Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book Review: Sixteen Brides

The Civil War left a lot of widows. Stephanie Whitson was doing research on quilts when she came across a newspaper article advertising the arrival of war widows in a town in the midwest, and was thus inspired to write this story.

Sixteen Brides is the story of four women (mainly, but OK, there are 16 in the original group) who are trying to make their way independently in the hard lands of Nebraska. The women are lured west by the promise of free land for heads of households, which being widows they are, but all is not as it seems. In Plum Grove, NE, in fact, there are a number of eligible bachelors looking forward to a little dance on Friday night where they have pre-paid for dances with the eligible women, in hopes of scoring a bride. But the hard lands of the west are unforgiving, and the living is not easy for the widows as they try to make their way.

At first I was not so high on this book. There were too many characters at the beginning and I was wary of trying to remember all of them - I didn't even try. Frankly, I was mad that the book wasn't called "Four Brides" because FOUR people (or even 6), I can keep track of - but 16?! (not counting children and others)  But Whitson quickly brings the focus onto just a few of the women and some of the people from the town. The characters are not as developed as I would have liked, but that is par for the course when you have so many in a regular length book. However, she paints a great picture of the land and the people, and I found that I was really enjoying the characters.

As you regular readers know, my highest praise is when I am so into the story that I have to finish it, even though its WAY past my bedtime. Well, this was one of those times. Some of the storylines are SO exciting, and I literally cried off and on throughout the story. I know, I'm a sap, but some of it hit kind of close to home. I don't want to say any more than that, but I ended up loving it. Check it out.

Four and a half yards of calico fabric out of five.

*of special note: Bethany House provides me with free copies of books and asks that I review them on my blog. There is no incentive for me to give a positive review and I remain independent in my thoughts and opinions.*


Carrie said...

Love it, Tiff. I JUST got this in the mail yesterday. It took for.e.ver. to get to me. But reading your review makes me excited to dig in! :)