Sixteen Civil War widows living in St. Louis respond to a series of meetings conducted by a land specialist who lures them west by promising them "prime homesteads" in a "booming community." Unbeknownst to them, the specialist's true motive is to find an excuse to bring women to fledgling communities in Nebraska, in hopes they will accept marriage proposals shortly after their arrival.
Sparks fly when these unsuspecting widows meet the men who are waiting for them. These women are going to need all the courage and faith they can muster to survive these unwanted circumstances -- especially when they begin to discover that none of them is exactly who she appears to be.
published in 2010
My thanks to my public library for providing me with a copy of this retro read...and thanks to Pam Kellogg for recommending Sixteen Brides the last time I reviewed one of Whitson's books.
Sixteen brides (who don't know they are supposed to be brides) board a train heading for Nebraska with the promise of being able to own land. They don't discover their benefactor's subterfuge until they have nearly reached their destination. What a great premise for a story! So much scope for laughter and mayhem! And angst. Lots of angst. :-)
Trying to keep track of sixteen heroines in one novel would be impossible so Whitson has narrowed it down to five. Sally, Ruth, Caroline, Ella and Hettie all have their own POV which sounds confusing but it really isn't. I quickly bonded with each of these ladies -- all women who have suffered and struggled and are desperate enough to leave all that is familiar for the unknown. Talk about courage and spunk and determination! And I love how these ladies band together to help each other in their homesteading endeavors. And how the tight-knit community of Plum Grove rallies around them. And while these women aren't seeking husbands, romance does comes calling for a few of them.
Sixteen Brides puts me in mind of Laura Ingalls Wilder -- only a grown up version of The Little House books. That same perfect blend of drama and laughter and fascinating historical details. With the added bonus of romance!
If you would like a chance to win a copy of Sixteen Brides, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday June 10 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!