014 Readers' Favorite International Book Award Contest Gold Medal Winner for Historical Romance!
Brant Samson has fallen on hard times with the death of his beloved wife a year earlier from lung fever. Left with three children, he's desperate to find a mother for them. Ten year old Jenny does her best to care for two year old Ty, and fourteen year old Luke works the ranch with his father, losing himself in dime novels to ease the pain of his mother's passing. Brant's options are limited since eligible women seldom pass through Two Rivers, much less settle in the small Texas town. In desperation, he places a classified advertisement for a mail order bride. Marrying a woman he'll come to know through a newspaper advertisement scares the bejesus out of him, but at this point, he's out of options.
Abigail Mary Vaughn always dreamed of having her own family, but caring for her elderly parents, as well as working as a teacher to help with finances, ended that dream. Her parents are now dead and she's faced with the reality of her lonely existence. After reading Mr. Samson's advertisement in the Philadelphia Inquirer, she garners enough courage to respond. Since she is considered an old maid at the age of thirty-eight, she'll more than likely spend the rest of her life wondering "what if," unless she does something unconventional.
Luke Samson is a successful writer at the youthful age of twenty-five. His life is proceeding as planned and he has no desire to marry for at least a few years. While dining at a Dallas restaurant, he overhears an intriguing conversation and receives his first look at Angel St. Clair, a woman who will forever change his carefully laid plans. Although she has been blessed with angelic beauty, her heart is shattered. Can Luke not only mend, but completely restore this broken woman?
Angel St. Clair's sole desire is to hire a suitable husband to escort her safely to the bakery she purchased in San Francisco. To that end, she places a classified advertisement for a mail order husband. Her life savings has been used to acquire her own business and she hopes to find, if not happiness, at least contentment after suffering a life of tragedy and heartache.
Jenny Samson, sister of Luke and daughter of Brant, is a gifted artist. She has moved from her country home in Texas to attend Jake Ryder's Academy of Art in New York. She has dreamed of meeting Mr. Ryder, the great artist known as the Painter of Emotions, and when she does, his criticism of her paintings devastates her.
Jake Ryder lost his right arm in a carriage accident. It was the final sorrow in a life of sorrow. Now he lives a lonely existence, rarely leaving his estate. The sweet paintings of Jenny Samson incense him because life is not sweet, nor kind, nor lovely, and he lashes out at the plain country girl during a gallery exhibition of her works. Soon, however, he will discover there is more to Jenny than he ever anticipated.
Joy Ryder feels trapped. She wants to travel and paint the West, just as her father, Jake Ryder, had done at her age. When she expresses her frustration to her Grammy Abby, she is shocked when her grandmother insists that she follow her heart and travel. Arrangements are made and Joy embarks on an adventure that will last over a year. At her final destination, she meets widower Dr. Walker Fleming and his five year old daughter, Misty. Joy is drawn to them and agrees to give the mute child art lessons.
Walker is shocked when a young woman he has never met says that his daughter spoke to her. His little girl has been mute since the death of her mother a year previous. Confounding everything, his wife's Aunt Zena met Miss Ryder while traveling on the same train to Oregon and insists that she is foolish and disrespectful. Walker has yet to see her in that light, but if his daughter did, indeed speak, he desperately needs the lady's help in bringing his child out of the shell she has erected.
Is it possible that Joy will feel a greater calling to help a brokenhearted child and equally brokenhearted father? Or should she continue pursuing a path that had previously been forbidden to women. After all, it's the 1920s and women can vote!
Cast of Characters
Brant Samson: Widower with three children who advertises for a Mail Order Bride.
Abigail Mary Vaughn: Spinster teacher who answers Brant Samson's ad for a Mail Order Bride.
Luke Samson: Teenage son of Brant in Book One. Grown man and leading character in Book Two.
Angel St. Clair: Widow with secrets who advertises for a Mail Order Husband.
Jenny Samson: Adolescent daughter of Brant in Book One. Grown woman and leading character in Book Three.
Jake Ryder: Artist and founder of Jake Ryder's Academy of Art where Jenny Samson is attending.
Joy Ryder: Daughter of Jake and Jenny Ryder who follows her heart into adventure at the urging of her grandmother, Abigail Samson.
Dr. Walker Flemming: Widower whose young daughter hasn't spoken since witnessing the death of her mother a year earlier.