The second in Maggie Brendan’s The Blue Willow Brides series is a sweet romance story set in Central City, Colorado amidst the majestic Rocky Mountains in the late 1800s. It is fun, easy read with some interesting twists. I found myself giggling a bit toward the end.
Meet the characters:
Greta Olsen, a tall blonde with big blue eyes,came from Holland and lived with her brother and sister-in-law in Cheyenne, Wyoming before answering an ad for a mail-order bride. Upon arriving in Central City, Colorado, not only did she find that she wasn’t the only “bride” there to marry Jess, he knew nothing of the arrangement. Outspoken, headstrong, and not afraid of work, she’s a personality to be reckoned with.
Cora Johnson was the daughter of a banker, accustomed to having servants take care of her and consequently had no domestic skills except for quilting. After her parents rejected her new-found faith, she answered the ad for the mail-order bride. She was accustomed to much finer living than she found herself in when Zach provided a miner’s cabin for the ladies to stay in when they arrived. Although more demure than Greta, Cora would speak her mind when she needed to.
Jess Gifford took over the mercantile business when his parents died of influenza a year ago. Although her was perfectly satisfied living alone and running the business, his brother, Zach, had other ideas. It took more than a little of Zach’s persuasion to get Jess to agree to hire the two ladies to work in the store and choose one of them as his bride.
Zach Gifford had an ulterior motive for finding a bride for his brother. He wouldn’t leave Jess to run the mercantile alone, but his dream was to be a rancher, a goal he couldn’t pursue as long as he was tied to the store.
Granny had her own ideas about how to decide which of her grandsons should be courting each lady. The spry seventy-year-old woman doted on her grandsons, the only family she had left. The brides-to-be immediately loved her, and she them.
Agnes Cartwright had been courted by Jess in the past, and nothing would please her more than for his attention once again.
Cole Cartwright, Agnes’ brother and a good-looking rancher, waited in the wings, should one of the two brides decline her betrothed and become available.