Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blog Tour: A Bride for All Seasons

About the Book:
1800s mail-order bride catalogs facilitated many happy marriages. Here are the stories of four couples who owe their wedded bliss to creative editing by The Hitching Post publisher.

"And Then Came Spring"--Margaret Brownley
When mail order bride Mary-Jo Parker arrives in town she receives the shock of her life; not only is her fiancé dead, he left behind an eight-year-old son he neglected to mention. But the biggest challenge of all is the boy's way-too-handsome uncle.

"An Ever-After Summer"--Debra Clopton

Widower Matt McConnell wrote his ad with no room for misunderstanding--Bible believers need not apply. But then Bible-thumping Ellie shows up on his doorstep. Matt's so desperate for her help that he accepts.

"Autumn's Angel"--Robin Lee Hatcher

Luvena Abbott's privileged childhood didn't prepare her for the hardship she now faces as an adult, especially when it comes to being the guardian of her nieces and nephew. Marriage seems the only answer to her dilemma. Clay Birch hopes to change the hurdy-gurdy house he won in a poker game into the finest opera house in the Northwest, but he'll need help to do it. Could this unlikely couple actually be the perfect match?

"Winter Wedding Bells"--Mary Connealy

David Laramie is looking for a woman to care for his children. In exchange he'll make her financially comfortable for life. But no woman wants to marry a dying man. Then Megan responds to his ad. It seems his "edited" letter contained no mention of him dying.

My Comments:
Who would travel halfway across the country to marry a stranger?  Who would invite a strange woman into his home, particularly with kids in the picture?  People for whom the alternative was worse, that's who.  Today we see marriage as being all about love and the emotional fulfillment for the involved adults.  Our society has evolved to the point that men and women don't really need to each other economically and to where certain physical "needs" can be dealt with without a permanent committed relationship.  In the late 1800's that wasn't the case.  Men and women needed each other.  She couldn't do all the physical labor needed to run a farm.  Society limited her career options so most unmarried women had few choices but to remain in a semi-childlike position in the home of their parents or relatives.  He couldn't take care of kids and the house and still earn a living.  If no local woman was willing to marry him (and his kids), life could get very uncomfortable.  

This volume of four short stories about women who answered ads for mail order brides was a quick easy read.  Due to the length of the story, the character development was limited.  The thread tying the stories together is that each couple's letters to each other were edited to leave out important details,  or to paint a picture that wasn't quite true.  Of course each really had what the other needed, even if it wasn't what they wanted.  Of course it took a while for them to see it.  Of course they lived happily ever after.  

The stories are Christian fiction and while not preachy, the Christian elements seem more of an add-on than an integral part of the story.  In other words, these are not stories of people's spiritual struggles, they are simple, happily ever after romances.  Because of simplistic plot lines and limited character development I'm giving this one a B-, even though it was the  perfect read after my last long emotionally engaging read. 

I'd like to thank the folks at Litfuse for making a review copy available to me.

Four novellas, four brides, and four stories to fall in love with. 
Enter the world of mail-order brides with four of your favorite authors: Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton, and Margaret Brownley. In A Bride for All Seasons (Thomas Nelson) each of the prospective brides is hopeful for a second chance at love—and that second chance always seems to come in an unexpected package.
The authors are celebrating with a fun 12 Days of Unexpected Packages Giveaway! Between July 12-23 visit the authors’ Facebook Page to enter to win a new giveaway each day. Winners will be announced at the Facebook Author Chat party on July 23rd! Such fun!

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