©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Brides of Chance

Oh. My. Goodness. These six stories are filled with humor and entertainment. I have loved Cathy Marie and Kelly Eileen Hake for YEARS and they do not disappoint with these stories, along with one by Tracey Bateman.

One Chance in a Million: Miriam is responding to her sister's letters asking for help and arrives at the Chance Ranch only to find her sister has passed away, leaving her husband, Daniel, and her daughters, Polly and Ginny Mae. Daniel's brother Gideon finds that having Miriam around is more helpful than not, and brings Miriam's staying up for a vote among the brothers (at least the ones over 21). Because Miriam can cook and takes care of things like laundry, the girls, and allowing the menfolk to do ranchwork instead of losing a day a week taking care of the girls, the men vote to keep her. Since Reliable, California, has few available women, men from all over the area come to court Miriam. But she caught Gideon's eye and he caught hers. Daniel just grouses.

Second Chance: Alisa Worthington is running away from San Francisco, where she believes she's wanted for murdering her newly found grandmother. She doesn't know that she's already been cleared, all she remembers is that her father accused her of murdering his mother. Titus is coming home from some time away from the ranch, and meets Alisa on the stagecoach. Titus offers Alisa a job helping Miriam, who is now expecting her first child. Again, the brothers vote to keep Alisa, the town of Reliable comes to court Alisa. Meanwhile, her father has put out a reward for her return, and two ne'er-do-wells have decided the reward he's offering is worth kidnapping her. Alisa had already decided to go back to San Francisco and try to clear her name. She leaves early in the morning and Titus decides to follow her.

Taking a Chance: Delilah ends up on Chance Ranch after her gambling father dies. The Chance men take another vote, they keep her, the men from Reliable show up to court her, and Daniel grouses. Delilah is an artist and loves the area around Chance Ranch for the landscapes it offers for her art. Paul becomes besotted with Delilah but realizes her lack of faith will not allow him to pursue a relationship with her. She moves to San Francisco to put her paintings in a gallery and to paint more pictures. Paul goes to San Fran to bring her back, especially since she's found her faith.

Last Chance: The Chance neighbors, the MacPhersons are from Hawk's Fall, Kentucky, and desperately want brides. Delilah has talked them into sending back to Salt Lick Holler, Kentucky for "mail-order brides." So, Temperance Linden, along with Eunice and Lois Trevor come to Reliable to become MacPherson brides. Lovejoy Spencer, Temperance's sister, comes along as chaperone for the girls. Lovejoy had been the healer in Salt Lick Holler and brings her yarbs and such with her just in case Temperance "Tempy" needs them. But Daniel's girls are sick and they need Lovejoy's healing ways. Daniel doesn't exactly know how to deal with Lovejoy, but he's not going to let her go back to Salt Lick Holler if he can help it.

Chance Adventure: Logan has a bit of wanderlust bothering him. He wants to go somewhere, have an adventure, and maybe even make his way in the world. His brother, Bryce, tells him that the place he truly wants to go is Salt Lick Holler. The other Chance men decide that Logan can go if Bryce goes with him. Lovejoy and the MacPhersons gather up the things they want to send back to their family and friends, then she sets it up for them to stay with Hattie Thales and the Widow Hendrick, the local healers. Logan and Bryce end up taking two riding horses and two pack horses to leave in the Holler with people who need them. What Logan doesn't expect to find was a helpmeet in Hattie.

Chance of a Lifetime: Bryce meets Daisy Thales after her house burns down. Daisy comes with a young son, Jamie, who has palsy and cannot walk, but he also has a big heart and accepts Bryce easily. Daisy wants Jamie to reach his full potential and most of all wants him to be seen as just another child. Bryce also wants Jamie to be all he can be and makes a way for him to be able to help around the place, to enjoy all the things "regular" children enjoy, to be able to hold his own in the world. All he has to do is prove it to Daisy.

These ladies have written a series of books that are cohesive, endearing, faith-building, and spot on with their interpretations of the Bible with humor in large quantities, and bits of suspense here and there. I have read these novellas before and they got me hooked on reading anything Cathy Marie Hake has written and a large portion of Kelly Eileen's and Tracey Bateman's books.

Five Stars, Two Thumbs up, and a Chance to take.

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