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Friday, September 19, 2014

#AudioBook #Review: Mail-Order Brides of the West: Trudy by Debra Holland - 4.5 Wine Glasses


19572173Title: Mail-Order Brides of the West: Trudy 
Series: Mail-Order Brides of the West, #1
Author: Debra Holland 
Format: Audio/ebook, 210 pages
Narrated by: Lara Asmundson
Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins 
Format: Unabridged
Published: July 21st 2013 by Smashwords Edition
ISBN: 1939813026
Links: B&N | Amazon | Audible | Goodreads
Source: Author
Reviewer: Linda
Rating: 4.5/5

MAIL-ORDER BRIDES OF THE WEST is a new series created in collaboration by USA Today Bestselling Authors Debra Holland and Caroline Fyffe.

The well-educated daughter of a lawyer, Trudy Bauer arrives at the St. Louis based Mail-Order Brides of the West agency full of excitement for an adventure of a lifetime. She befriends the agency’s maid, Evie Davenport, and the two form a strong and lasting friendship. They vow to stay in contact through letters when Evie takes hold of her destiny and arranges a marriage on the sly. Each brave young woman is ready to face whatever an unknown groom and life in Montana can throw her way.

In Holland’s book, bride-to-be Trudy Bauer rides the train to Sweetwater Springs, in a Montana Sky Novel. In Fyffe’s Novel, house servant Evie Davenport travels by stagecoach to Y Knot, Montana in a McCutcheon Family Novel. Through their correspondence, the friends keep each other abreast of their hardships, trials and tribulations—some of heartbreak, some of love.

Books One and Two are only the beginning. Watch for more exciting Mail-Order Brides of the West books to come….

Thoughts:
MAIL-ORDER BRIDES OF THE WEST AGENCY SEEKS BACHELORS OF GOOD REPUTATION

FOR QUALITY BRIDES PROFICIENT IN COOKING AND HOUSEKEEPING

Must own a house and be able to provide for a wife.  
References required, preferably from your minister or other reputable person who is familiar with your character.  In your response, state details about your appearance, location, level of education, vocation, and home, as well as what you require in a wife.  
$50.00 includes agency fee and train ticket.

MAIL-ORDER BRIDES OF THE WEST:  TRUDY by Debra Holland is a sweet, chaste western romance set in 1886.  It's the second book in the Mail-Order Brides of the West series,  a collaboration between authors Debra Holland and Caroline Fyffe.  Even though there are interconnected characters with the other books in the series, each of the books can easily be enjoyed as standalones.  Each of the brides featured in this series have been situated in their new lives through the St. Louis based Mail-Order Brides of the West agency.   This particular book is the story of Trudy Bauer and Seth Flanagan.  

Trudy, as the oldest daughter, had remained at home after her mother passed to help her father raise her two younger sisters.  This tale opens as her last sister is marrying and her father is slated to settle down with a new wife.  Her familial responsibilities fulfilled, Trudy is ready to pursue her own dream of adventure by securing a husband in the wild west through the Mail-Order Brides of the West agency.   

Seth, our hero, is a bachelor rancher in need of a bride in Sweetwater Springs, Montana.  After an altercation with a neighbor at the local bar, he had rashly asserted that he would be marrying soon;  He not only asserted, he made a bet to that effect!  Forced to produce a bride quickly, he contacts the agency with some pretty specific specifications to fill.  Trudy is a perfect match.  

Both Trudy and Seth were likeable characters and easy to relate to.   I felt that Seth had more growing up to do than Trudy.  Trudy was very mature and Seth was one lucky guy to be matched to her.  It's amazing to think about the mail-order brides; The premise of two lonely strangers being paired, meeting, quickly marrying, hopefully becoming friends who cared about each other and then finally falling in love was an astronomical leap.  I can only imagine the heartaches, trials and tribulations of a similarly matched couple through stories like this.  There's complications to Trudy's and Seth's happy ever after, of course.  For one thing, Seth needs to stop lusting after Lucy Belle, a tavern girl.   

I enjoyed immersing myself in their day-to-day ranch life.  Supporting characters greatly added to the tale including, but not limited to,  neighbors, shop owners, bar patrons, and the minister and his wife.   As a pet lover, I especially enjoyed reading about the animals; the dog, horses, cows, chickens and more.

Following  please find a few of my favorite quotes: 

"Papa, I've decided... I'm going to be a mail-order bride." ...
He put his arm around her shoulders. "You're like your mother, wanting to fly free and have adventures." ...
"Will you come visit me?"
He held up a hand.  "Only if you pick a husband who lives in a town along the railroad route.  At my age, I'm not traveling by stagecoach, nor would I subject Minerva to that mode of transportation."
"Is that all?" Trudy teased.  "No more requirements?"
"Only that he's a good man who will provide for you."
"I'll do my best to pick one, Papa.  I'm using Mail-Order Brides of the West.  They're a reputable agency."
---
Still reeling from the touch of her husband's lips on her, Trudy didn't know whether to feel relief or dread that she'd married Seth Flanagan for better or worse.  But from the fireworks of excitement swirling in her middle, she figured on both.  
---
"I miss my mother."  
Mrs. Norton touched Trudy's shoulder in silent sympathy. 
"She never had a chance to see any of her daughters get married."
Trudy laid the veil on the bed.
"It's hard to completely enjoy your wedding day when your mother isn't with you."
"Your mother did see your sisters wed and I'm sure she'll be with you today."
Trudy looked at the woman, astonished she hadn't received a more pious answer from a minister's wife.
She pointed a finger upward.  "I know she's in heaven."  
Mrs. Norton gently folded Trudy's hand until her palm rested on her chest, "In heaven and in your heart, love never fails, my dear Ms. Bower.  I know it's not the same as feeling your mother's arms around you on such a special day, nevertheless, I'm sure she's sending you plenty of love."

AND I wanted to include this quote which refers to a young Nick Sanders, the hero in Debra Holland's WILD MONTANA SKY.   It was a treat catching up with both Nick and his bride, Elizabeth.  (My review of Nick's story)

Trudy thanked him, he gave a shy duck of his head and almost ran out of the room.
Trudy smiled after him, liking his blue-green eyes, the brown hair that waved to his shoulders and the slightly crooked, lightly freckled nose.  In a few years with more confidence on him, that young man is going to be a lady killer.

Lara Asmundson is the talented narrator for this book and she does an excellent job at bring the characters to life.  She inserts pauses and emotion at the appropriate times.  Her voice is very clear and well-paced to the tale.  She has also been the narrator for two other Mail-Order Brides of the West books:  Evie's and Heather's.

Debra's writing, as always, is first rate.  The story is well-paced.  Her descriptions place the reader in the story's setting, smelling the clean, crisp air and feasting upon the clear, starry Montana sky.  The characters are well-drawn.   The romance is engaging and squeaky clean.    The ending gave me the warm fuzzies and, thinking about it, still brings a smile to my face.  I highly recommend MAIL-ORDER BRIDES OF THE WEST:  TRUDY to anyone who enjoys charming, poignant western romances.   

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