by Cathy Marie Hake, JoAnn A. Grote, Kelly Eileen Hake, Amy Rognlie, Janelle Burnham Schneider, Pamela Kaye Tracy, Lynette Sowell
File Size: 3540 KB
Print Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (May 1, 2018)
Publication Date: April 15, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Treasure this beautiful collection packed with all the angst of romance founded upon practical arrangements. Four sisters travel in answer to an ad before even corresponding with potential husbands. Two women bend to the will of their parents in taking husbands. A widow commits to a stranger in name only. And two women on the Oregon Trail hitch their lives to men they’ve just met. Will love blossom for convenience sake?
Barbour Books has put together another enjoyable collection of historical romances. This set of stories spans a number of time periods and locations and focuses on arranged marriages.
Joie De Vivre by Lynette Sowell
When Josée Broussard turned 18, she thought if she had to marry someone it would be her childhood friend. Instead, his parents have arranged for her to marry their reclusive oldest son, Edouard LeBlanc.
-I like when there are troubles and a character has to go through a hard time; unlike Edouard’s brother who wasn’t responsible and lived a charmed life.
-I found Josée too fickle and she and Edouard fell in love too fast.
-I enjoyed learning about the culture, especially during this time period.
Button Strong Bride by Cathy Marie Hake
Charity Davis loses her parents along the grueling Oregon Trail. She combines wagons with widower Ethan Cole so he can help her and she can take care of his children. When a potentially embarrassing situation happens they must turn to God and follow his will.
-This was one of my favorites in the collection! There were lots of interesting details and I liked the characters, plots and time period. I really liked learning about the traditions like the button string.
The Wedding Wagon by Cathy Marie Hake
Bethany Handley grew up without a family. After meeting her friend’s brother, Joshua Rogers, at Christmas and exchanging letters they decide to marry before hitting the Oregon Trail. While learning more about each other, they must also learn to put each other before others.
-I liked a lot about this story. The time period, historical details, and characters were excellent. I also liked the real life relationship issues and the fact that they were struggling to put their spouse first. There were so many true to life situations.
-The ending seemed abrupt and I wish it could have been extended with more details.
From Halter to Alter by Cathy Marie Hake
James Collingswood sends a request for horse bridles and instead receives 4 mail order brides. Despite his every intention, will he lose his heart?
-I really enjoyed this one. This was such an interesting and funny concept for a story! For a short story, I was surprised at how much depth each character had.
-This story, along with the next 3, really fit with the book title because the brother in law was bartering for the women and treating them like chattel.
-I stayed up late finishing this one then realized the next one was a continuation. I was excited that the story would continue, yet sad I would have to wait to read it. 🙂
From Carriage to Marriage by Janelle Burnham Schneider
The story continues with Luke Collingswood and Corrine who is a recent widow and in the family way. While Luke feels protective of all the sisters, he begins to fall in love with Corrine. If he rushes things, will he lose any chance with her?
-This was an adorable continuation of “From Halter to Alter”.
-Luke was my favorite character in this story. I love how he acted with all the sisters as well as the children.
-Even though the story will continue in “From Pride to Bride”, I still wish the last scene in this story would have been a little longer.
From Pride to Bride by JoAnne A. Grote
The “bridle” sister stories continue with Bess and Bertie moving into town and running a baking business. “Bossy Bess” pushes her way into saloon owner Gideon’s life by taking over his saloon for a church and a school. Will she also be able to take over his heart and lead it back to God?
-Like the previous ones, I loved this continuation.
-The message in this story that God wants us to help all souls was a great one. I also like that the hero wasn’t “perfect” and that Bess could see his hurting heart and the reasons he made the choices he did.
-Like the other sister stories, I would have loved for this story to be longer.
From Alarming to Charming by Pamela Kaye Tracy
Tomboy Bertie Craig meets Thomas Hardin and wishes that she was more mature, feminine and no longer a squirt. Thomas comes back years after he and his father had been run out of town on charges of cattle rustling. Will Thomas be able to get over his past? And will Bertie always be seen as a squirt?
-The series continues with interesting characters and good storylines. However, this book definitely could have benefited from being longer. The shorter length did not do it justice.
-Though I appreciate seeing more on the characters, I am not a fan of epilogues with so many new characters in such a condensed space. It seemed more like a listing of names.
-Overall, this story was a good wrap-up to the series.
A Vow Unbroke by Amy Rognlie
Through letters, James and Caroline agreed to marry. Instead of his fiancée, James is greeted with Caroline’s pregnant widowed niece, Abby, who arrived in her place. James instantly falls in love but Abby has made a vow to God that she will never love again.
-Unfortunately, this was my least favorite story in the collection.
-It was dishonest of elderly Aunt Caroline to correspond with James and agree to marry him when she had no intention of doing so. She also most likely misrepresented herself.
-I didn’t like that James fell instantly in love, even though he admits he doesn’t even know Abby.
-Throughout this story, I was wondering how this situation could possibly resolve itself successfully. I don’t think it ever did. James agreed that his marriage would be one of convenience and knew that Abby didn’t want a real marriage but he expected to change her mind and would get angry when she didn’t agree. This wasn’t just about a small issue, Abby made a vow to God.
Numbers 30:2 – If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
Deuteronomy 23:21 – When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.
Finishing Touches by Kelly Eileen Hake
Right before Gregory’s wedding, his future bride Tabitha runs away and elopes with another man. Due to pride and a financial arrangement, he is forced to marry Tabitha’s sister Libby who has secretly had feelings for him. Will Gregory be able to forget Tabitha and love Libby for who she is?
-I liked most of this story, however, the way Gregory’s heart started to turn seemed superficial.
-Gregory’s actions bothered me at times. While I can understand the emotions he was going through, he reacted to them in a negative, though entirely human, way. Libby was a strong, faithful character. There were many times she could have hidden herself away but she strived to do God’s will and be the best wife she could be.
-This story was a nice ending to this collection.