Review: Frontier Want Ad Bride by Lyn Cote

May Contain Spoilers

Since we will soon see the end of Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical line, I have been reading them as the library acquires them. There is always a waitlist for them, so I don’t understand why Harlequin is pulling the plug on the line, but it is what it is. I happened to be browsing the catalog when Frontier Want Ad Bride was added, so I was the first to check it out.

I don’t know why I enjoy the mail order bride books so much. It would be extremely stressful to marry a guy you didn’t know, and to put your life and well being in his hands. Thank goodness it always works out for the Harlequin heroines, but I have serious doubts about it working as smoothly in real life. Most of the young brides have no other economic choice but to marry a stranger and hope for the best.

Judith has traveled to Wisconsin to marry Asa Brant. They have been writing letters to each other since the fall, and now that it’s spring and the boats can ply the rivers again, Judith and her sister Emma have made the journey to Pepin to marry their prospective husbands. They have been forced to this drastic measure because their brother’s nasty wife has run them out of the family home.

When they arrive at Pepin, Emma learns that her husband to be, Mason, had urgent business and had to leave town. Judith, meanwhile, is dismayed to learn that she is expected to marry Asa right now. She expected a short period to get to know him better, but the townsfolk have assembled at the school house, and before you know it, they are Mr. and Mrs. Asa Brant.

I enjoyed this book a lot. Asa is struggling with PTSD, and it’s keeping him from forming a relationship with his new bride. He is suffering from survivor’s guilt after half of his men died at Gettysburg. He thinks he isn’t worthy of love, and that he can never atone for the orders that caused the deaths of so many of his men.

Judith was a bit annoying when she wished she were prettier. Constantly. She thought that her looks were holding Asa back. When two abused children end up in their care, Judith has more than herself to worry about. When she set aside her insecurities and understood that the only person she had any control over was herself, I really liked her. She slowly began to understand that Asa’s emotional distance stemmed from the war, and she understood that patience might solve some of their issues. Instead of confronting him, she gave him the space he needed to put his guilt into perspective. Having the children around helped both of them see beyond their own needs. Uniting under a common cause, keeping the kids safe from their abuser, allowed them to grow closer as a couple.

Frontier Want Ad Bride kept me happily turning the pages of my Kindle. Judith matured into an emotionally supportive woman determined to make a new family for herself, while  helping to bring comfort to her new husband, her father, and her equally unhappy brother. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Grade: 4.25 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book

Bride by Mail
Mail-order bride Judith Jones has barely arrived in Pepin, Wisconsin, before she’s whisked away to prepare for her wedding to Asa Brant. Though something about Asa seems so familiar, how do two strangers become husband and wife? Especially when Judith senses Asa’s hidden sorrow. His kindness in helping two young orphans could win her heart…if only he’d open up to her.
Determined to start over after four years of brutal war, Asa moved away and sent for a mail-order bride. He had no idea the woman answering his ad would be the sister of his former soldier in arms. The less he reveals, the fewer painful memories there are to confront. But Judith’s compassion—and two loving children—might just show them the path to true happiness…