Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Bride for All Seasons ~The Mail-Order Bride Collection~ Brownley*Clopton*Connealy*Hatcher, ©2013

It's not everyday that you have the opportunity to discover four new favorite authors all in one novel. But today, you do! 
In A Bride for All Seasons, bestselling authors and friends Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Margaret Brownley team up to create a fun collection of stories about mail-order brides in 1870. These women are all very different--but their stories of trying to find love or sometimes fortune will warm your heart and make you laugh. 
About the Book: 
It all started with an ad in a mail-order bride catalogue . . .
This charming bouquet of novellas introduces you to four Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue prospects in the year 1870, all 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 traveled halfway across the country to meet her match, arriving just in time for his funeral. Returning home seems like her only option until her would-be brother-in-law proposes a more daring idea.
“An Ever After Summer” by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she’s not what Mathew 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?
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My Review:
What fun and unexpected happenings all in one place!

There are three sections in the back. For each of the four novellas in this book there is a Reading Group Guide. And... An Interview with the Authors ~ Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Matchmakers; followed by About the Authors.

Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue 1870
The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the Lord.
   --Proverbs 16:23 NKJV
And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley

There is a fun Glossary of Mail-Order Bride Advertising Terms (And What They Really Mean) following the story.

Melvin Hitchcock owns and edits the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue and "finds it his duty to present clients in the best possible light" ~ so a little rewording here and there before their ads are posted are sometimes in order. Sometimes a necessity, if the truth be told, and definitely Melvin wants a happily-ever-after union, not a frowned upon stretching of the apparent-upon-sight!

Miss Parker needs to be represented correctly if she is to linger. Superstitious at that! Mary-Jo has traveled from her home in Georgia to be wed to Mr. Garrett. Traveling on a Friday has caused his demise, she is sure of it. Not his traveling; hers. She arrives in town a little too late and is first greeted by young Master Garrett and then by his uncle, who happens to be the county sheriff. Of all the luck, or lack of it. In all of her travels to Kansas, she is out-of-luck. Completely.

Now what!
She hated to compare the sheriff to her gambling father, but Tom treated his nephew in much the same way Pa treated her. Eddie wasn't just running to catch up; he was knocking on the door of an empty house.
    --And Then Came Spring, 45
Young Eddie's uncle is unprepared to care for his newly deceased brother's eight-year-old son. In a short time, Mary-Jo Parker has already gotten Eddie out of a couple scraps standing up for him. All she has had to compare the sheriff to was what she had known. What is she to do? This is not at all what she expected.

I really enjoyed this story by Margaret Brownley. Once they get acquainted, Mary-Jo finds she is the one who needs a little changing.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

"For I know the plans I have for  you," declares
the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm
you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
   --Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

An Ever After Summer by Debra Clopton

Ellie leaves home at the request of her aunt and is hoping for a happy-ever-after. She has been accused of causing the demise of her family ~ her mother at her birth, her father, following of heartbreak, and on and on gossip acknowledges that she is not one to stay around.

There is a curly-haired little girl needing her mothering and Purdy needing to be the protector of the little girl too. Her daddy has already settled his ever after.
   Right then and there he resolved he'd offer this woman his last name and his protection in exchange for care for his daughter. But not his love. Not his heart.
   --An Ever After Summer, 122
Toss in some cattle rustlers, and a dance to remember.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
This means that anyone who belongs to
Christ has become a new person.
The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
   --2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
Autumn's Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher

Love the handwritten letters within!
As long as he is good to me and kind to the children, as long as he is a Christian and has integrity, it doesn't matter who he is or where he lives or what he looks like. I'm not marrying for love. I'm marrying because it's the practical thing to do. The same reason hundreds of other women choose to travel west and marry complete strangers. People have been arranging marriages since almost the beginning of time. It will be all right. It will.
   --Autumn's Angel, 201
Has Mr. Hitchcock tampered with this to suit his perspective outcome of his magazine successes?
   Luvena turned toward the stagecoach and pointed toward the luggage that the Wells Fargo driver and station agent were unloading. "Those" two smaller trunks there and those two carpetbags are ours."
   Ours. He liked that she said it that way, even if she hadn't traveled light. Good thing he'd borrow a wagon instead of  a buggy. Still, she'd said ours instead of mine, and he knew they were going to get along. It was a good start for their union.
   --Ibid., 207
Well, well. Mr. Hitchcock has ad-libed ~at liberty~ omitting three important children, for sure. Especially when Clay Birch made it quite plain in his first letter he wasn't interested in a widow with children; never mind that they are her nieces and nephew. He sent fare for Luvena Abbott to come as his mail-order bride to foresee them doing good for others together. Hmm...

Grand Coeur Opera House. Clay is having the stage rebuilt in the old Grand Theater. He desires to have the folks of Grand Coeur see beauty and grace to make a difference in their daily lives.
"I don't suppose anyone would consider me a refined or cultured man, Miss Abbott, but I've seen how people can be transformed by performances of great artists. The audience may think they're just being entertained for a few hours, but it can be so much more than that. It can make them long for something better...."
   --Ibid., 228
Will he discover the change in him, beyond what he regards himself to be?
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
   --2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV
I especially liked how Luvena found the practical thing was not to be determined by circumstance.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art
with me; thy rod and they staff they comfort me.
   --Psalm 23:4 KJV

Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy

Mr. Hitchcock has again edited the letters. He has sent on pages 1 and 3 of David Laramie's letter to Megan McBride.

And an Irish lass, for sure!! This half-Irish Kathleen likes that! [That would be me.] ~*~ Back to the story.... Fortunate for Megan she has had experience with five younger brothers. The sleek carriage arrives dispelling David and his two young sons as bedlam proceeds. A need for David and Megan each to rescue one from the Chicago streets. They are used to the country life and not the crossing hoofs of horses in both directions carrying their wares and supplier of transportation.
   Megan looked down at the boy she held. She asked, "And can I be trusting you to stay at my side, laddie? No running off? No horseplay?"
   The boy nodded as if he was quite terrified to disobey. Megan released the child, took a few moments to dust herself off. She straightened her bonnet, which had been knocked nearly off her head. Then she tidied Zachary with quick, efficient motions. Regaining Ben's hand, she said, "I'm ready to go in then. We can have our visit and decide if we'll be suited to one another, Mr. Laramie."
   "You just saved my son's life," Mr. Laramie said with grim satisfaction. "I reckon we'll suit just fine. In fact, we'll suit well enough you oughta call me David."
   --Winter Wedding Bells, 300-301
That's what I call "an introduction and referral."


David Laramie has his own train car; a borrowed one because of his health. He is in a slow recovery from pneumonia. They are preparing for their wedding meal.
   Megan stepped onboard and gasped. A velvet couch, brass lamps. A table with four chairs to her right, the table laden with platters covered by domed metal lids for keeping food warm. Her stomach growled.
   "We'll eat first." David pulled the door shut. She wondered if he'd heard her stomach.
   He threw a latch, which blocked off a means of escape for the rowdy boys.
   --Ibid., 303
Megan's new sons are four and five. The four of them are on their way to their ranch home in Wyoming. David met Megan in Chicago as he was there for doctoring care. They marry the day after meeting and go directly to the train. David married for his sons to have a mother's care, with his illness extinguishing his life ~ mentioned on the center page she did not receive. However, his eyes do not have death in them, nor does Megan's belief and heart.
Many plans occupy the mind of a man, but the LORD's purposes will prevail.
   --Proverbs 19:21 ISV
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
I thoroughly enjoyed these four novellas. ~ All together in one place. ~ Endearing, they will remain with you after the last written page.
A Bride for All Seasons | 12-Day Unexpected Packages Giveaway! Enter today. 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 author's Facebook Page to enter to win a new give away each day. Winners will be announced at the Facebook Author Chat party on July 23rd! Such fun!

***Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for inviting me to be part of this blog tour for the four novellas and sending me a copy of A Bride For All Seasons ~ Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter ~ they have been delightful reads! This review is in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

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