If received an ARC copy of these books in which I have given my voluntary and honest review of these 5 novellas in this book set. Each one is a Mail Order Bride story about 5 strong and determined young women setting out to make new lives for themselves in Montana. This set is all sweet and clean reads. I felt that some of the stories were missing elements of plot or characters that would have made me enjoy them more than I did. All the men were wealthy and the woman were from meagre means, so I found it all a bit predictable to say the least. Most of these stories take place in the yearly 1900 and depict life as it may have been for these men and women of the west.
Book 1: Isabella’s story ***
I read Isabella and Ray’s story but felt it was not enough for me to say I totally loved it. It fell a bit short of emotional feeling and heart for my liking could have better if it was a full book, not just a short novella.
Isabella has fallen on hard times since the death of her parents and the one person that should have had her best interest at heart swindled her out of her father’s property and business. So she had no other choice but to apply for a mail order bride advertisement and go to Montana in complete desperation for her future.
Ray Barger was a gold prospector in Montana and was hoping the luck of a good wife would help him find the gold he was driven to find.
Ray Barger was not the man Isabella would have chosen as her husband if she was not desperate but she soon found him to be a sweet and loving man. She started to see a happy future for him and a lovely family life. But that was until Ray did not return from an expedition to find gold, so Isabella decided to go looking for her husband in the mountains of Montana.
Will they both find what they were searching for or will their dream be lost to them both?
Book 2: Alice’s story ***1/2
I liked this story more than the first one and had a better feeling of the characters during the telling of this story. I found it interesting that in the beginning Duke has a very pivotal role but after she introduced the two main characters together we did not hear about him again. The flow of this one was better but still found things were missing or not described to their fullest.
Alice Sinclair took her first big step in her new adventure to leave her home in New York to go west to Montana to possibly marry a man she had never meet. She did this for herself as well as to get money to help her younger brother how suffered from a medical issue. She got off the train to wait for her future husband John Waters who had advertised for a mail-order bride and paid for her train ticket. But she was soon to learn she had a long wait….
After many hours of waiting, Alice met a young man called Duke who she told her story to and he offered to help her find a job with his boss Mr. Dunbar.
Lee Dunbar own most of the business in town and was the wealthiest man around, but is personal life was not fully full of wealth as his beloved wife had passed away a few years ago. She left him with three beautiful children and a house full of staff that were more like family than staff.
Alice started working for Lee and she soon falls in love with just not only the three sweet and loving children but their father as well.
Book 3: Helena’s story (published as a standalone under the title “Helena’s Colonel”) ****
I really enjoyed this story and the characters were very moving full of emotions. The connection between Helena and baby Susie was a joy to read about.
Helena set off from her home and parents to start a new life in Montana with widower Colonel Joseph White and his 8-month-old baby girl called Susanna. Helena had applied to the agency to be a mail order bride but had no correspondence with the Colonel who was a successful landowner and had been in the army.
After 6 days of traveling on the train to Missoula, Helena arrived but the person that picks her up at the train station was not who she was expecting. She had come all this way to become a wife and mother but she was soon to learn her mother in law to be had other plans in place for her
Colonel Joseph White was a broken man who could not recover from his wife’s death, could not face the world or his very own child. But that all changed sometime after Helena Thomas showed up.
Can Helena heal Joseph wounded heart and give him a reason to find the world again and connect with his very own daughter. Or will she be the one with a wounded heart?
Book 4: Janelle’s story ****
This is the best story so far for me on this set and I totally enjoy the characters and plot. Carlton is every mail order brides dream groom. The story flowed better and felt more realistic with great description and emotions.
Janelle Harris needs to flee her abusive aunt and uncle who were trying to have her committed to a mental asylum. With the help of the maid and chauffeur of her aunt and uncle, she accepted an ad in the newspaper for a mail-order bride to a wealthy Montana businessman Carlton Jeffries. The three decided to go to Montana together as the Estella and Henry were married to each other and wanted to make sure Janelle was safely away from her uncle.
Carlton Jeffries is not what Janelle thought a businessman would look like but what she saw she was very impressed with. He was well looking, honest, forward thinking, kind and very friendly to all around him.
Love came quickly for them both and life was happy, Carlton was asked to go on a gold prospecting expedition and even though he did not want to leave his wife he could not resist an adventure of this kind.
When Carlton and the expedition crew failed to reach a checkpoint Janelle was fearful and decided with the help of Henry and Estella to go looking for him. Will she find the love of her life?
Book 5: Grace’s story (published as a standalone under the title “A Mail Order Brides Hope”) ****
This was the last story of the set and I must say the very best one of them all. This book was more about the struggles of a new couple living on a farm in the west of Montana. The female character was a very strong determined mail order bride that did what was needed of her to help her new husband. It felt how life must have been for these women who left their families and homes to search for a better life or a life that they could do better in. The lovely community in this book was heartfelt and true to some towns of the time.
Grace Owens had always dreamed of having an adventure and leading a life of danger, she loves stories of bank robbers and outlaws. When a newspaper advertisement came to her attention by the local parish Grace went again her families wishes and become a mail order bride. She traveled with 2 other young ladies all about to meet their future husband in Montana to start new lives.
Alonzo Forrester had a great sheep farm and was almost happy but wanted a wife and family to share it all with. After meeting Grace through her letter he asks her to his farm to be his wife. They are both unsure of the other at first but after tragedy strikes, Alonzo soon learns exactly what his new wife is made out of. Her stubbornness, fortitude, determination, courage, and care she musters the strength to keep things working in this very unforgiving land.
But how much can one couple take before they can’t take it any longer?
Can they find love or will hardship be too much for them both?
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