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Friday, May 31, 2013
MY NEW RELEASE, TABITHA'S JOURNEY, A MAIL ORDER BRIDE NOVELLA
Drum roll, please! I’m happy to announce the release of TABITHA’S JOURNEY, a sweet novella about a substitute mail order bride.
Sometimes characters stick in a writer’s head and just won’t leave until we write their story. That’s what happened with Bear Baldwin from BLUEBONNET BRIDE. He was only a minor character, barely a mention, but he kept nagging at me to find him a wife. I remembered a short story I’d written a couple of years ago and reworked it into a novella with Bear as the hero.
Would you have been a mail-order bride? I’m not sure whether or not I would have.
In addition to so many men heading west for gold, fame, and fortune in the mid 1800’s, the Civil War further decimated the male population. More men were killed in the Civil War than in World War II. The combination of events meant that marriage-aged women far outnumbered marriage-aged men.
Women who did not marry had little choices. Women of good families were not supposed to...gasp...work for a living. In a pinch they might become a governess, a companion, perhaps teach school, or be forced to live with relatives. Those from lower income families might choose to work in a factory or as a servant, To either group, one more option existed . . . sign with a matrimonial agency to become a mail-order bride.
In Chis Enss’s book HEARTS WEST, she shares the stories of a variety of real-life women who opted to become a mail-order brides. Some were successful, some were disastrous and heartbreaking. I love reading fictional mail-order bride stories, but this is the first one I’ve written. This one is set in 1874 and starts in Boston and them moves to Texas.
Here’s the blurb for TABITHA'S JOURNEY:
Would you become a mail-order bride?
Tabitha Masterson is certain whatever awaits her in Radford Springs, Texas will be better than what her brother and that awful William have in mind in Boston. After her father’s death, her brother has become a tyrant. She escapes to begin her new life in Texas, but danger can’t be far behind. She believes if she’s married when trouble arrives, she’ll be safe.
Tobias “Bear” Baldwin is crushed when he receives a wire notifying him that the woman with whom he has corresponded for almost a year has passed him off to her friend. Do the two women believe he’s like an old shirt to be handed down? His mother urges him to give the substitute fiancée a chance, but his pride is stung and he hasn’t decided.
And how did that come about? Here’s the excerpt that explains part of Tabitha’s problems:
Tabitha sat in the Witt family’s parlor and wiped tears from her face. “I’ve never been so miserable. Prissy, what am I going to do?”
“Are you certain he’d send you to an asylum if you resist?”
“Yes, but I don’t know which would be worse—being married to William or being locked away. The man gives me shivers in the worst way.”
“Me, too.” Priscilla paused and smoothed the folds of her yellow and black plaid taffeta skirt. “I-I’ve had another letter from Tobias.”
Her attention captured and anger deflected, Tabitha leaned toward her friend intent on hearing the missive’s contents. “Did her send for you?”
“Yes.” Suddenly, Priscilla’s face puckered as if she, too, might cry. “Oh, I don’t know what to do.”
“Prissy?” She leaned back to stare at her friend. “What do you mean? I thought you’d accepted his proposal.”
Tabitha was half in love with Tobias Baldwin herself. Already she knew they shared many interests. Priscilla had shared each of his letters, and Tabitha had assisted Priscilla in answering them. Assisted so much, the writing became Tabitha’s heartfelt missives to him.
“I was all set to leave, just as I said. But…oh, Tabbie, Virgil Allsup has finally spoken to Papa for me. If only Virgil had come forward sooner I never would have answered that mail order bride agency’s advertisement.” She sniffed and dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief. “You know I’ve yearned for Virgil ever so long. By now I thought he didn’t want me.”
“What are you going to do?” Tabitha knew what she’d do. In her way of thinking, a man who dragged his feet as Virgil had all these years couldn’t begin to measure up to Tobias as a husband.
“That’s just it. I-I accepted Virgil’s proposal.” She sobbed into her handkerchief.
Tabitha couldn’t help her own tear-filled eyes widening in surprise. “You’re engaged to two men? Prissy, that’s—“
“Unethical? I know.” Priscilla waved her handkerchief. “I think it’s even illegal. Breach of contract or something.” Priscilla met Tabitha’s gaze. “But don’t you see? This could be a solution for your problem.”
Tabitha sighed and shook her head. “I don’t think mine has a solution.”
“Since you hate living with David and Bertha, and you always thought so much of Tobias, maybe you’d like to take my place.” She chewed at her lip as she glanced at Tabitha.
“Me? Go to Texas and marry Tobias?” Incredulous as the idea sounded, already Tabitha’s mind considered the option.
I hope you’ll give TABITHA’S JOURNEY a chance. The buy links are:
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