Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Review: Christmas Mail-Order Brides

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Title: Christmas Mail-Order Brides

Author: Carrie Turansky; Vickie McDonough; Therese Stenzel; Susan Page Davis

Series: Romancing America

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult


Ride the transcontinental railroad as marriage arrives by mail-order—and just in time for Christmas. Annika arrives in Wyoming to discover her intended is missing. Jolie’s journey to Nevada is derailed by disaster. Elizabeth carries a load of secrets to Nebraska. And Amelia travels to California to wrap up her final attempts at matchmaking. Will the holiday season be the ticket to spark love in unexpected ways?

A TRUSTING HEART by Carrie Turansky
Swedish immigrant Annika Bergstrom travels to Wyoming as a mail order bride, but when her prospective groom, Chase Simms, disappears, she finds herself falling in love with his brother Daniel. Will she take hold of her chance for love, or wait for the man she has promised to marry?

THE PRODIGAL GROOM by Vickie McDonough
Jolie Addams is 18 and must leave the orphanage she grew up in. The headmaster has arranged for her to work for a lecherous benefactor. She decides to become a mail-order bride to escape what she fears would be a dreadful existence. But on the way to Nevada, her stage is robbed. She and a wounded passenger are stranded. They are rescued the next day, but Jolie’s intended refuses to marry her after she spent the night alone with Clay Jackson. She and Clay are forced to marry. Can a relationship and love grow from such an awful beginning?

HIDDEN HEARTS by Therese Stenzel
After facing a series of tragic events, Elizabeth Lariby agrees to become a mail-order bride. Hoping to build a new life in Nebraska, she is determined to hide her grief-stricken heart from her new husband. Driven to be a success, Zane Michaels quietly obtains a wife through a mail-order bride society, but feels he must hide his past and his recent wealth from his new wife. When their secrets are revealed, will their fledgling marriage survive?

Amelia Mayberry’s rewarding career as a matchmaker is winding down. She’d like to close shop and spend her sunset years in peace. There’s only one unfinished piece of business—an unsatisfied customer for whom she needs to set things right. The question is: will Lennox Bailey allow her to make amends?

**4 stars**

Christmas Mail-Order Brides was a delightful collection of mail-ordered bride stories that charmed me with their sweetness and heartfelt touch. Faith was an important aspect of each of the four stories; which really just added all the more to them! Since romance is the blatant theme of these stories, I would recommend it for more of a mature audience. Mrs. Mayberry's Matrimonial Society for Christians of Moral Character is a theme in all the stories, and we get to personally meet Mrs. Mayberry in the last. I enjoyed the entire book for the most part ... this is one of the best novella collections I have read! *smiles*

A Trusting Heart by Carrie Turansky. Annika Bergstrom is on her way to Wyoming to meet the man who has “ordered” her as his bride, Chase Simms. Having left behind her old home for good, she's at loss of what to do when she arrives at her intended's home and finds him missing.
This was just a sweet story ... filled with the unknown, loyalty, deceit, and mended hearts. Annika was really a lovely character, and I enjoyed watching brothers Chase and Daniel's getting on good terms again. Add in a control-taking grandfather, and the cute little daughter of Chase, and you get a sweet read!

The Prodigal Groom by Vickie DcDonough. Orphan Jolie Addams has signed up to be a mail-ordered bride as a way of escaping a horrible future. On the way to meet her fiance, her stagecoach is attacked, and she finds herself stranded with a handsome stranger named Clay Jackson. ... Perhaps God has a plan different than her being a mail-ordered bride.
Unusual but charming, this story told a cute tale with just a hint of suspense and some tense moments. Jolie is so sweet, I just really like her. Her relationships with both Mr. Jacksons were fun to watch unfold. Just the right ingredients for a Christian, western romance.

Hidden Hearts by Therese Stenzel. After heartbreak, Elizabeth Lariby heads to Nebraska, almost forced by her strict aunt. She quickly grows affectionate of Zane Michaels, and especially his two adorable daughters. But will she ever be able to truly love him? Will their marriage last through secrets and a unexpected arrival?
Just a lovely, satisfying story. It was filled with tenderness ... learning to love again ... opening up hearts. Hidden Hearts had an authentic feel to it. Definitely wasn't your normal romance, but that's what made it so sweet and fulfilling I think! *smiles*

Mrs. Mayberry Meets Her Match by Susan Page Davis. Mrs. Mayberry, the founder of Mrs. Mayberry's Matrimonial Society for Christians if Moral Character, is traveling to California to make one more match before ending her business for the time being. Lennos Bailey was a dear friend of her late husband, and she is determined to fix the matrimonial blunder she made on him by finding him a suitable bride this time. But bitter daughters, pride, and perhaps ... love ... may just change things all up.
This was the unexpected yet fitting end to Christmas Mail-Order Brides. Mrs. Mayberry is a widow in her fifties who makes matches; it was fun to meet her and get to know her! Also it was just nice to see how everything fit together so perfectly in the end. Overall a cute tale, though I didn't enjoy it as much as the others.


So yes, Christmas Mail-Order Brides definitely exceeded my expectations with interesting, faith-based, and heartfelt love stories. An endearing collection!

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