Almost Happy New Year to all. I hope your holiday season has been filled with happiness and loads of great books. Today I am doing a slightly different today since after reading these wonderful books by the talented E.E. Burke I wanted to spotlight them together since they are so closely connected. I for one believe holiday themed stories can be savored at any time of the year. This year especially since with the insane weather we have been having, it didn't feel like Christmas to me and many of you. Reading Victoria: Bride of Kansas and Santa's Mail Order Bride put me in a happy place and actually opened the door for me to enjoy more holiday themed reads.
Young miss, Victoria Lowell flees Massachusetts after being jilted by her fiance. looking to start fresh and make a new life for herself, the daughter of a wealthy family responds to a mail order bride advertisement and leaves the comforts of home to start off on her adventure into matrimony. Taking that leap, Victoria travels to Kansas where she is expecting the man she fell in love with through letters to meet her and marry.
In Kansas, general store owner, David O'Brien is having a trying time. His wife having run off with another man leaving him with a young daughter who stopped talking when her mother left as well as a busy store to run has him contemplating his life. He knows he needs a mother for his feisty daughter who is cared for by David's sister Maggie, but he can't seem to get around to the task of advertising for that very need. Unbeknownst to him, Maggie has had the foresight to take matters into her own hands and hope for the best. She has a life she would like to begin, and even though she loves and adores her brother and niece, that life is calling her. Maggie begins the process of seeking a wife for David and that wife to be will be in Kansas at any moment and bringing David up to snuff is not going to be easy. When Maggie finally lets the cat out of the bag, David is understandably angry, but he has a promised bride waiting for him at the train station.
As Victoria awaits on the train platform for her fiance to arrive, the enormity of her circumstances begin to gnaw at her like the Kansas wind that seeks to blow her away. When her betrothed arrives late to meet her, she discovers a marked difference between the man who wrote the letter and the man in front of her, but she isn't a simpering woman, she will go on. David had hopes of coming clean with Victoria and sending her packing back to whence she came, but meeting her in person stirs his spirit and he begins a sort of courtship, mainly as a means of time to figure out these things that were thrown at him so quickly.
Victoria and David's journey to an accord is quite the ride, and throwing in the mighty little daughter, Fannie makes Victoria: Bride of Kansas a wonderful tale and a great setting for things to come. David's reluctance to start over with someone new is gripping and heart-warming. Having been so hurt by the woman he thought he loved, his bruised heart finds it difficult to let Victoria in at first, but this formidable opponent is a welcome surprise. This well-written and touching tale is a winner.
Maggie O'Brien is a woman on a mission and not much can sway this woman from achieving that end, not even her brother's business competitor. Maggie has been a living away from her family as a schoolteacher and having seen some of the atrocities that poverty can do to a child has made her a champion to better these children's lives, even if it's only the the smallest way of making sure they have the very basic needs for the holidays. When Maggie sets out to collect monies and gifts for the unfortunate children being used as slave labor on local farms, she finds that having people open their pockets can be a task. Her brother David has already pledged to help, but he can only do so much.
David's prime competition, a Gordon Sumner has his own worries to deal with, but when Maggie O'Brien comes through his front door, he is in for one big surprise in the form of this woman who makes him think of a better life. When Maggie comes to Gordon with her proposal, he will do anything to keep her company, even if it's to wrangle the town into helping her cause. Gordon has a few secrets, however and these secrets make it almost impossible to pursue Miss O'Brien. But through their project to bring the town together and help the unfortunate children, Gordon becomes more attached to the school teacher than he would have liked. Maggie on the other hand struggles with the fact that her sudden closeness to Gordon is a betrayal to her family. Her feelings for David become deep ones, but her loyalty to the brother who saved her life when they were children is paramount.
Santa's Mail-Order Bride takes these two wayward souls and places them in a whirlwind. Maggie's loyalty to her brother, while the right thing is most cases, will make or break this young woman's happiness. While Mr. Sumner at first seems the shady character, his progression in this tale makes known his true self and the lengths that he will go for the woman he wants are quite the story.
|E.E. Burke at RT's Roundup in Dallas, 2015|
I don't usually post an author's bio, because you can go right over to their sites to see that, but I do want to let you know a little about this wonderful lady, who is not only a great author, but a huge advocate for the romance community. With the Get Lost In a Story blog, E.E. Burke brings to light some of the best in Western Romance. She is a tireless cheerleader for all that is romance and I salute her. Having been able to spend some quality time at RT in Dallas allowed me to get to know her and adore her.
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