A Bride For All Seasons: A Mail Order Bride Collection by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher consists of four stories about four couples who used Melvin Hitchcock’s mail order bride catalogue, Hitching Post, to find spouses. Not only is Melvin the owner, he is the editor-something he takes seriously. He felt “…it was his duty to present clients in the best possible light.” and he does this by changing facts, omitting less than desirable attributes and by adding enhancements which often lead to interesting results. Included in the book is a Glossary of Mail-Order Bride Advertising Terms (And What They Really Mean). Here are two examples:
“Eager to learn-can’t cook; can’t sew; can’t clean. Matrimonially inclined-working on husband number three” The glossary is a must read.
In the first story, And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley, mail order bride Mary-Jo Parker has been waiting two hours at the train station for Daniel Garrett. She soon learns that he recently died, leaving a young son. He is the second of her fiancés to die. Is there no end to her bad luck? Daniel’s brother, Tom, will take charge of his nephew who has developed a liking for Mary-Jo. Tom puts aside his preconceived ideas about mail order brides and offers Mary-Jo an interesting proposition. Will Mary-Jo’s luck change?
An Ever After Summer by Debra Clopton introduces the reader to Melvina Eldora Smith. It has been said that she was responsible for the death of three people all before the age of one. Her mother died at childbirth, her father of a broken heart and an uncle as the result of an accident. She, too, tried to change her future by using the Hitching Post. In 1870 she travels to Texas to marry widower Matthew McConnell and to be a mother to his young child. Thanks to Mr. Hitchcock’s editing skills, neither party is who the other expected. Even so, Matthew finds himself attracted to Melvina which is something he doesn’t understand. He knows he needs her to care for his child, but an act of violence and near tragedy shows him he needs something more.
Autumn’s Angel, by Robin Lee Hatcher, opens with Luvena, her two nieces and nephew arriving in Idaho Territory so that she can marry Clay Birch. “He’s made it clear in his application that he had no interest in widows with children”. He wanted a woman who would work along side him in opening an opera house. While Luvena is not a widow, she does have charge of her deceased sister’s children. It become obvious that Mr. Hitchcock had been busy editing their letters, too. Clay allows the family to stay with him until other arrangements can be made. He’s adamant- there is no room in his life for children-or is there?
The final story is Winter Wedding Bells, by Mary Connealy. Wyoming widower, David, has two young sons. He wants someone who loves children and is willing to work hard He’s been told he doesn’t have long to live which is something Mr. Hitchcock chose to delete from David’s profile. When mail order bride, Megan, arrives and learns of this she is shocked. Can she make a life with a man who may not live long?
Four different stories by four different authors about four different couples , along with Mr. Hitchcock’s assistance, result in a wonderful reading experience. These are stories about faith, love and hope. Using wit, candor and solid prose the authors created well written and enjoyable stories.
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