MAIL-ORDER BRIDES OF OAK GROVE - Lauri Robinson and Kathryn Albright
Harlequin Historical
ISBN:  978-0-373-29931-7
June 2017
Historical Romance

Ohio to Oak Grove, Kansas - Approximately 1870

Nineteen year old twins, Mary and Maggie McCary, are being run out of Ohio after they were caught selling their medicinal tonic without a permit.  Their father's recent death left them with no way to support themselves, so they just decided to upgrade and carry on the family business.  Not strangers to running away, Mary, Maggie, and their father have been kicked out of numerous towns across Pennsylvania and Ohio for selling what the public considers snake oil.  However, the twins believe in their tonic.  The family recipe has been handed down for generations, and they have seen the potion cure many ills.  But their luck finally has run out.  The Sheriff in Ohio has had enough of the McCary twins and McCary's Finest Recipe Tonic, so they are given little choice:  board the bride train bound for Oak Grove, Kansas, or go to jail.


Mary McCary has a plan.  Now that the bride train has finally reached Kansas, she and her sister Maggie will escape out the back door and be gone before anyone finds them.  They were forced into this mail-order bride scheme which provided a convenient escape out of Ohio, but now that they've arrived in Kansas, they must get out of town before anyone is more the wiser.  But Maggie argues:  she doesn't want to leave just yet; hot and dusty, she insists on a hot bath and a rest before they leave.  That said, she leaves Mary to gather with the other prospective brides waiting to disembark from the train.  Mary is frustrated with sister.  Yes, a bath would be nice, but getting away is more important.  Leaving Maggie to her folly, Mary sneaks into the baggage car, finds her trunk, and begins to pull it through the open door, only to fall off, right into the lap of a passing cowboy!

Steve Putnam isn't looking for a wife.  He needs a temporary cook for his ranch hands, and he was counting on one of the widows in town to help, but it turns out said widow got married last month.  Maybe there is someone on the train looking for work?  Twenty-five years old and the last of his family, Steve has no plans to marry, bride train or not.  He refused to pay into the bride pool.  Even so, if all the brides-to-be are as pretty as the young woman who fell into his lap at the train, he could reconsider.  And imagine Steve's surprise when he returns to the Circle P to find his mystery girl already in his kitchen, cooking the evening meal!


Maggie McCary finally gets to soak in a hot bath at the hotel, but she's lost her sister!  Now, inside her trunk she finds a note from Mary, explaining that her twin has gone off to find a job.  The three other girls who traveled with them on the bride train from Ohio to Oak Grove, Anna, Rebecca and Sadie, are all staying at the hotel with Maggie, who has to endure sharing a room with the stuck-up Rebecca.  No matter, as soon as Maggie sells some of the tonic, and Mary earns enough working, they'll leave this barren town and be on their way to Denver and a brighter future.

Local carpenter Jackson Miller has a job to do:  finish building the church his brother started, then move on.  Jackson isn't interested in the bride scheme the mayor cooked up, and he's doing all he can to avoid the prospective brides.  But one of the women, Maggie McCary, intrigues him.  She's beautiful and annoying, and seems to draw trouble (and men) like bees to honey, just the kind of woman to stay away from.  But even so, Jackson finds himself stepping in and rescuing Maggie each time she fumbles.

MAIL ORDER BRIDES OF OAK GROVE is a wonderful book!  Full of lively characters, these two connecting stories will grab your heart.  A winning book, this novel is the perfect pairing of two sparkling authors, and a must-buy for spring reading!

Diana Risso