Monday, January 17, 2022

An Easy Misunderstanding By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless

Organized religion played a key role during the settling of the West where Churches and synagogues were crucial in forging ‘social boundaries’ needed by the settlers in order to survive.  In many spread-out areas, attending service provided these homesteaders their one chance to occasionally congregate with their neighbors.

The area they served was vast, and clerics handled the challenge by taking to the road to serve their scattered congregations.  Most carried a portable “mass kit” or “communion kit”.  Western clerics, who were usually well-educated, also stepped in wherever needed as counsellors, teachers, and general purveyors of ‘culture’.  Many communities looked to them to help with schooling.

These men of the cloth played the same vital role in setting up systems of health care in various regions.  The Catholic church established numerous hospitals in mining and railroad towns, which were then entirely run by nuns. Thus, my orphaned heroine Lucinda, in A Bride for Riley, finds herself on the train headed West to complete her training to become a nun.

She’s greeted at the train station by a man and two children whom she assumes are from the convent, yet somehow before the day is over, she finds herself married to this total stranger, and helping care for his niece and nephew.

Excerpt from A Bride for Riley  all right reserved

          Riley drew the carriage to a stop outside of the train depot in Butte and turned to his two young charges.  “You two stay here.  Kenny you mind your sister, hear?  Vicky, you’re in charge of your brother.” 

          Both children looked up at him with wide blue eyes that reminded him so much of his sister it hurt.  He knew what they were thinking.  Was he really coming back?  Or would he disappear the same way their father had shortly after their mother died? 

          “I won’t be long.  I promise,” he said as he climbed down.  He felt their eyes boring into his back as he strode into the train station.  He didn’t know a hill of beans about raising youngsters, but he’d promised his sister he’d do his best.  Which, to his mind, meant getting them a new mother as soon as possible.

          The train pulled in minutes later and stopped with a belch of coal smoke and the grinding sound of metal wheels on metal tracks.  Shortly after, the doors opened and the porters stepped off first, followed by the passengers. 

          One by one, he searched the face of each woman traveling alone.  There weren’t many.  That had to be her, the plain one standing by herself and looking around all wide-eyed and nervous.  She wasn’t wearing a single fashionable adornment like most of the other women passengers, but beneath her plain brown bonnet he glimpsed an escaped strand of reddish hair. 

          He frowned.  She’d sounded different in her letters, flirty and not the least bit shy.  He approached her slowly, half expecting her to bolt when he said her name.


          She started before a look of relief spread over her features and she gave a jerky nod. 

          “I’m Riley.  Let’s go get your things.”

          “This is all I have.”  She indicated the shabby valise at her feet. 

          “That’s all?”  Funny, he’d been expecting his mail-order bride from Boston to arrive with a fashionable East coast wardrobe.

          “I was told I’d be supplied with whatever I needed.”

          “That a fact?”  He pressed his lips together and reached for her valise.  It felt almost empty.  No doubt that old busybody from the matchmaking agency had told her she was marrying a wealthy man.

          “The carriage is this way.”  As they walked out of the station, he wondered how to introduce the children in such a way that his mail order bride didn’t light out of here first thing.

I loved writing for the Mistaken Identity Bride series.  It was so fun to figure out how the grooom would pick up the wrong mail order bride. 
You can get your copy of Riley here. 
And check out the entire series here:


Julie Lence said...

Hi Kathleen: It is amazing what priests and ministers did for their churches and society back in the day. Thank you for sharing.

kathleen Lawless said...

I thought it was interesting how wide spread their work went.

Unknown said...

This sounds like such a good book. I look forward to reading it.

Cheryl Wright said...

I read this book when it released and enjoyed. Great article too.

M.J. Schiller, Romance Author said...

Seems like a great reason to need a bride. Would love to watch this unfold! I enjoyed your post!

Laurean Brooks said...

This excerpt is intriguing. I've never read one of your books, Kathleen, but I want to now. Your unique writer's voice drew me in.

God bless you as you write for Him.

Marcia King-Gamble said...

It seems men of the cloth wore many hats. They still do.