Monday, August 15, 2011

Classic Fic Rec Mondays

It's the late 1800s in the Wild West. A lonely man seeks companionship; a woman restricted by convention seeks a future. Add those together and what do you get?

Yes: 29 Chapters then an extra chapter from the author

I am going to be the one to first to admit, that I was hesitant to read a western. Westerns have never really appealed to me. Whether it is reading about American history, watching a movie, or even reading a one of those Harlequin romance novels, Westerns have always been a huge MAJOR turn off for me. However… my tune has changed once I have read this story about a “The Mail Order Bride”.  

There were about fifty notices in the newspaper, all from men out west who wanted wives. They didn't usually say it flat out like that. They couched it in flowery language and braggadocio, but you could read the desperation and the loneliness between the lines. It seemed as if these men could give her the willies as easily as the local swains.
She folded the paper in two and sat it down on the table just as a line in one of the ads caught her eye. "The mountains have become familiar friends over the years; purple pillars of majesty, icy castles in the winter, and green havens in the summer. I would like to share them with someone who would appreciate them as I do."
She picked the paper back up, intrigued and read the full notice.
"I am E. A. Cullen and I am a rancher in Colorado. The high country is a mystical place where I have found balm for my weary soul. The mountains have become familiar friends over the years; purple pillars of majesty, icy castles in the winter, and green havens in the summer. I would like to share them with someone who could appreciate them as I do." There was contact information listed afterwards.

In “The Mail Order Bride”, Edward posts a notice for a bride in the Matrimonial News. Months pass and he doesn’t receive a response. Sometime in October, however, Edward receives a response from a Miss Isabella Swan from Occoquan, Virginia. She is everything that Edward wants in a bride. She has wit and curiosity but she is also well-read, resourceful, and can tend to a house and farm. After several letters, Edward asks her if she would be willing to commit a life with him.

April 15, 1887
Dear Mr. Cullen,
In a word: Yes.
Please send details soon.
Yours Truly,
Isabella Swan

April 22, 1887
My Dear Miss Swan,
You have no idea how joyful your letter made me.
I've enclosed your round trip ticket. I hope a month gives you enough time to prepare for the trip.
I will be counting the days.
With high hopes,
Edward Cullen

Bella travels from her home in Virginia out towards the Wild West to meet Edward. When she arrives in Denver, Bella anxiously looks around for a man who claims he may not be comely. What Bella didn’t expect was to find him so handsome.

She took a few steps to the right to clear the way for hurrying passengers behind her when she saw a rather intense looking man staring at her. He was tall and lean and wearing a Stetson. Wasn't that what a rancher would wear? He had brown hair and was clean shaven.
She could feel the blush blooming upon her cheek and she looked down. How would she know if that man was Edward? She could not approach him and ask. That would be too forward if he was not. Anyway, this man was certainly very handsome, handsome enough to know he was, so it was unlikely he was Edward. According to his letter, Edward didn't know if he was comely or not. She took a few steps further along the platform away from the staring man and looked for a porter so she could retrieve her trunk.
"Uh, excuse me, ma'am, but are you Miss Isabella Swan?" Her heart started slamming against her chest as she slowly turned around to find the man in the Stetson, the brim of which was now politely being clutched in his hands, looking intently down at her.
"Yes, I am," she said in a shaky voice, "Mr. Cullen?"
His smile spread across his face, twinkling in his eyes, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Swan."

Edward arrives at the train depot and eagerly looks around for Bella. What Edward didn’t expect was to find Miss Bella beautiful and a pure vision.

Soon, he could hear the train along the tracks, its soft chugging growing louder and louder. He went out to the front of the depot and flagged down a carriage man and instructed him to wait. The train was coming to a stop just as he returned to the platform. He began to peer at the people slowly disembarking from the cars. He had to laugh at himself. His heart was beating like a schoolboy's.
Suddenly, he saw a vision climbing down the train car stairs. In particulars she fit the description that Bella had originally given him with the additional fact that she was beautiful. He noticed he was not the only man there who was staring. The platform business ground to a stop as the young woman stepped a few feet along the platform. He could not take his eyes off of her. She looked up and her wide brown eyes met his and he was sure that his heart stopped. Sounds stilled. A sunbeam engulfed her figure in angelic luminosity.
Evidently she realized she was staring and she quickly looked down, a delectable blush reddened her cheeks. She started walking away and that spurred him to move. He walked up behind her and cleared his throat and asked if she was Isabella Swan.
She was.
It was when he took her hand he realized it.
She was the woman he would marry.

Their courtship is short but they both know that they have found their future and both are eager to begin their lives together. Edward takes her to his home, Bear Valley Ranch, and introduces her to his life in the Wild West.

All I can say is that this is one classic that everyone must read! I love how well thought out and researched this story is. Loaded with historical facts about the life and times of living in the Wild West, you will be amazed how quickly this story will own you. The Edward in this story is sweet, protective, at times shy and hesitant, but has a confidence that is needed to help him succeed with his goals of making a life out on his own merits. The Bella in this story is smart, incredibly shy but is strong, and not afraid to pull her own weight and help out around the ranch.

Written from a third person, this story is simply amazing and so well-written. You will find yourself not wanting to stop reading and addicted for more. I am happy to say that there is a sequel. The sequel, “Bear Valley Ranch”, begins where “Mail Order Bride” ends and is just as addicting.

If you have not read them yet, you need to add “Mail Order Bride” and “Bear Valley Ranch” to you reading list today! You will not be disappointed!



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