The Captive Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Lucy Thompson and Gina Welborn

My Review

The Captive Brides is a compilation of nine novellas in one book and is a mix of both favorite and new to me authors. I liked the play on words in the title, too.

In the first story, Love’s Labor Found, by Jennifer AlLee, I was shocked by the gruesomeness (for lack of a better word) of the story. I was also shocked at the callousness portrayed by the victim, though I will say the villain got what he deserved. In fairness to the author and the story, when a book elicits a strong reaction, it usually means it was well-written and developed. I perceived a cavalier attitude toward barbaric cruelty and found it disconcerting.

If I had been steeped in the seventeenth-century moral insensitivity, I might have found the plot less repugnant, but Love’s Labor Found is a novella with word constraints. I never felt fully in the seventeenth century, and I felt twenty-first-century revulsion for a setting in which torture, beatings and murder were the norm.

The cavalier attitude toward evil reminded me of a story (required school reading) I LOATHED, The Great Gatsby. Even Love’s Labor Found doesn’t deal with characters as horrific as The Great Gatsby’s but leaves the same sour taste in my mouth.

Several of the stories deal with abhorrent issues; others aren’t quite so repugnant. Some deal with horrendous acts of enslavement, while others deal with false accusations and arrest, a marriage of convenience, runaway slaves and other tales where women are “captive” to their situations.

Each narrative is well written and thought-provoking. Some elicit more emotion than others, but they overall show how faith and belief in God can draw you out of horrible situations into lives of hope and potential.

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

Publisher’s Summary

Love Brings Freedom in 9 Historical Romances

Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love?

Love’s Labours Found by Jennifer AlLee – Montserrat, West Indies, 1655
Temperance Simms only wanted a better life. Instead, she finds herself labeled a criminal and sold as an indentured servant. After a kind man saves her life, can Temperance trust that God will turn her sorrow into something beautiful?

His Indentured Bride by Angela Breidenbach – Pennsylvania, 1773-1776
Leaving Scotland for a short indenture with her betrothed, Maire Greer’s contract is sold when disaster strikes her kindly owner, and then extended through cruel circumstances. Can Kirk Lachlan’s service in the American Revolution save her or will she lose love and freedom forever?

The Suspect Bride by Susan Page Davis – Oregon, 1890s
Verity Ames cooks at the restaurant where shy lawyer Jack Whitwell eats lunch daily. As Jack works up courage to ask her for a date, the sheriff walks into the restaurant and arrests Verity for murder.

His Golden Treasure by Darlene Franklin – San Francisco, 1873
Goldie Hatfield grows up on the Barbary Coast until her guardian demands she pay the cost of her upbringing—or work at her brothel. How far will Pastor Joshua Kerr go to set Goldie free?

Through Stormy Waters by Patty Smith Hall – Atlantic Ocean, 1745
Deported to the British colonies for her father’s crimes, Charlotte Singleton helps Captain John Randall when an epidemic breaks out on his ship. Can two battered hearts find love in the midst of a storm?

Moira’s Quest by Cynthia Hickey – New York, 1869
A quest for revenge ends in a marriage of convenience and a feisty Irish lass discovers that not everything is as it seems as family secrets are revealed. An Irish cop, bent on saving the fallen women of Five Points, New York, finds himself thrust into the role of husband with a woman determined to break down a notorious crime boss. Can these two pull together and find a love bigger than they are?

Love’s Escape by Carrie Fancett Pagels – Virginia, 1850
With her life in peril, Lettie seeks escape from slavery. When Nathan offers to “conduct” her North via an unusual segment on the Underground Railroad, will his efforts help or do them both harm?

Waltzing Matilda by Lucy Thompson – Sydney, Australia, 1821
Henry didn’t plan on a runaway convict masquerading as a shepherd. Or on the woman’s baby. Keeping them safe will cost him his freedom—or will it?

A Score to Settle by Gina Welborn – On the Missouri River, 1870
For JoJo the kiss was a means to an end—she wanted his wallet. For Cyrus her kiss changed everything. He vows to help her escape the snake oil salesman she works for, but exposing the man’s lies may mean settling a score at a cost neither JoJo nor Cyrus can pay.