by Kristin Holt
Clean romance that will make you smile.The first story, THE KEEPER OF THE WESTERN DOOR by Carla Kelly, is about a woman who thought she was moving west with a friend as her companion. When they arrive, the prejudice of the women associated with the military, the officer's wives, women who are very insecure and unsure of their own circumstances, make it clear that Mary Blue Eye must be treated as a servant. She is bullied into accepting the task of sewing dresses for what might be considered a charity event which includes sending her into danger just to buy the fabric! Mary is clearer visioned and sees need right around the fort. This is a story of empathy and ethics as well as perseverance. I found Mary to be strong and endearing and am happy to say she grew as a person because of her experience and does get her happy ending, even better than the wives who torment her.
A CONVENIENT ARRANGEMENT by Sarah M. Eden is about a mail order bride, which was a frequent arrangement back in the time. However neither the bride nor groom are your typical persons.
Mirabelle Smith is a diminuative four foot eleven while her husband-to-be is quite a bit taller than most men. She has overcome quite a bit in her life already and is determine to make the most of this opportunity. Patrick Quinn has seen what real love has done to his Da, and is satisfied enough not to invite love into his own life. This is a story about taking risk, being open to being happy and making sacrifices. It is gentle and sweet and gives us a dreamy, hopeful feeling.
ISABELLA’S CALICO GROOM by Kristin Holt is set in the same time period and also features a Calico Ball. This one is to celebrate Wyoming becoming a state and to benefit families of a mining disaster. It also has a feminist twist to it. While the previous two stories in this book were about woment finding a way to survive against the odds, this one features women who seem to he ahead of their time, in particular a woman dentist. It is not her goal to change only Henry's perspective, but to better the world and times in which she lives. Of the 3 stories, this one has a tougher edge.