Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands Romance Collection by Susan Page Davis, Susanne Dietze, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels and Gina Welborn

My Review

Abigail Melton becomes the mayor of Turtle Springs, Kansas, by default. Her father doesn’t return after the Civil War, in which he, along with almost the entire male population of this small Kansas town, died in the war.

Abigail knows something needs to be done; the town needs men, so she proposes advertising for husbands, in a unique twist to the more common mail-order bride scenario. Her idea mimics today’s speed dating idea. Each woman will have 15 minutes with the men who respond to the ad. At the end of all the meetings, they can write down the name of the man they want to get to know better and set up dates.

All seven tales, beginning with Abigail’s, focuses on either a single lady or widow trying desperately to survive without the men necessary to run the ranches, stores, restaurant and other business or family ventures in Turtle Springs.

There are many light-hearted and sad moments within the stories. The women are as different as can be imagined, but all have hopes, dreams and a desire for a better life, not only for themselves but also for their friends and their town.

A lot of action and adventure is in the novella collection of Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands. Each carries a message of faith and hope, too.

I enjoy how the seven novellas, though written by different authors, all had references to other individuals in the collection. If you enjoy historical fiction with a twist, you are sure to enjoy reading this compilation about the post-Civil War era in Turtle Springs, Kansas.

I received this book from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

 

Publisher’s Summary

Seven women seek husbands to help them rebuild a Kansas town.

Meet seven of Turtle Springs, Kansas’, finest women who are determined to revive their small town after the War Between the States took most of its men. . .and didn’t return them. The ladies decide to advertise for husbands and devise a plan for weeding out the riff raff. But how can they make the best practical choices when their hearts cry out to be loved?

Abigail’s Proposal by Cynthia Hickey
When her father never returned from the war, Abigail Melton stepped into his role as town mayor. The town needs men, and she needs a husband—and she has a big idea how to find both—but her first duty is to hire a sheriff. And drifter Josiah Ingram will do just fine.

The Kidnapped Groom by Susan Page Davis
Riding through the Flint Hills on his way to Dodge City, cowboy Sam Cayford finds himself the kidnapping victim of two children. When he meets their lovely mother, Maggie Piner—whom the kids insist he should marry—Sam starts to question God’s plans versus his own.

A Clean Slate by Susanne Dietze
Schoolmarm Roberta “Birdy” Green won’t marry any of the prospective grooms flocking to town. After losing her fiancé in the war, the only love her broken heart can bear is for her students. But then she takes on a new pupil—Drew Cooper, one of the gentlemen drawn to Kansas by the advertisement for grooms.

Sunshine of My Heart by Darlene Franklin
Debbie Barker longs to bring beauty to her new home on the prairie, where her family moved after the war, and seeks a husband to help her father run the ranch. Zack Gage returned home from the war to a life in ruins—family dead and business bankrupted. He answers the mail-order husband ad to seek a fresh start. But neither Debbie nor Zeke know what they are doing when it comes to ranching. . .or love.

Come What May by Patty Smith Hall
Chardy Stevens is at the end of her rope. Between running her late father’s store and tending to her four younger brothers, she barely has time to breathe, much less look for a husband to help her. The boys scare off most of her prospects and throw Chardy together with her childhood friend Luke, a disabled veteran who seeks her happiness above his own.

Dime Novel Suitor by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Widow Caroline Kane is the proprietor of a restaurant and inn—and responsible for her five teenaged siblings. But she has no plans of finding a mail-order groom. Britisher Barden Granville IV is on a “cowboy holiday” when he finds himself flat broke in Kansas.  When he answers an old “help wanted” ad, Caroline misconstrues Barden is there as a potential husband. Will the beautiful and fiesty widow cause the new vicar to make Kansas his home?

Louder than Words by Gina Welborn
After years of writing abolitionist pamphlets and chronicling soldier life during the war, J.R. Lockhart is bored and jumps at the opportunity to investigate an advertisement for husbands for an article in Godey’s Lady’s Book. Jane Ransome would like to help the charming-but-oblivious-to-life-out-West man chronicle the courtships developing in town, but she has her own husband to find—one who will fit perfectly in her picket-fenced Kansas home.

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The California Gold Rush Romance Collection

The California Gold Rush Romance Collection: 9 Stories of Finding Treasures Worth More than Gold by Amanda Barratt, Angela Bell, Dianne Christner, Anne Greene, Linda Farmer Harris, Cynthia Hickey, Pam Hillman, Jennifer Rogers Spinola and Jaime Jo Wright

california-gold-rush

About the Book

Rush to California after the 1848 gold discovery alongside thousands of hopeful men and women. Meet news reporters, English gentry, miners, morticians, marriage brokers, bankers, fugitives, preachers, imposters, trail guides, map makers, cooks, missionaries, town builders, soiled doves, and more people who take advantage of the opportunities to make their fortunes in places where the population swelled overnight. But can faith and romance transform lives where gold is king?

My Review

Everyone, from all walks of life, is caught up in gold fever during the California gold rush. The California Gold Rush Romance Collection richly captures a slice of life during this tumultuous and exciting time in American history.

Nine authors come together to give a unique perspective on the robust era of the gold rush.

Amanda Barratt pens the story of Lorena Quinn, in The Price of Love. Lorena is a struggling new reporter who jumps at the chance to cover the gold rush and to prove her boss wrong. Women don’t need men to take care of them, even if the woman is unbecoming with unfashionably red hair.

The Best Man in Brookside by Angela Bell focuses on Donovan, an Irish immigrant to England. However, Donovan had to flee England after being falsely accused of theft. He feels himself a failure for having to leave his little sister and wants to vindicate himself. So, he seeks his fortune in gold in America, hoping to free himself and his sister.

Civilizing Clementine by Dianne Christner, introduces us to Clementine Cahill, forced to return to San Francisco with her Chilean friends after her father is injured in a logging accident. Motherless Clementine begins to feel betrayed when her invalid father badgers her to clean up her grammar and start wearing dresses.

Ann Green’s story, The Marriage Broker and the Mortician, opens with the robbery of Eve Malloy, while she was at a boarding house. Rafe Riley, happening upon the scene 15 minutes later, offers to assist her and takes her to dinner when none of the multitudes of men at the boarding house seem to care.

Jo Bass is made known to us in The Lye Water Bride by Linda Farmer Harris. Jo and her brother Thaddeus run the local bank. However, Thaddeus falls ill, leaving Jo with the chore of caring for day-to-day operations.

Cynthia Hickey writes the story of Rose McIroy in A Sketch of Gold. Poor Rose is forced to cut her hair to hide her muliebrity. She can’t believe her father’s latest get rich quick scheme involves trying to pass her off as a male and call her boy all the time.

Pam Hillman’s tale, Love is a Puzzle, presents the story of Shanyn Duvall and her aunt who traveled from the tip of South America to Sacramento in the hopes of seeing Shanyn’s father. They learn he has passed away, and during this time, Sacramento is not a friendly town for two single women.

The Golden Cross by Jennifer Rogers Spinola centers on Ming and her uncle, who travel from China to California. Ming feels God called her to be a missionary to America, and her uncle is hoping they can find riches in the gold-rich state.

Golden Haven Heiress, by Jamie Jo Wright, is about Jack Taylor and Thalia Simmons, residents of a ghost town. Thalia, trying to escape her past, moved to Golden Haven to be left alone, then Jack shows up and disrupts her peaceful life.

The stories in the Gold Rush Collection differs in their seriousness of Biblical applications. However, each author does a fitting job of presenting Christian principles.

I thoroughly delighted in each story and each author’s interpretation of the gold rush time frame. I also enjoyed the ability to read as many or as few stories as I wanted in one sitting.

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