The Mail-Order Brides Collection: 9 Historical Stories of Marriage that Precedes Love – Review

mobcoverby Kathleen Y’Barbo, Megan Besing, Noelle Marchand, Donna Schlachter, Sherri Shackelford, Michelle Shocklee, Ann Shorey, Liz Tolsma, Jennifer Uhlarik

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (February 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1683224442
ISBN-13: 978-1683224440

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What kind of woman would answer an advertisement and marry a stranger?

Escape into the history of the American West along with nine couples whose relationships begin with advertisements for mail-order brides. Placing their dreams for new beginnings in the hands of a stranger, will each bride be disappointed, or will some find true love?

Perfect for the Preacher by Megan Besing
1897, Indiana
Fresh from seminary, Amos Lowry believes marriage will prove to his skeptical congregation that he’s mature. If only his mail-order bride wasn’t an ex-saloon girl, and worse, pregnant.

The Outlaw’s Inconvenient Bride by Noelle Marchand
1881, Wyoming
After a gang of outlaws uses a mail-order bride advertisement to trick an innocent woman into servitude, an undercover lawman must claim the bride—even if it puts his mission in jeopardy.

Train Ride to Heartbreak by Donna Schlachter
1895, Train to California
John Stewart needs a wife. Mary Johannson needs a home. On her way west, Mary falls in love with another. Now both must choose between commitment and true love.

Mail-Order Proxy by Sherri Shackelford
1885, Montana
A mail-order marriage by proxy goes wrong when a clerical error leads to the proxies actually being married instead of the siblings they were standing in for. In their quest to correct the mistake, the two discover outlaws, adventure, and even love.

To Heal Thy Heart by Michelle Shocklee
1866, New Mexico
When Phoebe Wagner answers a mail-order bride ad that states Confederate widows need not apply, she worries what Dr. Luke Preston will do when he learns her fiancé died wearing gray.

Miss-Delivered Mail by Ann Shorey
1884, Washington
Helena Erickson impulsively decides to take advantage of her brother’s deception and travels to Washington Territory in response to a proposal of marriage intended for someone else. How will Daniel McNabb respond when Helena is nothing like he expected?

A Fairy-Tale Bride by Liz Tolsma
1867, Texas
Nora Green doesn’t feel much like Cinderella when her mail-order groom stands her up. But could the mysterious jester from the town’s play be her Prince Charming?

The Brigand and the Bride by Jennifer Uhlarik
1876, Arizona
Jolie Hilliard weds a stranger to flee her outlaw family but discovers her groom is an escaped prisoner. Will she ever find happiness on the right side of the law?

The Mail-Order Mistake by Kathleen Y’Barbo
1855, Texas
Pinkerton detective Jeremiah Bingham is investigating a mail-order bride scam bankrupting potential grooms. When unsuspecting orphan May Conrad answers his false ad, she becomes the prime suspect in the case.


The Mail-Order Brides Collection brings us nine historical stories of women who choose to marry a stranger for convenience rather than to marry for love.

Perfect for the Preacher by Megan Besing
-This story is about someone who has trials that she had to go through and how she became more faithful through it.
-There is a lot of judging other people and forming prejudices but then knowing that God’s forgiveness is for all and we are all sinners.
-One of my favorite movies is While You Were Sleeping. There is a scene in the movie that reminds me of the way Margaret kept jumping topics during dinner.

The Outlaw’s Inconvenient Bride by Noelle Marchand
-Mariah tried to leave a life of crime behind and yet she ended up right in the middle of it.
-It has the message of trusting God and trusting those you love
-I liked the action and adventure in this story.

Train Ride to Heartbreak by Donna Schlachte
-There is a message in this story of finding joy even in bad circumstances.
-I liked the plot and the characters. I especially liked that the characters weren’t perfect.
-The children in the train were a little unbelievably resilient in tragic circumstances.
-I found it odd that John can fall in love and propose even without knowing her last name.

Mail-Order Proxy by Sherri Shackelford
-There is a struggle of trying to prove yourself to others and is it really worth it?
-I loved this story and it was one of my favorites in the collection.
-There were lots of funny moments and I loved the banter, characters and storylines.
-Some quotes:
“They each wanted to feel as though they mattered.”
“Would you rather have your life matter to a thousand people or to one person?”

To Heal Thy Heart by Michelle Shocklee
-This story is about a Yankee doctor who doesn’t want a mail order bride who is a southern sympathizer but Phoebe Wagner hides her beliefs and marries Dr. Luke Preston anyway.
-I liked most of the story but the confession and forgiveness would have been better if it had been expanded.
-Phoebe was completely wrong for being married to one man but still in love with another even though he had died.
-Luke was a very likable character except for his flaw in not loving all people.

Miss-Delivered Mail by Ann Shorey
-This was about looking for something better and taking a chance but not asking God to lead you.
-I liked the other family but wish there was more interaction between Daniel and Helena.
-There was also a lot of wasted money on tickets.
-One of my favorite scenes was the one where Helena received a letter from her brother and Daniel recognized the handwriting.

A Fairy-Tale Bride by Liz Tolsma
-This story was another one of my favorites. The characters were well developed and the story didn’t seem rushed, which is often the case with novellas.
-I really enjoyed this story. It was a sweet and different version of Cinderella. It was a clever take on Cinderella using the play instead of the ball.
-I liked the play and the jester scenes as well as their interactions at Maude’s house.
-I have known people like Maude and I feel for those kids.

The Brigand and the Bride by Jennifer Uhlarik
-Jolie is a strong female character, but she put up with too much abuse from her brother.
-I liked that there was lots of action and adventure and the story was filled with details.
-Jolie and Del had a great connection.
-I didn’t actually see a twist coming in the story which made for a nice surprise.

The Mail-Order Mistake by Kathleen Y’Barbo
-I liked the details about the different locations throughout this story.
-I also liked the mystery.
-Things really did seem to fall into Pinkerton detective Jeremiah Bingham’s lap. I would have liked to see more detective work.

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