once concealed in the vestry, Lord Carlyle broke free of her arm and paced the diminutive room. He seemed to have forgotten Gwen's presence — not speaking, avoiding eye contact and physical touch. Nothing she wasn't already accustomed to after seven seasons in London society. After all, why would anyone notice her while stunning young Cynthia flitted about on a cloud of mirth and light?
Heaving a sigh, Lord Carlyle leaned against the wood-paneled wall. Gwen pursed her lips. The poor man seemed so distressed, so utterly disappointed. She ought to say something. Some sort of apology. He deserved better than this, better than her.
Before Gwen could muster the courage to speak, the vicar entered, accompanied by her twittering mother, beaming father, and Lord Carlyle's esteemed aunt, Lady Agatha Carlyle, social pillar of the ton. The clergyman handed Gwen a quill, issuing orders as to where she ought to sign the register. After writing her name, she offered the pen to Lord Carlyle.
For a moment Lord Carlyle remained still. Gwen swallowed. What would she do if he refused to sign? Please, please, just end this.
Lord Carlyle snatched the quill, plunged it into the inkwell, and hastily scrawled his name. Dropping the pen upon the register, he struck her with a glare and strode out of the vestry. Gwen's shoulders drooped, the surrounding voices fading into a droll hum. What must he think her? A fortune hunter? Conniving social climber?
If only she could tell him the truth, that she had never wanted this. She'd only wanted to fulfill her duty as a daughter by making a good match and save her family further embarrassment. With a gloved finger, Gwen pushed her wire frames up the bridge of her nose. Lord Carlyle wouldn't believe anything she said. Not while blinded with love for Cynthia — an infectious malady caught by every man in her younger sister's sphere, which resulted in the illusion of reciprocated feelings. None of them knew that only Cynthia's mirror enjoyed her affections.
"Gwendolyn." Mamma's high-pitched voice shattered all thought. "How wonderful it is to see you rescued from the shelf. I thought the day would never come. But here you are. A bride." Sighing, Mamma clasped her hands together. "Finally."
"Yes, Mamma." Finally married — to a man who despised her. Every girl's dream.
Papa caught her up in an embrace warmed by the aromas of sandalwood, turmeric, and cinnamon. The spices of his merchant trade. "I'm glad to have found a smart chap who appreciates my special girl."
Tears burned Gwen's eyes, fogging her spectacles. How pained dear Papa would be to know that wasn't true. Keeping him in the dark was the worst part of Mamma's plot, one for which she would never forgive herself.
Shortly, a stoic Lord Carlyle returned to half-escort, half-drag Gwen to his waiting carriage. After assisting her inside, he seized a place on the opposite seat. In the farthest corner possible. As the carriage tottered over cobblestone, Lord Carlyle's gaze stayed fixed out the open window. Burdened by the oppressive silence, Gwen bowed her head.
This, then, was her future.
* * *
Thank God for the serving of cake. If Elliott had been forced to endure another lengthy congratulatory toast, his ego would've spontaneously combusted.
While the quiet bride studied her frock and her conniving parents made small talk with the guests in their home's front parlor, Elliott managed to escape to an unoccupied corridor. With both hands, he raked fingers across his scalp. How he wanted to shout. Stride up to Mr. and Mrs. Bradbury and demand an explanation. But he couldn't afford to ignite a boisterous row, not with Aunt Agatha and all the cousins here. Such a spectacle would only alert the family to his stupidity. Besides, no explanation was actually required. It was quite clear.
He'd been duped into marrying a spinster. His entire engagement to Cynthia had been nothing but a ruse. A ploy by the Bradburys to rid their nest of an elder daughter whom no one wanted. All the while Cynthia ...
Oh, dear Cynthia. Elliott's hands sank back down over his face. His sweet, angelic Cynthia. What agony she must feel at their permanent separation. The betrayal he felt could be slight in comparison to the pain she'd suffered at the hands of her own family. He had to speak with her. Alone. And find out what in blazes had happened while he'd been away from London.
Elliott strived to regain a look of composure, tugging at his waistcoat and smoothing his hair. The Bradburys had kept Cynthia out of sight during the wedding, but she must be in or near the house someplace. Maybe consoling herself in the garden? She did so love flowers. With determined steps, he marched toward the front door.
Aunt Agatha's bejeweled person barred his path. Blast.
"There you are, Elliott. How marriage suits you." Aunt Agatha stretched her short height to give him a wispy peck on either cheek. "I admit, upon first meeting the Miss Bradburys, I was a trifle shocked you'd chosen the plainer of the two."
Elliott bit his tongue. Not as shocked as he.
"However, I'm sure she will make a fine wife." Waving a fan before her line-etched face, Aunt Agatha continued in her dry manner. "In fact, I believe it will be good for you to have a stabilizer, something grounding you to reality. Now your time can be more appropriately utilized, instead of frittered away on those silly contraptions."
"Automata," he corrected, jaw tensing.
Aunt Agatha flicked the annoying word away with her fan. "The point is, now you can put aside your little hobby and focus on the responsibilities of family life. Producing an heir for the barony. Overseeing the running of the estate with greater involvement. Along with other serious matters more deserving of a true nobleman's attention."
While Aunt Agatha droned, Elliott nodded curtly. He'd heard many variations of this speech over the years. A true nobleman hunts game outdoors, discusses business with his land steward, etcetera. He does not stay cooped up in a workshop and tinker with clockwork automaton figures. That makes a man an absurd joke. Elliott bit his inner cheek. This marriage was meant to elevate him in the family's esteem. Rob them of their punch line.
Instead it had only proven them right.
A familiar tinkling laughter wafted from outside, penetrating Aunt Agatha's musings. Cynthia. Elliott sidestepped his aunt. "Beg pardon. I need some air."
He rushed outside as a footman aided Cynthia's graceful descent from a newly arrived carriage. Blond ringlets framed her fair face, bouncing as she moved. Elliott clasped her gloved hands. "Darling, where did your parents have you cloistered? Which one arranged this outrageous switch?"
Cynthia's blue eyes captured the sunlight, improving upon its rays. "Mamma, of course. She always has the most brilliant ideas, and I believe this is her greatest accomplishment, for it works to the advantage of all concerned."
Advantage? Of whom? Elliott swallowed. "My love, what do you mean?"
Coral lips forming a smile, Cynthia beckoned over her shoulder. "Do come out, beloved. You know I simply wither away when deprived of you too long."
"Coming, my pet."
A broad-shouldered man exited the carriage. Cynthia ripped her hands from Elliott's touch and practically threw herself at the other gentleman, latching on to his thick arm. A new kind of glow illuminated her delicate features. "Lord Carlyle, allow me to introduce my fiancé. Lord Algernon Mountbatten, Marquis of Glendover."
Fiancé? Elliott's heart caught and sputtered like jammed gears. As their carriage left for the stables, he struggled to find words. "When ... did this ... joyful event occur?"
Cynthia rested her head upon Mountbatten's shoulder. "After my family had the pleasure of seeing you off on the morning train to Essex, concluding your stay in London. Only an hour later, Algernon paid call and proposed in our front parlor. It was quite romantic."
He took in a slow, deliberate breath. An hour later, the morning he'd departed from London. Meaning after she had already accepted his proposal.
"It was a blissful day for the whole family," Cynthia cooed. "For after Algernon departed, who should arrive but Lady Agatha to begin preparations for your union to Gwen. Imagine, two sisters engaged in the same season. It's marvelous. We've just returned from delivering our engagement announcement to the Times. Isn't it exciting?"
This final proclamation knocked out the breath Elliott had forgotten to exhale. His lips fumbled, attempting to fasten words into a reply but failed. Cynthia, his dear Cynthia, wasn't the least despondent. It was like she'd never met him. Never giggled at his jokes, never danced in his arms.
"I've had so many decisions to make." Cynthia's hand flitted about, flashing a lavish engagement ring. "Wedding date, gown selection. Not to mention the matter of where to set up house. At first, I couldn't settle on which of Algernon's exquisite country manors would suit me best, but then I decided on his house in Berkeley Square. I've always preferred living in town."
"I see." His single country house must've been most unsuitable to her tastes. Just like his lower-ranking title.
Mountbatten patted Cynthia's hand. "I'm quite lucky she said yes."
Playfully swatting Mountbatten's arm, Cynthia giggled. "I'd have said yes much, much sooner had you made your intentions known. Fool."
Elliott's heart ground to a painful halt. Much, much sooner. How could he have been so deceived? Cynthia partnered in her mother's plan from the start. His love had been nothing more to her than a trivial consolation prize when Mountbatten had yet to propose and a hindrance once he had. He was the fool.
At that moment his carriage rolled up as Mrs. Bradbury led his bride from the house. Mrs. Bradbury's shrill tone quipped sharp as her angular features. "Time to leave for the wedding tour."
A footman produced Elliott's hat and kid gloves. Time to leave, indeed. One last time, he searched Cynthia's face for a remnant of the sweet girl he'd known, but found none. It had all been smoke and mirrors, a sparkling facade. A game. The Cynthia he knew had never existed.
Without a single remark or good-bye, Elliott climbed into the carriage and rode away with his substitute bride.CHAPTER 2
Gwen crossed the threshold of Briarcliff Park on her own two feet, her husband having fled the carriage — and her presence — immediately upon arrival.
An empty foyer constituted her welcoming party. Its dark woodwork and autumnal colors failed to warm the coldness of her first entrance into her new residence. Running her teeth along her bottom lip, she clutched the folds of her skirt with a gloved hand. She dared not move from the vestibule. Not without specific instruction. Would Lord Carlyle reappear long enough to escort her to her new living quarters? Her gaze lowered to the floor.
After what she'd put him through, she deserved no such courtesy.
The click-clack of heeled shoes lifted Gwen's gaze to the main staircase. A woman thin as the spine of a children's book took each of the steps at a brisk pace. Strands of thread, in a wide array of outlandish colors, hung out of every single pocket in the woman's black uniform and white apron. Such a sight could not be found in London.
"Apologies for the postponement of politeness, dearie." Now standing before her, the tall woman bobbed a crooked curtsy. "I'm Mrs. Nesbitt, head of housekeeping. Welcome to Briarcliff, Lady Carlyle."
A sinking feeling tugged at Gwen's stomach. That honored name had never been offered her, and she could not bring herself to don it now. Not in the house of the man she'd deceived. "Please, Mrs. Nesbitt, call me Gwen."
"Very well, m'lady." Mrs. Nesbitt withdrew a fuchsia thread from a pocket and expertly tied it in a bow around her left ring finger, her only digit not festooned in a rainbow of string. Having done this, she bestowed on Gwen a crinkled smile. "Let me see now...." Her fingertips danced up and down the bows, landing on a teal string looped about a knuckle. "Ah, yes. I'm to convey you to your quaint quarters. Follow me, Lady Gwen, if you please."
As Mrs. Nesbitt started back up the staircase, Gwen trailed closely behind. What would the situating of rooms be like? Would she and Lord Carlyle ... share a chamber? Flaming heat washed over her cheeks, and her empty stomach rolled. Please, let that not be the case. Not so soon, at any rate.
She placed a hand upon her traveling dress's tight bodice, willing her uneasy stomach to be tranquil. Indulging worry was useless. Besides, if one judged things by the speed of Lord Carlyle's escape from the carriage, a shared chamber seemed rather improbable. Adjoining rooms, like Papa and Mamma had in their London town house, would be a more likely and desirable scenario. In such an arrangement, things could be taken slowly. Develop gradually. While a connecting door retained a hopeful prospect.
Assuming, of course, that Lord Carlyle didn't keep the door forever bolted.
At the top of the stairs, a long corridor branched out in two separate directions. Mrs. Nesbitt guided her down its right end and opened the final door of the same side. "Here we are, dearie." She removed the teal string from her finger, tucking it into a pocket. "Hope everything is to your liking."
Gwen took a turn about and studied the room. Small but not cramped. Comfortably furnished with the necessities — bed with nice linens, washbasin atop a stand, and a desk. Her new quarters appeared to have everything important except books and ... a second door.
This was not a grand master's suite, nor was it an adjoining couple's quarters.
In what kind of room had Lord Carlyle placed her?
All previous blushing worries diminished under a frosty wind of suspicion. Gwen inhaled a deep breath and faced the doorway where Mrs. Nesbitt stood. "The master of the house ... Where is his room located?"
"His room?" Mrs. Nesbitt's decorated fingers twiddled with her apron hem, and her gaze flitted down the other end of the corridor.
Gwen exhaled as her suspicion froze over, heavy and cold. It was true, then. The Carlyle family quarters, including the master's suite, were situated on the opposite wing of the house. Lord Carlyle had run ahead of her to ensure she never drew near that wing. By his order, a teal-colored string had hastened to prepare a far-off guest room and convey her to its door. Like an unwanted visitor.
Excerpted from The Lassoed by Marriage by Mary Connealy, Angela Bell, Angela Breidenbach, Lisa Carter, Rebecca Jepson, Amy Lillard, Gina Welborn, Kathleen Y'barbo, Rose Ross Zediker. Copyright © 2015 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
ContentsThe Substitute Bride,
The Sweetwater Bride,
A Highbrow Hoodwink,
Not So Pretty Penny,
The Colorado Coincidence,
Railroaded into Love,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am not going to review each of the 9 historical Romances in this collection individually, but will review Amy Lillard's contribution. First, I really enjoyed the book and I was so happy to add it to my collection. Each story was unique in it's own way and was about situations causing an unexpected/unwanted matrimony and how they turned out. I especially enjoyed Amy Lillard's in which the heroine, a woman with some property and only a prospect that wanted that property, decides to take matters into her own hands, as she realized that she can't plow and maintain all as it should be. Her choice of mates was definitely an unusual one and I won't tell who that was or how it came to be except that it was a first in my reading experience. I really enjoyed the stories. And totally loved the collection!
The Substitute Bride Angela Bell In a way, The Substitute Bride reminds me of the Biblical story of Jacob and Leah. Except, in this book Lord Elliot does not win his beautiful Cynthia, too. Instead he finds himself married to the ugly older sister and not quite sure how to proceed! His servants suggest that he should get to know Gwen, but Elliot has not the slightest interest in knowing her--until a horrific event shakes both of their worlds in the one place they mesh and they find themselves drawn together to save their personal, private retreats. The language was a bit formal, but probably true for the era in Britain. I enjoyed the story. Truly related to both Elliot and Gwen. 4.5 stars. Bridal Whispers Angela Brieidenbach Wow, wow, wow! This was a totally great book! Burton was a grieving widow and no thanks to gossips he was forced into a marriage he never wanted. Maila dreamed of marrying Benjamin and working as a nurse in St. Paul. A short trip home to help out her family after so many died ends in an unwanted marriage? She can't compete with Burton's first love--and he can't compete with hers. It was great watching them navigate the rocky ground and find the possibilities that could be. 5 stars. Mule Dazed Lisa Carter A cute and funny story about "Crazy Hair" and Brax who grew up together, but she was the bane of his existence. When a simple mistake results with Brax and Harriet sharing a jail cell, Hattie's five brothers (named after the first five books of the Old Testament!) insist that he make an honest woman out of her. Forced to marry at gun-point, Brax only wants the judge to come and annul the wedding... Nothing new or exciting, but still funny and enjoyable. Several funny moments. I couldn't help but fall in love with these characters, though at time it felt a bit contrived. 4 stars. The Sweetwater Bride Mary Connealy A hidden valley containing a young woman all alone in the world are discovered by a young cattle rancher starting out on his own. Tanner thinks he hears a woman scream so he goes to investigate. He discovers Debba who is so excited to see another human she latches on and pretty much won't let go. She won't let him leave but she won't go with him, so he hog-ties her and takes her to his mama. Except they are followed by a herd of long horns. A funny story that is unrealistic at times but that just adds to the humor. This really didn't have them finding love after marriage though as the collection claims. Still a decent story. Classic Mary Connealy. I enjoyed it. 4 stars. A Highbrook Hoodwink Rebecca Jenson This was a sweet, well-told story of a woman who made one mistake, her small son with no father (a result of the mistake) and the father's brother come to claim an heir to save his family's reputation and legacy. Henry is a (by his own admittance) a drunk and a gambler, yet he dares hold Katie in contempt. Both he and his mother treat her as nothing better than dirt. There is a very slight mystery in the story, A quick read, classic tale. 3 stars. Not So Pretty Penny Amy Lillard This is a totally sweet story of Penny and her crazy plan to buy a husband from the gallows. With only three to choose from, one too old, one too young, and one just right, she choses the obvious choice... but he is charged with murder! Wash (George Washington Bannock) is an adorable character that I couldn't help but love. And Penny, the poor dear. I wanted to hug her and remind her of the verse that says beauty
This is a collection of nine Historical Romances Began After Saying “I Do”. Angela Bell, Angela Breidenbach, Lisa Carter, Mary Connealy, Rebecca Jepson, Amy Lillard, Gina Welborn, Kathleen Y’Barbo, and Rose Ross Zediker wrote a story in this most wonderful collection. There is so mush faith, hope, devotion, frustration, and laughter throughout this story. I was captured right from the start. Each story that was just as mesmerizing as the first one. Be sure to order your copy of The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection today. 5 stars!
I really enjoyed this collection of historical love stories of marriage before love or marriages of convenience. I especially enjoyed Mary Connealy's, Rebecca Jepson's and Gina Wellborn's stories. It took me quite awhile to read this book because I would mainly read one story then read another book before going back to the next story. That was not due to lack of interest I just enjoyed it more by splitting up the short novellas instead of reading them all at one sitting. I give this book five stars overall (some are better than others of course) as it is a clean romantic read with well rounded characters. This book was given to me by one of the Authors and there was no requirement for a positive review. All views are my own.
Marriage of convenience is one of my favorite fiction themes, and here is a fabulous historical collection chock full of them! All the stories had vibrant characters with great chemistry, realistic settings, and well-rounded plots that wrap up nicely for the length of a novella. The majority I would rate 5 stars, a few would be 4 stars. My favorite was "The Sweetwater Bride" by Mary Connealy, focusing on Tanner, the son of Silas and Belle from her earlier book The Husband Tree. He is scouting his land in the harsh mountains and discovers Debba McClain, living alone on her family's hidden ranch, forgotten and completely isolated from society for five years. His protective instincts immediately creates a bond which takes a romantic turn as they get to know each others strengths and their attraction develops. Unfortunately, Tanner comes up with a creative way to get her off her land to meet his family, which puts him in hot water not only with Debba but also his mother when she finds out his methods. I highly recommend this collection and will definitely be reading it again. (Thank you to Barbour Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
Thursday, January 14, 2016 The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection: 9 Historical Romances Begin After Saying "I Do" © 2016 Review of Rebecca Jepson's A Highbrow Hoodwink novella Aspen, Colorado ~ 1883 It has been a little over a year and a half that I agreed for a frequent diner at the Claredon Hotel to give me a ride home on a warm July evening. So naive, unaware what a simple kiss unknowingly could lead to. Jackson Baxter was his name; he hasn't come and seen his son. My little Georgie is almost a year old when the father's family comes to claim him. As hard as it is to work in town in the hotel dining room and have his care in the country where I must leave him until my day off, I stand my ground. I will not be separated from him. Marriage-of-convenience is offered to me in exchange for a safe harbor. Worried that my past will be discovered as not measuring up to their social status resulting in loss of their business ventures in Denver, the prestigious family must find where their true alliance stands. A surprise ending brings another change for the family. ***Thank you to author Rebecca Jepson for sending me a print copy of The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection so I may review A Highbrow Hoodwink novella. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
This book of Novellas was wonderful. All the authors did a wonderful job of portraying the time period they wrote of. Each couple were definitely Lassoed into the marriage they found themselves in. I’ve read some of these authors before and look forward to finding more books by the authors I haven’t read before. I thought the book did a great job of mixing up the types of couples. A Lord and Lady, a nurse and mercantile owner, a Sheriff and a trouble maker, a cowboy just starting out and a girl who’s been raising animals on her own for years, a serving girl and an upperclass man, a farm girl and a convict, a doctor and a secretary, a widow running a ranch and a duke’s heir, a preacher and an outlaw’s sister. I enjoyed some humor and light hearted stories along with some that were more serious and even heartbreaking. The Substitute Bride was about a sister being put in place of her more beautiful desirable sister at the wedding. The groom was upset and took a while to realize that he’d been done a favor by the brides family. Bridal Whispers is about a girl who returns home to nurse her family after the flu epidemic. Gossip is stirred up causing her to marry the widower of her cousin who is just trying to keep peace in the family. Mule Dazed was pretty comical with a sheriff having to arrest his old friend for letting loose everyones mules before the town celebration. A mishap finds him in jail with his friend and then along come her brothers and nothing will ever be the same again. The Sweetwater Bride was my own favorite as I have waited years to read Tanner Harden’s story. I loved the humor of the tamed animals and everyone worrying about Debba. It was a wonderful reunion with favorite characters from other books. A Highbrow Hoodwink was a sweet story of an uncle who comes around to loving his little nephew who was originally being used to keep the family fortune in place. Not So Pretty Penny was a great story. I’ve always found the practice of a marriage saving someone from hanging. And I loved how the forgiveness came from it instead of the vengeance that was planned. All’s Fair is a family feud story. When one family member is injured and a member of the other family takes responsibility for the injury, they work at ending the feud. The Colorado Coincidence is about underhanded dealings that try to cheat not just one but several people out of important things in their lives. Railroaded Into Love was also a favorite story as old childhood friends are thrown together. When evil causes them to work together, they are able to find their happy ever after. I received this book to read in exchange for my honest opinion and my opinion is that you can’t go wrong with any of these stories.
This book had such an interesting premise to it! Nine stories about couples who were "forced" to marry basically due to circumstances beyond their control and right on the spot, several without even knowing each other! They are not "mail order bride" stories and some of them even had the annulment papers ready to go as soon as possible but never used them! Come along and see how these 9 couples found their happily ever after without ever expecting to with a partner they certainly would never have chosen but who was very right for them! THE SUBSTITUTE BRIDE by Angela Bell This story takes place in England. How would you feel if you lifted the veil of your bride at the end of your wedding to "kiss the bride" and there was the face of a different woman staring back at you?!! This is what happened to Elliot! The sister of his intended is there in the place of his real bride and he's shocked! Where is his real bride? However, now he is married to Gwen so off they go to his home and when he finally talks to his former "bride", he's hurt & confused. He and Gwen settle into a "live-under-the-same-roof-but-don't-talk-to-each-other" existence until Elliot's butler gives him advice to get to know his bride. A storm that destroys the library sets them on course. Fun! BRIDAL WHISPERS by Angie Breidenbach I learned quite a bit about Swedish culture in this story! It was set in Minnesota. Maila has become a nurse and lives in the big city. However, her family needs her so she returns to her small community to help with the illness there temporarily. She stays with Burton, who recently lost his wife, so she can run his store while he helps on her family's farm. The townspeople find that scandalous so they have to marry. Burton is still grieving his wife and Maila wanted to marry another man. They even have different religions! Maila is an opinionated woman and it's hard for her to accept Burton's "directions". However, they learn to work things out. I really liked how the author had an epilogue that was way in the future showing their adult children and grandkids on this! That was really a great idea! MULE DAZED by Lisa Carter Brax is a fairly new sheriff and he's about to catch a thief red-handed stealing a mule during Mule Days, the town's annual celebration. When the thief turns around, he can't believe it's "Crazy Hair" (actually Hattie, his childhood friend who always got him into so much trouble!). What is she doing in his town? So it goes that he has to arrest her and as he puts her in jail, he closes the cell door behind him and they are locked in! NO! When they are found later, her brothers demand they marry. Brax is fine on his own and doesn't want to be married but will do it until the marriage can be annulled. However, he kind of gets used to it in a couple days...having someone to come home to, meals being ready for him, etc.! Then dangerous criminals and with the help of Hattie's brothers, Brax is able to capture them, even when they take Hattie hostage! Brax has to convince Hattie they should stay together! The Sweetwater Bride by Mary Connealy Tanner comes from a large family. He's finally got himself a nice ranch and looks forward to doing this on his on. However, he needs water for his animals and it's been very dry lately so he goes out scouting. He happens upon a secret mountain valley that has a woman living there! She hasn't seen another human in years! Debba lost her parents years ago and only has animals as her friends. When sh
I have really enjoyed novella collections this fall because with school and life, I haven't had a whole lot of time to sit down and read a full novel. Plus, novellas are a great way to be introduced to new authors without committing to read a full novel of theirs. I think I may have read two of these authors before, but mostly it was a bunch of new ones for me. I was shocked at first to see that there was nine stories in one book, but found that they were still a good length and all had good plots. Usually, in a novella collection, there are a few stories that I don't care for, but I really enjoyed every single selection in this collection. Each storyline involves a couple who has just been married, but aren't necessarily in love. For some, it was a marriage of convenience; for others, they married to save face. Others had a mix-up and married the wrong person. One went and picked out an outlaw awaiting hanging in the local jail. Each was unique, and stood alone. I loved how I could read a story or two in a sitting because of the length, but none of the plots felt rushed. Thank you so much to Net Galley and Barbour publishing for providing me with an e-book edition of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.
Nine Novellas all in one book. These are all quick, independent reads centering around an unexpected marriage and maybe finding love in the mix. I was given a copy of this book from net galley for my honest opinion. If you enjoy reading short stories that all take place around the late 1800’s to early 1900’s you will enjoy reading this book. There is love, mystery, romance, surprise and laughter throughout all these novellas. The Substitute Bride - by Angela Bell Elliott never imagined being married to Gwen. When all is unveiled will there be a chance at friendship or even love? Gwen has always felt like an ugly duckling. When she finds herself married will she be doomed to loneliness still? Even among so many wonderful books, Gwen finds a loneliness she never felt possible. Bridal Whispers - by Angie Breidenbach Malia has accomplished much since leaving home. Now she must return home to help her family. Will she loose everything she holds dear or will God change her desires. When Malia finds herself married will she ever find a true marriage? She is a strong willed, spirited woman. What is God trying to teach her? Burton is not sure he can ever get over the loss of his wife. When he finds he must marry again, can they find happiness in just being roommates? He is a determined, hardworking, Godly man. Can he ever find a place in his heart for his new bride before he pushes her away? Mule Dazed - by Lisa Carter I loved the characters and their sparks. Both Brax and Hattie have a lot to learn and I enjoyed watching them ignite each other in more ways than one. Brax has his world just how he wants it. When Hattie comes crashing through it once more he is not real sure what to expect. She has always found trouble and this time it may be more than he can handle. When tempers fly and he finds himself married he can’t wait to get it back to normal. Yet is it to late for him and Hattie? Hattie just wants true love. Trouble always seems to find her, even when she is only trying to do what is right. After discovering who the actual Sheriff is, she wonders if God has given her a second chance. Hattie is strong willed, opinionated and not afraid of much. Yet will she loose the only man she ever really loved? She can not be the quiet, calm woman he desires. The Sweetwater Bride - by Mary Connealy Tanner never imagined what he would find just around the bend. Maybe it is the answer to his problems in more ways than one. He comes from a large loving family. When he feels the only help Debba needs is his ma’s, he may go to strange lengths to see it done. Debba has not needed anyone in a long long time. When Tanner comes riding in she is not sure of all the feelings he is stirring. When she finally meets his family she wonders if this is more than she can handle. Debba is an independent young woman who has not had much contact with others. She has a unique relationship with her animals, yet people scare her. A Highbrow Hoodwink - by Rebecca Jepson Katie has much to learn, forgiveness of self is probably the hardest. When she finds herself with a very difficult decision to make she must decide what is best for her son. When her secrets are on the verge of being revealed will all fall apart? Henry will do anything to protect his family. When his life is turned upside down will he be able to accept all that is involved? Even when the secrets are on the verge of being uncovered can he find true love or will he ever be able to forgive and h
This collection of nine stories are unique in that the romance does not start until after the marriage takes place. Each is penned by a talented author and you will spend wonderful hours immersing yourself in this clean romance collection. Each is a unique story of love after marriage and the problems that each must solve to reach a solid firm foundation for their marriage. Each faces adversity and through faith will resolve their issues to find love. The authors had the plot, pacing and development of the characters spot on. This book will leave you wanting more. The Substitute Bride by Angela Bell This story is a different take on the story book "The Ugly Duckling", and takes place in England. Bridal Whispers by Angie Breidenbach This is a story of love and family. Ms Briedenbach created a story that shows how family and family structure impact your life. Mule Dazed by Lisa Carter This is a story of mules, lawmen, vengeful brothers protecting their baby sister's reputation, and the feisty baby sister. Don't miss this story. The Sweetwater Bride by Mary Connealy This is a very humorous story of a young woman living alone in an isolated valley all her life with her horses and long steer cattle that are as tame as kittens; she is suddenly kidnapped by our hero. Ms. Connealy created a wonderful family unit for Tanner, I loved his family. This is one you wont want to miss. Kudos Ms. Connealy; I loved this story. A Highbrow Hoodwink by Rebecca Jepson This story tells of a young naive woman , a wealthy scoundrel Jackson Baxter, who left her to never return eventually dying from consumption, and his brother, Henry. Ms. Jepson filled this story with twists and turns, the plotting was excellent, and the character growth was wonderful to see. Ms. Jepson created a strong character in Katie. Not So Pretty Penny by Amy Lillard Penny Pinehurst is a plain homely woman not given to pretty at all; she is desperately need of a husband to help with the farm and crops after the Civil War as she prays her father and brother will return. So begins a tale of a husband brought from the gallows. All Fair by Gina Welborn Coral Davies was born into a family that is feuding with the Kents. Young attraction to Hiram Kent led to a fight between the two warring families that left Coral deaf in one ear, and the blame lies at the feet of Jackson Kent. Very good story of love between too people trying to overcome their families destructive history and forge new history. The Colorado Coincidence by Kathleen Y'Barbo This is the story of two people, Mack and Gloree, joined together to save a ranch and Gloree from the unscrupulous men trying to take her farm. Ms. Y'Barbo skillfully took two mismatched people with secrets and created a family unit. Follow these two thru all the pit falls, secrets, and mystery to reach their happy ever after. Railroaded Into Love by Rose Ross Zediker Noah Manning has his first appointment as the pastor of the church on wheels. Before the train can pull out with his ministry car, he is surprised by his brother who has a prisoner in tow. Circumstances will change Noah's life forever as the prisoner is a childhood friend Molly Callahan.
An enjoyable collection of stories featuring a wide variety of couples whose beginnings are all quite unusual. With each one in a different setting, from 1880's London to the Wild West of Montana and Colorado, they all have a unique charm of their own. I liked them all, especially the western ones by Lisa Carter and Mary Connealy, having a soft spot for cowboys and pioneers; also really enjoyed the one by Amy Lilliard about the husband purchased from the jail. Good examples of couples working out their differences, being committed to their vows, and finding love in the process. Recommend for fans of Christian historical romance! 4.5 stars (Book provided by NetGalley and Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.)