Can unexpected romance deliver a second chance for two deserving widows?
Full of resolve, young widow Willow Peterson decides to pursue her dreams to be an artist as she settles into a new life in the growing mountain town of Cripple Creek. When she lands a job working as a portrait painter with handsome entrepreneur and photographer Trenton Van Der Veer, the road before Willow seems to be taking a better-than-anticipated turn.
With questions tugging at several hearts in town, including the Sinclair Sisters’ beloved Miss Hattie, change is traveling down the tracks as several unexpected visitors make their way out West. Will the new arrivals threaten the deep family bonds of the Sinclair sisters and the roots of love that are just taking hold for Willow?
Filled with the resonating questions that all women face, this romance awakens hope against grief, love against loss, and dreams against life’s unexpected turns.
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Jagged edges marked the sculpted granite at Willow’s feet. Love was like that. Smooth in places. Sharp and dangerous in others.
’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Willow stared at the white rose in her hand. She agreed with Alfred Lord Tennyson’s statement. But on this last day of August, churned clods of Colorado dirt formed a blanket over her father’s grave. Was it the loss of her father so soon after their reunion, or was it fear threatening to rob her of air? Both were cunning adversaries.
She glanced at the shiny black carriage where her loved ones awaited her. Aunt Rosemary hadn’t looked at her today, but Willow had seen the apprehension clouding Mother’s eyes. Her brother, Tucker, had stared at her during the graveside service, worry rutting his brow. Even her sister-in-law watched her the way one would watch a pot on the brink of a boil.
If Willow dared to look in a mirror, she’d see the same question lurking in her own features. Could this insatiable sorrow pull her back into a tide she couldn’t withstand any more than Sam could survive the undercurrent in the
San Joaquin River?
She bent to the ground. “Father, I’m sorry for the anguish I’ve caused you. I wanted to be strong.” She laid the rose on the grave. “I won’t be a Weeping Willow this time.” Squaring her shoulders, she brushed away the tears spilling onto her cheeks. At what point after Sam’s death had her mourning become abnormal? Would she recognize warning signs if it were to happen again?
“Willow?” Tucker’s voice wafted on the breeze, just above a whisper.
Drawing in a fortifying breath, she looked at her brother and stood. His eyes narrowed as though he expected her to crumple. Tucker had been the only one to visit her at the asylum after Father had her committed, and he’d visited her once a week despite never receiving notable response from her. Tucker met her gaze. “Are you all right?”
“Yes.” She brushed a blade of grass from her mourning gown. “I needed some time.”
“I can’t help but worry about you.”
She offered him a slight grin. “I know.”
He slid his hands into his trouser pockets. “You shouldn’t be alone.”
Willow agreed. She’d expected by this time in her life to be a pastor’s wife and herding at least two or three little Peterson tykes.
“I’m not alone.” Was she trying to convince him or herself ? “Mother and Aunt Rosemary are at the boardinghouse with me.”
He looked at the rose she’d placed on their father’s grave. “Saturday they’ll return to Colorado Springs.”
“But Miss Hattie is under the same roof, and she’s not going anywhere.”
Willow added a lilt to her voice to see if she could cause his brow to soften. “And I have you.”
Perhaps it was a mistake to live this close to her brother. He had a wife, a church to shepherd, and the Raines Ice Company to oversee. Worrying about her was not a pleasant way for Tucker to live. But if she didn’t settle in Cripple
Creek, where would she go? Nothing, and no one, awaited her in Stockton, California, where she’d grown up and married Sam.
Tucker’s shoulders sagged. “It’s not the same as having a spouse to… I’d feel better if you’d agree to move into the parsonage.”
Willow pressed the squared toe of her dull black shoe into the grass. “We’ve already talked about this, and my answer is the same.”
“You can’t blame a brother for trying.”
“I don’t.” She patted his bristled cheek. “I love you for it.”
Tucker offered his arm. “We best get to the house. A supper awaits us.”
A bereavement supper, to be exact, replete with long faces and selfconscious commiseration. She matched Tucker’s pace, determined to remain above the shared sadness.
At the wagon, Willow stepped onto the wrought-iron foot brace and seated herself beside her sister-in-law, Ida.
Concern laced Mother’s green eyes—the source of Willow’s own eye color. “Are you all right, dear?”
Willow nodded, her lips pressed against another swirl of grief. She wasn’t the only one burying a father or a husband today. “What about you, Mother? Are you all right?”
“As well as can be expected, I suppose.”
Tucker raised the reins. As the wagon jerked forward, Ida’s tender hand rested on Willow’s palm, and she squeezed her sister-in-law’s hand. Tears stung Willow’s eyes. She needed to find her own path, but she didn’t let go.
Uncharacteristically quiet, Tucker guided the horses down Second Street toward the rustic home their parents bought when they left Stockton. How ironic that when Father’s consumption got the best of him, nearly two years ago, he ended up in a sanitorium. An institution, of sorts. Mother had moved in with her sister in Colorado Springs to be close to him. Tucker lived in the cabin until he and Ida married and moved into the parsonage. Now Otis and
Naomi Bernard and their four sons called the cabin home.
As they approached the creek-side property, Tucker slowed the horses. Mother let out a fragile moan, and Tucker reached over and patted her arm. Willow had seen the place once when she first came to Cripple Creek for her brother’s wedding, but she’d never viewed it as her parents’ home. Home was the clapboard two-story house in Stockton where she and Tucker had grown up. The house where she’d planned her wedding.
She wanted to believe everything happened for a reason—that God had a divine plan. Last year she’d found it easy to believe He’d left her here on earth and healed her so she could help her parents through her father’s illness. But now? Father was gone. Mother planned to return to Colorado Springs with Aunt Rosemary. And her brother had a new life with a pregnant wife.
“Here we are,” Tucker said. A few horses and wagons formed a line between the cabin and the barn. Otis, the biggest man Willow had ever seen, stepped off the porch. His oldest son stood at his side. Even at ten years old, Abraham was already a miniature of his father—dark skinned and broad shouldered.
His wife, Naomi, awaited them at the open door. A paisley-print apron added a bright spot to her black broadcloth dress. “Please accept our condolences, Missus Raines.” The petite woman reached for Mother’s hands. “Mr. Raines was good to us. You both were, and I’ll never forget that.” Sincerity shone in her dark eyes.
“Thank you.” Mother glanced at Abraham. “We appreciate all you and your father did to keep the ice deliveries going when Mr. Will took sick.”
Nodding, Abraham twisted a floppy hat in his hands. “Ma’am, Mr. Will did have a big bark, but he never bit me.”
Tucker was the first to laugh, but Willow and Mother soon joined him.
Naomi didn’t laugh. She glared first at Otis, then at her son. “Abraham, you will apologize for your disrespect.”
Abraham’s brow crinkled. The boy obviously didn’t realize that what he’d said was, by some standards, inappropriate. He straightened nonetheless, his arms tucked into his sides in a contrite manner. “I apologize, Missus Raines. I didn’t mean any disrespect. I liked Mr. Will. He always gave me a penny for candy or gave me a Tootsie Roll—my favorite.”
Mother smiled. “He liked you too, Abraham.” She patted the child’s head, then looked at his mother. “Naomi, your son is right. My husband did sound off with quite a bark now and then.”
Willow remembered her father’s bark, and she already missed it.
Naomi opened her mouth to speak, but Mother beat her to it. “No harm done.”
“Thank you.” Naomi stepped away from the open door. “Lots of folks have come to pay their respects.”
They entered the cabin one after the other, Willow stepping into the front room last. Before she reached the food tables, a stout woman stepped in front of her.
“I’m Mrs. Henry.”
“Your husband drives one of the ice wagons.”
“Yes.” Mrs. Henry narrowed her hazel eyes, looking at Willow but not meeting her gaze. “According to everything I’ve read in Scripture, if your father is in heaven, he’s in a far better place.”
If? Willow coughed as if she’d just swallowed something sour. She covered her mouth, more in an attempt to stifle her retort than as an act of propriety. Mrs. Henry had good intentions, didn’t she? Offering the woman the benefit of her doubt, Willow nodded, then glanced across the crowded room. Hattie Adams stood with Ida at the dessert table, and Willow suddenly had a hankering for something sweet—their company.
Her sister-in-law brushed a tear from her cheek. Tucker had found a good wife. Ida had a big heart and was mourning the loss of a man she barely knew. Hattie pulled a handkerchief from her apron pocket.
Willow regarded the stout woman still planted in front of her. “If you’ll excuse me.”
“Of course.” Mrs. Henry tugged the white collar on her black shirtwaist.
“Just remember, it’s always darkest before the morning.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I got this to review from Blogging for Books. This book is the fourth and final book in a series centered around the Sinclair sisters of Cripple Creek, Colorado. From reading this book, I suppose the other three books are about: They are all married although one got left at the alter. They moved to Cripple Creek because their father made them. He moved to Paris. Two have children; one really wants a child. Miss Hattie takes care of them. I think one may have gotten sick. And, although it was pretty easy to catch on I really disliked the fact that I didn't know going in that this was the 4th a series, as there were still some parts that kept me hanging and annoyed. I appreciate that it is not about a Sinclair sister at all, but about the sister of the pastor's wife (the pastor's wife being one of the sisters), although I think bits of her story are in one of the other books. I suppose we get enough through flashbacks...maybe. Mona Hodgson is an excellent writer at setting the scene and in terms of creating great characters who trust in God as they head out West, I'll gladly compare her to Janette Oke. Hodgson's characters are likeable and real. I especially like Trenton Van der Veer. His dislike of going to church is truly believable and transcends time. I love that he is a real man with real feelings and Hodgson's let's us know that while he may have a stutter he appreciates women, gets confused by women, and, is a little lost, because of a woman. The scene in the church parlor is just lovely. There are also many other scenes that Hodgson renders so completely that I felt like I was there and, well, I wanted to be. Pick up this book is you want a romance with a true look at what it means to be a Christian and to trust in the Lord at all times. Pick up this book if you like a good historical romance, I promise you will not be disappointed. The more I write about this book, the more I realize that I need to give it 4-stars, not my original 3-stars...I think those were based soully on the fact that I wasn't prepared to read the fourth book in a series and it made me a little perturbed. It would seem this book can stand alone pretty well. I am little sad that I don't feel the need to read the other three books, as I feel I've received enough of their stories.
My first impression of Mona Hodgson's novel was the gorgeous cover with a picture of a young woman that reminded me of a young Judy Garland in appearance, and that's the way I saw Willow Raines Peterson throughout this entire warm and involving read. Having not read the first three books in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series did not detract from my getting to know the characters and story behind the Sinclair sisters and their brother-in-law Pastor Tucker Raines, Willow's brother, prior to this story written around Willow. Even though placed in the year of 1898, we see that Cripple Creek is a burgeoning town filled with like characters working hard to build their town that we might still see across our nation in the present day. Of course, we have much more modern day conveniences now, but it was a time of running water, plumbing, telephones, iceboxes, (refrigerators) ovens and other inventions of rough nature. It worked for those living in this historical era. We first meet Willow, Tucker and his wife Ida Sinclair Raines at the graveside of their father. The family watched Willow closely, because she now felt twice the sorrow having just lost her husband, Sam, in a drowning incident; and just having spent time in an asylum for depression. Ida and Tucker tried to convince Willow to live with them at the parsonage, but Willow preferred to live independently. Willow soon became a boarder at Hattie Adams' Boarding House, the same home of the Sinclair sisters for a length of time after their mother's death and their father, Harlan Sinclair moved to Paris to conduct business. Willow depending deeply on God's grace and mercy is determined to find employment to support herself. She is a talented artist. Enters Trenton Van Der Veer, a professional photographer a new resident of Cripple Creek whose heart had recently been broken by his ex-fiancé'. Trenton has a speech impediment and has been scarred by a temperamental and controlling father all his life. Even though Willow and Trenton can't seem to understand one another after their first meeting - he puts her to a test to prove her talent before he decides to finally hire her as his assistant. Their relationship evolves into one of admiration and respect. Could this be a potential romance? Mona Hodgson artistically and talentedly twists story into story to bring about this delightful town of characters all closely related in one respect or another. The story becomes even more fun and complicated when the sister's father re-enters their lives. He brings with him a big mysterious surprise that baffles one and all. That dear landlady, Hattie, became my favorite character as she is beloved of all the book's personalities.....and turns Harlan's head just enough to make one wonder if there is romance in the air for Hattie. Ms Hodgson writes in an entertaining manner, holding interest and particularly proficient in showing God at work and bringing the conclusion of her story to show Gods glory. Well done, Mona Hodgson - thank you for adding to my joy in reading. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah for this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
TWICE A BRIDE by Mona Hodgson is an exciting inspirational Historical Romance set in 1898 Cripple Creek,Colorado. #4 in "The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek",but can be read as a stand alone. See,"Two Brides Too Many","Too Rich for a Bride",and "The Bride Wore Blue". "Twice A Bride" is the conclusion to a wonderful tale of life in Colorado,young women who makes a life against all odds,faith, and finding love. Follow, Willow Petersen,a young widow,who dreams of becoming an artist, and Trenton Van Der Veer,a photographer and wealthy widow on a journey of family bonds,life in a small Mountain town,dealing with grief and loss,dreams,hope,and finding love in the broken lives of two widows. A powerful and compelling story of second chances and finding love again. I have enjoyed this whole series and hate to see it end,but all good things must end. The women of Cripple Creek where an excellent show of women during the 1800's. I would recommend the title,especially, if you enjoy historical romance, Americana,Colorado,inspirational stories,and anyone who enjoys a great story. Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4 HEAT RATING: SWEET REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction Reviews
Reviewed by Tamera Lawrence for Readers' Favorite Widow Willow Peterson has recovered from unexpected loss and finds comfort in the close knit family she holds so dearly in her heart. But even as she comes to terms with the loss of her husband, she finds renewed faith. Willow seeks to find a place to fit in, but selling ice boxes just isn’t it. Answering an advertisement for a portrait artist, Willow meets Trenton Van Der Veer and the two make a business connection. But as the pair spends time together, they both discover they both want more and are ready to let their past hurts go. But even as the seeds of love are newly sprouting, a woman from Trenton’s past threatens to tear the couple apart. Will their love survive this challenge? "Twice a Bride" by Mona Hodgson is a 1898 historical romance that brings to life Cripple Creek – a quaint town filled with a variety of interesting characters filled with country charm. Family ties are explored as well as the loss of loved ones and the forgiveness of others. The Sinclair family is a refreshing glimpse into a faith-drawn family, who overcomes obstacles with their love for each other and a deepening faith in an unfailing God. Mona Hodgson did a wonderful job of bringing this story to life from her scenes of a fateful train derailment to the hurt of daughters who look for a way to reconnect with their wayward father. A good read by a talented author.
booksbysteph says "A Historical Romance That I Like" This author weaved a tale of romance and daily family life without having to read the first three books. It is always nice when a distraught woman becomes strong and independent and gets a second chance at love. I know the first three books were about the journey of each Sinclair sister but I do not know where they left off. This book potentially picks up when they left off and continues their journeys as background stories to help the main story of Willow's journey progress. This book is your typical man and woman fall in love at first sight, someone tries to intervene, one does not trust the other until the truth is told and they live happily ever after. I usually do not like historical books. This book, or series for that matter, takes place in the 1890s. However, the up and coming excitement of the town kept me captivated and interested in the story and wondering if the mining town of Cripple Creek truly existed at that time and maybe still does. I do not think I have a complaint about this book. Until next time, take life one page at a time!
Author Mona Hodgson places this historical fiction, Twice A Bride, in Cripple Creek, Colorado during the fall of 1898. Hodgson manages to draw her reader into the story line using the language, details, and actual places of the times. Cripple Creek is a fairly new community where most of the settler’s fled west in hopes of a better life. Twice A Bride is the last novel in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series. The first three books are centered on the arrival of the Sinclair sisters. Hodgson brought back Willow Peterson-sister-in-law of Ida Sinclair-Raines- for her protagonist. The story starts with Peterson in a state of shock after losing a husband and father. She is looking for a fresh start without wanting to be a burden on anyone. The one thing Peterson has on her side is that she is an artist, through her craft she meets a new photographer in town, Trenton Van Der Veer, and romance sparks. From this union Peterson starts her own business, Portraits by Willow. The reader will be introduced or reunited with the Sinclair sisters and other town’s people as they interact in each other’s lives. Hodgson portrays a God fearing community with God interacting in the lives of each character. This is an excellent book for group study, because at the end of the book there is a reader’s guide. The guide is equipped with 10 situations and questions pertaining to the situations. The book is equipped with bible verses and appropriate Christian etiquette. The author’s notes at the end of the book discuss the real life people and places in the series. I enjoyed reading this book: it was an easy read. I look forward to reading other books by Mona Hodgson. I received a copy free from Waterbook Multnamah in exchange for my honest review.
Twice a Bride is book 4 in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek, but is fine as a stand alone. I hadn't read the first three books and didn't feel like I was missing anything. I enjoyed this story, but it took me a bit to get into it. Having not lost a spouse, I had a hard time connecting with Willow's grief. Despite these things, I felt compelled to keep reading because the story pulled me in. I wanted to find out how Willow and Trenton reached their happily-ever-after. ***I received this book free for the purposes of review.***
Twice A Bride In Book 4 of the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series the young widow Willow Peterson knows what she wants to do with her life and that is to be an artist and sell her paintings in order to support herself. Her mother doesn't seems to think being an artist as a career is practical and that she should work at the families Ice Company. Willow notices an add in the local paper by a photographer, Trent Van Der Veer that just opened a shop in town. He is needing artist to paint portraits from the photographs he has taken. She can't believe her luck. This is just the opportunity she has been hoping for her future as an artist. Trent receives several answers to his add and notices one applicant, Willow Peterson lives in Cripple Creek and decide to ask her to come in for an interview and bring an example of her work. He is very impressed but not sure about hiring a woman. But he decides to give her chance at the job. Trent finds he is attracted to Willow but he is under the impression she is married. Just so happens Willow seems to be attracted to Trent. Evidently Willow and Trent are not the only couple in town that has caught the love bug and that is none other than Miss Hattie. Miss Hattie has fallen for a new comer to Cripple Creek and it surprises not only herself but the Sinclair Sisters are ecstatic over this possible match. Will there be another wedding or two in Cripple Creek. Or will the two women prefer to continue there life as widows? The author managed to write another heartwarming story of family ties, new babies and reconciliation with our Lord Jesus Christ. She shows the reader that if a person would ask God into their hearts and pray asking Him to heal their suffering heart He will fill them with Peace living their lives fuller in Him. I love all the characters she has created in this series. I enjoyed reading about their trials and tribulations as the Sinclair family grew in numbers and most importantly Spiritually. I highly recommend this book. Disclosure I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Press/Blogging for Books for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. It is my own opinion.
Twice A Bride by Mona Hodgson is the heartwarming story of two widows whose tragedies have left them in dire need of a fresh start, and second chance at love. After the loss of both her husband and father, Willow Peterson is in need of a fresh start. Planting roots in the quaint mountain town of Cripple Creek, she decides to pursue her dreams of being an artist and lands a job as a portrait painter for the handsome town photographer, Trenton Van Der Veer. She is unsure of where this new life may lead, but the outcome proves to be most satisfying. Boardinghouse owner Hattie Adams has been through her share of tragedies, and it seems unlikely that an older woman such as herself should have a second chance at love. But when Harlan Sinclair arrives in Cripple Creek, it seems she may be proven wrong, despite the fact that they got off to a rickety start. This book was the fourth in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series, and though I had not read the previous books in the series, it didn't seem to hinder me too much from following the story. I could tell that it was later in a series, as it talked about the characters as though you should already know who they were. Still it wasn't too confusing, and I found this to be a pretty charming story. It wasn't all that in-depth, but still an enjoyable love story that is filled with many of the joys and tragedies that all women face. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.