Friday, July 12, 2013

A Bride for All Seasons

It All Started with an Ad in a Mail Order Bride Catalogue... Melvin Hitchcock of the Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalog isn't dishonest---not exactly. If he tweaks his clients' applications a bit, it's
because he's looking out for their best interests. This charming bouquet of novellas introduces four Hitching Post prospects in the year 1870, each one eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they'll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.

And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley Mary-Jo has been unlucky all her life. But who would guess she'd travel halfway across the country to meet her match . . . only to find him dead!

An Ever-After Summer by Debra Clopton Ellie had no idea she's not what Matthew ordered. And what's wrong with being a "Bible thumper" anyway? She's determined to show him she's tougher than she looks---and just the girl he needs.

Autumn's Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn't come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. The trouble is, there's no money to send them back. . .

Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy David's convinced he's not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he's gone---nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?

Here's my review of this amazing anthology:

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Robin Lee Hatcher and Mary Connealy and their publisher for sending me a copy of "A Bride For All Seasons" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.
“A Bride for All Seasons” is a lovely anthology by four very gifted storytellers.  Each tale is set during a different season of the year 1870, but all are about mail-order brides in search of a second chance who have used the Hitching Post catalogue to find a groom.  What each of these couples don’t know is that Melvin Hitchcock edits the advertisements and letters in his catalogue to make them more “marketable”.  This makes for some intriguing twists in these entertaining tails.

****In Margaret Brownley’s “And Then Came Spring”, Mary Jo Parker leaves the red Georgia soil to become the wife of Colton, Kansas attorney, Daniel Garrett.  Angered that her groom didn’t show up at the train station to pick her up, she arrives in town just in time for his funeral.  Mary Jo discovers a son that Daniel never mentioned in his letters and a bogus stack of letters from the marriage broker to her intended, increasing her frustrations.  But the offer from her would-have-been brother-in-law who happens to be the sheriff is what throws her for a loop and has the potential to change her life.

*****“An Ever-After Summer” by Debra Clopton captured me from the very first line!  Ellie Smith snatches the opportunity to escape her tormenting home life to wed “lonely widowed rancher,” Mathew McConnell.  There are a few problems with this love story, as well.  Ellie isn’t the “practical” woman he envisioned in her frills and petticoats.  And sourpuss Mathew doesn’t appear to be “looking for love”.  But one thing is certain:  Mathew’s daughter, Sophie needs a mother and Ellie certainly fits the bill!  This was an absolutely entertaining and inspiring story.

***Robin Lee Hatcher’s contribution, “Autumn’s Angel”, finds Luvena traveling from Boston to Grand Coeur, Idaho to help her future husband run an opera house.  But the offer of marriage is about to be revoked when her nieces and nephew are unexpected and unwelcomed by her fiancĂ©.  Clay is smitten by Luvena’s beauty, but Grand Coeur is no place for children.  Too bad he can’t afford to send them back where they came from.  The romantic relationship development was a bit abrupt in this novella.

*****David is a dying man who needs to marry so his young sons will be cared for and his ranch will continue on in “Winter Wedding Bells” by Mary Connealy.  Megan agrees to the marriage after receiving the “doctored” letter that omitted the news of David’s impending death.  But even after learning the truth, the Irish woman dives into her charge with gusto and refuses to live like her new husband is dying while offering him the opportunity to heal.  Connealy’s signature wit and humor peppers this wonderfully enjoyable tale.  I found myself laughing out loud while reading this story that ended way too quickly.

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