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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My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: Carmela’s Quandary by Susan Page Davis

Publisher’s Summary

Journey now to Tuscon, Arizona, and into the Superstition Mountains of 1866, where… 
 A Chance for Escape Takes Two Unlikely Allies on a Romantic Adventure Along a Desert Trail

Since orphaned at age twelve, Carmela Wade has lived a lie orchestrated by her uncle, pretending to be a survivor of an Indian kidnapping and profiting from telling her made-up story on the speaker circuit. But as she matures into adulthood, Carmela hates the lies and longs to be free. On a stagecoach in Arizona Territory, Carmela and her uncle are fellow passengers with US Marshal Freeland McKay and his handcuffed prisoner.

The stage is attacked. Now a chance to make a new life may suddenly be within Carmela’s reach. . .if she can survive the harsh terrain and being handcuffed to an unconscious man.

Will Carmela’s wish come true, or will she forever be branded by her past?

My Review

Carmela Wade has prayed for the day she could stop the lies she was forced to perpetrate by her Uncle Silas. Not only did he force her to tell lies, but he also forced her to give him all the money the two of them accrued because he said her father owed him money. Carmela’s opportunity arrives when their stagecoach is robbed, and the robbers take it with her uncle inside.

US Marshal Freeland McKay never dreamed he’d be the victim of a stagecoach robbery, and to add insult to injury, he’s handcuffed to a woman. They have no water, horse or any way to survive except through tenacity and lots of walking.

Susan Page Davis does a well-thought out job of showing the dilemma Carmela faces. She pulls you into the story and makes you feel the torment and agony Carmela faces after reaching adulthood.

Carmela’s story is one of courage in the face of extreme adversity, forgiving yourself and others and learning to trust the Lord.

Susan Page Davis has written a unique and different type of historical novel. It is a story that readers of historical romance are sure to enjoy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and was under no obligation to post a review.

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!

I am dedicating the next several Mondays to Novellas. Some will be series and others will be stand-alone. Enjoy!

12 Brides of Summer 1

About the Book

12 Brides of Summer Novella Collection #1 is a book written by Susan Page Davis, Michelle Ule and Amy Lillard.

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 town. . without leaving the comfort of your own front porch!

Summer has started and so has new chances for love in Novella Collection #1:

The Blue Moon Bride by Susan Page Davis

Ava Neal hopes moving west will be a new start, then she meets handsome Joe Logan who helps her hide her valuables when the train is robbed. Might their paths cross again?

The Sunbonnet Bride by Michelle Ule

After a tornado ravishes her family’s farm, seamstress Sally Martin has to decide which man’s courtship to accept: a banker who wants to loan money to ruined farmers or a teamster who uses his skills, strength and time to help rebuild.

The Wildflower Bride by Amy Lillard

Grace Sinclair would never dream of leaving her Ozarks, so when Ian McGruer visits for a wedding, she ignores her sudden romantic thoughts. Can Ian make her see the way of love?

My Thoughts

In 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.

Susan Page Davis does a great job of setting up the story. 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.

Will the posse catch the robbers? Will Ava and Joe be able to overcome their distance problems? Will there be a happily ever after?

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.

Sally, however, 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 her and her family a way out of their hard life.

As Sally struggles to reconcile her love with her and her family’s plight, she must also help her little sister to overcome her fears.

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.

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.

Amy Lillard has written a story very reminiscent of one similar to Grace Livingston Hill romances. In The Wildflower Bride, 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.

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