The Mayflower Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse (review)

themayflowerbride_woodhouse_barbourI was quite excited to find out that Barbour Books is coming out with the Daughters of the Mayflower series of books by various authors and connected by history and a family tree, so I was very happy when I was approved to read an e-galley of the first book, The Mayflower Bride, especially since it is about the Separatists that came over on THE Mayflower.  My history loving heart was a bit aflutter with expectation (and just look at that cover!).  Unfortunately, this first installment of the series was a bit of a disappointment, so I’ll try to keep this brief.

Faith, hunger, hardship, sickness, loss, and grief are strong threads through this story, though they failed to engage me as a reader.   The mixing of the fictional leads, however, with the historical figures was well done.  I found I quite liked the portrayals of Miles Standish, John Alden, and especially Priscilla Mullins.  The fictional characters did not fare so well and I found I had little sympathy or liking for them.

As a draft, this e-galley would be fine.  In need of some work to give the story a good flow, enrich the descriptions, provide stronger motivations and make the dialogue more natural while making it have more of a feel for the actual speech, values, and behavior of the times.  The author herself notes that she chose not to use language like ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ to make it more readable, and that does sometimes benefit the modern reader, but there seems to have also been a loss of authenticity in the dialogue as well as the story.

As a solo author, Kimberly Woodhouse is still new and I have respect for the work required to write a 256 page book and the research it takes to get things just right.  And so I’m hoping some changes will have occurred between this pre-publication e-galley and the actual published book.  I’ll also do my best to keep my mind open as I continue reading this series and reach her second contribution to it, hoping that the time period might better suit.

Rather than transporting me to the 1600’s, this story brought fourth grade social studies units to mind.  I rated The Mayflower Bride three stars on GoodReads, though it would have been 2.5 if they allowed half stars.  If you are interested in this series, as I am, then this is worth a quick read as it is the foundational novel in a linked series.  As the series continues, I’m looking forward to the next two installments in particular as I’ve greatly enjoyed past novellas by Kathleen Y’Barbo and a novella from Michelle Griep, whose novel The Captive Heart was a favorite of mine last year.

The Mayflower Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse (Daughters of the Mayflower #1) | Barbour Books, February 1, 2018 | ebook, 256 pages

My thanks to Barbour Books for allowing me to read an e-galley through NetGalley.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Publisher’s Description:

Can a religious separatist and an opportunistic spy make it in the New World?
A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

Mary Elizabeth Chapman boards the Speedwell in 1620 as a Separatist seeking a better life in the New World. William Lytton embarks on the Mayflower as a carpenter looking for opportunities to succeed—and he may have found one when a man from the Virginia Company offers William a hefty sum to keep a stealth eye on company interests in the new colony. The season is far too late for good sailing and storms rage, but reaching land is no better as food is scarce and the people are weak. Will Mary Elizabeth survive to face the spring planting and unknown natives? Will William be branded a traitor and expelled?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series begins with The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse.

More to come in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)?
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)