Review: Mail-Order Marriage – 5 Historical Stories of Marriage Arranged by Letters Between Strangers

mailordermarriage_barbourCinda’s Surprise by Mary Davis

His Brother’s Bride by Denise Hunter

Changes of the Heart by Judith McCoy Miller

Mail-Order Husband by DiAnn Mills

Forever Yours by Tracie Peterson

Cinda does not like surprises, and finding out that she is a mail order bride the day Lucas Rawlings arrives in town to marry her is only the first of many for this shy 23 year old who leaves Chicago for Montana in 1883.  And Lucas is in for a few surprises, too.

Emily is an orphan, looking forward to meeting her best friend and fiancé for the first time.  It is his brother, however, who meets her at the end of a long stagecoach ride in a Kansas.  Now she needs to decide if she can be a convenient wife to Cade Manning, a mother to his son Adam, and stay true to her faith while keeping them from finding out why her uncle made her write that first letter two years ago.

Maura Thorenson left her loving family behind in Boston, sailing around the Horn to marry California mercantile owner Luther Buchanan.  Maura has a heart for God and wants to be a good wife, but Luther begrudgingly marries her out of obligation after seeing her “affliction.”  Two stubborn people might  not be able to get past a hardened heart.

Gabriel Hunter leaves his life of books and accounting behind in Pennsylvania to become a mail order husband for a widowed Lena Walker and to be a father to her two boys.  A portly, awkward man with no practical experience in farming who reminds her of an albino horse was not what Lena had in mind when she advertised.  Can he become what she and her sons need, and can he get over his disappointment that Lena is pretty?

Daughtry Lucas is 23 and feeling smothered.  After a fight with her over-protective father, she decides to run away.  Though it is no longer common in the early 1900’s,  she had found a newspaper ad placed by N. Dawson for a mail order bride.  After a brief exchange of letters, Nicholas sent her a train ticket and a proxy marriage certificate, and a deadline.  But how can they make a life together if neither will share their past?

I usually choose to read these collections from Barbour Books based on the theme and at least one author being already known to me.  In this case, the theme is one I enjoy and there were three authors whose writing I had been wanting to try more of/for the first time – Denise Hunter, DiAnn Mills and Tracie Peterson.  After reading the story by Tracie Peterson, I went back to the beginning of the ebook to check on publication dates.  I was a bit relieved to see that hers from 2002, so it having read like an early work made perfect sense and mitigated my disappointment with the storyline, writing, and especially the immaturity of a heroine who reacts to problems by continually running away.  I enjoyed the entry by Denise Miller, and was charmed and delighted by DiAnn Mills’ Gabe (once I got past my initial impression of him, which had me picturing and hearing him as if played by Peter Ustinov).

3/5 stars.  Overall, an enjoyable collection of stories which were originally copyrighted between 1996 and 2002.  If you enjoy historical inspirational romance and/or mail order bride stories, this is worth picking up for Mary Davis’ Cinda’s Surprise and DiAnn Mills’ Mail-Order Husband in particular.

This review refers to a review ebook read courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Mail-Order Marriage | Barbour Books, Dec. 1st 2015 | paperback 656pgs | review ebook

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