Hope’s Crossing is a series that Cynthia Woolf began with The Hunter Bride and continues with this second book, The Replacement Bride. In each of these books, set in the Western States, the men find women scarce and opt for a mail order bride.
In a previous review of The Hunter Bride, I wrote of Sam Longworth a sheriff who ordered a bride and wasn’t about to actually fall in love with her after being hurt previously. That same theme is used in The Replacement Bride. In this story we have Jesse Donovan a man who left home for New York City, made a good living and found a woman he wanted to marry. When the gold mines called him, he promised to strike it rich and marry Rebecca Jane and keep her living in luxury. Jesse did leave New York and did make good strike, but Rebecca Jane wouldn’t come out to Montana which left Jesse closed off to love ever again. With political aspirations Jesse needed a wife to serve as hostess so he ordered himself a mail order bride like his friend Sam. He ordered a replacement bride.
Clare Griggs is from Colorado and is a farmer’s daughter, his eldest daughter and not the son wanted. After living with the fact she would never live down the disappointment her father has because she was a girl and not a boy, Clare finds her way to becoming a mail order bride where she can find love and not more disappointment. She agrees to become Jesse’s bride with hope for the future. She didn’t know she was only a replacement bride.
Jesse is content with Clare as a wife and sees that she is going to be the perfect hostess for when he runs for office. But stubbornly he refuses to let himself love Clare and open himself up to being hurt once again. What he doesn’t seem to understand is that his referring to Clare as his replacement bride has in fact hurt her deeply. It doesn’t seem to matter what she tries, Jesse doesn’t love her. When Clare has an accident and may be permanently hurt, Jesse pulls away instead of closer to her.
Clare must make a decision to stay and remain a disappointment in her father’s eyes as well as her husbands, or fight for what she wants until Jesse’s stubborn heart finally cracks. Will Jesse’s heart welcome Clare or will he face loosing yet another woman in his life?
I do enjoy the simple story lines of Cynthia Woolf’s books. I also like how she has the continuing theme throughout her series…the men are tough, fair and good men but once hurt they turn very stubborn. The women have to be wily and patient until their men finally figure out what is going on!
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