In 1860s Seattle, redwoods were plentiful but women scarce. Yet a man with a wife could secure himself 640 acres of timberland for free.
Joe Denton doesn’t have a wife, though. His died before she could follow him to Seattle and now the local judge is threatening to take away his claim. In desperation, he buys himself a Mercer bride — eastern widows and orphans brought to the Territory by entrepreneur Asa Mercer.
Anna Ivey’s journey west with Asa Mercer’s girls is an escape from the aftermath of the Civil War. She signed on to become a cook — not a bride. When she’s handed over to Denton, her stubborn refusal to wed jeopardizes his land. With only a few months before he loses all he holds dear, can he convince this provoking, but beguiling, easterner to be his lawfully wedded wife?
rating: 4 of 5 stars
On the east coast, then around the horn to the west coast this book spans the United States shortly after the Civil War. Being a southern girl through and through it was interesting for me to really feel for a character who could not be more devoted to her Union ties. Starting with nothing but loss and a past that is haunted by guilt not earned our heroine learns to get up and go on with life. The matter is she has to open her life to where God leads and not to where she is determined to be. Our hero is set and knows what he wants, but does not necessarily like what he has to do to get it. Until he accepts his fate and realizes that quite possibly God has a better plan that he. A bargain is made and if all goes well there might be a bride, but which one and will it be in time for everything else to be saved?
The preface of the book is set on a historically accurate fact that a man did take it upon himself to go to the east coast to find wives (orphans – not in the children sense you think of, but girls old enough to marry with no family or other options and widows – women who were left alone with either children or not after the Civil War stole them of their husbands) for the men on the west coast. If you’ve read much historical fiction, you know many men went west for the land, the mining, and this case the lumberjacking as well. The man who was the “entrepreneur” was not an honest man, but he was not evil in the sense of some characters as well. He was just a man who did not always tell the whole truth.
Other than just knowing that the women who were invited to participate in the exodus were from categories such as widows and orphans, there is no real emphasis on the fact or details of the past lives. So there is no dwelling sadness there as one might assume.
In a way, I would very much relate a partial idea of the story to A Bride Most Begrudging. The location is completely different. The characters are completely different. The plot is completely different. But in a similar fashion there is a woman who the last thing on her mind was getting married, who finds out that it might not be up to her with her plans of what she once thought.
How does that sound?
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Bethany House (July 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0764204076
- ISBN-13: 978-0764204074