"Linda Broday's heroes step right out of her books and into your heart."—Jodi Thomas, New York Times bestselling author
An outlaw falls for his mysterious mail order bride in this sweeping western epic by beloved author Linda Broday.
Accused of crimes he didn't commit, ex-preacher Ridge Steele is forced to give up everything he knew and make his home with outlaws. Desperate for someone to confide in, he strikes up correspondence with mail-order bride Adeline Jancy, finding in her the open heart he's been searching for. Upon her arrival, Ridge discovers Addie only communicates through the written word, but he knows a little of what trauma can do to a person and vows to stand by her side.
Addie is eager to start a new life with the kind ex-preacher and the little boy she's stolen away from her father—a zealot priest of a terrorized flock. As her small family settles into life at Hope's Crossing, she even begins to find the voice, and confidence, she'd lost so long ago.
But danger is not far behind, and her father will not be denied. While Addie desperately fights the man who destroyed her childhood, a determined Ridge races to the rescue. The star-crossed lovers will need more than prayers to survive this final challenge…and find their way back to each other again.
Broday concludes her Outlaw Mail Order Bride series with this thrilling historical romance set in 1882 Texas (following The Mail Order Bride's Secret). Adeline Jancy, unable to speak following three years of solitary confinement in prison, travels to the outlaw town of Hope's Crossing to marry Ridge Steele, a former preacher on the run from bogus rape and murder charges. Ridge introduces Addie to the town's inhabitants while she finds a way to communicate with him in writing. As the pair grow closer, she reveals that her religiously fanatical father connived to lock her up after she helped rescue the son he fathered with an underage girl from growing up under his thumb. Now that she's free, her father is after her again. Both still wary about being hunted, Ridge and Addie develop their relationship, survive a tornado, and contend with bounty hunters and during a tense altercation, Addie regains her voice in the nick of time. Supporting characters, including a female banker who receives a glamorous makeover, a hardworking teenage boy who moves in with Addie and Ridge, and the town's gruff female doctor, add spark and depth to the environs. Daring escapades and well-developed characters make for a jam-packed finale that's sure to please.
Great characters believable romance
Finding something new to say when you have already reviewed the first three books in the series (and another 5 by Ms. Broday!) is a challenge. It’s pretty much a given that I’m going to love the book. Great characters, lots of action, believable romance, and excellent writing are all hallmarks of Ms. Broday’s works. (See all my other reviews here.) In Once Upon a Mail Order Bride, we have Adeline Jancy and Ridge Steele’s story (FINALLY!).
Ridge has long been one of my favorite secondary characters in the Mail Order Bride series and I’m glad that he is finally getting his own Happily Ever After. The former preacher turned outlaw’s backstory is very compelling. He’s a dependable friend to those in town, always willing to put himself in harm’s way to protect others. Ridge is certainly the classic Western romance hero that I want to read about.
I was drawn to Addie right away as a character. Why was she in jail? Why can’t she speak? I was turning pages to discover more about her. She’s faced adversity but manages to come out the other side mostly intact. What really impressed me with Addie, and Ms. Broday’s writing in this instance, was the emotions that she conveyed, despite not being able to speak. And I love this quote from the beginning of the novel:
“Doubts jumped into her head like circus fleas on a dog”
I very much pictured The Flea Circus cartoon reading that line!
The romance between Ridge and Addie is slow-building after a great meet-cute that I won’t spoil! Addie and Ridge learn to trust and love each other over time. I really appreciate this element of the story. The love between these two characters is real and believable.
Once again, Ms. Broday’s writing and storytelling are on point. One aspect that I really appreciate is how Ms. Broday weaves details (characters, especially) from her other novels into her stories, including Once Upon a Mail Order Bride. This allows new readers to easily catch up with the storyline but doesn’t bore loyal readers. (And sometimes helps when a loyal reader may have forgotten the details. 😉) I always appreciate catching up with the citizens of Hope’s Crossing, Dr. Mary especially. She is a hoot!
This novel is chockablock full of action. Shoot-outs, kidnappings, a tornado, and more kept my heart pounding and my attention riveted while reading. I do love some action (pardon the pun!) in my romance stories!
I am a little sad that this series is now finished. I’ve more than enjoyed my visits to Hope’s Crossing. While each book can be read separately, they are certainly best enjoyed as a series. After reading Ms. Broday’s comments on another tour post (over here), I’m positive there are more stories to come that I’ll enjoy equally as much!
Loved this series! Finally got to hear Ridge’s story! Highly recommend!