The Promise Bride

The Promise Bride

by Gina Welborn, Becca Whitham

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Overview

In a booming frontier town, a heavenly match may be in store for mail-order brides seeking a fresh start . . . women of strength and spirit who embrace the challenges of life and love in the wild Montana Territory.
 Determined to save her father and siblings from a crumbling Chicago tenement, Emilia Stanek becomes the long-distance bride of a Montana rancher. But when she arrives in Helena, a rugged lawman shatters her plans with the news that her husband is dead—and deeply in debt.
 
County sheriff Mac McCall can’t afford to be distracted by the pretty young widow, not with scandalous secrets emerging as he investigates his friend’s suspicious death. Mac’s gruff order that she leave town at once only spurs Emilia’s resolve to take ownership of her late husband’s ranch and face his debtors. But as her defenses soften, Emilia begins to accept Mac’s help, feel compassion for his own wounded heart—and learns that trust means taking a leap of faith . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420143973
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 08/29/2017
Series: A Montana Brides Romance Series , #1
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 848,202
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

GINA WELBORN worked in news radio until she fell in love with writing romance novels. She’s the author of ten inspirational romances, including the 2014 Selah finalist “Mercy Mild” in ECPA-bestselling Mistletoe Memories. She serves on the ACFW Foundation Board by helping raise funds for scholarships. Gina lives with her pastor husband, three of their five children, several rabbits and guinea pigs, and a dog that doesn’t realize rabbits and pigs are edible. Visit her online at GinaWelborn.com.
 
BECCA WHITHAM is a multi-published author who has always loved reading and writing stories. After raising two children, she and her husband faced the empty nest years by following their dreams: he joined the army as a chaplain, and she began her journey toward publication. Becca loves to tell stories marrying real historical events with modern-day applications to inspire readers to live Christ-reflecting lives. She’s traveled to almost every state in the U.S. for speaking and singing engagements and has lived in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Alaska. Visit her online at BeccaWhitham.com.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Chicago, Illinois Saturday, April 2, 1887

Fortune favored the persistent.

Emilia Stanek smiled, climbed into the cable car, and found her usual spot on the second bench on the left. As she adjusted her father's old leather army haversack from her side onto her lap, she noticed a brass button on the blue woolen coat she wore over her Spiegel uniform was, literally, hanging by a thread. She tugged it off. Rolled the tarnished metal with her fingers. The balls of her feet throbbed from so many hours managing the customer-service counter, and her fingers ached from filling out complaint forms and bill-paid receipts. She'd lost too much sleep, spent too little time with her siblings during the last nine months. And her cheeks were cold from the wind. Still ...

She smiled.

The extra dollar a day she'd earned from volunteering for a Saturday shift made the inconveniences all worth it.

The cable car bumped up and down as people continued to load.

Emilia lifted the haversack's top flap and dropped the button inside, where it came to rest against her week's wages. She settled against the seat. With what she'd saved since she'd begun corresponding with Finn, in three short months more, she would have the rest of the funds needed to purchase train fare for Roch, Luci, and Da to move with her to Montana. Montana. Her heart warmed at the thought of the heavenly word. Once they were settled, her dear Finn would spend a month courting her properly before he proposed. His last letter had mentioned how perfectly he believed they were suited. Oh, she agreed.

Mrs. Phineas Collins.

Emilia Stanek Collins.

Emilia Collins.

She closed her eyes. How perfect her name sounded with his. Finn's soon-to-be proposal would be more than she'd ever dreamed. More than a mail-order bride could ever hope for. She adored him. She relished knowing God had answered her prayer for a good man. She loved the future they'd have together on his ranch. Luci needed time to enjoy the remaining years of her childhood. Roch needed to escape the gang he was running with. Da's lungs needed fresh, healing air, the kind found out west.

Montana Territory was the land of many opportunities.

Chicago —

Her upper lip curled. Chicago wasn't the land of any opportunity, despite the buildings rising along the streets. The noisy city smelled of industry, sewage, and slaughtered pigs. If only they could leave now, before the summer heat blanketed the area with the stench that gave her headaches, made her nauseated, and interfered with her sleep. No sense bemoaning her circumstances, though. Finances and Da's health dictated they wait until the dry air of July to leave. She could endure three and a half more months in Chicago.

Mrs. Phineas Collins.

Emilia Stanek —

The cable car bell rang.

"Hold the car!" two familiar voices called out.

Emilia looked to her left. Jonny and Harv, two of Spiegel's weekend stockmen and her self-appointed guardians, shoved their way through the pedestrian traffic, waving their newsboy caps. They jumped onto the car next to her. As they did every Saturday. Harv scrambled over Emilia's legs to take a spot to her left, while Jonny sat on her right. The pair smelled of bratwurst, beer, and sweat. The packed cable car gathered speed, leaving the State Street stop and heading west toward the gold-and-pink sunset.

West. She sighed. Thank You, God, thank You for bringing Finn into my life.

With each bump and turn, the wooden slats of the bench pressed into Emilia's back. Jonny and Harv squashed her shoulders. The chilly, late-afternoon breeze caused by the car's twelve-mile-per-hour speed blew wisps of hair onto Emilia's face, despite the black bonnet she wore. She shivered yet continued to smile. Hope warmed her soul. Joy flooded her heart.

Someday soon ...

"Anything exciting arrive today?" Emilia asked after giving Jonny and Harv time to catch their breath.

Harv shifted to face her. "Teak tables from Burma."

Now that was interesting. Emilia scrambled through her haversack for a pencil and her historical research journal. She'd already investigated Venice, but Burma was an unknown. "Burma" — she printed the letters — "as in B-u-rm-a?"

Harv nodded. "It was what were stamped on the crates."

The car stopped, and passengers unloaded and loaded.

Emilia swayed her shoulders, nudging the male bookends to give her space. Just because she barely weighed a hundred pounds, was a good twelve inches shorter than they were, and looked more fifteen than twenty-one, it didn't mean she had less of a right to equal space on the bench.

Jonny bumped her shoulder. "What'd ya learn about the fifth King Henry?"

"One of these days," she warned, "I won't be around to do the studying for you."

Harv eased up the tip of his cap. "You don't look like yer dying." For all the disbelief in his tone, concern flickered in his blue eyes.

Emilia patted his arm. "I'm not dying." And because she couldn't contain the joy she felt, she grinned. "I'm moving to Montana this summer."

Silence.

The cable car's bell rang.

Harv's laughter began a split-second before Jonny's.

Emilia pursed her lips to hold back a retort. Whether they believed her or not, she was leaving Chicago on July 16, once the public school's summer term ended. She and her family were moving to a cattle ranch on the magnificent grasslands of Montana. Where the air smelled of wildflowers and sunshine, where she could sing at the top of her lungs. Where Roch would learn to smile again. Responding to Finn's mail-order bride advertisement had been the best decision of her life.

As their laughter mellowed, and because she had sunlight, she flipped several pages back in her history journal. "Henry of Monmouth became king of England in 1413 ..."

By the time the cable car reached the tenement stop, she'd given them a decent lecture on the young medieval monarch and his nine-year reign. They debarked the cable car and continued to talk as they headed down the uneven sidewalk, passing decrepit two- and three-story wood-frame and brick buildings that lined the unpaved streets. Clothes hung from windows. Dogs barked incessantly. Family fights were neighborhood fodder. Compliments of the factories within walking distance and the slaughterhouses farther south, not even the smells of roasted pork and fresh-baked bread could cover the stench of the neighborhood sewage.

Soon, though, this would all be a distant memory.

Emilia refocused on her notes. "In 1599 William Shakespeare wrote his play about King Henry's —"

"Ah, Miss Stanek," a craggy voice called out.

Emilia looked ahead. Her stride slowed, Jonny and Harv matching her pace. Her landlord descended the outside steps to the wooden tenement's second floor, where her family lived. For all Mr. Deegan's three-piece suits and oiled mustache, the man who owned the entire block was as grimy as Chicago. The only times he visited were when he came to collect the rent, which wasn't due for another month. But he'd clearly been upstairs. In the last year, from the moment Da returned home from the cotton mill on Friday, he never left the house, save for attending Sunday worship. Deegan had to know Da's pattern. This could only mean the two had talked. For how long?

Emilia shoved her journal inside the haversack. Her grip tightened on the bag's strap across her chest. Her pulse skittered.

Mr. Deegan's chestnut mare, tied at the post, looked fairly rested. Thirty minutes? An hour?

Heartbeat pounding, Emilia met Mr. Deegan at the bottom of the stairs. "Can I help you with something?"

Jonny and Harv towered behind her like the archangels they weren't.

Mr. Deegan's narrowed gaze shifted from her to Jonny and Harv, then back to her. "I expect you can." He withdrew a folded sheet of paper from inside his suit coat and held it out to her.

Jonny and Harv didn't move.

Emilia nodded to the four-story brownstone across the street, where Mr. Bello, standing on a ladder, had begun his round of lighting the tenement streetlamps. "Go on," she ordered. "Please. Mama Bello has dinner waiting for you two." She paused until her erstwhile guardians crossed the street to their boardinghouse before she turned back to Mr. Deegan's beady gaze. She took the paper he offered. "What's this?"

"List of repairs needed."

Emilia scanned the words from the Health Department compiled after their latest — and humiliating — round of inspections of heating, lighting, ventilation, plumbing, and drainage. How can you live in this? had been the inspector's silent question each time he'd glanced her way. It wasn't as if anyone in the tenements had a choice ... as long as they stayed in Chicago. Both hands on the letter, she crumpled the sides, her mouth sour over the inspector's findings.

Disease is not a moral but a sanitary problem.

Not something she needed any health inspector to tell her. Diphtheria, typhoid, cholera, smallpox, yellow fever — most of the tenement deaths in the last decade had been from one of those diseases. Including her mother's. Showing her the official letter from the Health Department made no sense. Mr. Deegan was as literate as she. If anything, this was for show. To remind those in the tenements of his power and control.

"According to this, you" — she fixed him with a pointed look — "have been issued citations for multiple offenses."

"Offenses for which I am not at fault."

Did he think she was stupid? Despite their repeated requests for repairs, not a shingle had been replaced or window resealed. One of the walls of the privy they shared with the Jaegers still had bullet holes from the last street fight.

She glanced around to see a growing crowd on the street despite the chill in the air. "Sir, our monthly rent, which has been doubled from three years ago, is sufficient to cover the cost for repairs."

"Au contraire, my dear." He whisked the paper from her hand and read, "'Remedies for violations include repairing defective plumbing, construction of new sewers and drains, ventilation applied to waste and soil pipes, cleaning privy vaults, and lime-washing rooms. Thirty dollars will do.'" Mr. Deegan refolded the paper. "To be fair, I've divided the cost of repairs equally among each tenement. You have until this time Monday."

"You expect me to come up with thirty dollars in two days?"

He nodded. "I'm a generous man. Considering this is the fourth notification in the last two months, I could evict you instead."

Emilia flinched. Fourth? Her heart pounded against her rib cage. For all Deegan's sleaziness, he didn't look to be lying. Da had to know about the inspection report and extortion demand and had kept the truth from her. But why? She had the travel money from Finn, plus what she'd saved by working an extra shift. They needed every penny for train fare. She couldn't leave her family. She wouldn't.

She swallowed to ease her tight throat. "We don't have the money."

"How strange." His left eye twitched; the corner of his mouth curved. "I know that wealthy rancher of yours wired train fare for you to come to Montana. Thirty dollars, I hear. Enough to buy his mail-order bride a first-class ticket in the ladies' car. He must think highly of you."

Emilia gritted her teeth.

At her silence, he smirked. "Miss Stanek, unlike you, your sister is quite the hostess. Cordial, inviting, talkative." He stepped closer, close enough for her to smell the bitter coffee on his breath. "You'd be wise to stop thinking you're better than everyone else in these parts. You ain't going nowhere. This, dearie, is your lot in life." He tipped his hat to her — "Until this time Monday" — and then to the crowd, which began to disperse with mumbles and backward glances.

Without another word, Mr. Deegan mounted his horse and rode off.

Emilia gasped for air. She dashed up the stairs to their two-room tenement and jerked the door open; the smell of coffee and stew hit her. "Da!" She closed the door hard. He exited the bedroom Emilia and Roch shared with their twelve-year-old younger sister, Luci, who followed. Before either could speak, Emilia pulled the haversack's strap over her head. "Were you watching through the window? Did you hear everything? When were you going to tell me Deegan's extortion attempt?"

Da and Luci exchanged glances, their dark eyes wide.

"I'll set the table," Luci muttered. As she went to work, Da stroked his salt-and-pepper beard as he always did when pondering what to say.

Emilia hung her bag and coat on an empty wall hook next to the door. Roch's coat was missing. If he wasn't home soon, he'd break the curfew she'd insisted Da give him. Someday he wouldn't need a curfew. Someday Roch would have his own room and not have to sleep on the floor. Da would have one, too. No more sleeping on the couch for him. No more living in cramped spaces with grimy, paper-thin walls and sharing a privy with another family. This was not their lot in life. Once she married Finn, they would have privacy. Their lives would be better. Once they moved to Montana.

If they moved to Montana.

She clasped her hands together to contain the shaking. Took several deep breaths. She had to regain control. She had to be calm. She had to find a way to solve this problem. She would find a way. She always found a way. If she —

"Emilia, I know what you are doing." Da's Polish accent sounded like he'd immigrated to America recently instead of twenty-six years ago.

She stared at him. What was he talking about?

"You think you will find a way to solve this." He frowned. "Stop! We are doing it my way this time." Da motioned to the table, where Luci was placing bowls of stew. "We eat."

His way? Emilia found her seat next to Luci. Something odd had come over her father. His face held more color than she'd seen in months, and his shoulders seemed straighter. And he wasn't coughing. Though his clothes hung on his lithe frame, Da looked like he had renewed purpose, determination. A plan. How could this be? Da believed in living in the here and now, not dreaming of the future — an odd belief considering the years he'd fought in the War Between the States to prove his loyalty to his new country.

They bowed their heads.

Emilia stared absently at her lap as her father asked for the blessing. If Da were well enough to travel, they could leave for Montana sooner. All they needed was —

"Amen," Emilia blurted the moment the prayer ended. "I will write to Finn, explain the situation, and —"

Da groaned, then looked up. "This I did already."

"What?"

"Keep your voice down." His voice lowered. "The walls have ears."

Emilia fingered her spoon but didn't pick it up. "When did you do this?"

"Two months ago, after Deegan made the first demand." He took a bite of stew and then another. "Eat." The moment she obeyed, he spoke barely loud enough for her to hear. "Finn has agreed to marry you by proxy."

She collapsed against the back of her chair. "What?"

Luci grabbed the loaf of rye bread. "It means he marries a girl who is pretending to be you, and then, when you arrive in Helena, you'll already be his wife. He must really love you to agree to a proxy." She tore off a chunk, then handed the loaf to Da. "Right?" "My girl listens well." He broke off a section of bread, then gave the remainder to Emilia, his brown eyes narrowing on her. "Listening is as much a virtue as persistence."

Emilia straightened. She listened quite well, despite what he thought. She ate several bites of the bland, meatless stew and the hard bread to keep from blurting out the myriad of questions flooding her mind. Once she had all the information Da was withholding, she'd be able to figure out what to do next. No one could make a plan like she could. No one could solve a problem like she could.

His bowl empty, Da left the table. He slid a box out from under the couch. He withdrew a buff-colored, paper-sized envelope, then walked back to the table.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Promise Bride"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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.

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The Promise Bride 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
readerscozycorner 3 months ago
I enjoyed this book. It was well written and had a good plot. I enjoyed the characters and the setting. The authors writing style was very enjoyable. Im very excited to read the next book in this series. I recieved this book from the author for free. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.
conniet729 3 months ago
Well, I will definetly be reading the rest of the books in the series. This one ended in a cliff hanger. You do not get all the answers that you are hoping for. The authors did a great job creating memorable characters, building an intriguing storyline, and throwing you off the trail. Emilia , whose family is from Chicago, need a fresh start. Between health problems and younger siblings not being able to enjoy their childhood Emilia knows that she has to help improve the situation. She becomes a mail order bride and is married by proxy. However when she gets to Montana, she finds out her intended had been murdered. Mac then becomes her protector. This book contains a sweet romance and murder mystery. I enjoyed it. I received a copy of this book through the JustRead blogging tour program. All thoughts are my own
blueyz1962 More than 1 year ago
This is the second book I have read by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham and the second in this series, the first being the prequel, Come Fly With Me. I truly enjoyed both books and look forward to reading the next full-length book in the series, The Kitchen Marriage. I like reading series, because you can get a glimpse into the lives of the characters in the previous books. Kinda like an extended Epilogue. Anyway, on to this book, The Promise Bride. This book is about Emilia Stanek and her family trying to get out of the Chicago tenements. Emilia decides to become a mail-order bride and sets up a correspondence with Finn Collins from Helena, Montana. They agree to get married by proxy so Emilia can prepare her family for the trip to Helena. Once Emilia and her siblings, her Da had to stay in Chicago for a little while longer, get to Helena, they are met by the local Sheriff Mac McCall who tells them that Finn is dead and they needed to return to Chicago for their own safety. Since Finn also owed people money, Emilia insists on staying to work the ranch and pay her late husband's debts. What ensues is an adventure most don't get to have. Emilia and Mac bump heads many times about her and her siblings leaving Helena, but she is a determined woman. She makes a deal with her husband's creditors to work off the debts, but things aren't always what they seem. If you like adventure, compassion, intrigue and especially a clean romance, you will love this book. Check it out for yourself. Enjoy! I borrowed this book from my local library.
EllenParker More than 1 year ago
Welcome to Montana Territory 1887 Emilia Stanek knows it’s best to leave Chicago. After answering an advertisement for a mail-order bride and carrying on a correspondence with a rancher, she develops a plan to pay the fare for two siblings and her father also. But the tenement landlord destroys her timeline and suddenly she’s married by proxy and on the train without her father. Sheriff McCall of Helena, MT has read the letters from his murdered friend’s arriving bride. He intends to make her stay in Montana short and safe. Emilia, viewing her proxy marriage as real, is determined to pay off her late husband’s debts, and make a life for her family on the ranch. She’s not without skills – but not all of them relate to her new surroundings. I enjoyed the strength of the heroine and the stubborn, usually non-intrusive methods of the sheriff. This is the first in a series, and I’m looking forward to the next adventure.
RobinWillson More than 1 year ago
Murder. Mystery. Satisfaction. It will make you lose sleep. If you’re like me and read at bedtime, the problem is that you won’t want to stop reading. I was engaged with the lead character Emilia right away, and thoroughly invested in the story shortly thereafter. Emilia lives in Chicago with her brother, little sister and father in terrible conditions. She is a planner – one of the best – and finds a way for them to get out of the tenements by becoming a mail order bride to Finn who is in Montana. They have carefully laid plans but other people put a severe twist in their plans. Emilia’s father accelerates their wedding plans with a marriage by proxy. Therefore Emilia is married when she, her brother and sister go to Montana ahead of schedule, but when she arrives the sheriff tells her to go back home – Finn was dead. They can’t really go back, so she decides to settle her husband’s debts and stay on the farm. The sheriff is against it, figuring that Finn’s killer might come back. But he has no idea how twisted and turned things are going to get as those involved with Finn’s murder will blacken his name and pull Emilia in. This is one I can highly recommend, a very well told Christian Historical with lessons of faith. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kensington 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.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love Christian western romance novels? What about Christian murder mysteries? What if you could find both in the same novel? You might just want to pick up The Promise Bride by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitman. I really LOVED this first novel in the Montana Bride series, and features Emilia Stanek who wants a better life for herself, her two siblings and her father, working for Spiegel as a Customer Service Manager. Living in a run down tenement in Chicago in the late 1800's, she struggles with the filthy living conditions and what the outcome will be if they don't find a way to live. So she answers an ad for a mail order bride in Montana. A new life out west, clean air to breathe, and a man willing to take her entire family into his ranch home in the Montana Territory. After spending the last ten months working, she finally has almost enough money for all of them to travel to Montana, until their landlord demands $30 to pay for the cost of the repairs he is charging all of his tenants. Her father, tells her to take her two siblings and he will follow them in three months. She agrees as only a last resort and hopes she can convince Phineas Collins to help her bring her father to Montana as soon as possible. Her marriage was by proxy and she can't wait to get to Montana to file the paperwork to make her legally his wife. Only the one thing she didn't plan for was to learn upon arriving by train that Finn, or Phineas was found murdered. The Sheriff tries to convince Emilia to take herself and get back on the train headed home since there is nothing for her in Montana. Emilia knows she can't go back to living like she was, and this time she has to think of her family first. So she becomes determined to file her paperwork and try to work the ranch in hopes she can raise enough money to bring her father to Montana. Her siblings Luci and Roch just want to head home, but she knows they need to try to find a fresh start. What she is completely unaware of is that the person or persons who murdered Finn, might just try to kill her unless they find out why he was murdered, and that she will also inherit all of Finn's debts as well. Her first impression of the ranch is a far stretch from what she expected and to top if all of Sheriff McCall refuses to let her go about unprotected until he can bring the killer to justice. I received The Promise Bride by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitman compliments of Zebra Books, a division of the Kensington Publishing Corporation and NetGalley. I really love the raw determination that Emilia has. To walk away from everything she knows and to take care of her siblings with a future she had hoped for is far from what she gets. Armed only with her willingness to rise above the tragic circumstances facing her, she will prove everyone wrong who ever thought she would need protection and that she would run back home when faced with adversity. Doesn't hurt to have a man standing by ready to lend a hand whether she wants it or not. I give this novel a 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for the next book in the series but don't forget to check out the novella Come Fly With Me which proceeds this one.
joyful334209 More than 1 year ago
The Promise Bride is where Montana meats Mail Order Brides - Victorious. Poor Emilia marries long distance for certain reasons that you need to find out for yourselves. I don't want to ruin it all for you - she goes to Montana to meet her new hubby and gets there and finds she's a new widow in major debt and run out of town by the Sherriff but she refuses to go ( you go girl) she takes over the ranch debt and all and guess who tries to help her? then there is a romance or is there a brewin' with someone? is it good or bad? from GOD or not? Will she get out of all this mess? I received a copy of the book from the Publisher and Netgalley; all the opinions expressed in this review are all my own.
Librarycataloger More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed mail-order bride stories but The Promise Bride is a little different. Usually the bride travels to meet her groom, enjoys a short time of courtship while waiting for a circuit rider to arrive to marry them and then she and her new husband begin to build a relationship and marriage. Emilia Stanek is instead asked to marry by proxy and that means that when she arrives in Montana she will already be Mrs. Phineas (Finn) Collins. She agrees because she has already fallen in love with the man who wrote such beautiful letters and this marriage is a way that she can help her family. She desperately wants to deliver them from the deplorable conditions of their Chicago tenement housing to experience fresh air and wide-open spaces and the Montana Territory seems to be her answer. When Emilia arrives in Helena she learns that instead of being a new bride she is in fact a widow and her murdered husband has left her deeply in debt. The sheriff delivering this news suggests that she and her family go back to Chicago but she is determined to stay and pay off this debt. What follows is an inspiring story of determination, stubbornness, learning to trust others, and realizing that accepting help isn't a sign of weakness. There are so many reasons why I loved this book. Emilia and Sheriff McCall each have good work ethics; they believe in helping others; and both have a personal relationship with God. There is definitely a strong attraction between Emilia and Mac but she has trouble believing that his offers of help have no strings attached and he himself has some trust issues because of the woman who is his mother. Mix together a clean but tantalizing romance and the mystery of Finn's death and his real motives concerning Emilia, sprinkle in the history of 1887 Chicago and Montana and you end up with the perfect blend for a wonderful story. I enjoyed The Promise Bride and I'm looking forward to the second book in this Montana Brides Romance series from authors Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham. I received an Advanced Reader Copy from one of the authors but these are my honest opinions.
Librarycataloger More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed mail-order bride stories but The Promise Bride is a little different. Usually the bride travels to meet her groom, enjoys a short time of courtship while waiting for a circuit rider to arrive to marry them and then she and her new husband begin to build a relationship and marriage. Emilia Stanek is instead asked to marry by proxy and that means that when she arrives in Montana she will already be Mrs. Phineas (Finn) Collins. She agrees because she has already fallen in love with the man who wrote such beautiful letters and this marriage is a way that she can help her family. She desperately wants to deliver them from the deplorable conditions of their Chicago tenement housing to experience fresh air and wide-open spaces and the Montana Territory seems to be her answer. When Emilia arrives in Helena she learns that instead of being a new bride she is in fact a widow and her murdered husband has left her deeply in debt. The sheriff delivering this news suggests that she and her family go back to Chicago but she is determined to stay and pay off this debt. What follows is an inspiring story of determination, stubbornness, learning to trust others, and realizing that accepting help isn't a sign of weakness. There are so many reasons why I loved this book. Emilia and Sheriff McCall each have good work ethics; they believe in helping others; and both have a personal relationship with God. There is definitely a strong attraction between Emilia and Mac but she has trouble believing that his offers of help have no strings attached and he himself has some trust issues because of the woman who is his mother. Mix together a clean but tantalizing romance and the mystery of Finn's death and his real motives concerning Emilia, sprinkle in the history of 1887 Chicago and Montana and you end up with the perfect blend for a wonderful story. I enjoyed The Promise Bride and I'm looking forward to the second book in this Montana Brides Romance series from authors Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham. I received an Advanced Reader Copy from one of the authors but these are my honest opinions.
Buecherwurm161 More than 1 year ago
A promising Start to a new Series. I was a First Read Winner of this book, and even though it was not exactly what I thought it would be it was a nice enough read. I liked the characters and the storyline was fine, but if you are expecting a somewhat steamy read you are way off, there was not even so much as a kiss in this book. It could be described as a Christian read, and there is nothing wrong with that, but it would not have been a book I would have chosen to read if I had known that before. Overall a nice read with some mystery and a hint of romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mail order brides face unfamiliar challenges from the unknown truths behind the letters they receive. Emilia staked her and her family's welfare in the hands of Finn, her intended; moving them from Chicago to Montana territory. Only to discover on their arrival in Montana, Finn was dead! Page turning goodness in this engaging clean historical romantic suspense! Glad to see smart, strong, dedicated and moral characters in Emilia, her family and the sheriff as well as in many supporting townspeople. Entertaining and enlightening.  Voluntarily read ARC, through Netgalley and publisher, for honest review.
Shelske More than 1 year ago
What can I say. I read this book and totally loved it. It shows with determination, love, & family, you can conquer anything. Emilia left the tenement of Chicago with her brother & sister to become a mail order bride. Their Father was to join them later. Once they get to their destination, Helena MT, only to find her groom has been murdered & left a lot of debts. Since she was married by proxy, she could leave or stay & pay off the debts he owed as his wife. She finds ways through bartering her time for paying off those debts as she has very little money otherwise. The sheriff who met her & her siblings at the railroad station, wanted her to go back to Chicago, but she had nothing there to go back to. Through her strong determination, she works hard to get those debts paid off, while falling for the sheriff. The sheriff has his own problems as his Mother is a madam in the brothel & he has to deal with her part in the death of his best friend, the groom who was murdered before his bride arrived. Great characters who work well to tell the story. I highly recommend this book & can't wait to read the next story from Helena MT.
Chewie_the_Mouse More than 1 year ago
"The Promise Bride" by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham is an excellent Christian romance. Readers get to enjoy the two main characters meeting for the first time, slowly getting to know and learning to trust one another, and eventually falling in love. Emilia and Mac are both well-drawn, complex characters, and it is enjoyable to watch them move through the story and toward each other. What makes "The Promise Bride" stand out from many other romances is the detailed care given to the book's other relationships. Emilia's relationships with her siblings and Mac's relationships with his friends (both past and present) and mother add an extra aspect to the story and help the reader invest even more deeply in the characters. As an added bonus, the book is set (briefly) in Chicago, and mainly in frontier Montana. In addition to enjoying a good story, the reader also learns a bit about life in those places. The Christian element is perfectly handled: Both Emilia and Mac are Christians, and their personal faith is reflected in their thoughts and actions. However, the book never comes across as if the authors are preaching to the reader. All in all, an excellent romance novel, and I very much look forward to future stories set in this world.
annelr More than 1 year ago
The Promise Bride by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham is a captivating beginning to the Montana Brides Romance series. Through a proxy marriage, Emelia finds herself a widow before she's even a wife. She became a mail order bride to escape the horrors of tenement living in Chicago in the late 1880s. She was willing to do anything to get her siblings and father to a better place. Arriving in Montana she is met by a handsome lawman who greets her with the message that her husband is dead and insists that she turn right back around and go home. And the story just grabs the reader's interest and with several twists and turns to the plot, sweeps you right along to a climactic and satisfactory ending. With strong characters, fast-paced action and the tension of romance the authors bring an entertaining story to their readers. I won a complimentary advance reader copy of the book in a contest. I was not required to write a review and the opinions are my own.
susanmsj More than 1 year ago
I really liked the story of Emelia and Mac. They met under less than ideal circumstances and were at odds with each other for quite a while but learned to move past that. It was hard for Emelia to accept that people often helped others without the expectation of being repaid. I loved seeing her realize that often people help others because they want to. I also liked seeing her come to realize that she didn’t have to depend only upon herself. A couple of pieces of advice that were given to Emilia really stuck with me. The first was from Mac. He said that in the Bible story of the paralyzed man, we all want to be the friend, but at times we just need to lie on our mat and accept the help. The other was from a friend. She said “Be cautious because people aren’t always what they present themselves to be. But also be compassionate because people aren’t always what they present themselves to be. Finally, be wise enough to know the difference.” This was a great book and I definitely would recommend it. I received an advance copy of this book from one of the authors in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
A refreshing new look at a Mail Order Bride where most arrive at their destination and quickly go to the preacher, our bride, Emilia, because of circumstances has chosen to be married by proxy and arrives already married. Emilia has only to file the paper work and she has a valid marriage to Finn, but when she arrives in Helena her life will never be the same. The author gives us a wonderful glimpse into daily life in the west, and had to chuckle how Emilia goes about her ranch life from book learning, thank goodness for some willing neighbors. Now book learning is great, but actual hands on taking care of chores are quite different! The sad fact is when she arrives she finds out her new husband has been murdered, now what, and the sheriff and best friend of her husband wants her to turn around and go back to Chicago, but the fact remains she has nothing to return to. While the sheriff goes about trying to learn who killed his friend, Emilia has taken on the responsibility of paying off Finn’s debts, she does not like to beholden to anyone. All the while this family, yes Emilia has a sister and brother with her will worm their way into your heart, and you will be rooting for them. There are a lot of twists and turns to get to the end, and yes you will be page turning for answers, but once finished, you are going to feel like you have lost a dear friend. As this book wraps up we soon understand that not everything is, as it appears, a really great read that will linger with you. I received this book through the Author, and was not required to give a positive review.