Monday, May 13, 2013

Guest Review: Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson, 2010, 350p
Alisa's Rating=5 stars, Clean Romance

Sixteen Civil War widows living in St. Louis respond to a series of meetings conducted by a land speculator who lures them west by promising "prime homesteads" in a "booming community." Unbeknownst to them, the speculator's true motive is to find an excuse to bring women to the fledging community of Plum Grove, Nebraska, in hopes they will accept marriage proposals shortly after their arrival!

Sparks fly when these unsuspecting widows meet the men who are waiting for them. These women are going to need all the courage and faith they can muster to survive these unwanted circumstances--especially when they begin to discover that none of them is exactly who she appears to be. (Goodreads)

I haven't had a chance to read this yet but my sister Alisa has and after reading her review, I want to add it to the top of my pile, but that's currently a very crowded spot so this will need to wait a little longer.  

This book was a pleasant surprise! I wasn't excited to read a book about 16 brides -- I thought it would be too confusing to follow, but we only really learn about 5 (6 counting Ella's mother) of these brides and their stories!

Mr. Hamilton Drake is a cheat and a fraud, but unfortunately the women of St. Louis don't know that. So when he organizes the Ladies Emigration Society to help women acquire land in their own name in Nebraska, several women join. They are all without husbands - widows of the war, divorced, estranged...

Caroline Jamison didn't have a happy marriage, and she finds herself disowned by her family because she married "the enemy" and three of her brothers died in the war. She is a true southern belle who lives by the mantra: "No rule had been made that a gentleman wouldn't break for a determined southern belle."

Ella Barton was married to a man who constantly berated her and made her feel unwanted. She doesn't see herself the way others see her.

Zita Romano is Ella's mother and joins her to go out west for their own land.

Sally Grant was beaten by her husband and so she divorced him. She is young and forthright and not interested in marriage again.

Hattie Raines (Gates) accidentally joins the group when she is trying to escape a bad situation. She lets the others think she is widowed... which works until her husband finds her and she is forced to face the demons she is trying to run from!

Ruth Dow is the widow of a general who she loved deeply. It has been three (or maybe four?) years since his death, and she is still mourning him. But her 14-year-old son Jackson could sure use a strong man in his life.

When these women get to Plum Grove they learn that Mr. Drake has tricked them into coming to Nebraska to be brides for some men who are paying him. Half of the women go on to Cayote to meet the men who want to get married, but the other half decide to stay in Plum Grove and take their chances at creating a homestead. In Plum Grove they also get a second chance at love!

Matthew Ransom is a widower with a 14-year-old daughter, Linney. It has been several years since his wife, Katie, died but he is still haunted by her death and his part in it.

Lucas Gray is a successful rancher who has never married... and as the story progresses we learn more about why he has never married.

Jeb Cooper arrives in Plum Grove on the same train as the "brides." He is a large, one-handed man with a heart of gold!

These men of Plum Grove help the women set up their homestead and get their own second chances at love!


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