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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Two Brides Too Many

by Susanne Dietze

Two Brides Too Many, the debut novel of veteran children’s book author Mona Hodgson, is a delightful twist on the tried-and-true premise of mail-order brides and mystery grooms. Set in 1895 Colorado, this inspirational romance weaves spunky heroines, memorable secondary characters, and romance into a colorful tapestry set in the mining town of Cripple Creek.

Sisters Kat and Nell Sinclair have no option but to become mail-order brides, heading out to the wild and woolly west to marry their grooms. Nell, a romantic, has fallen in love with her intended through his letters, and she dreams of a fulfilling life as his wife. Kat, however, would rather spend her days writing than wed. She resigns herself to marriage as the only pragmatic solution to her plight. When the sisters' train arrives in Cripple Creek, however, no one waits for them at the depot. Well-bred and refined, the Sinclair sisters must make their own way in a frontier town full of men – except for the two who were supposed to marry them, that is.

While Kat and Nell are fortunate to have one another for support, they will be forced to rely on others and God’s provision for their future. As their expectations disintegrate, so does the town around them when a fire breaks out soon after their arrival. The sisters must start fresh, rebuilding their lives along with the rest of Cripple Creek. It doesn’t take long for the sisters to find new responsibilities and new dreams, but when their “missing misters” are discovered, their plans for the future and hopes for love might scatter like ash in the Colorado wind.

As heroines of an inspirational romance, Kat and Nell naturally rely on God for provision and help. They reach out to others by lending a hand, taking in an orphaned child and tending the injured after the fire devastates the town. Yet they are also resourceful enough to protect themselves, especially Kat. She, in particular, grows in the story as she learns to cling tighter to God than she has before as she re-shapes her idea of who she is and what she’s supposed to do with her life.

Cripple Creek is a real town, and Hodgson’s research adds a rich dimension to the story. Her depictions of the mountainous scenery and burgeoning town sparked my imagination. I’m grateful for the inclusion of a true resident of Cripple Creek in the story, Sister Coleman, a Catholic nun who served as a nurse in the town's first hospital. She is a solid secondary character, though perhaps not as memorable as Boney, a sweet tobacco-spitting miner, or Hattie, the generous owner of the boarding house. I hope they will all appear in subsequent novels, as two more books, featuring Kat and Nell’s sisters Ida and Vivian, are forthcoming.

Two Brides Too Many can be found exclusively at Wal Mart stores until May 4, 2010, when it will be available at all major booksellers.

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for this review, Susanne. Sounds like an interesting twist!

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  2. Sounds fun. Does it turn into a romance or is it more of a historical?

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  3. Well, now I'm curious! Guess I'll have to buy a copy and read it. Thanks for the review.
    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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  4. Good morning, all! Thanks for stopping by.

    This book has the cutest premise. I liked the idea that no one comes to pick up their mail order brides! What a fun writing prompt that would be: what reasons could two guys have for missing that train?

    Dina, yes, it's a romance, primarily for one sister. Her squabbles with her hero are fun.

    Happy weekend.

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  5. I'm going to have to get this, my great-grandparents were from Cripple Creek/Colorado City, during that era. How fun!

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  6. Hey Susie, thanks for the review. It sounds like a really fun book. Of course, I'd like it to me more of a romance and you're being very vague on that score, but overall, it sounds like an intriguing concept.

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  7. Susie,
    You said this is a romance especially for one sister. Is there more than on book in the making that you know of? Maybe the other sister gets a book of her own?

    Thanks for the review.

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  8. Susie, this book sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for sharing your review with us :-)

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  9. Thanks for coming by today! Yes, the book is an inspirational romance. Sorry if my review is a bit vague, but I don't want to give away the grooms' identities! And yes, there are two more novels, featuring sisters Ida and Vivian, in the works.

    Niki, that's cool about your great-grandparents! You are so blessed to have that information.

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  10. Susie, this sounds like a fun book and just the kind of setting I love. My very first historical (in a box on the shelf in the garage) was set in Cripple Creek and I had so much fun researching it. I'll be adding this one to my list.

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  11. Hello all,

    How fun to read your comments. I planned to interact with you Saturday, but a family emergency kept me away from my computer.

    I so appreciate your interest in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series. Kat is the main character, but Two Brides Too Many is a double romance. We follow Nell's romantic journey through her point of view as well. Book Two, Too Rich for a Bride, the story of the oldest sister's journey will release later this year. Two more books are planned for the series--the youngest sister's story and Father's story.
    Two Brides is available exclusively at Walmart stores until May when WaterBrook will officially release it.
    Thank you, again, for your enthusiasm for my debut novel.
    Blessings to you, Mona

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  12. Welcome, Mona! Thanks so much for stopping by the Inkwell. I look forward to reading the next books in the series! Congratulations.

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  13. Hi Suzie! Wow, I'd love to read your research! Sounds like so much fun! Hope you're having a great day.

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