Journal

The Homestead Brides Collection

Marriage of convenience stories are among my favorites. Especially when they are set against the hardships of pioneering. I was thrilled about this collection of novellas. There were a number of “new to me” authors in this collection and it was wonderful to get a sampling of their styles. 

**I received a copy of this book from Barbough Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**

Love Stakes a Claim on the Great Plains

Promises of free land lured thousands to venture into to the vast American plains. They built make-do homes and put all they had into improving the land. Very often romantic thoughts took a back burner to priorities having to do with the land.

In these nine novellas, individuals are forced to encounter romance when neighbor helps neighbor, when land ownership is debated, and when natural disaster blows them off course.
Homestead on the Range by Mary Conneally
Priceless Pearl by Darlene Franklin
Proving Up by Carla Olson Gade
Prairie Promises by Ruth Logan Herne
This Land Is Our Land by Pam Hillman
Flaming Starr by DiAnn Mills
A Palace on the Plains by Erica Vetsch
Waiting on a Promise by Becca Whitham
The Bogus Bride of Creed Creek by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Travel along through the Great Plains on romantic adventures as God helps each land prospector find someone with whom to share the dream—the work—and the love.

Overall: I really enjoyed this collection. Most of the stories involve pretty sweet romances all surrounded by a variety of hardships. Some stories offer a bit of humor and others a bit of mystery. Together, this was a collection that I loved reading, and I certainly discovered some authors I’ll be sure to look into reading more from.

Homestead on the Range by Mary Conneally

Widower Elle Winter meets new homesteader Colin Samuelson on the Nebraska prairie, but the attraction between them is soon dampened by the discovery that they have seven children between them. Soon their children are working against them to bring the two families together.

My Review: This was a fun story with all the antics of a large group of children. It was like The Brady Bunch meets LIttle House on the Prairie in many ways. The novella was quickly paced with some big moments.

Priceless Pearl by Darlene Franklin

Rick Eady grew up knowing how to make do with little, while America Barton grew up having plenty. When they secure claims near each other in the Oklahoma Land Rush, Rick often comes to the aide of the inept Barton family and their pretty daughter.

My Review: This sweet story captured the peril that many pioneering families faced when they were ill-equipped for this adventure. But the subtle emotional attachment that forms between Rick and America make for a very sweet story set in Oklahoma.

Proving Up by Carla Olson Gade

Elsa Lindquist applies her scientific theories to growing trees on the Nebraska plains, intruding on a handsome homesteader’s hard work and experience. Will their dreams come to ruin, or will love prove their success?

My Review: For a novella, this one was sure full of a number of surprises! I can’t say too much or else it will be spoiled, but this one was a fun read. I even learned a little bit about how the government used incentives to get homesteaders to plant more trees on the Nebraska plains.

Prairie Promises by Ruth Logan Herne

Jack O’Donnell storms onto the Nebraska homestead determined to take his widowed mother back East with him. But he finds her fit and determined to stay; plus she has taken a pregnant widow—rumored to be crazy—under her wing who wouldn’t survive without his mother’s help.

My Review: Living on the frontier took a lot of gumption and willpower. Jack’s mother and Bridget both demonstrate their own share, plus the love of the land that they have. Jack clearly becomes attached to the wild land and the “crazy” woman his mother has partnered up with. Again, this one was a fun story to read.

This Land Is Our Land by Pam Hillman

Caught in an early blizzard, orphan Mollie Jameson is frantic to make it to Lincoln, Nebraska, to claim land her father homesteaded six months ago. If she can’t get there in time, her family will be homeless. Then in steps a foot-loose and fancy-free cowboy willing to help them along the trail, but can they trust him to race for the land office with their deed?

My Review: I honestly could not move through this story quick enough. It seemed like the family was always in some sort of peril and a deadline for their dreams that looms ever closer add a hint of tension to the story. Against all that, romance blooms between Mollie and Lasso. I adored this novella!

Flaming Starr by DiAnn Mills

Starr Matthews arrives at her Texas homestead only to find it already claimed by a widower and his children, who have been praying for a mother. Starr has money, but she has no skills; while Aaron Conrad has the homesteading skills, but no money for supplies. Can they work as a team?

My Review: God will always turn things to work for good is the theme of this story. Starr and Aaron both have a number of hardships in their past but they can each off something to the other that makes them better off together. This was definitely a sweet story with three little kids who are charming.

A Palace on the Plains by Erica Vetsch

Julie Farrington arrives at a Nebraska homestead as hired seamstress for an upcoming wedding. Cyrus Haskell is content being a widowed father and doesn’t need to be distracted by who he considers a high-falutin’ city girl—until a natural disaster puts her worth to the test.

My Review: This was probably my favorite story of all in this collection. The characters were wonderful and the story beautiful. There was definitely a theme concerning things being how they appeared in this story.

Waiting on a Promise by Becca Whitham

Marta Vogel’s fiancé left over a year ago to claim land in Oklahoma, and she is tired of his excuses that keep her from joining him. Karl Reinhart is locked in a bitter land dispute. When Marta arrives uninvited and unannounced, her presence is more than a trifling distraction. She just may cause him to lose everything.

My Review: There was definitely a bit of mystery in this novella as there were a lot of troublesome things happening to Karl. Marta’s arrival certainly complicates things. Both characters need to have a heavy dose of patience and trust in God for everything to work out for them.
The Bogus Bride of Creed Creek by Kathleen Y’Barbo

The last thing Iz McBride expects to find when he returns home to his Texas ranch is a pregnant wife. Apparently, his pregnant wife. Yet everyone in Creed Creek seems to love Cora McBride. The only trouble is, she’s an imposter. Now Iz must decide whether to evict the woman or marry her.

My Review: This was the most difficult story for me to get interested in. But once I got most of the way through, my interest was certainly piqued by who actually owns the ranch and how everyone was connected.

Check out The Homestead Brides Collection on Amazon

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