So Barbour Publishing took four compilations and put them under one cover. The stories in this olio are timeless and so enjoyable. Each one is a great afternoon read or bedtime read to fill in those moments when the reader doesn't want to start some project, but wants to spend the time enjoyably.
I've already reviewed these collections, so I will just repeat the reviews I've already written in no particular order.
Blue Moon Bride by Susan Page Davis. Ava meets Joe on the train while she's on her way to see her best friend, Polly. The train ride is interrupted by some train robbers who take a packet that Joe is supposed to deliver in San Francisco. Joe's ability to sketch the robbers helps catch them. Joe is intrigued by Ava and truly enjoys talking with her, and explains to her that the month they are meeting will have a blue moon--a full moon that occurs twice a month. Joe comes by often to see Ava at Polly's house and they intrigue grows to love.
The Sunbonnet Bride by Michelle Ule. Sally works for the milliner and Malcolm is a teamster who loves Sally but has never had the guts to tell her. When a tornado strikes Sally's father's farm, Sally sees how Malcolm gets his hands dirty helping those who lost so much in the storm. On the other hand, Sally sees how Josiah, the local banker, seeks to profit from other's tragedy. Sally decides to make sunbonnets to sell for the disaster relief fund and her sister Lena embroiders a tornado on the brim of the bonnets. It is at the relief auction that Malcolm finds his gumption to tell Sally how he feels.
The Wildflower Bride by Amy Lillard. Grace is standing up for her sister, Maddie, at her wedding to Harlan. As Grace walks down the aisle, she sees Ian standing with Harlan in his full Scottish regalia, it seems as though Grace has been struck by lightning. Ian is just as elecrified by Grace's appearance, but he's called to pastor a church in New York, or is he?
Mary Connealy -- A Bride Rides Herd. Betsy is babysitting her sister's rowdy, rambunctious girls when Matt comes riding up to the ranch. Matt watches Annie and Susie playing in a rather dangerous part of the river and hears Betsy yelling for the girls. Betsy doesn't quite know what to do with Matt, even though he is her sister's brother-in-law. Kissing him is such a good/bad idea, but eventually she gives in.
Amanda Cabot -- Fourth of July Bride. Naomi is worried about her mother, especially her mother's eye sight. She needs an operation, but has no way to pay for the doctor's fees, much less the rest of the costs of the operation. Gideon finds out that his mother will soon be visiting and needs a "stand-in" bride, so he offers to pay for the operation if Naomi will pretend to be his fiancee. His offer includes all the new gowns and dresses she will need.
Maureen Lang -- The Summer Harvest Bride. Sally is not looking for love, and she's certainly not looking for Willis Pollit, but when Lukas Daughton and his brothers come to town to build a new grist mill Lukas finds Sally is a sight for his sore eyes. There is a bit of sabotage to the mill and Sally believes the blame lands at Willis' feet. Maureen has woven a bit of mystery into her offering of this grouping that makes the story more interesting and more enjoyable.
Margaret Brownley's Dog Days of Summer centers around Marilee and Jed and the ownership of one dog who claims them both.
Miralee Ferrell's The Dogwood Blossom reminded me of the old movie, "Support Your Local Sheriff." Grace Addison is seen early in this novella up a tree.
Pam Hillman's The Lumberjack's Bride takes us to a lumber camp in Mississippi.
Each story has a winsomeness that draws the reader in and doesn't let go. They are easy reads for that rainy afternoon where the reader wants to cuddle up with a book, a cup of tea, and a blanket, and dream of warmer days.
In the County Fair Bride, Prudence has come home to take care of her father, but finds that he has been replaced by someone else. She is incensed because she feels he was pushed out of his job. When she finally takes the time to talk to her dad, she finds he's happier not being mayor of the town. She joins forces with the new mayor to plan and produce a county fair and to fall in love.
In the Honey Bride, Kate is deathly afraid of the bees her father ordered for the hives he got. He thought that she'd be able to make a bit of money selling the honey and beeswax that the bees produced. When her neighbor's cowhand comes to help, she is not sure if she can trust him or not, especially when a drunken man shows up on her front porch claiming that her father promised him a job.
In the Columbine Bride, Lucy is widowed with two children and fighting to hold body and soul together. Buck finds himself intrigued by the young widow and starts showing up to help out--even with her cattle round up. She hates being beholdin', but what else can she do?
These authors know how to develop a character, set them in a plot, and keep the plot moving along to engage the reader till the very end. This is a five star book, two thumbs up, and twelve afternoons to enjoy the stylings of these talented authors.
My thanks to Barbour Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book.