Monday, June 29, 2015
MAIL ORDER BRIDE STORIES--FACT AND FICTION
Would you become a mail-order bride?
Many of the western historical romances available are mail order bride stories. I enjoy them, but that’s because they’re fiction and I know they’ll have a happily-ever-after ending. ☺ In real life, that was not often the case.
The Civil War (what a misnomer!) decimated the male population, especially in the eastern part of the United States. Men who managed to survive often had lost their land, their homes were destroyed, and families scattered. Because they had no home to which they could return, many went west looking for land, gold, and adventure. That left too many women for the number of marriageable-aged men. No wonder women who wanted a home and children signed up as mail order brides.
Chris Enss has written several books on real mail order brides. The one I have is HEARTS WEST, fifteen true stories of women who ventured to marry a stranger rather than remain where they were. Many faced extenuating circumstances that meant they had no way to support themselves. Others lived in a home where there were too many mouths to feed and not enough income.
Some of the stories in HEARTS WEST end happily, some do not. Reading them is interesting because they are genuine. Like many authors, I write of mail order brides for whom life is more kind--at least by the end of the story.
One of these is TABITHA’S JOURNEY, one of the Stone Mountain Texas series. Tabitha is a mail order bride to avoid being forced to marry an odious man. She takes her friend’s place and sets out for Texas. The problem is, her prospective groom doesn’t appreciate being passed along without his permission.
This novella also appears in WILD WESTERN WOMEN RIDE AGAIN with novellas by Merry Farmer, Sylvia McDaniel, Callie Hutton, and Kirsten Osbourne. Ms Osbourne’s story is also a mail order bride—sort of.
Jacquie Rogers and I have mail order bride stories in our duet books MAIL-ORDER TANGLE. We are writing about sisters on another project due out the week after Christmas. Three other friends and I have a group release planned for October 1st. Also mail order brides.
Why are these stories so popular? I think it’s the “fish out of water” aspect of a woman striking out to a new setting and having to adjust to everything, including the man she plans to marry. I have to admit they are fun to write--work, but still fun. In addition, I enjoy reading mail order bride books.
I repeat, would you have become a mail order bride?