Two Brides Too Many: A Novel, The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Book 1

Two Brides Too Many: A Novel, The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Book 1

by Mona Hodgson

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Kat and Nell Sinclair are headed west—away from the manicured lawns of Maine to the boisterous, booming mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado to start new lives for themselves as mail-order brides.
Aboard the train, romantic dreamer Nell carries a photo of her intended close to her heart and imagines an exciting and love-filled future, while her pragmatic older sister Kat resigns herself to marriage as a duty, not a delight.
But when the ladies disembark at the train depot, neither fiancé Patrick Maloney or Judson Archer awaits them with open arms. The well-bred Sinclair sisters find themselves unexpectedly alone in the wild, frontier town—a place where fire threatens to reduce the buildings to rubble, the working women strut the streets, rogues will gamble for the shoes on one’s feet, and God’s grace is found amongst the most unlikely of folks.
Two sisters,
Two missing misters,
A shocking welcome to the wild west that leaves both Kat and Nell Sinclair questioning their dreams­ and the hope for true love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307458919
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/04/2010
Series: Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 15,772
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Mona Hodgson is the author of nearly thirty children’s books. Her writing credits also include hundreds of articles, poems, and short stories in newspapers and magazines. She speaks regularly at women's retreats, schools, and conferences throughout the United States and Canada. She lives in Arizona with her husband.

Read an Excerpt

1895, Portland, Maine
I have you cornered.”
Kat looked up from the writing desk to the table, where Nell was grinning. Nell’smatch with Ida had been particularly animated on this Sunday afternoon. Both were fiercely competitive, and Kat knew better than to challenge either one of them at checkers, or most any game.
Ida perched on a cushioned chair, face to face with Nell. The oldest of the four Sinclair sisters wasn’t accustomed to losing, and it showed in Ida’s furrowed brow. She stared at the board, but the pattern of the red and black disks didn’t change. When she finally made a move, Nell snatched the red game piece off the board, her blue eyes sparkling. “That’s five out of seven, Ida.” Vivian, the youngest at sixteen, called the tournament from the sofa where she lounged with Sassy, her Siamese cat.
 “You’ve been dethroned, sis.” Kat closed her journal. “We have a new Sinclair checkers champion.”
While Ida lifted an imaginary crown off her head, Nell stood and smoothed her skirt. Ida placed the invisible trophy atop Nell’s wheat blond twist. “I present the new queen of checkers.” Ida bowed. All four sisters giggled.
Kat picked up her journal and walked to the window. Fabric ties held tartan curtains open, framing the idyllic outdoor scene. Crimson and golden leaves adorned the maples and oaks outside, and a couple of squirrels frolicked while a handful of leaves twisted and
twirled above them like autumn acrobats.
Acrobats in fall colors
Twist and twirl…
Kat hurried back to the writing desk and recorded the words in her journal, her pencil flying over the page. Sunday was the most inspiring day of the week. The Sabbath’s time of rest and reflection always left her refreshed and full of new ideas.
Nell cleared her throat. “I don’t suppose you’re writing about my victory for the Portland Press Herald.
“A recounting of your conquest, as great as it was, isn’t Kat’s cup of tea.” Vivian laughed. The name Sassy fit Vivian as well as it did her cat.
“Now if Nell were the writer in the family, we’d all be reading a most romantic love story,” Ida said, returning the checkerboard to the bookcase.
“I believe in love.” Nell shrugged. “Is that so bad?”
“Believing in love is not at all bad, poppet.” Father’s warm voice drew their attention to the doorway. He wore a herringbone suit, his auburn mustache and beard neatly trimmed. He leaned against the door frame, his arms crossed over his chest.
“We have a new checkers champion, Father.” Nell raised her hands to her head and formed a crown. “Me.”
“And such a humble winner.” A weak smile turned up one side of Father’s mouth, and an uneasiness began to niggle Kat’s stomach. Something wasn’t right.
While Father joined all four of the girls at the table, Tilda shuffled into the room and set a tea tray down on the mahogany table. She’d served the Sinclair family for ten years, and Kat would never forget how lovingly Tilda had cared for Mother until Mother’s death eight years ago. Tilda poured hot apple cider into the china cups and straightened up slowly.
Kat lifted her cup and took in a deep breath, inhaling the fragrant steam, then took a lemon bar from the platter and passed the tray to Ida.
“Her rule will be short-lived.” Ida squared her shoulders. “I’ll have my title and crown back next Sunday.”
“My girls are headstrong, even while being fair flowers.” Father lifted his cup with finely kept hands. “That’s what helped me survive losing your mother.” After a drink of cider, he returned his cup to the table. “I have news, girls, and I’m counting on that independent spirit of yours.”
While Kat considered what kind of news would have Father counting on their independence, she swallowed the last bite of lemon cookie. “What kind of news, Father?” Nell asked the question before Kat could get it out.
“My job here is being terminated in May of the coming year.”
 “That’s awful.” Vivian’s empty cup clinked against the saucer. “They can’t do that!”
Nell frowned at Vivian’s pessimism—a battle Nell and Vivian engaged in often. “You’ll find something soon, Father,” she said. “I’m just sure of it.”
“Nell’s right.” Kat couldn’t believe she’d said that. Her father had worked for Wyatt Locomotive for as long as she could remember, and there weren’t many other prospects here in Portland. “May is still eight months away. You’ll probably find something even better by then.”
She hoped her voice sounded more optimistic than she felt. Vivian scooted back her chair and folded her arms in a huff. “It makes no difference how much time they’ve given you. You’ve given them much more.”
“Well, they haven’t let me go entirely,” he said, letting out a sigh. “They’ve offered me a job overseeing their locomotive engineers in Paris.”
Nell gasped and Vivian shrieked. Sassy jumped off Vivian’s lap and scurried for cover. Kat sat still, stunned.
Father was taking a job in France.
While most writers might find a place like Paris exotic and alluring, Kat didn’t. She liked living in Maine. Portland had been their home all her life. This was where Mother lived and died. Ida pinched the bridge of her nose, signaling one of her headaches was coming on. “I can’t leave Portland, Father. I’m only halfway through my secretarial course here.”
“Yes,” he said. “I’ve thought about that.” The clock began to chime, and Father waited for the fourth and final chime to sound before he continued speaking. “This house belongs to the company,” he said, pressing his hand against the arm of his chair. “They are only providing me with a one-room apartment in Paris.”
The niggle in Kat’s stomach fast became a churning. She couldn’t believe that Father was leaving them behind. At nearly nineteen, she should be ready for this, but with their mother gone, he was all they had left.
“You’re leaving us here?” Nell asked, her voice shallow.
“I don’t get to go to Paris?” Vivian whispered.
Father rose from his chair and strolled to the fireplace. Pulling Mother’s picture off the mantel, he stared at it, as if drawing strength from her. “I have to do this,” he said. “I don’t see any other way.” Her father looked so forlorn that Kat almost stood up to give him a hug. She didn’t like it, but she knew the decision to take the job had to be as difficult for him as it was for them. “We’ll be fine, Father.”
“I know you will, Kat. I have faith in each one of you. Your mother did a fine job of raising you to be exceptional young women.” Father returned the photograph to the mantel. “I need to know that you four will be well cared for until I return, so I’ve arranged for Vivian and Ida to stay with your aunt Alma here in Portland until they finish their schooling. Then they’ll join you and Nell in Colorado.”
“Colorado?” Nell’s voice quivered.
“Yes. I think Colorado will be the best place for you,” he said, his eyes sad. “Towns are growing fast there, and the mountains are grand, and I’ve had many occasions for business there.” Father returned to his cup and took a long drink. “There are good, solid men there, and as much as it hurts me to see you go, Colorado is a land of opportunity. That’s what I want for my girls.”
Questions piled upon questions, leaving Kat feeling a bit queasy.
What was Father talking about? Opportunities for what? And what did men in Colorado have to do with her and Nell? Kat glanced at Ida for answers, but her big sister looked just as dumbfounded as she felt. “After the war, many men from the East moved out west, where they’re making good wages in the mines, railroads, and businesses. Some are even striking it rich. Vivian isn’t of the age for a husband yet. The rest of you are, and I’m afraid it’s time to start looking.” He shook his head. “Ida will finish her studies first, but I want the two of you to wire advertisements to the Cripple Creek Prospector in Cripple Creek, Colorado.”
“Advertisements?” The one word was all Kat could choke out.
“Yes, poppet. Advertisements for husbands.”
Kat pulled her napkin to her face and tried to hide her dismay. Traveling west to look for husbands was one thing. But advertising in a newspaper for one was another matter entirely. It just wasn’t something that well-bred ladies did.
But one look at her father’s pained face made her realize that everything had changed.

Customer Reviews

Two Brides Too Many 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love history and fiction
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started off slow and the father encouraging daughters to marry strangers was definitely different. Throw them to who knows what. Did turn out to be a good story with a happy ending.
Courtney21 More than 1 year ago
Two young sisters travel to Colorado as mail-order brides, but when they get there their intendeds are nowhere to be found. They leave behind 2 sisters in Maine and a father that leaves for a new job in Paris so there is no turning back, they must stay in Colorado and figure out where their fiancés' went. Nell is a romantic dreamer and insists that her fiancé' is going to show up and sweep her off her feet, while the more serious sister Kat is worried that her man is good-for-nothing loser and she'll need to figure out her life without a husband. This is a very unique twist to a mail-order bride story. Once the girls get to Colorado a whole new slew of problems await them and there are lots of twists and turns that are surprising. The love stories in this book were sweet but I really thought they should have been more developed. I wish there was a whole lot more to the romantic relationships, it seemed like nothing romantic really started happening until the last 50 pages of the book which just wasn't good enough for me. If it is going to take that long for it develop there at least needs to be some teasing/flirting going to build up the suspense. The story line to me was a bit unbelievable at times and predictable at other times. I found it almost impossible to believe a single dad of this time period would lose his job and then move to a new job in Paris leaving behind his 4 daughters. That part is hard to believe. And from the moment Morgan entered the story you could predict how that was going to turn out which also frustrated me. Too simple of a story line that didn't have me hooked to what was happening. The side characters were really interesting too; I thought Hattie and Boney were delightful additions to the story. I would have given this 3 stars but I do think that the writing was great even though I didn't connect to the story like I wanted. I did get involved enough to want to know what happens with all the Sinclair sisters but I just didn't love this story. I think there are a lot of readers that would enjoy this sweet and simple romance.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1895 Portland, Maine, widower Wyatt Sinclair informs his four daughters, his position as a locomotive has been abolished, but he has a job in Paris with a single room apartment that he must take. He has his two oldest daughters Kat and Nell advertise in the Cripple Creek Prospector for husbands while his younger children Ida and Vivian will stay with their Aunt Alma until they can join their older siblings in Colorado. Nell and Kat take the train to Cripple Creek to meet their fiancés Judson Archer and Patrick Maloney respectively. Neither meets their respective mail order bride at the station. Kat finds her future spouse is a womanizing drunk and dumps him while Judson fails to show up. A fire has both sisters helping out with Kat rescuing a now orphaned little girl Rosita whose mother died in the inferno; and Nell reads to the frightened kids. Kat has an incident with new Bostonian Dr. Morgan Cutshaw who reads her the riot act as he mistakenly believes she is an incompetent midwife while Judson learns his fiancée is in town. Two Brides To Many is a fun western romance starring likable sisters who though are fish out of water quickly adapt to their situation although not too easily. The strong support cast brings to life Cripple Creek at the end of the previous century just after a deadly blaze cripples the town; thus in some ways the locale steals the show. However, the entertaining story line is carried by the siblings whose men have a Rocky Mountain worth of self-caused issues to climb to win their hearts. Harriet Klausner
Mary Gorremans 25 days ago
This is a very sweet story filled with romance and adventure .
Suzalyn Nelson 29 days ago
enjoyable read. Can't wait for the next book
Mary Tate 3 months ago
Some great reading with an interesting plot. The characters were all easy to relate to. Couldn't help but fall in love with the two sisters who were to be the brides. Loved the way it ended and will be looking for the next books in this series to be published.
judyg54 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Let me start this review with how much I liked the cover and the title. It had me wanting to read the story. This is the 1st book in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek. For me this was a lighthearted romance that started slow, but ended well. Two "spunky" sisters head to a mining town to meet and marry men they have only met through letters. Kat and Nell Sinclair arrive in Cripple Creek and it wasn't exactly what they were expecting, but they don't give up easily. Kat finds out her intended is a drunken scroundrel, and Nell can't find her intended anywhere. So the ladies find themselves alone in a wild western town, when a fire breaks out over the town. Kat and Nell jump in to help and find themselves a part of Cripple Creek real quick. Now they must wait on the Lord for answers to their future and for their husbands.I didn't find anything I disliked about this story, but it also didn't grab me as one of those stories you can't put down till done. It was just a nice romantic read where problems arose, but were quickly worked out and where you pretty much know how things are going to work out, and you just enjoy watching it happen. I will continue to read this series and see what happens to the rest of the Sinclair sisters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good light enjoyable read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LovenGod More than 1 year ago
The Sinclair sister's are in for a life changing experience. Their father lost his job, in Maine and is being sent to Paris for a job, but only he will go, the four sisters are old enough to begin lives of their own. At their father's urging, Nell and Kat, place ads for husbands in a newspaper in Colorado, after many months of correspondence they are on their way to Colorado to meet their grooms to be, and for new lives. Upon arriving they are dismayed to find their intended husbands are not at the station to meet them. They quickly find out that their whole perception of how life would be in Colorado is wrong. A fire sweeps through the town, killing Kat's intended, although she had already told him, he was not to be her husband. What will she do? Will Nell's intended show up, where can he be? A whirlwind of happenings and misunderstanding between the characters of this book, will keep you reading from front page to back page. Mona Hodgson has given us a story that is a delightful read and most worthy of a five star rating. 304 pages $13.99 US 5 stars. This book was provided for review purposes only, no payment was received for this review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MaryBethWrites More than 1 year ago
Mona Hodgson made her mark in the realm of children's books, delightful stories geared toward sharing uplifting messages with youngsters. With "Two Brides Too Many," she moves into the world of adult romantic fiction. Hodgson uses all of the lessons learned on more than twenty juvenile books to bring Cripple Creek, Colorado to vibrant life. The four Sinclair sisters live in the structured civility of Portland, Maine in the late 1800s. When their widowed father is transferred by his employer to Paris, the girls find life turned inside-out. They must leave the company-owned house in which they live. Unable to accompany their father to Paris due to the constraints the company set, they must make alternative plans. Father has a plan. Kat and Nell will find husbands-in Colorado! They begin correspondences with their respective intended husbands and make the long trip west, only to find no one to meet them at the end of the journey. Far from home and with only each other for comfort, the girls must cope with the strange new world to which they have come. Hodgson builds a carefully researched stage for the action of her book. History and nature provide spectacular settings for a switch on the classic "fish out of water" tale. Cripple Creek in 1896 was an untamed mining town, prone to fires and danger. She takes no simplistic routes as she crafts a moving and exciting story of faith, family and romance, seasoned with a strong dose of adventure. We watch two city girls grow into capable women as they face challenges and disappointments on the road to romance. The story is satisfying, with a few surprises along the way. One mark of a good book is that it leaves you looking forward to the author's next work. "Too Brides Too Many" definitely hits the mark. Hodgson's next adult book, "Too Rich for a Bride," is scheduled for release in October 2010. I'll be in line to get it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suzie2672 More than 1 year ago
Life has a way to not turn out the way you expect it. Kat and Nell Sinclair's world is turned upside down with the news their father's job had been cut and he was taking a new position in Paris. He made arrangements that his two youngest daughters were to go live with their aunt and that his oldest daughters, Kat and Nell would place mail order bride ads in a local Colorado newspaper. Through the ads they placed, both Kat and Nell received marriage proposals. They were required to travel west to the town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Nell held the fantasy that her intended would be a man of honor and Grace. Kat sees the arrangement as nothing more than a business agreement that would provide her the safety and security she needed. When the two arrives at their destination, they are shocked that neither of their intended is present. They know to survive in the harsh western world they would have to depend on each other. Will they be strong enough to endure the hardships the Old West presents? Two Brides Too Many is an exceptional historical romance. It provides the reader memorable characters that are faced with some of life's most challenging aspects. Kat and Nell are characters that you will form an instantaneous bond in getting to know their story. I highly recommend Two Brides Too Many for the true historical romance enthusiast.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Forget trains had to be "serviced" especially take on water and passengers to eat. religious theme fuzzy and see no reason for the second plot of the card shark who seems very incompetent a house would have had their own table and no doubt part owner