The Matchmaker Brides Collection by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Amanda Cabot, Lisa Carter, Ramona K. Cecil, Lynn A. Coleman, Susanne Dietze, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Connie Stevens, Liz Tolsma

My Review

Imagine being a matchmaker and not being able to find your own match, well, that’s exactly what happens in The Matchmaker Brides Collection, a compilation of nine novellas.

Every one of the ladies and a couple of the men have been somewhat successful at finding matches for others. However, they aren’t very good at finding their own match, even when those matches are right under their noses.

The stories cover different cities in America from 1876 to 1895. The settings are in real places, and it was fun to get to know more about the history of the small towns chosen, along with the time period, too.

The tales are short, so they are quick to read and make for a wonderful opportunity to curl up and absorb them individually or all at one time.

The Matchmaker Brides Collection also resonates with inspirational themes in the narratives, highlighting the need for faith, hope and sometimes forgiveness.

If you enjoy historical fiction, with an element of romance, you are sure to love these nine novellas written by nine Christian authors.

I received a copy of The Matchmaker Brides Collection from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Nine Meddling Matchmakers Find Love When They Least Expect It

Meet nine women of the late 1800s who have found themselves in the role of matchmaker. They think they have mastered the art of recognizing romantic potential in others, but when it comes to their own lives they have been unlucky in love. In small communities from Tennessee to Colorado, Wyoming to Indiana, love unexpectedly enters the women’s lives with men they never imagined marrying. But what will it take to get these ladies to say “I do”?

Home Grown Bride by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer
1876–Lebanon, Illinois
Emmie Mueller thinks the only way to leave Illinois and join her family in Kansas is to play matchmaker to the boarders who stand in the way of her grandmother selling her house. But tables are turned when the boarders attempt to match her with the newest man in town, Landon Knipp.

The Unmatched Bride by Amanda Cabot
1886–Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory
When a confirmed spinster matchmaker accepts an unusual assignment and helps a wealthy widower choose the right mate for his daughter, more than one couple finds true love.

Playing Possum by Lisa Carter
1895–Possum Trot, WY
Hoping to outplay, outwit, and outlast the Possum Trot matchmakers during the harvest festival, Cage Cooper proposes a pretend engagement to suffragette Theodosia Holland. Trouble is—in playing possum, they both may have gotten far more than they bargained for.

Hog Trough Bride by Ramona K. Cecil
1882–Honeytown, Indiana
Hoping to save her older sister from the humiliation of having to dance in the hog trough—a local custom when a younger sister beats her older sister to the altar—an aspiring bride engages in multiple matchmaking attempts with chaotic and surprising results.

The Tinman’s Match by Lynn A. Coleman
1880–On the road from Virginia to Tennessee
Josephine Woodley is surprised to find Xander Russell, a matchmaker, is an honorable man. Can she soften his tin heart enough for him to consider a match of his own?

Miss Matched by Susanne Dietze
1879–Emerald, Colorado
Brainy Grace Perkins applies scientific principles to play matchmaker for the singles in her small town. However, her hypothesis leaves out God’s role and matters of the heart, creating tangled results.

The Backfired Bride by Kim Vogel Sawyer
1889–Friendly, Kansas
Can a pair of single, inexperienced but well-meaning young people convince an older man and woman that marriage is better than remaining alone?

Sing of the Mercy by Connie Stevens
1876–Black Hills of Dakota Territory
A newly-elected mayor teams up with a hash house cook to turn a mining camp into a brand new town. Will they be able to transform the rough-edged miners into gentlemen, persuading prospective brides to consider matrimony?

A Match Made in Heaven by Liz Tolsma
1885–Detwiler, Iowa
Pastor Len Montgomery receives an unusual letter that turns him into the matchmaker he never wanted to be. But the match he most wants to make, the one with the town’s sweet and charming postmistress, may be out of his reach.

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The 12 Brides of Summer Collection by Mary Connealy, Amanda Cabot, Miralee Ferrell, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Margaret Brownley, Susan Page Davis, Pam Hillman, Maureen Lang, Amy Lillard, Davalynn Spencer, Michelle Ule, Vickie McDonough

12 Brides of Summer

My Review

The Honey Bride, by Diana Brandmeyer, introduces us to Katie Tucker. Katie is afraid of bees, but they may be the only option for her, her brother and grandmother to survive. After her father’s death, she has to keep the family farm going. It looks like her neighbor, Pete Dent, and the bees may be her only solution.

Diana Brandmeyer has written an excellent story showing us how we can rest assured of the Lord’s help with all our fears and sorrows.

Margaret Brownley has written a fun, enjoyable story in Dog Days of Summer.

Marilee Davis, a music teacher, has found the perfect assistant-her pet dog, Mo. He has an ear for music, and when Marilee’s students hit a discordant note, Mo lets them know. Tim Colbert, the city blacksmith, has the perfect dog, too, Dynamite. Marilee and Tim have noticed their dogs keeps disappearing, but neither one suspect that Mo is actually Dynamite!

The Fourth of July Bride is by Amanda Cabot.

Naomi Towson and her mother are struggling to make ends meet, with Naomi working as an assistant in the town’s bakery. When her mother needs a delicate and expensive surgery, Naomi knows that she can’t afford to pay for it. Only her trust in God keeps her from being overwhelmed with despair. So, when Gideon Carlisle, local cattle baron, offers to pay for the surgery in exchange for Naomi pretending to be his fiancée, she jumps at the chance.

In A Bride Rides Herd, Mary Connealy mixes a story of delightful mischief and abject fear, with humor and seriousness, creating a charming love story.

Matt Reeves is traveling to his brother’s ranch when he hears an ear-piercing scream. Spinning his horse around to head back where he heard the scream, he’s expecting to find the worst. Instead, he finds two of his brother’s daughters deliberately catapulting themselves into a fast moving stream.

Warring emotions overcome him as he gathers them up to take them home, only to discover his brother left a seemingly inept young lady as the babysitter.

Susan Page Davis does a great job of setting up The Blue Moon Bride.

Ava Neal is going on an adventure-a train ride to visit her best friend in Wyoming Territory. She travels unaccompanied, an uncommon thing for a young woman to do in the late 1800’s.

As Ava ventures West, Joe Logan befriends her. Joe, tasked with delivering valuables to a client of his law firm, is on his way to San Francisco. However, the train they are riding on is robbed.

As you read, you feel the fear during the robbery, Ava’s joy at arriving at her friends and the thrill of the race to catch the thieves. Along the way, you cheer for Ava and Joe as they begin to fall in love.

You are sure to enjoy the playful story of The Dogwood Blossom Bride by Miralee Ferrell, written with just the right amount of romance and seriousness.

Gracie Addison is a tomboy through and through. Her favorite pastimes are climbing trees and horseback riding. In fact, falling out of a tree was how she first met Will Montgomery.

Will is single and raising his niece and needs help in the process. Gracie may be the perfect answer. However, he doesn’t realize at their first meeting she is grown. And he is constantly fighting against her tomboy tendencies, trying to keep Gracie from influencing his little girl too much.

Pam Hillman ‘s The Lumberjack’s Bride is a story full of danger and excitement.

Lucy Denson is a cook for a lumberjack crew, something the Chicago native never dreamed she would be.  She just wants to go back home where everyone and everything is civilized. Eli Everett, a member of the logging crew, couldn’t agree with her more. Her citified ways are jeopardizing the camp crew.

The Summer Harvest Bride, by Maureen Lang, is a romantic story with a bit of intrigue.

Sally Hobson’s family, and even Sally to some extent, are convinced she should marry the Mayor’s son, Willis Polit. However, Sally starts having second thoughts when Lukas Daughton, with his brothers and his father, ride into town with plans to build the community’s first gristmill. When the mill is sabotaged, Sally comes to the rescue and realizes her true love.

The Wildflower Bride, by Amy Lillard, is about Grace Sinclair, a widowed preacher’s daughter.

Grace has accepted that her lot in life is to stay unmarried in order to assist her father. All her convictions change when her sister gets married, and Grace meets Ian McGruer, with whom she falls in love at first sight.

The story is very reminiscent of Grace Livingston Hill romances. The young couple meets and immediately falls in love. However, they have seemingly insurmountable obstacles to overcome.

The tale was a little hard for me to get into, as I don’t think someone can fall in love within moments of setting eyes on another, much less have the love reciprocated. Nonetheless, it is an enjoyable, romantic account of two young people.

The Country Fair Bride, by Vickie McDonough, is a heartwarming story of redemption, forgiveness and the ability to change with God’s help.

Prudence “Prudy” Willard returns home to Bakertown, Missouri, in 1892 to see her ill father. She originally left, spending about a year and a half with her Aunt, after her scandalous treatment of the new pastor and his fiancé. She is determined to keep her new forgiving spirit, but when Adam Merrick, interim mayor while her dad is sick, seems to be too comfortable, Prudy’s waspish tongue stings again.

A refreshing love story, The Columbine Bride, by Davalynn Spencer, illustrates how love can overcome and conquer even the worst of circumstances.

Lucy Powell is a young widowed mother of two children. As Lucy tries to navigate life without her husband, she doesn’t want charity. However, Buck Reiter can’t stand seeing the family work so hard. He constantly assists Lucy by bringing firewood and making repairs around the farm.

The Sunbonnet Bride, by Michelle Ule, places us in the life of Sally Martin. Sally has moved to town to work as a seamstress in order to augment her family’s farm income. However, she has a difficult decision to make. A tornado has destroyed the family farm, and two men are vying for her attention. Malcolm McDougal, a local man, is steady, dependable, a hard worker and not afraid to get his hands dirty helping the tornado victims. Josiah French, on the other hand, is a wealthy banker, offering loans to those whose homes were damaged and never seems to get dirty.  However, he could offer Sally and her family a way out of their hard life.

Michelle Ule skillfully weaves the difficulties facing Sally into an excellent account, complete with all the anxiety and worry one would expect under similar circumstances.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

(I previously reviewed this book when it was in a multiple novella book form.)

Tuesday’s Tale

12 Brides

I got way behind on reviewing Christmas stories. Christmas just snuck up on me this year! Therefore, there will be a few more Christmas stories soon!

The 12 Brides of Christmas Collection by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Margaret Brownley, Amanda Cabot, Mary Connealy, Susan Page Davis, Miralee Ferrell, Pam Hillman, Maureen Lang, Amy Lillard, Vickie McDonough, Davalynn Spencer, and Michelle Ule

About Book

Enter the heartland of historical America at Christmastime through twelve inspiring romance novellas from acclaimed Christian authors. Meet Alma, Lucy, Esther, Marilee, Polly, Deborah, Annabelle, Sophie, Maddie, Karen, Arabella, and Kate who are surprised by how God brings them the desires of their hearts. Watch as faith, romance, and heartfelt gifts open each of their hearts to love.

My Thoughts

Originally, each of the novellas in The Twelve Brides of Christmas Collection released as individual features and later re-packaged as one book. The novellas each cover a different location of our country during the 1800’s. I liked how each story identified the date and state where the story took place. The book is a wonderful collection featuring many authors I know and several I don’t know. I enjoyed reading every story.

The twelve tales are short, roughly just 50 pages long. They are all wholesome Christmas stories capturing the true meaning and unique perspective of the season. Moreover, they highlight a romantic angle from a Christian viewpoint.

I opted not to review each novella individually. I felt a fair review of each story would almost require another book!

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday’s Many Mini’s!

12 Brides of summer 2

The 12 Brides of SummerNovella Collection #2 is written by Mary Connealy, Amanda Cabot and Maureen Lang.

About the Book

Love Is Buzzing in the Good Old Summertime! Spend the sunny days of summer relaxing with an ice cold glass of lemonade and revel in the dreams of twelve brides who are a bit surprised by how the men of their dreams come into their lives. Journey to the Old West, stay on the prairie, and visit quaint small towns. . .without leaving the comfort of your own front porch!

Fireworks start to fly as love finds its way into open hearts in Novella Collection #2:

A Bride Rides Herd by Mary Connealy

Matt Reeves arrives at his brother’s ranch to find Betsy Harden alone with the little girls during a cattle drive. Will the ladies be too much to handle when Matt steps in for the missing ranch hand?

The Fourth of July Bride by Amanda Cabot

Cattle baron Gideon Carlisle offers to pay for surgery that Naomi Towson’s mother needs if Naomi will enter a faux courtship with him while his mother is visiting over the Fourth of July. It’s a business arrangement, nothing more.

The Summer Harvest Bride by Maureen Lang

Sally Hobson is practically engaged to the mayor’s son when Lukas Daughton and his family come to town to build a gristmill. She can’t deny an unusual feeling growing for Lukas, but is he trustworthy?

My Thoughts

A Bride Rides Herd by Mary Connealy is the first story in the series.

Matt Reeves is traveling to his brother’s ranch when he hears an ear-piercing scream. Spinning his horse around to head back where he heard the scream, he’s expecting to find the worst. Instead, he finds two of his brother’s daughters deliberately catapulting themselves into a fast moving stream.

Warring emotions overcome him as he gathers them up to take them home, only to discover his brother left a seemingly inept young lady as the babysitter.

Mary Connealy mixes a story of delightful mischief and abject fear, with humor and seriousness, creating a charming love story.

The second story is The Fourth of July Bride by Amanda Cabot.

Naomi Towson and her mother are struggling to make ends meet, with Naomi working as an assistant in the town’s bakery. When her mother needs a delicate and expensive surgery, Naomi knows that she can’t afford to pay for it. Only her trust in God keeps her from being overwhelmed with despair. So, when Gideon Carlisle, local cattle baron, offers to pay for the surgery in exchange for Naomi pretending to be his fiancée, she jumps at the chance.

Amanda Cabot’s thoughtfully written tale will leave you wondering what your decision may have been in similar circumstances.

Maureen Lang finishes out the trilogy with The Summer Harvest Bride.

Sally Hobson’s family, and even Sally to some extent, is convinced she should marry the Mayor’s son, Willis Polit. However, Sally starts having second thoughts, when Lukas Daughton, along with his brothers and father, ride into town with plans to build the town’s first gristmill. When the mill is sabotaged, Sally comes to the rescue and realizes her true love.

Maureen Lang has written a romantic story with a bit of intrigue, a story you are sure to enjoy.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.