The American Heiress Brides Collection (2017) is a darling collection of short stories. This anthology is part of the Barbour Bride series, and was published last January. This collection reads as a stand-alone; it is not necessary to read any of the other books in the Barbour Bride series to understand the stories in this collection. Being on break from school for the holidays, one would imagine oodles of free time to read, BUT it seems I am more busy with free time than I am when I am working. With that said, this book took me one week to read. I purchased a copy of this book from Amazon on December 11, 2017 in order to review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give this book 4 STARS. This book is a collection of Christian Historical Romance short stories.
About the Book
Meet nine young women in America between 1880 and 1911 who have been blessed by fortunes made in gold, silver, industry, ranching, and banking. But when it comes to love, each woman struggles to find true love within a society where “first comes money, second comes marriage.” What kind of man can they trust with their greatest treasure—their hearts?
Story #1: “The Heiress and the Homesteader” by Lisa Carter
1880 — Montana
Running from the suitor of her father’s choosing, haughty silver heiress Eugenia falls for a most unsuitable , proud but poor, homesteader as she tends to his ailing grandmother during harvest. From separate worlds can they find a place for love to flourish?
I loved two things about this story. First, Eugenia is so well written I wanted to slap her at first, BUT she has great character growth. By the end of the story, I loved her. The second thing I enjoyed is that I was so absorbed by what was happening between Eugenia, Cort, and Cort’s grandmother that I truly didn’t see the end coming until it happened. I really love when a story sucks me in like that!
Story #2: “The Reluctant Heiress” by Mary Davis
1905 — Boston, MA
Victoria must decide whether to accept her inheritance with its proviso of a forced marriage or walk away from a fortune. Her attorney, Graham, finds it difficult not to cross the line from business to love with the enchanting heiress.
I LOVED this story. Of the nine stories, this is my #2 favorite! Victoria is awesome and has the best lines. For example, “[Victoria] narrowed her eyes at the young attorney. He had no clue about the plight of women and servants. Both dependent on the generosity of men in a society constructed by men to benefit men” (60). I love this so much. For me, the most impressive aspect to this story is the writing. Mary Davis crafted a fantastic story in “The Reluctant Heiress,” a short story I will definitely read and enjoy again.
Story #3: “In For a Penny” by Susanne Dietze
1894 — Philadelphia, PA
Banking heiress Penelope Beale is pushed by her status-conscious parents to marry a lofty English lord, but she’s drawn instead to a lowly art historian who shares her passion for service — Emmett Retford, the lord’s younger brother.
I will read anything that Susie writes. She is SO good. While I did enjoy this collection very much, and do recommend it, three stories really stood out as my favorite. “In For a Penny,” to me, is the best story in this collection. Of the nine short stories, the characters in “In For a Penny” are the most realistic. The romance between the two characters never felt rushed or impossible. And, the story line has a clear beginning, middle, and end. This story reads like a novel. I was thoroughly satisfied with this story, and a little sad when it ended.
Story #4: “Sweet Love Grows” by Anita Mae Draper
1890 — McLeod County, MN
Amelia Cord never doubted her father’s love — despite her illegitimacy. When he dies without a will, handsome by-the-books attorney Jeremy Moore produces a vindictive legal heir who demands her eviction without an inheritance. Can sweet love grow in spite of the odds?
Overall, this short story is an engaging read. There is a lot of action. And, I did enjoy it. BUT, I did not buy the main characters falling for each other. With a short story, I have to feel some attraction between the characters right off the bat, or the romance will feel rushed. I loved the main characters and felt they were well written as individuals, but the romantic aspect for me was simply not there in a realistic manner.
Story #5: “Hometown Heiress” by Patty Smith Hall
1895 — Mills of South Georgia
Journalist Matthew Langley strives to make a difference in the world through his writing, but it’s not until he meets textile heiress Dania Eison that he learns that changing people’s lives starts at home.
This is my #3 favorite story. I love, love, love stories where the lead male character falls for the girl at the first meeting because the girl does something amazing and shatters his preconceived notions. Dania is an awesome character. She is smart, generous, thoughtful, tough, and feminine. “Hometown Heiress” is a fast-paced and highly engaging story with very believable and relatable characters. This is definitely a story I would read again and again!
Story #6: “Savannah’s Trial” by Cynthia Hickey
1866 — Ozark Mountains
The fate of the ranch rests on Savannah Worthington’s shoulders. Can she trust the handsome stranger her mother hired to help her, or is he one of many who wants what Savannah has struggled to save?
This is a fun read. A beautiful, young woman trying desperately to save her ranch. A handsome and generous man doing all he can to help her. And, a wickedly bad villain bent on taking everything from Savannah one way or another. I found this story to be highly engaging and sweet.
Story #7: “A Family Inheritance” by Lisa Karon Richardson
1883 — San Francisco, CA
Anne Shepherd has made her own fortune in the California gold fields, but what she’s always wanted was a family. When the aunt she’s invited to live with her arrives with Jack Wilberforce in tow, Anne may have gone bust or she just might have hit pay dirt.
The best part of this short story is Anne. She is an amazing character. I totally bought her as a sassy, strong, and smart woman. Anne wants to fit in and be a part of a true family that loves and accepts her, so she lays down some roots in San Francisco buying a very large home in a very prestigious part of town. She invites her aunt, the only living blood relative that she has left, to live with her. The aunt, from Boston, does not find Anne all that acceptable. Anne is too “countrified” and “backwoods” for her taste. There are some really excellent scenes between Anne and her aunt.
Story #8: “Maggie’s Newport Caper” by Lynette Sowell
1895 — Newport, RI and New York City
A Gilded Age heiress throws caution to the wind during the Newport summer season to hunt down a jewelry thief targeting the wealthy after her family is robbed.
This story is fun. I did feel the romance was a little off. I didn’t really buy Maggie and James as being in love. Perhaps it is because Maggie is 18 and James is clearly nearing 30. Maggie’s character just came off as so young to me. But, I did enjoy Maggie’s and James’s characters. I thought they were very well written as individuals. I also liked that there is a bit of mystery to this story. One crime would solve, but two more would pop up. The mystery aspect definitely kept my interest.
Story #9: “All That Glitters” by Kimberly Woodhouse
1895 — Juneau, AK and Denver, CO
Investing in Alaska gold mines, a Denver heiress and her father enjoy the repreive from money-hungry relatives back in Colorado when disaster strikes. A trusted employee agrees to escort the heiress home, but keeping her alive proves almost as difficult as preventing himself from falling in love with her.
There is a ton of action in this short story. Mary Margaret has to fend off assassination attempts and two sisters who hate her and want the company their father left to her. It’s actually crazy all that Mary Margaret has to go through, but she pulls herself up by her boot straps and perseveres. She is able to do this with the help of her dear Uncle Dillard and a very handsome and capable man, Charles Delaney. There are a few tears, a lot of laughs, and some very near-miss moments. This short story definitely had me at the edge of my seat.
Overall, I felt The American Heiress Brides collection to be a lot of fun to read. The short stories penned in this anthology are all highly engaging and very enjoyable. Clearly the authors who penned this collection are gifted storytellers. If you are looking for some well written and sweet historical romance stories, this is definitely the collection for you!
I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy of The American Heiress Brides Collection published by Barbour Books. This giveaway begins today, 12-22-17 at 5:00 am and ends on Wednesday, 12-27-17 at 12:00 pm. To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!
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