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‘Twice Promised’ gives you the second instalment of Magee Brendan’s twisting, turning tale of the loves and lives of mail order brides in the American West. Set in the wide open prairie lands of 1880s Colorado, the story picks up where book 1, ‘Deeply Devoted’ left off.
In the first book, Catharine Olson arrives in America as a mail order bride. All she brings with her are her sisters, Greta and Anna, her mother’s Bible and a blue willow pattern china dinner service. Married to Peter Andersen, the man who ordered her from Holland, she weathers the storms of new life, old memories and the sabotage of Peter’s over possessive mother. Now, sister Greta wants to try her luck and love in the role of mail order bride.
The story opens with Greta on the train to her husband to be. When she strikes up a friendship with fellow traveller, Cora Johnson, she has no idea that she too is a mail order bride – and for the same man, Jess Gifford. And what’s even worse, Jess Gifford didn’t even place the ad; it was his brother Zach! And now Jess is furious. Two brothers and two willing brides? You might think the outcome seems obvious, but the two women have their own opinions.
Twice Promised by Maggie Brendan was published by Baker in November 2012. The ISBN for Twice Promised is 9780800734633.
"Two mail-order brides, one groom and a few misunderstandings collide in the second blue Willow Brides book. Brendan's characters are witty, charming and fun to be around, and she brings her trademark writing style to the Wild West." - Romantic Times
“I really enjoyed reading Twice Promised by Maggie Brendan. The story starts off with an interesting conflict and resolves in a predictable manner, but the pages in between are filled with twists and turns that kept me wanting to turn the pages to see how everything worked itself out…”
“I felt that the characters were not only believable, but I was able to relate to them and found myself lost in their world. I loved the contrast of the characters' personalities as they each faced the same problem but came at it with a different perspective. It made for a very enjoyable read.”
“With her words Maggie Brendan weaves a quaint plot in the area of mail-order brides. The two brides-to-be are quite the opposite in disposition with both being sweet but confused. The two grooms-to-be are brothers but also have opposite dispositions. As all the ends are tied together, this is a romance story with twists and turns that will keep you guessing even though you're pretty sure you've figured out the ending.”
The whole idea of mail-order brides originates on the American wild-west frontier of the mid-1800s. Men were moving west in search of work, land and even gold. Most met with enough success to settle down and stay. But the one thing missing was the opportunity to marry and raise a family. Very few women lived out west. The only hope of a lonely man was to attract a woman from the eastern states to the more rustic and adventurous life of the west. So men wrote letters to churches and published personal ads in magazines and newspapers. In reply, interested women – Like Maggie Bredan’s ‘Twice Promised’ Olson sisters, would write back with photographs and information about themselves.
Although hundreds of thousands of white women did travel west, they were practically all married as it was thought unsuitable for women to go west alone. One chronicler of the American west, Mari Sandoz, recounted that the shortage of marriageable was so severe that, inNebraska, "a man had to marry anything that got off the train." The balance was further upset by The American Civil war. So many men were killed that, by 1865, there was an estimated 30,000 single women and war widows in the eastern states. Newspapers began matchmaking or "matrimonial columns" of paid advertisements and photographs. A typical example read:
"A young lady residing in one of the small towns inCentral New Yorkis desirous of opening a correspondence with some young man in the West, with a view to a matrimonial engagement... she is about 24 years of age, possesses a good moral character... is tolerably well-educated, and thoroughly versed in the mysteries of housekeeping."
The ads weren’t all placed by women. Men sought wives more frequently than women looked for husbands. While the ad above is more about what the wife-to-be has to offer, this husband-in-prospect writes more about his own demands:
"A Bachelor of 40, good appearance and substantial means, wants a wife. She must be under 30, amiable, and musical."
It took about four weeks for letters to go from east to west and not everyone was literate enough to carry on a long distance courtship. Illiterate men dictated letters to typists who, for a fee, would improve the wording of their overtures. Men and women could easily misrepresent their physical attributes, status, or finances. The 1911 Wahpeton Times reports on a New York girl for whom, on seeing the face of her intended on arrival in Buford, North Dakota, "the spell was immediately broken".
By the twentieth century, matchmaking for profit had arrived and today there are more than 200 internet companies connecting men and women around the world, and charging for their services. For those fortunate enough not to need their help, the mail-order bride business is mocked as an act of desperation or pilloried as synonymous with trafficking and enslavement. Yet it remains that many are unable to meet suitable partners, and Christians are no different in this respect. The loneliness and need to be loved, endured by the fictional characters of Maggie Brendan’s 'Deeply Devoted' and 'Twice Promised', is serious and real in our churches today. Finding a partner is not easy. And for some it’s the deepest grief of their life. I’m not proposing that we all become matchmakers in our churches. I am suggesting that we all need to be a little more sympathetic and understanding of those in our fellowships who endure the single life through no desire of their own. – Les Ellison.
Maggie Brendan is a member of the American Christian Writers (ACW), American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). She was a recipient of the 2004 ACW Persistence Award in Atlanta, Georgia. She was nominated for the RITA award and was a 2012 finalist for Inspirational Reader's Choice Award and a finalist for The Heart of Excellence Award.Her book, ‘No Place For a Lady’, the first in the ‘Heart of the West’ series received a 4.5 star review from Romantic Times. Book two, ‘The Jewel of His Heart’, received a 4 star review. ‘A Love of Her Own’ is book three. Her historical series ‘The Blue Willow Brides’, includes ‘Deeply Devoted’ and ‘Twice Promised’. She has led a writer’s critique group for six years. Maggie is married with two grown children and four grandchildren. She has a love for the American West and all things western. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, singing, painting, scrap-booking and being with her family. She lives in Marietta, Georgia.
‘Twice Promised’ continues the story of Magee Brendan’s mail order brides as they battle to cope with life and love in the American West. The sequel to ‘Deeply Devoted’ finds Greta Olson on a train to meet her future intended, Jess Gifford. The discovery that her travelling companion, Cora Johnson, is also on her way to wed Jess is further compounded by the news that Jess didn’t order either of them. It was his brother Zach. Two brothers and two willing brides? The solution might seem obvious, but the two women have ideas of their own.
|Author / Artist||Maggie Brendan|
|Publisher||Baker (November 2012)|
|Number of Pages||336|
|Page last updated||16th October 2012|