A woman needing a safe place to land and a man who wants a family chose to do a mail order bride arrangement. It wasn’t supposed to be about love, but it wasn’t long before unexpected feelings and a man set on revenge make things interesting for Ben King and Molly MacGregor in the rugged town of Tombstone.
This was book three in the Brides of Tombstone series. And, I didn’t realize this when I decided to read it. I wasn’t far into the story and realized that Ben and some other folks in the town already had a history together that was ongoing into this book. It wasn’t impossible to read this one out of order, but I can definitely see where getting them in order might have made me feel more connected.
The story opens with Molly discovering that the man she testified and was sent to prison for embezzlement and fraud at the bank is now out. She has to get away from New York to a place the man wouldn’t think to look so she answers a mail order bride advertisement, exchanges letters with Benjamin King, and then decides to be his mail order bride out west. She arrives and has sharp opinions right away only to find out that Ben is not what she imagined. He’s ever so much more and it doesn’t take long before she is falling for her husband.
Ben was in love with a woman and his best friend got her. Now he is settling for a family and home, but no deep love. He likes Molly and he is determined to protect her from the man who is after her, but Molly wants so much more. She was willing to settle, but now she wants it all and fears she’ll never have it.
Well, this is one of those stories that had all the ingredients for something really good. When put together, it just didn’t quite get there for me. This is not because of getting it out of order, but because this particular story got off on the wrong foot with me and just never got back on balance.
I love the mail order bride trope as a fun variation on the marriage of convenience that historicals are famous for. And it is especially good because the relationship is slow burn and is usually hard fought. This story even added the element of a dangerous man set on revenge and some unrequited love. I really should have loved this one, but I couldn’t and that bugged me.
It started with Molly’s unrealistic attitude. It was demanding. She answers an ad from a guy who says he wants a wife and wants a family. Pretty sure he didn’t offer up the guarantee in his letter that ‘in two weeks you’ll have my undying love and I’ll stop working my business and devote myself solely to you’.
But that’s what she acted like.
She wasn’t there five minutes and she jumped to conclusions (he’s at the mine ergo guess that makes him a greedy scrooge who obviously doesn’t care a hang about me, but there was a collapse- whoops, my bad guess he’s not all bad, but I’m still going to whine about it the first chance I get and I do) and had to realize that she read stuff wrong. Then she spent the whole story jealous and feeling inferior as woman. She wouldn’t listen to others who knew Ben well told her she had nothing to worry about and that he really did love her. He really did think her lovely and said so.
Even when I thought Ben deserved a boot up the butt for pulling the ol’ ‘I’ll get over one woman by getting a different one’, he didn’t lie, he didn’t cheat, and he didn’t make any promises about love, but he did keep the promises he made and he was even affectionate, kind, and generous with Molly.
Now I grant you, the jealousy was somewhat understandable since Ben had been in love with another woman who picked his best friend. I get that this sounds bad, but it’s a marriage of convenience so I really wasn’t turned off by this. He made no promises about his heart, but constantly had to reassure her that he would keep his marriage vows.
It was tough because even when I should have totally been rooting for her because she was in love and he was in denial; her petulance, impatience, and demands made it hard. She wanted the right things and I wanted them for her, but argh…she was as in denial in a different way as Ben was.
So, it was mildly enjoyable. I got my mail order bride romance. There were good points. Ben and Molly were actually good for each other when they weren’t trying to sabotage their own chances. There was some spice and a few spikes of excitement. I might give another of the author’s books a go to see if it was just the heroine because I liked other aspects of the story.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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