Posted by Babs Mountjoy
A terrible result of the Civil War was that fighting took the lives of so many young men. Numbers given are that between 620,000 and 750,000 men died in the Civil War, by far the greatest toll of any war in American history. When most of the surviving single men moved west, this left no one for Eastern women to marry. If a woman wanted a husband and children, what was she to do? If a man wanted a wife and family, what was he to do?
This is why there are so many mail-order bride and proxy bride romances. Although mail-order and proxy brides existed before and after this era, they flourished in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
Here is where your challenge comes in: If you were single during this time, what would you have done?
In my ancestry and that of my husband, several women became little more than a live-in, unpaid maid. Would you have wanted to spend the rest of your life as “Aunt” whoever to someone else’s family? Or, would you have dared become a mail-order bride?
In the west the ratio was sometimes 1 woman (who might be married) to 14 men and more men to women near mines. If you wanted a wife and children, what would you do? Would you send for a bride sight-unseen?
Chris Enss’ book Hearts West discusses actual mail-order brides. Some are happy stories, some are frightening. Each is interesting.
Matrimonial agencies supposedly verified the character and intentions of the man and woman before the marriage was arranged. Also available were newspaper-like periodicals filled with ads placed by men who wanted a wife (no verification). If you’ve read some of these, you know they varied from so egotistical they’re comical to so brief no information is supplied.
Imagine yourself a woman traveling by train or—more likely—by stagecoach to meet a prospective groom. You could be single or widowed. More than likely you’d be nearly destitute. If the man you’re going to meet doesn’t suit, you have no funds to repay him for your travel fare and return home. Perhaps you have no home to which you can return. What if he’s a drunk or beats women or is a crook?
Imagine being a single man who longs for a wife and family and sends for a bride. What if she’s a shrew or slovenly and can’t cook or keep house? What if she’s a con artist who plans to remain only long enough to gain access to your savings?
Would you have dared enter a mail-order marriage?
About The Book
She has to protect her baby . . .
He is desperate for help . . .
Trouble preys on their livelihood . . .
Widow Victoria Bailey is desperate to prevent her in-laws from gaining custody of her eighteen-month-old daughter. If becoming a mail-order bride is her only option, she’ll take the risk. At least on a Texas ranch she’ll have quiet and peace. She doesn’t have time to let the groom know she’s bringing her daughter. Surely no man can object to one perfect little girl.
Widower Greg Hardy is desperate to get help with his home and his children. He needs to be pursuing whoever is rustling his cattle. A mail-order bride seems to be exactly what he needs but should he keep his children a secret? To insure he doesn’t scare off a prospective wife, he omits the fact that he has five children aged from eight months to twelve years old.
Their marriage starts with misunderstanding. They decide to work together to fight against a common foe. Will the fight take a toll on their fragile happiness?
Enjoy An Excerpt
Her head pounded as if a blacksmith hammered his anvil inside. She couldn’t continue in this state of fear. Instead, she had to do something without delay.
“Tell me the matchmaker’s address. I’m too desperate to turn down any chance to leave Atlanta with Regina safely in my care.”
“Fortunately, she lives only about a mile from us.” Diana rose and went to her writing desk. She opened a drawer and took out a sheet of paper.
Referring to a letter she’d removed from an envelope, Diana wrote on the paper then handed it to her. “Here’s the address. You won’t have any trouble finding her house.”
Victoria studied the writing. “I think I know where this is and I’ll go there now. There’s no time to waste. I expect my in-laws back to steal Regina no later than noon tomorrow.”
Diana hugged her briefly. “Godspeed, my friend. If you do leave, promise you’ll let me know your new address.”
“I will because I am leaving for somewhere, Diana. Thank you for your friendship.”
The soft breeze failed to soothe Victoria. She recognized the part of town in which the matchmaker lived. The homes were nicer than hers—though she thought of the house as hers, her in-laws actually owned her home. She found the correct house and was surprised a matchmaker lived there.
The red brick home was built in the Federal style with white columns in front. A small brass plate was attached to the fence pillar. The first line said Mercedes McCormick and the second line read Matches Made In Heaven.
That described what she needed. Her first marriage wasn’t made in heaven but perhaps the next one would be better. She pushed the perambulator up the walk and maneuvered it up the steps to the porch.
“Regina, here we go. I hope we’re not sorry.” She rang the bell.
About The Author
Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To compensate for this illogical error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a tiny office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their two rescued indoor cats and dog as well as providing nourishment outdoors for other critters.
The books she creates in her pink cave have made her a bestselling author and won awards. She writes sweet to sensual romances about the West, both historical and contemporary as well as time travel and mystery. Her series include the Kincaids, McClintocks, Stone Mountain Texas, Bride Brigade, Texas Time Travel, Texas Caprock Tales, Pearson Grove, and Loving A Rancher as well as numerous single titles and contributions to multi-author sets. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading her friends’ books, lunching with friends, browsing antique malls, checking Facebook, and taking the occasional nap. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
Join her and other readers at Caroline’s Cuties, a Facebook readers group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/277082053015947/ for special excerpts, exchanging ideas, contests, giveaways, recipes, and talking to like-minded people about books and other fun things.
Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books and follow her there.
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To stay up-to-date with her releases and contests, subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here and receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?
Title: MAIL-ORDER VICTORIA, Widows, Brides and Secret Babies book 7
Author: Caroline Clemmons
Genre: Historical western romance
Heat level: PG
Amazon Universal link: https://mybook.to/Victoria
Available in e-book, print, and enrolled in KU
Posted by Babs Mountjoy
Check out this blog post from author Pamela Cummins, who finds value in reading fiction for gaining knowledge—even romance books! Not only can you study human nature, but also learn facts about history, famous people and more. I know this to be true, reading author Kathy Otten’s Western historical romances. I was lucky enough to be part of her critique group , and learned all kinds of things, even how to birth a calf with your own hands!!
I’m proud to be one of Pamela’s “favorite authors”– why don’t you jump aboard??