Author Linda Broday’s Outlaw Mail Order Brides series had been such a delight, and she wrapping up the series with the action-packed Once Upon A Mail Order Bride!
I’m happy to be joining up with Lone Star Book Blog Tours and share a review of the book! Read on to get my take on the book and enter into the giveaway for a chance at signed copies and more!
I was provided an advance digital copy of the book from the author via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
ONCE UPON A MAIL ORDER BRIDE
Outlaw Mail Order Brides, #4
Categories: Western / Historical Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: November 24, 2020
Number of Pages: 352 pages
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Accused of crimes he didn’t commit, ex-preacher Ridge Steele is forced to give up everything he knew and make his home with outlaws. Desperate for someone to confide in, he strikes up a correspondence with mail-order bride Adeline Jancy, finding in her the open heart he’s been searching for. Upon her arrival, Ridge discovers Addie only communicates through the written word, but he knows a little of what trauma can do to a person and vows to stand by her side.
Addie is eager to start a new life with the kind ex-preacher and the little boy she’s stolen away from her father―a zealot priest of a terrorized flock. As her small family settles into life at Hope’s Crossing, she even begins to find the voice, and confidence, she’d lost so long ago.
But danger is not far behind, and her father will not be denied. While Addie desperately fights the man who destroyed her childhood, a determined Ridge races to the rescue. The star-crossed lovers will need more than prayers to survive this final challenge…and find their way back to each other again.
PRAISE FOR ONCE UPON A MAIL ORDER BRIDE:
“An awesome culmination to a great western romance series!” ~ Fresh Fiction
“Broday concludes the Outlaw Mail Order Bride series with a sizzling finale that features a tantalizingly slow build to intimate trust that catapults into adrenaline packed ardor.”
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In a world that is currently about restrictions and change, it’s important to focus on what we currently have and not on what we’re missing out on. Linda Broday’s Once Upon a Mail Order Bride was like a breath of fresh air. As hardscrabble as life is, and as tenuous as their freedom is (as many in the town of outlaws still have bounties on their heads), this cast of characters continually (and not annoyingly) focuses on enjoying the blessings life has given them for as long they can.
Author Broday continues her representation of these “mail order brides” as strong, feisty characters. What I’ve loved about her stories is that there are no weak women in these stories – they are all fighters in their own way, overcoming obstacles and tragic pasts that would seem insurmountable.
Addie, our main female character, is no different. Her story comes out slowly, which is good, because it’s a lot to take in all at once. She cannot speak, she is so traumatized, and as she settles into to her new life, she struggles to regain it. Since being released from prison where she was placed under false pretenses, she’s been hunted by her father, who is one evil man wearing the mask of a religious leader.
Her new husband Ridge Steele (and if that’s not a romance hero name, I don’t know what is) is also an outlaw – one with a big bounty on his head. His outlaw status also came about under false pretenses, and in this story, he has to evade a bounty hunter who recognized him while transporting another “bounty”.
That bounty was a 15-year-old boy who Ridge and Addie take under their wing and help heal, both physically and emotionally.
The characters we’ve met in previous stories all show up to help Ridge and Addie. That said, this story works fine as a standalone – Broday drops in enough backstory without interrupting the flow.
This was a roller-coaster of a ride. Just as you catch your breath from one crisis, another one is thrown at the characters. There is plenty of excitement and tension for the “Western” side of the novel. For the “historical romance”, what starts out as a hesitant, mute-from-traumatized girl ends up coming into her own sexually. The love scenes are sweet, then spicy – just the right amount of heat.
The downside of reading a digital copy of a book is that you don’t always know how far you are from the end. As this story had a LOT of overlapping storylines, there were times where I thought “Oh, that’s the end of the book”, only to turn the page and be reminded of another loose thread that needed to be tied off! It was like a gift that kept on giving!
As this is the last book in the series, towards the end there was a sense of trying to fit everything in at once, and give the last few characters their happily ever afters, too. This adds to the sense that there is an awful lot going on, but the author does wrap up all the plot lines neatly. (Admittedly, I was half waiting for the poor old stagecoach driver to meet a new love interest.) It was a little disappointing to remember that this is the series finale all the while reading about the new banker who’d arrived in town, as I would have LOVED to read a story about her!
I think there are many themes to this book – redemption, trust, love, the strength of community, and the healing power of love.
While I confess that some part of me inwardly cringed every time Addie called Ridge “dear” (probably appropriate for the time, but an endearment that felt forced given her young age), I loved Once Upon A Mail Order Bride. This was a lovely finale to what has been an entertaining series, and I can’t wait to see what Linda Broday dreams up for her readers next.
I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty historical western romance novels and short stories. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and early cowboys once roamed, and at times if the breeze is just right, I can hear their voices whispering in the wind. Texas’s rich history is one reason I set all my stories here where cowboys still remain caretakers of the land. I’m inspired every day by their immense dedication and love for the wide-open spaces. I combine those men with the love of family in all my stories and hope to continue to give readers books that entertain and fulfill.
Full Autographed Set of the Mail Order Bride Series
2ND and 3RD PRIZE:
Autographed copy of Once Upon a Mail Order Bride
4TH PRIZE: $10 Amazon Gift Card
(US Only. Giveaway Ends Midnight, CST, 12/11/2020)
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