The Mail-Order Brides Collection: 9 Historical Stories of Marriage That Precedes Love from Barbour Books (review)

themailorderbridescollection_barbourHave I mentioned lately how much I love mail-order bride stories?  It seems so long since I’ve read one, so the minute I started reading this collection it felt like taking a big, long internal sigh.

Perfect for the Preacher by Megan Besing

The Outlaw’s Inconvenient Bride by Noelle Marchand

Train Ride to Heartbreak by Donna Schlachter

Mail-Order Proxy by Sherri Shackelford

To Heal Thy Heart by Michelle Shockler

Miss-Delivered Mail by Ann Shorey

A Fairy-Tale Bride by Liz Tolsma

The Brigand and His Bride by Jennifer Uhlarik

The Mail-Order Mistake by Kathleen Y’Barbo

I requested a NetGalley e-galley of this collection based on the title, having only previously read a few novellas by two of the nine authors, Kathleen Y’Barbo and Jennifer Uhlarik.  That said, I particularly enjoy an unexpected element in my mail-order bride reads and these novellas did not disappoint.

Chance meetings, deceptions, and unexpected complications are just a few of the obstacles that the hopeful couples encounter, not to mention a few interfering, disagreeable relatives.  The heroines are relatable and the heroes are adorable, even when they are getting in the way of their own happiness.

I enjoyed every little twist, turn, and wrinkle in this set of novellas.  Each story was interesting, entertaining, a bit uplifting (eventually) and I would gladly read more by any of these authors.  My favorites were those with outlaws, cowboys, and colonels.  Which of those might actually be Pinkerton agents in disguise, along with which mail-order bride is eager to become “deputized,” I leave for you to discover.  If you enjoy a good historical romance, this collection will be well worth your time.

Highly recommended.  I think at this point I would need to reread all of my “favorite” novella collections from Barbour to make an accurate judgment, but I really do think this is one of my favorites.

The Mail-Order Brides Collection: Nine Historical Stories of Marriage that Precedes Love by various authors | Barbour Books, Feb. 1, 2018 | e-book, 448 pages

This review refers to an e-galley read courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley.  All opinions expressed are my own.


What kind of woman would answer an advertisement and marry a stranger?

Escape into the history of the American West along with nine couples whose relationships begin with advertisements for mail-order brides. Placing their dreams for new beginnings in the hands of a stranger, will each bride be disappointed, or will some find true love?

Perfect for the Preacher by Megan Besing
1897, Indiana
Fresh from seminary, Amos Lowry believes marriage will prove to his skeptical congregation that he’s mature. If only his mail-order bride wasn’t an ex-saloon girl, or worse, pregnant.

The Outlaw’s Inconvenient Bride by Noelle Marchand
1881, Wyoming
After a gang of outlaws use a mail-order bride advertisement to trick an innocent woman into servitude, an undercover lawman must claim the bride—even if it puts his mission in jeopardy.

Train Ride to Heartbreak by Donna Schlachter
1895, Train to California
John Stewart needs a wife. Mary Johannson needs a home. On her way west, Mary falls in love with another. Now both must choose between commitment and true love.

Mail Order Mix-Up by Sherri Shackelford
1885, Montana
A mail-order marriage by proxy goes wrong when a clerical error leads to the proxies actually being married instead of the siblings they were standing in for. In their quest to correct the mistake, the two discover outlaws, adventure and even love.

To Heal Thy Heart by Michelle Shocklee
1866, New Mexico
When Phoebe Wagner answers a mail-order bride ad that states Confederate widows need not apply, she worries what Dr. Luke Preston will do when he learns her fiancé died wearing grey.

Miss-Delivered Mail by Ann Shorey
1884, Washington
Helena Erickson impulsively decides to take advantage of her brother’s deception and travels to Washington Territory in response to a proposal of marriage intended for someone else. How will Daniel McNabb respond when Helena is nothing like he expected?

A Fairy-Tale Bride by Liz Tolsma
1867, Texas
Nora Green doesn’t feel much like Cinderella when her mail-order groom stands her up. But could the mysterious jester from the town’s play be her Prince Charming?

The Brigand and the Bride by Jennifer Uhlarik
1876, Arizona
Jolie Hilliard weds a stranger to flee her outlaw family but discovers her groom is an escaped prisoner. Will she ever find happiness on the right side of the law?

The Mail Order Mistake by Kathleen Y’Barbo
1855, Texas
Pinkerton agent Jeremiah Bingham is investigating a mail-order bride scam bankrupting potential grooms. When unsuspecting orphan May Conrad answers his false ad, she becomes the prime suspect in the case.