The Unlikely Wife
by Debra Ullrick
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction, Idaho Territory, 1885
Overview of Plot:
Michael Bowen expected a refined lady when he agreed to marry Selina by proxy. Everything in her letters suggested she would be, but when Selina steps off the train, he realizes the woman he thought he loved was a fantasy. Dressed in trousers, poor grammar, and unable to read or write, Selina is far from the woman he pictured as his wife.
Michael is everything she dreamed of, but when she discovers her best friend Aimee lied in the letters she wrote for Selina, her hopes for a love-filled marriage dies. She isn’t willing to change who she is but neither is she willing to break her vows.
Together they must learn to accept one another for who they are and to find love runs deeper than fantasies.
Favorite Character and Why:
I loved Selina. She is a Kentucky girl (like me) and had some ways about her that just didn’t make sense to her new family out west. (I have family in Idaho, too, so I could relate.) The challenges she faces and the hopes she have resonate with every woman I know. Not to mention she was just plain funny.
What I liked:
I loved how this wasn’t your typical mail-order bride story, yet it was. Michael had to overcome prejudices and learn to love his wife instead of the fantasy woman he built up in his mind and Selina had to learn to be happy with who she was as a wife.
Who would like this:
Anyone who loves mail-order bride stories that are are fun, set in the West, or stories of husbands and wives learning to love each other.
“The arrival of Michael Bowen’s bride, married sight unseen by proxy, sends the rancher reeling. With her trousers, cowboy hat and rifle, she looks like a female outlaw—not the genteel lady he corresponded with for months. He’s been hoodwinked into marriage with the wrong woman!
Selina Farleigh Bowen loved Michael’s letters, even if she couldn’t read them herself. A friend read them to her, and wrote her replies—but apparently that “friend” left things out, like Michael’s dream of a wife who was nothing like her. Selina won’t change who she is, not even for the man she loves. Yet time might show Michael the true value of his unlikely wife.”
Links for Purchase:
Amazon.com Barnes and Noble
Seven Brides for Seven Texas Rangers Romance Collection
Stories by: Erica Vetsch, Amanda Barratt, Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, Gabrielle Meyer, Lorna Seilstad, and Kathleen Y’Barbo
I will admit, I have been waiting on pins and needles to read this collection of novellas. I absolutely LOVED the first collection, Seven Brides for Seven Texans, which I have just realized I did not review and will have to go back and do!
Collections always take me longer to read than just a normal book, just because it is broken up in to separate stories, but this one took me way less time than normal. Why? Because I thoroughly enjoyed how connected the stories were. I won’t dive into the details until below, but you really, really need to check out this collection.
Genre: Historical Romance, Texas Rangers, 1886
Plot Overview: A whole company of Texas Rangers is stationed in Hartville to round up and put an end to the notorious Markham Gang. Ruthless and far-reaching, this gang is no easy task to round up. Danger and trouble are guaranteed, but who would have guessed love?
What I loved: My favorite part of this type of collections is the deep connection between each story. Instead of seven completely different stories, it feels like one overarching story when you get a peek at each swoon-worthy hero. And who doesn’t swoon over men whose duty in life is to protect and serve? Each hero is depicted with his own quirks and individual personality, but they all have the common thread of a commitment that goes beyond the standard citizen.
I also LOVED how this book was set in the same place as Seven Brides for Seven Texans. Characters from past books reappeared and you got to see bits and pieces of the Hart brothers all over again. Books that connect and series that connect in this way are my absolute favorite.
Favorite Story: While all seven stories are good, my absolute favorite was The Countess and the Cowboy by Kathleen Y’Barbo. (And actually I have changed this at least twice, so you know the stories are good.) I loved how the heroine was a determined spitfire and not one to just standby… which also leads to heaps of trouble. Ezra is a great hero with a soft heart.
Who would like this: Anyone who loves historical stories with strong heroes, heroes whose profession is a lawman, heroines who range from stubborn to docile, and dangerous situations that bring couples together. Those who especially like connected storylines will love this.
Rating and Why: I give this story 5 stars. If you haven’t figured it out, the connectedness of all the stories really bumps the rating up. However, the action, dialogue, and characters are all excellent. Some stories are better than others, but I can’t think of one that I did not enjoy, and usually, in a collection, there is one that I am meh on.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this story on #netgalley through the publisher for review purposes. The opinions above are completely my own and not influenced in any way.
Join the Discussion: If you have read this collection, which Texas Ranger was your favorite? If you have not read it, what makes about a Texas Ranger makes you swoon?
Funny add in… Every time I write Texas Ranger the theme song of Walker, Texas Ranger plays through my head. Who doesn’t love Chuck Norris?
Plots and Pans
By Kelly Eileen Hake
This one has been on my TBR pile for a while and I finally scrounged up an audio copy and enjoyed listening to it while a chaotic January had me disinfecting the house… over and over and over.
Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Western, 1879
Overview of Plot:
Jessalyn is a born and bred Texas cowgirl, but after a disaster at home, her father sent her away to boarding school in England. Tucker is a man’s man, one who works hard, gives orders, and doesn’t take any shirking of duties lightly. While Jessalyn has been away, he has grown from a green ranch had to foreman and part owner of the ranch.
When Jessalyn’s father dies while she is away, her brother and Tucker decide to leave her in England, just until the cattle drive is over, but Jessalyn is a strong-willed and determined as any character you will ever meet. By herself, she crosses the ocean and most of the country to make it home.
Trouble ensues as she tries to prove her place is on the ranch and that she is worthy to be there. Tucker just wants to keep her safe, but the hard-headed woman is not content to stay home in the kitchen.
Favorite Character and Why:
Jessalyn was my absolute favorite. That little rascal is kind of how I envision myself. She has done a lot of raising herself and is independent, determined, and willing to do whatever needs to be done. I also identify with her struggle for self-worth.
What I liked:
This story had a lot of witty banter and funny situation. I love how Jessalyn’s family situation is unique and she is not taken aback by it. She stands up to defend those who dare to degrade them. I won’t say more about that situation because you have to read it to find out.
Kelly developed wonderful characters that were a pleasure to spend my time with. The romance thread was not your typical sweet instances, but there were moments, and in the end, she did bring it all together. In some ways, I wondered how they could really be sure they loved each other, but the story worked.
Who would like this:
Anyone who is a fan of strong women, witty banter, is not looking for a gushy romance but a sweet read, and anyone who enjoys stories written with western settings.
“Order dictates Tucker Carmichael’s life—his orders. On a cattle drive, a moment’s hesitation can mean death. The Chisholm Trail is dirty, dangerous, and no place for women. After years at school, Jessalyn Culpepper has come home and is determined to show everyone that a woman can manage everything from cooking to cattle—whether they like it or not! Tucker tries to manage his partner’s headstrong sister, horrified when she wants to join the cattle drive. But when they need a chuck wagon cook, Jessalyn seems the only solution. Will God stir up love along a trail filled with their Plots and Pans?”
Links for purchase:
Amazon Barnes and Noble Christianbook.com