So the tale begins...
Like any other romantic, I like to think mail order brides traveled west, met their handsome husbands and lived happily ever after. And that is what I based my new series, Brides for all Seasons on. I made a choice to hitch my fictional wagon to the dreams the women had for betterment and for a fresh start.
For many it was. It was the opportunity to have families, to escape poverty or the social stigma of spinsterhood. From what I've researched the majority of these marriages worked. The couples remained married for life, raising a family and even falling in love. It makes my heart happy to know this.
However, I am not so presumptuous to claim that some women did not end up in worse circumstances then before going west. There are stories of disappearances, outlaw husbands and of women ending up working in brothels or saloons to support themselves after their marriages either never happened, or didn't work out.
The westward move caused by the gold rush and the end of the civil war, when thousands of men traveled to the untamed territory in search of riches, adventure or to start a new life brings so many rich ideas for authors. How can we not romanticize men yearning for wives during a time of scarcity of the fairer sex?
Many of you are not familiar with my writing. So I am including an excerpt from Big Sky Blue, the first book in the Shades of Blue series, which is free on all retailers!
Hat in hand, Hank walked outside toward Mrs. Dawson's wagon and turned in the direction of the barn. Next to a tree not far from the side of his house, a woman was bent at the waist petting his herding dogs. Both animals fought for attention, seeming to relish the scratch behind the ears she gave them. Her soft words lulled him closer to hear what she said.
"There, there, don't worry, I'm going to pay equal attention to both of you," she told the dogs who continued to press against each other. He could not make out her features as long golden brown hair fell forward hiding them from him.
Most women kept their hair pulled up, but he preferred to see it loose like this woman wore hers. Seeming to sense his presence, she straightened and brushed the hair away from a stunning face. Brilliant, green eyes widened at him and her pouty lips fell open. She reached out her hand towards him and then quickly retracted it. "You?"
Hank glanced over his shoulder, but there was no one. "Hello, miss, I'm Hank Cole. Missus Dawson, your aunt, cares after my boy."
Her brows came together and she studied him, her eyes shifting from his face to his shoulders and across the chest. Of course, Mrs. Dawson had said the woman was in shock after a disturbing loss. Hank wondered if that explained her strange actions and words.
"Would you please come inside? I'll bring your things in," Hank offered his arm which she took.
She flushed and pressed her lips together before speaking. "I'm sorry, I forget my manners. You must be Hank Cole. I'm Elizabeth Dawson. Excuse my astonishment, it's just you look so familiar. You remind me of someone..." She left off not finishing her thought.
Ah, so he favored someone she cared for. Of course, that explained her reaction. "Is this man from Montana?" he asked just to make conversation.
"Oh no, he's not from anywhere..." her hand flew to her mouth. "You must think me mad. I'm sorry. What I meant to say is, no, he is not from Montana. What a lovely view." She changed the subject abruptly. She stopped when they reached the porch and looked across the land to the fields where part of his herd fed. "I will stay here until you return with the bags, Mister Cole. I only have two small bags."
"Call me Hank."
"Thank you. I will, Hank." Her attention returned to the view and, for a moment, he looked in the same direction feeling pride in what he'd accomplished in such a short time.
And thus a very interesting relationship begins as fate proves it does have a sense of humor by bringing two total opposites together!
If you haven't tried my books, please give me a read. I hope that you'll fall in love with my heroes!