I received this book via I Am a Reader. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Mail Order Bride by Stacy Henrie, Kristin Holt, Annette Lyon, Sarah M. Eden, Heather B. Moore, Sian Ann Bessey
Series: A Timeless Romance Anthology, #16
Published by Mirror Press on 2016-02-09
Length: 322 pages
Reviewing eARC from I Am a Reader
Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Mail Order Bride Collection. Six historical romance novellas set in the Old West.
WRITTEN IN HER HEART, a charming novella by Stacy Henrie, Georgeanna is getting desperate. She can’t fund her favorite orphanage unless she marries and secures the rest of her inheritance left by her father. But her father’s financial planner, Clay, can't understand why she's not content with her current situation. Georgie determines to send out a notice as a mail order bride to attract suitors who won’t know her financial situation. Little does she know, Clay takes up the pen and sends her letters of his own under an assumed name. After years of working for Georgie’s father, Clay realizes he isn’t ready to watch her marry another, not when his heart is already claimed by her.
In Kristin Holt’s delightful novella WANTED: MIDWIFE BRIDE Dr. Naomi Thornton thinks she has it all: a beautiful house, a loving husband, and a fulfilling career. But when everything she holds dear is ripped away, Naomi has no choice but to start over. What will she find in the wild and untamed Wyoming Territory? Dr. Joe Chandler has waited years for a wife with the knowledge, skills, and tender heart he yearns for in a medical colleague and lifetime companion. When a midwife arrives with more expertise and secrets than he counted on, Joe quickly discovers there’s more to love and marriage than a simple mail order contract.
In THE SOUND OF HOME, a captivating novella by Annette Lyon, Marilyn is given the choice of either marrying the despicable Victor or being charged with a murder she didn’t commit. Refusing to believe that either is her fate, she finds a third option: she answers a mail order bride advertisement and boards a train to Wyoming to wed a man named Harry. Moments after her arrival, she learns that Harry isn’t who he seemed to be, and the advertisement turns out to be a giant mistake. Harry’s brother Thomas agrees to let her stay until she can figure out what to do next—after all, she simply cannot return to New York—but Marilyn quickly finds herself developing feelings for Thomas.
In Sarah M. Eden’s endearing novella FOR BETTER OR WORSE Gerald Smith, on the advice of his well-meaning neighbors, has decided it’s time to change his lonely existence. Mary Hill, on the advice of her empty pocketbook and non-existent roof over her head, has decided it’s time to secure herself a future. A mail-order marriage, they both realize, is no guarantee of happiness, but it is a risk they are willing to take. However, coming face to face on the train platform, the hapless couple discovers an unexpected truth: marriage to a perfect stranger is sometimes far preferable to the prospect of a lifetime with someone you used to know.
Heather B. Moore’s sweet novella THE INCONVENIENT BRIDE sees Carmela traveling from Boston to Colorado, eager to meet the man she’s been corresponding with and will soon marry. Her brother’s new marriage leaves little room for Carmela in her old life. Upon arrival in Leadville, she faces a rude awakening, and the only one who can understand her predicament is her fiance’s brother, Samuel. But Samuel can’t possibly help her out of an awkward situation, can he? It would be better for all if she returns immediately to Boston and pretends she never traveled to Colorado in the first place.
THE PRICE OF SILVER, an engaging novella by Siân Ann Bessey, Katie leaves New York for Idaho to marry Jake, a man she’s written to a couple of times. But when she steps off the train, his brother Caleb is there to greet her. Jake has gone to take a mining job he couldn’t pass up. Caleb takes Katie back to the family ranch to wait for Jake’s return. The more Caleb gets to know Katie, the more he envies his brother, but he can’t let his heart overrule his head unless Jake changes his mind about his intended bride.
I absolutely loved this anthology which features one of my favorite authors, Stacy Henrie. The Mail Order Bride Collection includes 6 novellas all featuring the trend of mail order brides during the late 1800s and the Western expansion. I love this time period in America so it was a real treat! I was also impressed with how 6 authors could write about the same topic to such a varying degree. Each had her own unique spin to the topic of being a mail order bride and the outcome.
Written in the Stars by Stacy Henrie
I adored this story!!! Georgie is a young woman, an orphan who runs her father’s business with the help of her best friend and childhood crush Cole. Cole works in her house every day, taking his meals with her, yet he doesn’t return the affection she so desires. She’s lonely and this loneliness leads her to place an ad as a mail order bride. When Georgie asks for Cole’s help, he realizes what a fool he’s been. Cole doesn’t want to see her with anyone else. He loves her, but how does he prove it to her. This was such a sweet story about friends growing to love each other. I loved the spin that Henrie took with this topic as well, having Cole answer the ad to see if by chance she would pick him over the other candidates.
WANTED: Midwife Bride by Kristin Holt
Dr. Naomi Thornton had it all, breaking the mold of the traditional woman of the late 1800s. She was an educated surgeon, working for her grandfather’s hospital with a huge inheritance she received after marrying. However her husband is resentful and only after the money. A particularly nasty encounter leads to Naomi fleeing her home and answering an ad she’d seen in her medical journal for a midwife bride. Dr. Joe Chandler is the only doctor in a small town out west and he is drowning in work. When Naomi arrives she seems to be an answer to his prayers and more than he asked for. I struggled with this one a bit. I liked it and the premise behind it, but the love was a little too instant for me and I just didn’t buy into it. It’s well-written and I liked the dynamic between Naomi and Joe as it isn’t the traditional marriage you see in these period-pieces. I just wasn’t for me.
The Sound of Home by Annette Lyon
This is such a sweet story! Marilyn answers an ad for a mail order bride after being threatened by Victor, either she was to marry him or be framed for a murder he committed. So she runs, as any sane woman would! However it isn’t what she expected. Harry, the man to whom she is to marry, placed the ad because he wanted a mother, someone to take care of him and his brother. When his brother Thomas learns of the arrangement, he agrees to let Marilyn stay with them until other arrangements can be made. What Thomas doesn’t count on is falling for the girl. I personally adored this one. Harry is older than Thomas but an accident leaves hi disabled and with the mind of an 8 or 10 year old. Marilyn’s dynamic with Harry is perfect. She understands him, knows how to help him and eases Thomas’s burden. Just perfect!
For Better or Worse by Sarah M. Eden
This one is my favorite 😀 Gerald Smith is lonely. He followed his brother on a hare-brained adventure and is stuck settling the debts and making a life for himself in the middle of nowhere. On the advice of his neighbors, he contacts a matchmaking company who sends him a bride. The bride however is the last person he wishes to see. Mary Hill was Gerald’s annoying neighbor who trailed after him everywhere he went. He was glad to leave knowing he would never see her again. Unfortunately she’s his bride. The relationship between these two is funny and butterfly-inducing all at the same time. I loved their ease with each other and how they came to truly know one another. After reading this novella, I can’t wait to read more from this author!
An Inconvenient Bride by Heather B. Moore
I’m not really sure how I feel about Carmela and Samuel’s story. Carmela followed her brother to America after his wife died, helping him with his two boys. After he decides to remarry (and to a girl she doesn’t approve of), Carmela answers an ad for a wife. Samuel has just buried his good-for-nothing brother when his new bride, Carmela, shows up looking for her groom. For me, these characters didn’t mesh and the story didn’t flow well. I had a hard time focusing on them.
The Price of Silver by Siân Ann Bessey
Katie Caleb *sigh* I really enjoyed this one! The story begins with Caleb’s mother breaking the news to him that his brother’s mail order bride will be arriving at the train station and Caleb has to get. Why? Because his brother is off on one of his adventures, leaving Caleb to clean up his mess. With no where for the girl to go, Caleb has to bring her back to his ranch, what he doesn’t sound on though is how quickly the girl becomes a part of his life. Katie breaks my heart. She has no choice but to answer a mail order bride ad because her father is gone, his business has left her destitute and her so-called friends stopped coming by. She thinks of this as an adventure, one she’s excited to partake in. She’s hardworking, dedicated, and most of all she’s a perfect fit on the ranch. I loved the dynamic in this particular book. Instead of focusing on the two main characters, it brings in the mom as a third main character, one that Katie becomes attached to just as much as the love interest.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: