Review: A Mail-Order Heart

Title: A Mail-Order Heart
Author: Janelle Daniels
Publisher: Dream Cache Publishing
Release Date: April 2016
Length: 178 pages
Series?: Miners to Millionaires #1
Genre: Historical, Romance, Western

Clara Stewart has every intention of marrying Ivan, her mail-order groom, but her plans fall apart when he dies before her arrival—leaving not one fiancée but nine! When the female-starved town offers them Ivan’s home and claim, Clara steps forward and promises to do whatever necessary to see to the women’s future, regardless of her own attraction to the town’s sheriff.

Sheriff Sawyer Morrison had one goal: to protect his town. But when nine women arrive, all claiming to be mail-order brides for the same man, his once quiet life is thrown into chaos. Safeguarding them from aggressive suitors is nothing compared to the inner battle he faces over Clara, a woman who heats his blood… but can never be his own.

But when Clara is kidnapped by the same person who’s sabotaging their mine, Sawyer must choose between the life he knew and the future he craves.

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

This is really novella-legth. It is a quick read! The story is supposed to be mail-order bride but turns Western real quick.

I’m still undecided if I enjoyed this book. It was a mixed bag. It is the first in a series, so I do want to give the rest of the series a chance – as well as some of the other women who were duped alongside Clara.

Clara – and it turns out a slew of others – ship out West to marry a miner as a mail-order bride. First, there is the issue of not being picked up at the station. Then, there is the issue of a whole slew of women who were also supposed to marry Cara’s intended. And finally, the townsmen reveal that he is dead. The beginning set itself up to be an action-packed story, with a large ensemble cast that flushes out some characters well. It didn’t get off the ground, though.

Now these nine women, ranging from tearful to terrified to angry, are stuck out west with no money, no prospects, and no way back. Fortunately, the town desperately needs women. While it has all the foundations of a town out west, it is severely lacking for women. The women and the townsmen (largely made up of small group led by the Mayor and Sherriff), must come to an agreement. The women will be able to stay and reside in the deceased miner’s home and all nine of the women must stay and agree to be courted by men in the community, in hopes that they marry. But it’s all or nothing – all nine women must agree.

Clara, one of twelve siblings, was the last “bride” to arrive, but she is the one who understands the severity of the situation for all the women, and seeks out to focus and calm them. Clara does have strength and capacity that most of the women lack in spades. She becomes the unofficial leader of the women.

Sheriff Sawyer Morrison is quickly and overwhelmingly impressed by Clara and her ability for action. She’s not like any woman he’s known. Clara is quickly drawn to him as well, as they work closely together to solve their overarching situation and day-to-day tasks. Get any nine stranger women together – no matter the time period – and drama will follow swiftly.

And then there are series of events in which their mine is sabotaged. And Clara kidnapped. While initially when the first clues were laid, I didn’t pick up, after a hot minute it became predictable who the murderer and sabotager was. We all know the Wild West was wont with men ruthlessly laying claims to others’ gold mines by force…

There was some development of the secondary characters in the ensemble of women, with a little insight into a handful who would allow Clara to befriend them. But overall, all characters lacked full development. I found there wasn’t much to learn about even Clara and Sawyer over the course of the short read. On top of that, the actual romance between Clara and Sawyer wasn’t developed either. They were drawn to one another, but there wasn’t a lot of substance for why, or initial “courting” or romantical development happening.

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