Accused of crimes he didn’t commit, ex-preacher Ridge Steele is forced to give up everything he knew and make his home with outlaws. Desperate for someone to confide in, he strikes up correspondence with mail-order bride Adeline Jancy, finding in her the open heart he’s been searching for. Upon her arrival, Ridge discovers Addie only communicates through the written word, but he knows a little of what trauma can do to a person and vows to stand by her side.
Addie is eager to start a new life with the kind ex-preacher and the little boy she’s stolen away from her father―a zealot priest of a terrorized flock. As her small family settles into life at Hope’s Crossing, she even begins to find the voice, and confidence, she’d lost so long ago.
PRAISE FOR ONCE UPON A MAIL ORDER BRIDE:
I have lost count of how many Linda Broday books that I have had the privilege of reading, but I can say that Once Upon a Mail Order Bride is one of my favorites by the author. Broday is one of those writers who consistently delivers interesting characters, heartfelt romances, and exciting conflicts. You may have read other romances that have a similar premise of outlaws building a new life away from other civilized towns, but I can guarantee that you have not read a love story like Ridge and Addie’s.
From the beginning, I was caught up in the mystery of Addie’s incarceration and her inability to speak. When Luke Legend comes to escort her to safety upon her release from a three-year sentence, I got a little giddy at the prospect of being reunited with some beloved characters from her other books. After a heart pounding encounter with the men sent to kill her, I was a little surprised that our main characters’ meet-cute happens early on, although the situation is quite nasty and not cute at all.
Broday is kind enough to not torment the reader too long with the question of whether Ridge or Addie remembers the other when they meet again. It makes for a nice moment of each gaining more respect for the other and helps break down the uneasiness that obviously comes with marrying a stranger. Although they were pen pals for a good while, Addie knew that some men would want to present themselves in a more positive light and Ridge acknowledged that everyone had secrets. But having met in literal cover of darkness in an evil situation, they knew what the other was made of and the kind of human beings that they truly are.
But Ridge and Addy are not the only people to show their mettle and kindness in the face of impossible odds. The people of Hope’s Crossing are truly remarkable in their ability to look beyond the past and throw their hearts into building a future for all. It was nice to see what was going on with characters from prior books and to learn more about a few of their backstories. You don’t have to read the other books to enjoy this one, but I have a feeling that you will go back for the others once you see how deep and well written this little book is.
I think that any western fan (man or woman) would really enjoy this book. Also, historical fiction fans would probably be inspired to do some research on outlaw towns and mail order brides after reading this one. I’m sad that this series has come to an end, but I take heart in the fact that I have about 10 other books by Broday that I need to catch up on. Also, with the crossover between the different series, I have a feeling that I can count on reading more about my favorite characters.
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