The Westward Christmas Brides Collection: 9 Historical Romances Answer the Call of the American West

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection: 9 Historical Romances Answer the Call of the American West

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Overview

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection: 9 Historical Romances Answer the Call of the American West by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Susan Page Davis, Melanie Dobson, Cathy Liggett


Take the journey into the American west alongside nine women who are chasing their dreams—Cynthia, for security; Beryl, for a new family; Adeline, for freedom; Molly, for marriage; Beth, for a new start; Belinda, for a place to heal; Suzette, for adventure; Juliet, for peace; and Caroline, for a future for her children. Celebrate Christmas alongside these pioneers as love finds them in nine distinctly different romances penned by leading Christian fiction authors, including New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781628368123
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 09/01/2014
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author


New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages.  With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nations most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.

Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties. Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at www.wandabrunstetter.com. 

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than seventy Christian novels and novellas, which have sold more than 1.5 million copies. Her historical novels have won numerous awards, including the Carol Award, the Will Rogers Medallion for Western Fiction, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest. She has also been a finalist in the More than Magic Contest and Willa Literary Awards. She lives in western Kentucky with her husband. She’s the mother of six and grandmother of ten. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com.
 

Three-time Carol Award winner and bestselling author of fifteen novels, Melanie Dobson is the former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and owner of Dobson Media Group. Because of her husband’s work in the film industry, their family has lived in multiple states as well as Germany, but the Dobson family is settled for now in a small town near Portland, Oregon. Melanie loves connecting with readers via her website at www.melaniedobson.com.

Cathy Liggett lives in southwest Ohio with her husband of over thirty years and two grown children. Her passion for all things involved in writing started at a very young age and still inspires her today. She is the author of both fiction and non-fiction.

Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams in her fictional stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is the award-winning author of more than forty published books and novellas. Her novels include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series and the Land Rush Dreams series. Vickie has been married forty-one years to Robert. They have four grown sons, one of whom is married, and a precocious ten-year-old granddaughter. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website: www.vickiemcdonough.com
 

Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.

In first grade, Janet Spaeth was asked to write a summary of a story about a family making maple syrup. She wrote all during class, through morning recess, lunch, and afternoon recess, and asked to stay after school. When the teacher pointed out that a summary was supposed to be shorter than the original story, Janet explained that she didn’t feel the readers knew the characters well enough, so she was expanding on what was in the first-grade reader. Thus a writer was born. She lives in the Midwest and loves to travel, but to her, the happiest word in the English language is home.

Jennifer Rogers Spinola, a Virginia/South Carolina native and graduate of Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina, just moved to the States with her Brazilian husband, Athos, and two sons. Jennifer lived in Brazil for nearly eight years after meeting her husband in Sapporo, Japan, where she worked as a missionary. During college, she served as a National Park Service volunteer at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. In between homeschooling high-energy sons, Jennifer loves things like adoption, gardening, snow, hiking, and camping.

MaryLu Tyndall, a Christy Award finalist and bestselling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series, is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but open people’s eyes to their God-given potential. MaryLu is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Read an Excerpt

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection

9 Historical Romances Answer the Call of the American West


By Wanda E. Brunstetter

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Wanda E. Brunstetter
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63058-574-7



CHAPTER 1

Three days out of Independence

Papa, I'm tired."

Jack Simpson glanced at his four-year-old son, Alan, slumped on the wagon seat beside his sister. Amelia, who was six, stared straight ahead, seemingly unmindful of her brother. Of course, Jack's daughter had been unresponsive to most things since she'd witnessed her mother's tragic death six months ago. Jack's precious wife, Mary, had been crossing the street in their hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and was struck down by a team of runaway horses pulling a supply wagon. Clem Jones, owner of the wagon, hadn't tied the horses securely enough. Poor little Amelia, waiting across the street with her grandma, had watched in horror as her mother was knocked to the ground and trampled to death. Since that time, the child had not uttered a word.

Jack, struggling with his own grief plus trying to keep some sense of normalcy in his children's life, could only hope this trip west might be the turning point for Amelia. There was no doubt that Alan was excited about the trip and a new place to live. The boy had been bursting at the seams waiting to head west ever since Jack first mentioned the trip to his children. Truth was, Jack needed the change, too, and looked forward to joining his brother, Dan, already in California, where he'd established a cattle ranch.

Being a hog farmer, Jack knew a thing or two about pigs, but not much concerning the business of raising cattle. He was eager to learn, though, and would do his best to help Dan make a go of things. Jack just needed to get his little family and all their belongings safely to their destination.

"Papa, I'm tired," Alan repeated, bumping Jack's arm as he guided their team of oxen down the trail. "Can't them ox move faster?"

"Why don't ya crawl in the back and lie down?" Jack suggested. "Amelia, you can go, too, if you're tired. It shouldn't be much longer before we stop to make camp."

Alan scrambled over the seat and into the back of their wagon, but Amelia, her long auburn locks moving slightly as she shook her head, remained seated.

Will my little girl ever speak to me again? Jack wondered as he held on to the reins, bringing up the rear of their three-wagon train. He drew in a deep breath, trying to focus on the wagon ahead, driven by a stuffy city slicker from New York who thought he knew a lot about everything but probably knew very little about roughing it. The man's name was Walter Prentice, and his traveling companions were a woman named Mable and her daughter, Cynthia, who was Walter's fiancée. Jack had only spoken to Cynthia briefly, but she seemed nice enough. She was pretty, too, and from the way she talked, Jack figured she didn't know much about roughing it either. It would be a miracle if this refined group ahead of him made it to California at all. Thank goodness, back in Independence when the men drew names to see who would lead out, the man in the first wagon got the luck of the draw. Jack was pretty sure Cole Edwards knew a lot more about driving a team of oxen than Walter Prentice did.


* * *

Cole had never been one to take the easy way out, and he knew heading to California in search of gold wasn't going to be easy. But he was tired of the long hours he put in at his blacksmith's shop in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and the money he hoped to make in the gold mines near Sutter's Mill would make the trip worth every mile and inconvenience. If he didn't make his fortune in gold, he could always fall back on his blacksmith's trade. He just hoped his sister was up for this trip.

Sitting astride his sturdy quarter horse, Blaze, Cole glanced back at Virginia, whom he'd nicknamed Ginny when they were children. She sat on the seat of their covered wagon, looking this way and that, as though trying to take in everything on all sides of the trail. Skillfully, she guided their oxen as if she'd been doing it all her life. While Cole's twenty-six-year-old sister wasn't as adventuresome as him, she'd been willing to make this trip, despite negative protests from their parents. Virginia had been teaching school for the past six years and hoped to teach when they got to California. Having been jilted by Clay Summers, the man she'd planned to marry, Virginia told Cole she was ready for a change. In fact, she desperately needed it.

At the age of twenty-four, Cole had courted a few young women but none who'd held his interest or captured his heart. Most women he knew wanted to settle in to a nice little house with a white picket fence. They weren't seeking adventure the way Cole was, and he wasn't ready to settle in and accept the mediocre comforts in life. He wanted more and aimed to get it.

"You doin' okay, Ginny?" he called. "Do ya need me to take over awhile? I can tie my horse to the back of the wagon."

Smiling, she shook her head. "Thanks, Cole, but I'm fine."

Cole smiled in response. His sister had a determined spirit. She would do fine out West. He wasn't so sure about the two refined ladies in the wagon behind him though. Three days out and they looked exhausted. They obviously weren't used to sitting on a hard bench or walking long hours every day. The fancy fellow accompanying them didn't look much better, although he was trying to put on a brave front and acted like quite the know-it-all. Cole wondered if the high-and-mighty Mr. Prentice would be so confident after they had several weeks of traveling under their belts. It was a good thing Walter wasn't trying to lead the way. He'd probably have them lost already.

Glancing upward, Cole noticed dark clouds. No doubt a storm was coming, and he wanted to be sure they were safely camped before it hit. "Ginny, I'm goin' out ahead and find a good spot for the night," he called. Then Cole turned his horse around and went back to tell those in the other wagons.


* * *

"Are you okay, Mama?" Cynthia asked, concerned when she noticed lines of fatigue on her mother's face. "You look awfully tired."

"Mable is fine, and so am I." Walter spoke up before Cynthia's mother had a chance to respond. "We have a long journey ahead of us, and we need to toughen up. Otherwise, we won't make it to California. We haven't been on the trail a week yet and have hundreds of miles ahead of us."

"That may be true, but I believe my mother can speak for herself." Cynthia patted her mother's hand affectionately.

"I'm fine, dear," Mama replied, reaching up to touch the bun at the back of her head. "No need to worry about me. It takes some time getting used to sitting on this hard bench, and walking is just as uncomfortable. But I'll make it—we all will."

Cynthia smiled. Her mother might be slender and petite, but she had a determined spirit. Mama's brown hair and eyes were accentuated by her oval face, thick dark eyebrows, and thin lips. Except for their slender build, Cynthia and Mama looked nothing alike. Cynthia had inherited her father's curly auburn hair and green eyes. Even the two dimples in her right cheek came from Papa.

Looking back at Mama, Cynthia noted that even at the age of forty-five, her mother was still an attractive woman. It was unlikely she would ever marry again. Mama had been deeply in love with Papa and said that no one could take his place. That's what Cynthia had always wished for, too, but it seemed she'd never know the kind of love her mother and father had.

It doesn't matter whether Mama remarries or not, Cynthia thought. Once Walter and I are married, Mama won't have to worry about anything, for she'll be well taken care of.

Cynthia glanced at Walter wiping some dust from his eyes with his clean, crisp, monogrammed handkerchief. His expression was one of determination. She knew with a certainty that his desperation to get to California was about the money he planned to make. She guessed she couldn't blame him for that. After all, everyone needed money these days—some just wanted it more than others. Walter was one of those who measured people by their wealth and social standing.

Cole Edwards, the man who was leading their little group, was also after money; only his would be earned by the sweat of his brow as he searched for gold. That wasn't to say Walter was lazy; he just didn't work as hard physically as some men she knew. Walter had a good head for business though.

Just then, Cole pulled his horse alongside their flat-bedded wagon made of hardwood and covered with canvas like the others. "Just wanted to let you folks know that I'm ridin' up ahead to find a good place to take shelter for the night. It'll be dark soon, and there's a storm brewin'."

"It doesn't look as if a storm is coming," Walter said.

"Take a closer look. See those clouds?" Cole looked at Walter with piercing blue eyes, as if daring him to question his decision. "If we get caught out here in the pouring rain, the trail will be muddy, and it'll bog us down. It doesn't take much for these wagon wheels to get stuck in the mud. Best to stop for the night and hope the rain lets up."

"What are we supposed to do while you're looking for a good place to stop?" Walter questioned.

"Keep moving—following the ruts in the trail made by wagons that have gone before us." Cole glanced at Cynthia and gave a nod. "You and your mother doin' okay?"

"They're fine," Walter answered before Cynthia could open her mouth. "Even if they weren't, it's my business, not yours."

"Walter, I'm sure Mr. Edwards is concerned for the welfare of everyone," Mama intervened.

Cole gave a nod, reaching under his hat and pulling his fingers through the ends of his coal-black hair. He really was a good-looking young man. But then, so was Jack.

Walter said nothing, just gripped the reins a little tighter, making the veins on his hands stick out.

"I'll tell Jack Simpson where I'm goin', and then I'm off," Cole said. He tipped his hat and rode quickly away.

They rode in silence for a while, until raindrops began to fall. Mama looked over at Walter and said, "I guess Mr. Edwards was right."

Walter grunted.

Cynthia hid a smile behind her hand. For some reason, she was glad Cole had been right about the weather. No man should think he was always right. And Mama, she sure isn't afraid to stand up to Walter. Maybe I ought to take a lesson from her.

CHAPTER 2

South fork of the Platte River


Dear Diary,

We've been on the trail a week already, but it feels more like a month to me. The rain we had awhile back caused our wagons to bog down in the mud. I feel like I'll never be clean again, not to mention my poor dresses with mud-stained hems. What I wouldn't give right now for a warm tub to soak in.

No sign of the bigger wagon train yet. I hope we're not going the wrong way and will miss them. But Cole insists we're on the right trail, so we have to trust him.

We take turns walking when we're tired of sitting, and riding in the bumpy wagon when we're tired of walking.

I feel sorry for Jack Simpson. His children are too young to drive the wagon and too little to walk very far without their legs giving out. Mama and I have begun taking turns riding in Jack's wagon with the children, driving his team of oxen so Jack can walk awhile each day and stretch his legs. Little brown-haired Alan looks a lot like his father, and he certainly is a chatterbox. But Amelia doesn't speak at all. Jack explained that she's been like that since she witnessed her mother's death. Poor little thing. I wonder if she'll ever get her voice back. I've begun praying for her.


Cynthia stopped writing and looked up as Cole hollered that it was time to go. With regret, she put her journal away and joined her mother on the seat of their wagon. Every day on the trail seemed like the one before. They got up before daybreak, and while the men rounded up the livestock, the women cooked breakfast over an open fire. After the meal, it was time to head down the trail.

Some days they stopped to rest for an hour or two; then they'd continue on their journey until early evening. At night they pulled the wagons close together for protection. The men took care of the livestock, while the women cooked the evening meal. After they ate, they'd often gather around the fire to sing songs and tell stories. This helped pass the time and gave them a chance to get better acquainted. The women and children slept inside the wagons, but Cole, Jack, and Walter slept under the wagon or in a makeshift tent, depending on the weather. It made Cynthia feel safer, knowing they were out there where they could be alerted to danger.

Cynthia shivered. At least they hadn't seen any Indians yet. If and when they did, she hoped they would be friendly natives and there'd be no trouble. From what Walter had been told, fewer people died from Indian attacks than from mishaps or illness along the way.

"What do you write in that book of yours?" Walter asked as he took up the reins.

"Oh, just the things we see and do on our daily journey," Cynthia replied. "I've been journaling since I was fifteen."

Walter shrugged. "If it makes you happy, it's a good thing. Maybe someday you can read me what you've written about our trip."

Cynthia cringed. Since she'd written about her lack of interest in Walter, she wasn't about to let him know what was in her diary.

He leaned closer to Cynthia—so close she could feel his warm breath blowing gently on her cheek. "You look lovely this morning, my dear," he whispered.

Her face heated. "I thank you for the compliment, but I certainly don't feel lovely," she said. "I feel dirty from all the trail dust, and even though I wash every evening and morning, I feel unkempt."

"You'll feel better once we get to California," he said, letting go of the reins with one hand and clasping her hand. "After I get my new businesses going, you'll be the finest dressed woman in all of California."

Cynthia forced a smile. She didn't care about being the finest-dressed woman. All she wanted was to be happily married and see that her mother's needs were met. Cynthia wasn't sure if she would be happy married to Walter, but at least Mama would be taken care of.


* * *

"Papa, I'm hungry," Alan complained, squirming on the wooden seat beside his father.

Jack relaxed his hold on the reins, reached into his shirt pocket, and pulled out a piece of peppermint candy. "We won't be stoppin' to eat for a good while yet, so you can suck on this for now." He handed it to Alan. "Just be careful to suck it slowly, and whatever ya do, don't swallow the candy."

Alan popped the candy in his mouth and grinned up at his dad. "Yum."

Jack smiled and took another piece from his pocket. It was all he had left from what he'd purchased before they'd departed Independence. There was no doubt about it—his son had a sweet tooth. "You want this?" he asked, holding out the last piece of candy to Amelia.

She shook her head.

Jack couldn't believe Amelia didn't want a piece of candy. Was there nothing that could get through to his daughter? He wouldn't force her to take the treat. He just needed to be patient and keep trying to get her to talk.

"Can I have the candy?" Alan asked, tugging on his father's arm.

"Thought maybe I'd eat it," Jack replied with a grin.

Alan's bottom lip protruded. "Please, Papa. I'll save it for later."

Jack looked at Amelia again. "Are ya sure you don't want the peppermint drop?"

She shook her head again.

"Is it okay if I give it to Alan?"

Amelia gave a slow nod.

Jack handed the candy to Alan.

"Can I drive the wagon?" Alan asked, looking up at Jack with expectancy.

Jack shook his head. "You're not old enough for that yet, Son. But someday, when you're a mite bigger, you'll be helpin' me and your uncle Dan on the cattle ranch."

Alan's eyes twinkled. "Can I ride a big horse and chase after cows?"

Jack chuckled. "I don't know how big the horse will be, but yeah, you'll be ridin'."

Seemingly satisfied with that answer, Alan leaned his head against Jack's arm and fell silent.


* * *

That evening, as everyone sat around the campfire after supper, Cole couldn't help but notice the look of fatigue on the women's faces. Particularly Cynthia's and Mable's. They'd walked a good deal of the day, while that high-and-mighty gentleman they were traveling with remained in the wagon.

"I don't know about anyone else, but after that bland supper we just ate, I could use something sweet," Walter spoke up. "Think I'll head over to my wagon and get my jar of candy."

"There was nothing wrong with the rabbit stew my sister fixed," Cole was quick to say. "Maybe it didn't measure up to the standards you're used to, but it filled our bellies, and I thought it was right tasty."

"I agree," Jack spoke up. "And since I'm not much of a cook, I appreciate everything the ladies make for us."

Cole looked at Walter, wondering if he would apologize, but the snobbish man just rose to his feet and reached for Cynthia's hand. "Come, take a walk with me. It's a pleasant evening with a star-studded sky, and we shouldn't waste it."

Like an obedient child, Cynthia went with Walter. As they strolled, arm-in-arm, Cole couldn't help but frown. Sure can't see what that pretty woman sees in such a stuffy man.


* * *

Cynthia and Walter walked for a bit, making small talk, but as they headed toward Walter's wagon, he stopped, pulled out his gold pocket watch, and checked the time. Just as he was putting the watch back in his pocket, Cynthia caught sight of little Alan peeking into the back of the wagon. Walter must have seen him, too, for his face turned red as he shouted, "What do you think you're doing, boy?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Westward Christmas Brides Collection by Wanda E. Brunstetter. Copyright © 2014 Wanda E. Brunstetter. 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

Contents

A Christmas Prayer,
Another Christmas Story,
The Reluctant Runaway,
A Stagecoach Christmas,
Forging a Family,
Snow Song,
Christmas Maybe,
The Christmas Bread,
Christmas Bounty,
About the Authors,

Customer Reviews

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The Westward Christmas Brides Collection: 9 Historical Romances Answer the Call of the American West 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Chaplain-Debbie_777 More than 1 year ago
 So far, so good! I received this collection of novellas in the mail today, featuring some great authors. I have only read one story so far, written by MaryLu Tyndall, and I loved it. If the rest of the stories are half as good as MaryLu's, then I have hours of enjoyment awaiting me.  Christmas Bounty is a wonderfully written story about sacrifice, trust and redemption. Only MaryLu Tyndall can spin a story...including pirates...in a way that makes you wish the story continued on. This is truly a different kind of pirate story, which takes place in my home state, California. It is a sweet endearing story between two very different people....Caroline, an American mother of two and Dante, a pirate who hates all Americans. When circumstances cause these two to be joined together in marriage, only God can help them find their way. In just a few short chapters, I was captivated by the characters and a well written storyline.  I am looking forward to reading more of MaryLu Tyndall's books.  I received this book in in exchange for an honest review. I was under no obligation to give a good review. 
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
I really just sometimes like to sit back and enjoy a shorter story. In the Westward Christmas Brides Collection we have a wonderful collection of stories by 9 different authors. I wanted to read this book most of all as one of my favorite authors, MaryLu Tyndall, had a short story in this collection. However, every story was delightful and I found more authors to put on my wish list. Each story is only about 40-50 pages long, but they are all so well told that it did not seem like I was reading a short story. The book itself is lovely and nicely laid out. With beveled pages and a beautiful winter scene on the inside of both flaps, it would make a very thoughtful Christmas gift to a reader in your life. I really enjoyed all these prairie romances and look forward to reading more in these collections. I received the book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.
TSMathews More than 1 year ago
When I saw that MaryLu Tyndall had written a Christmas novella I was excited but when I realized it would include pirates I was ecstatic! There is nothing quite as thrilling as reading the adventurous tales that flow from the pen of Ms. Tyndall. When she writes a heartwarming Christmas story about a beautiful young widow with two small children and she adds in a genuine pirate, you have the makings of a story you will want to read over and over again! Dante Vega was finally going to get what most people in Santa Barbara, California thought was his just punishment; he was going to swing at the end of a rope. At the last moment his executioner throws out a statement to the crowd saying Dante could be saved if a women would come forward and agree to marry him. No one would have thought the comely young widow with two small children in tow would offer to save the life of a pirate by becoming his wife. Caroline Moreau was desperate for help or she would have never agreed to marry a pirate. She needed someone who wouldn’t mind fighting to help protect her vineyard from the person that wants to possess her and her land. Caroline also knew that Dante Vega had some kindness in him, because of how he protected her and her family when he and his crew had raided the ship they were on. Will the lure of the sea be too strong for Dante or will this beautiful family win over the heart of a pirate? What a beautiful conclusion to a lovely Christmas novel! MaryLu Tyndall certainly knows how to weave a tale that comes to life in your head and your heart. I can’t wait to read the rest of the stories in this enchanting book; I know they will make my Christmas Merry and Bright!!
Britney_Adams More than 1 year ago
I loved this wonderful collection! Christmas stories are among my favorites and I was delighted by these novellas. I opened the pages of this beautiful book and journeyed into the Old West. From wagon trains to passenger trains, the detailed history and charming characters warmed my heart. I loved the uniqueness of each Christmas romance and highly recommend The Westward Christmas Brides Collection! I received a complimentary copy of this book from The Book Club Network. All thoughts expressed are my own.
lmbartelt More than 1 year ago
Yes, it's early to be in the Christmas spirit but plan ahead for when the days are cold and snowy and get a copy of this novella collection. (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my review.) I have a love-hate feeling about novella collections because the stories often seem rushed and just when I start to care about the characters, the story ends. But I've also discovered authors I love by first reading one of their stories in a novella collection.  Such is the case with MaryLu Tyndall, whose story Christmas Bounty was my favorite in this book. I wish I could rate the stories individually. Some I loved; others were just okay. But overall, this book is a great way to get in the mood for Christmas. You'll be wishing for an old-fashioned Christmas by the time you're done!
grammy57 More than 1 year ago
I requested this book because I like to read Wanda E Brunstetter. I have never read the other authors, but felt like it would be a good book. The stories were all well written. Each had it's own unique setting and style. The common thread was Christmas and the west. Most stories were rather predictable as to the outcome, but so well written that it really didn't matter. My biggest complaint is with myself, as short stories are usually not my first choice. This was good enough that it really didn't matter. In fact, in a way it was nice as you could read a whole book in such a short time. I highly recommend this book. Well done and worth the time to read. I received this book in exchange for my honest review.
inspiremichelle More than 1 year ago
The Westward Christmas Brides Collection by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Susan Page Davis, Melanie Dobson, Cathy Liggett, Vickie McDonough, Olivia Newport, Janet Spaeth, Jennifer Rogers Spinola, and Mary Lu Tyndall ISBN 978-1-62836-812-3 Historical, Christian, Romance, Fiction The Westward Christmas Brides Collection is nine Historical romances. Each novel is set in the west in the 1800’s. All are seeking a new life and a new place to call home. Each author has put their spin on the perfect Christmas for any bride. I have discovered a few new authors to me. I could never pick the best story because they are all fantastic. I give The Westward Christmas Brides Collection 5 stars, great job ladies. If you enjoy historical fiction I highly recommend The Westward Christmas Brides Collection to you. A Christmas Prayer by Wanda E. Brunstetter April 15, 1850 three covered wagons set out to travel the wild west from Independence, Missouri to the land of opportunity, California. All travelers are strangers from different walks of life. Cynthia Cooper travels with her mother Mabel and fiancée Walter. While Cynthia is fun loving and full of life her mother and Walter are spoiled snobs. Jack Simpson travels with his children 4 year old Alan and 6 year old Amelia. They come from Cedar Rapids, Iowa looking for a new beginning. Amelia has not spoken a word since witnessing the tragic death of her mother. Cole is a blacksmith from Kutztown, Pennsylvania. He is traveling with his adventurous sister Virginia. He wants to marry some day but wants to find gold first. She would love to teach again but needs to get away from the place she was jilted. As they make the long tedious journey the only thing that helps them survive is blind faith. This was a great story filled with faith. Another Christmas Story by Susan Page Davis Nineteen year old Beryl Jenner travels in a large train caravan through Nebraska Territory in 1856. When a tragic accident strikes, her and her young brother are stranded in Chiswell Rock at the trading post. The are left to survive by the kindness of strangers. James Lassen and his family do everything in their power to help the Jenner’s. They give and care for others like the Samaritan in the Bible. Not expecting anything in return but giving their all. This is a great story of compassion. I really enjoyed this story and found the author did an outstanding job. The Reluctant Runaway by Melanie Dobson Omaha, Nebraska December 1889 Lavinia Kathryn Starr is on the run from her evil step brother Patrick. As she boards a train for New York City Patrick closes in on her. She is on the run again this time on a train to parts unknown. Isaac Loritz sees Lavinia soon after he arrives in Aspen, Colorado, he offers his assistance but is turned down. Later when he finds her in his barn they form a friendship of sorts. As trust builds will their new friendship stands up to the pressure of money. This was a phenomenal story of trust and faith, with romance and a little trepidation. A Stagecoach Christmas by Cathy Liggett Western Missouri 1849 It wasn’t a knight on a white horse that showed up to rescue the passengers of the stagecoach but a rancher looking to start over running away from Christmas. They were headed to Huxley to join family and friends for Christmas when the weather stops them in their tracks. Charlotte Crandall and her elderly mother Ms Vivian, barrister Benjamin Cottingham and his 6 year old granddaughter Melissa and driver Daniel Becker like Molly all had big plans. Molly O’Brien was looking to start a new life only to find herself on a rowdy ride. Samuel Harden finds instant attraction to the spunky redheaded spitfire he rescues. The passengers of the stagecoach end up on a deserted ranch owned by Samuel and find their best Christmas yet. This was a great novel about grief turned to joy. I really related to the characters. Forging a Family by Vickie McDonough Advent, Texas 1890 Beth Ruskin, is a agent with the Children’s Aid Society, delivering kids to their new families. When a flash flood leaves her and her father stranded in Advent Texas, she helps her father care for patients. She first sets eye on the local blacksmith Cade Maddox when he brings a injured man to her father. It’s love at first sight for Beth. Cade struggles with caring for his young daughter a overworked single man. He wonders if own Orphan Train daughter would be better off with a regular family. This is fantastic story of love and sacrifice that all parents face. I fell in love with the characters and I am sure you will too. Snow Song by Olivia Newport 1871 Belinda Michaels is heartbroken when Hayden Fairbanks does not show up for their engagement dinner. She is so hurt she hops a train to San Francisco only to run into him and a young child. When the train is snowed in all passengers and Belinda are left strained on the tracks. Can she find a way to trust Hayden again and give him another chance? Read this terrific book to find out. Olivia Newport is a new author to but I really enjoyed her story. Christmas, Maybe by Janet Spaeth For as long as Suzette Longmont can remember she has dreamed of the wild untamed nature of paradise, riding horseback with her hair blowing out behind her. But she was born into a life of privilege. She was expected to cook gourmet meals, keep a well decorated home for entertaining but she failed miserably. She jumps at the chance to help family in the Dakota Territory when relatives need help. Boring Harrison, the man that she was promised to marry in a arrangement marriage, decides to follow her there in fear of losing her forever. As she settles into a new routine she discovers there is more to Harrison than she ever thought. Can they make a relationship work? Read this faith filled novel to find out. The Christmas Bread by Jennifer Rogers Spinola September 1865 Juliet followed in her father footstep as a doctor. Jacob Pike a confederate war hero is on the same wagon train as Juliet. They face tragedy, sickness and are caught in the cross fires of a war that should be over. As they fight for their lives Juliet’s atrocity toward Jacob softens into something far more likeable, maybe even a fondness or love as the wagon train travels. This is a great story showing how nothing is impossible with God. By far this story will pull at your heartstrings like none of the others. I enjoyed my fist book by Jennifer Rogers Spinola very much. Christmas Bounty by MaryLu Tyndal Santa Barbara, California 1855 Caroline Moreau is a widowed mother of two, trying to keep her husbands dreams alive. But barely keeping Moreau Winery alive. As her and her children leave market they come across a public hanging in town square. They only thing that will save Pirate Dante Vega from hanging for his crimes is if a single lady will marry and make a decent man out of him. Caroline is in need of some one to protect her, the children and vineyard. Could Dante become the man of her dreams and save them? You will have to read this fantastic book to find out. Caroline is filled with a unbreakable faith that will inspire you. This was a glorious novel.
BillieKay More than 1 year ago
The Westward Christmas Brides Collection is an excellent collection of historical romances spanning the last half of the 1800s.  There are nine heartwarming novellas of about 50 pages each by some of my favorite authors in the Christian romance genre.  You will find all manner of transportation – wagon, stagecoach, train and even a pirate ship – in these stories of young women who find romance in the Christmas season.  This book would make an excellent gift but you must read it for yourself first.  I received a copy from the publisher by way of The Book Club Network in exchange for an honest review.
AngiOakley More than 1 year ago
MaryLu Tyndall, most known for her pirate stories, has crafted a sweet Christmas romance story that takes place in the state of California and features a handsome pirate hero who falls in love with a beautiful widow and her two children. The only problem is, Caroline Moreau wants nothing to do with him, albeit she needs the protection of a man. Strange things have been happening, threatening her home, her children, and her livelihood. With that in mind, she proposes marriage to save his life in exchange for the security of his presence on her property…and that’s all she wants. But Dante Vega has ideas of his own. Despite his wife’s sharp tongue and the fact that she keeps her distance from him, Dante loses his heart to her, making him vow to win hers. Hopefully in time for Christmas. I totally loved this story! And while it takes place in the Old West, I thought it was so neat how MaryLu was able to incorporate a pirate hero into the story. Well done, MaryLu! I received a copy of this book from MaryLu Tyndall in exchange for an honest review.
MrsTina42MR More than 1 year ago
The Westward Christmas Brides Collection (by 9 authors), Christmas Bounty***** by MaryLu Tyndall Recently widowed Caroline Moreau manages her vineyard in 1855 California—her late husband's dream and care for their two children, 8 year old Philippe and his younger sister, Abilene. She struggles daily to keep the vineyard going, fight the vigilantes who want the vineyard and put food on the table. But finances are running extremely low. Praying for God's help in feeding her children Caroline takes them to the local market to buy food for the next few days with what little coins she has left. As they are about to leave for home a crowd gathers around a wooden scaffold. Someone is about to be hanged and Caroline hurries her children to their waiting buggy. But Philippe darts away into the crowd, holding onto Abilene she rushes to find him before the hanging. Dante Vega is a pirate and about to be hanged; he smiles and declares his innocence and asks what evidence is there against him. As they prepare to hang him, Dante asks for mercy. The magistrate informs him, “there is no mercy for pirates” “Unless, according to our law one of these ladies agrees to marry you”, he states. Surprising Dante and herself, Caroline yells, “I'll marry him!” Out of desperation for help and protection for her and her children Caroline marries Dante. Saved by this beautiful woman who is now his bride they leave town for her home. The only draw back he sees in his beautiful wife is that she is an American and Dante hates Americans. Caroline hopes he will help on the vineyard and keep the vigilantes away from them. But will he help her or leave her to fight them alone? Can she trust him? Could he really be the answer to her prayers? What plans does Dante have for Caroline, her vineyard? Can this unlikely couple find their way and become a real family? Will the vigilantes finally take over her vineyard and home leaving her homeless and penniless? MaryLu continues to surprise me with her writing. She has written another great story filled with characters that are real-to-life and keep you engrossed in the story to the end. Including many struggles we face today: fear, trusting others, forgiveness, redemption, faith and love. This is just one of the nine short historical romances in this book. Each story has characters that will capture your attention and warm your heart. Great stories all. ~~I received a copy of this book from MaryLu Tyndall for my review~~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loriweller1 More than 1 year ago
Westward Christmas Brides Collection is a collection of nine wonderful novellas by some of the best authors. Each of the stories were adventures of women going westward in the 1800's. It describes the hardships experienced along the way. Each story has a woman of strong faith that carries them through the tough times. I received this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
J_Augustine More than 1 year ago
Sweet stories, wonderful authors! A delightful collection of novellas from nine very talented authors. I enjoyed each of these stories and the cheery Christmas tone. I loved the westward theme of each of these stories. And I think my favorite was The Christmas Bread partly because it featured the Bozeman Trail. I also really enjoyed not only the date span of the stories, ranging all through the 1800's, but the variety in locations from California to Texas to Missouri to Nebraska and what would later become Wyoming. Each novella is a quick read and can easily be finished in a sitting. I read them almost like very long chapters. Perfect for relaxing on a cold and snowy day. An all around enjoyable collection of Christmasy historical romances! (I received a copy of this book from the publisher through TBCN in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this collection. My Grandfather was from Nebraska and I love to read about pioneer traveling and settling in a new land. I enjoy reading these books for they are clean (no sex). I had family that came on the Oregon trail and so did my husband. I enjoy reading stories about it. Each story are different with all of them being kind and caring and full of love.
NanceeMarchinowski More than 1 year ago
Tales of Christmas Romance This is a collection of historical stories of Christian romance that are centered around the Christmas holiday. The featured female characters are traveling westward toward a new life, leaving the past behind. Each story is written by a different author, and the themes vary as much as the authors' personalities. A strong Christian theme is woven throughout these stories of love and the ambiance of Christmas.  These short stories make up a wonderful holiday collection of cozy reads. I thoroughly enjoyed picking up this book and reading a story in the evenings as I relaxed and became swept into the lives of these young women searching for change and new lives. I normally enjoy a full-length novel over a novella or short story, but I found it refreshing to enjoy a brief tale of Christmas romance. Pick up a few copies to share with friends, and keep a copy for yourself to enjoy with a cup of your favorite beverage. This would make a wonderful gift, a book to be kept on the coffee table or next to your favorite chair, to pick up and enjoy as time allows. I will undoubtedly read this book again as the holidays approach each year. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from The Book Club Network For Readers Only program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This collection is bound to appeal to everyone. It just has a little something for everyone. Some stories appealled to m more than others, but I know that those stories will no doubt appeal more to other readers. Overall, a good collection!
Robbi44 More than 1 year ago
This book is a collection of nine individual historical romance novellas set during the westward movement of the 1800s across the United States. Although the scenarios are different, each story illustrates that faith in God carries all people – whatever their strengths and weaknesses may be - through great hardship to a good conclusion. Since the stories are centered around the life-changing events of moving west, one involves a stagecoach trip, a few present the adventures of a wagon train, and some show life in a California seacoast town, but all share one very important time of year for everyone, that is Christmas. This inspirational collection of stories is written by a wonderful variety of seasoned authors that take the reader into harrowing events and demonstrate the love of God as well as the love of a man for a woman as it brings them through some of life’s most difficult situations. I received this book for free from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
AmVan More than 1 year ago
By reading the title of the book, The Westward Christmas Brides, you wouldn't necessarily expect a pirate story to be hidden in the depths of the book, but so it was with Christmas Bounty by MaryLu Tyndall. Something I always expect from MaryLu is exciting adventure, and she did not disappoint. When we meet Dante Vega he is about to be hung, which is a great way to introduce a pirate, because it brings in the question 'How is he going to escape?' Newly widowed Caroline Moreau is fighting to protect both her family and her vineyard from the rogues threatening both. Enter the dashing pirate. Caroline marries the pirate to save his life in exchange for him offering her family protection. The story was sweet, though too short as all great novellas are, but I believe that MaryLu Tyndall told a wonderful story with the pages she had to work with. Though Dante was without a doubt my favorite character, Caroline's children were definitely a cute addition to the story. Her rambunctious son always running off and her sweet baby girl. Can Dante and Caroline put their faith in God and begin to trust him for His blessing on a marriage that neither of them expected? Or will their pasts keep them from embracing what is blossoming between them. After reading Christmas Bounty, I look forward to continuing on with the rest of the stories in The Westward Christmas Brides Collection.
CoopTroop More than 1 year ago
In the story “Christmas Bounty” by MaryLu Tyndall is filled with action and suspense.  Caroline Moreau is working hard to protect her family and vineyards, but a man, Dante Vega, needs protection from being hung by the noose.  So Caroline steps forward to save Dante from being hanged for his crimes in exchanged for him protecting her family and vineyard until harvest.  Throughout the time Dante is protecting Caroline’s family and her vineyard he sees her and her family with all the stuff God has provided for them is enough. Will he find with the things God provides is only enough for him or will he go on about his own way back to pirating? I have enjoyed reading “Christmas Bounty” and I look forward to reading the rest of the stories from all the other authors.  I have in the past enjoyed reading different Historical Romance Collections and I know I will enjoy this collection of “The Westward Christmas Brides”!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lynn_Mills More than 1 year ago
The Westward Christmas Brides is a collection of nine Historical Romances that span from Midwest Missouri all the way to the shores of California in the 1800’s. Each one is written by a different author and lasts roughly 50 pages. At a quick glance, the authors are Wanda E. Brunstetter, Susan Page Davis, Melanie Dobson, Cathy Liggett, Vickie McDonough, Olivia Newport, Janet Spaeth, Jennifer Spinola and Mary Lu Tyndall. A brief summary: I enjoyed the collection as a whole. The stories were written well, had interesting characters and supporting characters and I felt like each story developed nicely and had a fitting conclusion. Some of the questions I ask myself when reading a collection like this are: are the stories too similar? Do the ways the hero and heroine come together change from story to story or does variety lack? Does each story have its own voice or do they mimic each other too closely? To answer those questions, I believe that each story was its own. Yes, there were some similarities but nothing that had me thinking it was boring. Of course, some authors were better in making their story stand out than others – but all was done well. I have given this book a five star rating because I enjoyed the stories and may revisit them during Christmastime! More In-Depth: A Christmas Prayer by Wanda E. Brunstetter The main setting of this story was a small wagon train heading west trying to catch up to a larger group of wagons. The girl in the story was going to California with her mother and the man she was engaged to, but when a bad blizzard had their small company seeking shelter in an “abandoned” cabin in the mountains she learned that her heart really loved another. This one was a little slow going at first and probably wasn’t the strongest choice to be the first story in the collection but I liked the way it turned out. It painted a picture of ordinary characters and gave a good description of what life on the trail was like. Another Christmas Story by Susan Page Davis This story begins with a wagon train and then moves into what life is like living at an outpost (basically a general store in the wildness where folks on the trail would re-stock supplies at.) Our heroine and her little brother have to spend the winter at an outpost with the family who runs it when their father is injured on the trail and dies. She ends up marrying the family’s son. This was a very charming story, albeit a sad one. I was drawn to the hero and how his personality was a little more bashful than most we’ll run into in this collection. The Reluctant Runaway by Melanie Dobson Lavinia runs away from her controlling brother in Omaha who is trying to force her to marry one of his friends to a small town in Colorado where she tries to survive on her own. While there, she ends up falling in love with a gentleman who owns a mine. I enjoyed the plot and how Lavinia learned to trust again. It was quite suspenseful at the end when her brother finds her – you definitely want to know what happens! Is she forced to marry her brothers gambling friend or does she get to marry Isaac? A Stagecoach Christmas by Cathy Liggett This story is set in Missouri where a handful of people on a stagecoach are caught in an ice storm and have to seek refuge in the very home the hero was trying to run away from. As much as I enjoyed the spunk Molly portrayed and how she won Samuel’s heart, it was the supporting characters that really made this story come alive to me. Even though I’m pretty sure that Missouri has never had enough snow as the author portrayed (trust me, I live here!) this was one of my favorites from the book. Forging A Family by Vickie McDonough Beth is working as an agent with the Children’s Aid Society on her way to the Arizona Territory with her father and the orphan train when a bridge collapses and they are stuck in a small Texas town around Christmastime. Cade works as a blacksmith but has difficulties watching his young daughter after his wife died. Over the time that Beth and her father are in Texas she falls in love with Cade. This story was well written – my only complaint was that it didn’t feel very Christmas like. (That may have had to do with the Texas setting.) Snow Song by Olivia Newport This story was another favorite for me! I loved how the author took the characters and put them in a completely different situation than most of the stories in this collection. Instead of falling in love with a man the heroine just met, we meet Belinda already engaged to a wonderful guy…she just has some doubts about him. The story behind how Belinda overcomes those doubts and reassures herself that this is the man she can’t live without is one of the best in this book! Christmas Maybe by Janet Spaeth The stories at the end of this collection get better and better. This was another one I really enjoyed! The girl we meet in these pages longs for adventure but the man her family has picked out for her is anything but adventurous…he’s flat out mundane and boring. So when she travels to spend the holidays with her brother and his wife in the Dakota’s, she discovers a different side to the man she is expected to marry. I thought this was a really sweet story and loved the way the author described certain emotions and feelings the characters experienced. This was my first time to read from Janet Spaeth and I really enjoyed her style. The Christmas Bread by Jennifer Rogers Spinola This story began a little slow for me, but by the end I was hooked! The way the author kept tying in the concept of “bread” in the story was pure genius and kept the theme moving. This was one of the longer stories in the book but what I appreciated most was how the Indians (Crow tribe) was interwoven in the plot and setting. Truly, our history of the West would not be complete without the Indians and I am glad that they were included in this collection. Christmas Bounty by Mary Lu Tyndall While many of the stories had California (or a state in the surrounding area) as the place characters were going, this one is actually set in California…the ultimate West. The Historical information set forth in this story drew me in immediately. At that time period, California had a heavy Mexican influence with large ranches where drama and power reigned supreme. So here we have a window, her two children, the deceased husband’s vineyards, jealous neighbors and no way to protect the harvest. How far would you go to provide for your family? Marry a pirate sentenced to hang? Let’s just say that this story had me on the edge of my seat until the final page. The story was a lot different from the others but that’s why I liked it so much, it added variety to the bunch and gave me a different view of the West in 1855.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Take the journey into the American west alongside nine women who are chasing their dream The Westward Christmas Brides Collection is a wonderful collection of nine novellas all rolled into one book. The books feature wonderful authors like Wanda Brunstetter, MaryLu Tyndall, Olivia Newport and many more. The stories are about fifty pages each and can be read in a short time. Each story stands alone, and does not connect to the other. What is there not to love in a book where all nine stories center on Christmas and brides? What made this collection particularly interesting is the wonderful variety of stories and characters featured. You get to step into the world of pirates, westward wagons, mining towns, stagecoaches, trading posts, train rides, and small towns from the west. Each story was excellent and I would have a hard time choosing a favorite. I love the look of this book. The sepia cover and the cut of the pages give it the feel of a book published long ago. I felt I was stepping back in time. I highly recommend reading The Westward Christmas Brides Collection to put you in the Christmas spirit. I was given this book by The Bookclub Network&Barbour Publishing for an honest review
BMace More than 1 year ago
Christmas Bounty - MaryLu Tyndall As a lover of all things pirate, the sea and history, it is easy to see how this wonderful author can take a seemingly sweet story and make it into a novella you won’t want to put down until finished. 1855 was a time of transition in California, and Santa Barbara was no different. Lawlessness was running rampant, hangings were a regular thing and it appeared to be no place for a widow with 2 young children. Enter a pirate that changes the whole story. Just how much can a pirate change his colors? Don’t miss this lovely tale, sure to get you in the spirit of the season! I am looking forward to reading the rest of these novellas, as this one was most enjoyable!