Jun 25, 2021
I suppose you could say that mail-order brides have been a thing since the Garden of Eden--if you change the spelling just a smidge.
In today's episode, I tell about a large, multi-author series featuring mail-order brides with a twist of suspense. The Westward Home and Hearts Mail-Order Bride series offers stories of men and women who are broken, under threat, or hiding for reasons only the story will tell.
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In a world that romanticizes the mail-order brides of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, I always have trouble ignoring the ugly side. Just like every child who was sent from London to the English countryside as part of Operation Pied Piper during WWII didn't get an idyllic experience with "The Professor, every bride didn't have a happily-ever-after. Enter the Westward Home and Hearts Mail-Order Bride Series.
As of the recording of this episode, there are twenty-one books available (either to read or on preorder) by eleven different authors. They are also available in Kindle Unlimited, so for those with that subscription, we're talking a lot of books for no extra expense!
The brain-child of author Elaine Manders whose book Lacy's Legacy kicks off the series, all the books are stand-alone novels or novellas but... there's one thread that ties them together. Mildred Crenshaw, the owner and genius behind the Westward Home and Hearts Matrimonial Agency.
Oh, so much. Lost loves mistaken identities bad experiences with the process, and love. Lots of happily-ever-afters despite the suspense, danger, and more.
This is the element that convinced me to join a couple of years ago, and this is finally the year for my book. I had planned to publish in February, but life gets ugly sometimes and refuses to cooperate. So, I didn't do it. Another author, Margaret Tanner, stepped up and released her book early just so the series could continue to have a new book releasing every month! I haven't read that book, Saffron's Savior, but I intend to. I did read her June release Harriet's Heartache, and it has a unique premise involving a strange cult.
I've long dreamed of writing three different mail-order bride stories, and now I have the perfect opportunity.
Penelope's Pursuit covers the difficult topic of human and sex trafficking with the mail-order bride being the means of doing it. The book tackles three particularly difficult topics, prostitution, opium dependence, and suicide, but despite these heavy topics, the book isn't heavy itself. And of course, as historical romance, it definitely has its happily-ever-after.
I have two more planned, as I said. Verity's Valley takes place in the same fictional world as Penelope and involves a farmer who would be considered on the Autism spectrum today. Felicia's Foibles examines what might have happened if young ladies of a small town back east got "westward fever" and created a dearth of marriageable women in their town.
After reading all the synopses of all the books, I do want to read them all, but I believe i'll start with:
I know this episode was a bit of a plug for a series I'm a part of, but even if I wasn't, I'd have wanted to chat about it. I do hope you'll give some of the books a read and let me know which were your favorites!
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