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Homestead Brides Collection: 9 Pioneering Couples Risk All for Love and…

par Mary Connealy

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Through nine historical romance adventures, readers will journey along with individuals who are ready to stake a claim and plant their dreams on a piece of the great American plains. While fighting land disputes, helping neighbors, and tackling the challenges of nature the homesteaders are placed in the path of other dreamers with whom romance sparks. And God has His hand in orchestrating each unique meeting.… (plus d'informations)

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Novella collections aren’t normally my cup of hot chocolate (I don’t drink tea) but this one had so many great authors that I had to give it a try! As with any compilation like this, some of the stories were outstanding and some just didn’t do it for me. In my opinion, the best ones are right in the middle of the bunch!

My three favorites were Prairie Promises by Ruth Logan Herne, A Palace on the Plains by Erica Vetsch, and Waiting on a Promise by Becca Whitham.

In Prairie Promises, Jack O’Donnell travels from Pennsylvania to the Nebraska frontier to convince his widowed mother Mary to return with him to their “safe” and comfortable city home. His brother has already given up on his own farm and returned to civilization; many other families in the area are following his example. But his mother is not quite as amenable to the suggestion as he had hoped, insisting that she wants to remain on the homestead she started with her late husband. Bridget, the young pregnant widow who shares his mother’s humble soddy complicates matters further. As the two women struggle valiantly to keep three farms afloat in the harsh Nebraska plains, Jack wrestles with what he should do. I loved how spunky and resilient Mary and Bridget were – even without Jack’s help. They totally could have saved their own day :) Jack could just sit there and be eye candy lol. (Just kidding – he does provide much appreciated help while he’s there but I like the fact that they really were doing just fine without him!) Ruth’s writing voice is so smooth and natural, effortlessly sweeping you into the flow of the story and carrying you along at a steady pace. Historical facts are woven seamlessly into the plot without turning into a textbook excerpt, and you are left with a greater appreciation for the trials and celebrations of the early settlers.

I wanted Erica Vetsch’s A Palace On The Plains to keep going and going and going. I could easily have taken this one out of the collection and wrapped it up in a novel all its own and been perfectly happy – you know, as long as Erica added tons more of her fun chapters in between the beginning and the end ;) Her writing voice is hilariously droll at times, sweet at others, and always sharp and on point. For example, a character saying “Thanks for the help. That went great.” – when clearly it did not – is indicative of the kind of dry wit that had me chuckling throughout her story. And the two little boys – Cotton and Titus – oh my stars! SO STINKIN’ ADORABLE!!! I wanted them to be real so I could cuddle them up and smother them with kisses. They were responsible for the majority of my grins during the entire book (not just Erica’s novella). And the romance? *dreamy sigh* My favorite out of all the stories! Honestly, when I finished the whole book, I re-read this story just because I enjoyed it that much.

Waiting on a Promise is Becca Whitham’s first published novella, and I cannot wait to read more by her! Full of mystery, suspense, romance, and heart, this one had all the elements I look for in a short story. In a novel too, for that matter. When Marta Vogel tires of waiting for her fiance Karl Reinhardt to invite her to join him on his Oklahoma homestead, she takes matters into her own hands and takes the next train out to find him. Instead of being glad to see her, Karl seems angry that she’s there. Hurt by his rejection, not to mention the other woman clinging to him at the station, Marta accepts a ride to Karl’s homestead from a local businessman and his wife. She doesn’t know this man is Karl’s greatest enemy, and when she finds out about the land dispute – and the reasons Karl wanted her to stay away – she decides to remain in town to do what she can to help. I loved the mystery, I loved the friendships, and I loved the sweet gentle romance.

Mary Conneally, Diann Mills, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Darlene Franklin, Carla Olson Gade, and Pam Hillman also have novellas in The Homestead Brides Collection.

Bottom Line: Packed with stories that highlight the tough and enduring spirit of those who struggled to prove up their claims to land in the western frontier, you will also be treated to gentle romance and an occasional bit of humor to sweeten your day. An additional treat is the opportunity to be introduced to a variety of authors that you might not otherwise read. In fact, I requested this collection for one particular author and ended up liking that story the least lol.

Rating a novella collection is always a bit tricky. There were only a couple of stories I didn’t care for as much as the others, and I gave those each a 3 star rating. The rest of the novellas I easily gave 4 or 5 stars. So, I think overall I would give The Homestead Brides Collection 4 out of 5 stars!

(I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for only my honest review.) ( )
  MeezCarrie | Aug 31, 2015 |
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Proving Up, A Novella by Carla Olson Gade, © 2015
I love the texture of the collection books with the rippled page edges!

The Homestead Brides Collection: Nine Pioneering Couples Risk all for Love and Land by authors Mary Connealy, Darlene Franklin, Carla Olson Gade, Ruth Logan Herne, Pam Hillman, DiAnn Mills, Erica Vetsch, Becca Whitham, Kathleen Y'Barbo.

Timber Culture Act
March 3, 1873
"An Act to encourage the Growth of Timber on the Western Prairie"
Many hoped that giving settlers deed to public lands in return for growing trees would reshape the environment of the West, giving the claimant possession of 160 acres of public land for no cost in exchange for making improvements to the land if a person planted and nurtured the growth of trees on forty of their 160 acres for ten years, they could claim the land.
In 1878, the Timber Culture Act was amended again. This time, the amount of land that had to be covered in trees was reduced from forty acres to ten and also made exceptions for trees that had been destroyed by harsh climate or grasshopper plagues. --statistics reference

~* Review of Carla Olson Gade's Proving Up *~

"Proving Up" by Carla Olson Gade ~ ~ Elsa Lindstrom applies her scientific theories to growing trees on the Nebraska plains, intruding on a handsome homesteader's hard work and experience. Will their dreams come to ruin, or will love prove their success?

Swedeburg, Nebraska, April 1885.
"I'm read to prove up, Nettie." Nils Svensson spoke out loud, his only audience his grove of trees...and God. The hearty cottonwoods, with their leafy branches, reached into the sky above in agreement.
--Proving Up, 107

With trees on 30 acres, triple the claim requirement for his 160-acre section, Nils has been hard at work beneath the Nebraska skies.

This is a sweet story of hope and love beyond all that could be imagined! Join these homesteaders as their hearts blend into all that is waiting for them.

***Thank you to author Carla Olson Gade for sending me a copy of The Homestead Brides Collection for review of her novella, Proving Up. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
--Isaiah 55:12 ( )
  lanehillhouse | Mar 19, 2015 |
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Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Mary Connealyauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionscalculé
Franklin, Darleneauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Gade, Carla Olsonauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Herne, Ruth Loganauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Hillman, Pamauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Mills, DiAnnauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Vetsch, Ericaauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Whitham, Beccaauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Y'Barbo, Kathleenauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé

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Through nine historical romance adventures, readers will journey along with individuals who are ready to stake a claim and plant their dreams on a piece of the great American plains. While fighting land disputes, helping neighbors, and tackling the challenges of nature the homesteaders are placed in the path of other dreamers with whom romance sparks. And God has His hand in orchestrating each unique meeting.

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