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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Friday’s Fiction

When Love Returns

When Love Returns (The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy)

by Kim Vogel Sawyer.

About Book

Riddled with doubt and lingering regrets, will Suzanne and Paul find strength in God to explore a second chance at love?

It wasn’t easy to move back to the Old Order Mennonite community from which quiet, responsible Suzanne Zimmerman was shamefully sent away as a pregnant teen. Returning twenty years later to take care of her mother, Suzanne and Alexa—the daughter she raised as her own—have spent months rebuilding relationships with her family.

Now with the upcoming wedding of their biological daughter, Suzanne and Paul find themselves drawn to one another once again—but with new challenges to face. They have been single parents with painful pasts. Can Paul and Suzanne find the strength to rebuild the loving relationship that was torn apart by their teen pregnancy so long ago?

Suzanne must also let go of Alexa as she heads back to Indianapolis to visit friends–and as her chance to find her birth parents. Leaving the bed-and-breakfast in Suzanne’s apprehensive hands, Alexa embarks on a journey that will certainly change her life completely. Can mother and daughter trust God to restore all things in His timing?

My Thoughts

Kim Vogel Sawyer does a marvelous job of ending The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy with a very satisfying conclusion in When Love Returns.

Suzanne Zimmerman has returned to her home, not an easy task considering being sent away as a pregnant teenager, shamed and afraid, over twenty years earlier. She has returned with her daughter Alexa to help take care of her mother. In addition, Alexa has started a bed and breakfast in the family home.

Against all odds, Suzanne finds herself drawn to Paul Aldrich, the father of the baby she was forced to give up when she was sent away. Paul is becoming overwhelmed with being a widower raising his son alone. Can they put the past behind them?

As Suzanne and Paul wrestle with their feelings, Alexa is facing her own battles. She has an opportunity to meet her birth mother, but can she? What would she say? Moreover, is it really worth it?

Miss Sawyer tells the story from the point of view of the major characters, giving us, the readers, way more insight into each individual’s thoughts and feelings. As you read, you begin to feel as if the people are and could easily be your friends.

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

Friday’s Fiction

When Grace Sings

When Grace Sings: A Novel (The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy Book 2) by Kim Vogel Sawyer begins with a discussion between reporter Briley Forrester and his boss, Len. After reading a local newspaper article about Amish-Mennonite living and the joy the inhabitants of the community expressed, Briley is challenged by his boss to go to the community and find some “dirt” on its residents. Briley, in a quest to prove his worth, to both new and old acquaintances, takes up the gauntlet and heads from Chicago to Arborville, Kansas.

Alexa Zimmerman recently returned to Arborville to aid her invalid grandmother. As part of her assistance, Alexa has started a Bed and Breakfast, Grace Notes B&B, hoping to add income to her and her grandmother’s meager funds. Alexa is not part of the Amish-Mennonite community, but dresses plain as a sign of respect to her family and community.

Anna-Grace Braun and her fiancé, Steven Brungardt, from near-by Sommerfield, Kansas, are engaged to be married. Steven’s family kindly gifted them an old family farmstead in Arborville, but there are an immense number of repairs to be completed before they can move in.  Ana-Grace receives permission to visit with Alexa and Alexa’s grandmother (who are distant relatives of hers) at the B&B in order to assist Steven in getting the home ready to move into after their marriage. However, as time goes on Anna-Grace gets the impression Steven doesn’t want the farm and Alexa isn’t happy that she is visiting.

All the undercurrents cause Briley’s reporter instincts to kick into high gear after he arrives in Arborville. He observes that things aren’t all they seem on the surface. Will he be able to get the “dirt” he seeks?

When Grace Sings is book two of the series, and in some minor details, you are left wondering. However, as you continue the book, Kim Sawyer does a great job of filling in the details.

I really enjoyed getting to know the characters. The author does an impressive job of describing each character’s thoughts and feelings, thus drawing you into the story and individual’s life. I am genuinely looking forward to the third in the series, When Love Returns(The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy Book 3). I am also going to read the first one, When Mercy Rains (The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy Book 1).

For more information on Kim Sawyer Vogel, visit here:  http://kimvogelsawyer.com/

For more information on her books, visit here:  http://kimvogelsawyer.com/books/

To purchase When Grace Sings, visit here: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=221710

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Grace Notes B and B