Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Book Review: MERCER BELLES






















Today I am featuring a Western anthology, 
a Timeless Western Collection 
including novellas by Heather B. Moore, Teri Harman, and Linda Carroll-Bradd 

About Mercer's Belles:

When Mr. Mercer sends out a call for single women to travel to Seattle for teaching positions and the potential of forming marriages, 45 answer his call, becoming Mercer's Belles.

The following collection is based on true events during the 1860s:

ONE DANCE by Heather B. Moore:
When Harriet Silverman arrives in Seattle for a fresh start and a new teaching position, the last person she expects is to meet is a fisherman who seems to be every place she turns. As she gets to know Caleb Munns, Harriet discovers they are a perfect match--for friendship. They both have solid reasons for not pursuing marriage. But as their paths continue to cross, Harriet begins to see a completely different future than she imagined.

A JOURNEY TO LOVE by Teri Harman:
Cora, a nurse and surgeon's assistant who learned her skills during the war, joins Mercer's expedition in hopes of finding a job in the West. She's a widow and does not want to marry again. When she meets Albert, a surgeon who is traveling on board the Continental, she finds herself intrigued. Yet, Albert's determined to open his own practice in Seattle, make it a success, and has no plans to look for a wife. But the more time Cora and Albert spend together on the voyage, the more they are drawn to each other.

A FARAWAY LIFE by Linda Carroll-Bradd:
Teacher Sorcha Geraghty yearns for a fresh start after the death of her beau and a factory accident maimed her hand. Asa Mercer’s call for teachers for Washington Territory provides a new opportunity, and she joins his ocean-going expedition. Upon arrival, she learns of the expectation for the women to become wives to the many bachelors. Sorcha needs a new plan and fast. Logging manager Lang Ingemar wants a teacher to provide basic English instruction to his Swedish-speaking crew and keep them out of trouble when they go to Seattle. When he convinces Miss Geraghty to relocate to the logging camp, he has no idea the ways his life will be changed.
 

My book review:


For historical context, these two voyages from the East to Seattle, Washington, took place around the end of the Civil War. The first group of single women arrived in 1864. The second group arrived in 1866.

One Dance
Among the first group of Mercer’s Belles to arrive in Seattle was Harriet. The author did an excellent job of developing her character as a formal woman, not overly social, slightly beyond what was considered the usual marriage age. Mercer’s plan for bringing teachers to Seattle appealed to her, but she sought independence, not the prospect of marriage which was the the other part of Mercer’s plan. I love how the author set up the romance with Harriet creating a splash as she arrives in Seattle. As she finds herself dealing with the disquiet of women-hungry men, Caleb, a rough and tumble fisherman, who was one of the few men not interested in seeking a wife, dove in to rescue her in more ways than one. Delightful story.

A Journey to Love – 
The Civil War is over. I felt a great empathy for Cora, a woman in what was considered a man’s occupation, as joins Mercer’s second group of women bound for Seattle hoping the need for medical care in Seattle will be great enough for the residents to overcome their prejudices against women in the field of medicine. Albert, a war-time surgeon, joins the group to work as an assistant physician on the ship, plus he plans to open a practice in Seattle. He meets Cora whom he knew only by her reputation as a battlefield surgeon’s assistant.  I enjoyed how this couple overcame all efforts to keep them apart and prevent Cora from using her knowledge to help the sick on board. Many interesting details come to light in this book, not only about the primary physician on the ship, but Mercer himself. The author set the scene well and described the characters so I could picture them easily. This romance held my interest throughout.

A Faraway Life – 
As always, Linda Carroll-Bradd brought unique, well-researched details to her story that added depth and color to an already great romance. Sorcha came to Seattle to teach, but had never dreamed she would be asked to teach hulking, grown Swedish loggers how to speak English. Mindful of the employment needs of her seamstress cousin she convinced to come with her, she agrees to give the position a try after she learns the job comes with a lovely, well-appointed cabin large enough for the two women. It requires an entire change of approach to her teaching methods, but she accepts the challenge. The author introduced the reader to basic Swedish phrases and culture, logging, and Sorcha’s lovely Celtic harp. This was a lovely sweet romance about overcoming fears and self-consciousness.

Mercer’s Belles is available on Amazon. PLEASE CLICK HERE.  



Saturday, September 14, 2019

Saturday Snippet: What is Your Stand on Slavery?





















The following snippet was taken from 
Virginia's Vocation 
Lockets & Lace series, Book 19
(Also Book 1 in the Atwell Kin series)


          “What is your stand on slavery, Virginia?”
          Virginia turned toward Martin Case, also seated next to Jefferson, but across the table from her. She suspected he tended to be outspoken and a bit rebellious in nature. She ignored her brother’s expression of warning and opened her mouth to speak. Her landlady cut her off.
          “You gentlemen will please address Miss Atwell as Miss Atwell, not her given name. I was a little lax last term by allowing the use of first names at the table. In your rooms is another matter, but I wish to resume my former practice of each of you to address each other formally while we are together.”
          Martin and Jonathon turned to James Oglethorpe, who shrugged. “She did. It was that way until the other two women who lived here graduated.”
          Virginia glanced over at Mr. Wilson who now wore an expression of satisfaction. Evidently, this change pleased him. Whether her views on slavery also pleased him remained to be seen.
          “Then, Miss Atwell—what is your stand on slavery?”
          Martin again. Virginia suspected they knew she came from a slave state and had already prepared to approve or disapprove of her based on her response. “I abhor slavery, Mr. Case. It is my hope I will feel more comfortable in the North where most people also do not favor the practice.” She knew she should not challenge him, especially this early in their acquaintance. However, she could not resist. “And what is your stand on slavery, Mr. Case?”
 

Some of the authors of the fabulous Lockets & Lace series are putting their books on special starting this week. If you have not already “liked” and “followed” the Lockets & Lace page on Facebook, PLEASE CLICK HERE.




If you wish to purchase Virginia’s Vocation, wait until Monday. 
PLEASE CLICK HERE for the book link.