Monday, March 29, 2010

Sixteen Brides

Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Whitson
Title: Sixteen Brides
Author: Stephanie Grace Whitson
Pages: 243 in Advance Reading Copy
Published: 2010 Bethany House Publishers
Read For: Library Thing Early Reviewers
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (somewhat above average)

Historically, this book covers the post Civil War era when many people's lives had changed dramatically, internally and externally, and were looking for a way to refocus and find hope again. I liked the bridge shown between the Eastern States involved in the Civil War, and the Mid-Western States being formed from people relocating. For the most part, the setting and little historical bits felt natural, if not altogether accurate (Harvard was founded in 1636, not 1650--a somewhat inconsequential yet puzzling mistake).

I enjoyed the personalities of the different characters and how their stories developed, even though I was initially a bit skeptical about how the author was going to be able to develop so many characters (don't worry, there weren't actually 16 brides to follow). I'm not really sure why "tiny waists" needed to be mentioned quite so many times, but as that was one of the very few things to distract me from the story, I can't complain much.

This is a very heartwarming book without too much romance or preaching (neither is something I'm very fond of in a book, but I think that the author achieved a nice balance). It was idealistic in that all of the major problems and conflict happened before the story even began and were all resolved perfectly in the end. Each chapter is prefaced with a brief scripture, reaffirming that the intent of the book is not only it's entertainment value.  Definitely a feel-good story, but for being heartwarming, encouraging, idealistic, romantic and easy to read I think it hit it's mark.

From the back cover:
     Lured West by the promise of prime homesteads, sixteen Civil War Widows uproot and move to Plum Grove, Nebraska.  But more than land awaits their arrival...
     When the women finally stumble off the train, they are greeted eagerly by the local bachelors--with marriage proposals!  As the true motive behind the offered land is revealed, the women muster all the faith, courage, and cunning they can to survive their new circumstances.  Especially when they begin to discover that no one in their group is exactly who she appears to be...

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