Mail Order Baron by Cynthia Wolf #Review

Mail Order Baron by Cynthia Wolf #ReviewMail Order Baron by Cynthia Wolf

Series: #3 Brides of Tombstone
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Small Publisher on June 30, 2015
Pages: 257
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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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.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #151 HR
New to Me #63 author/series
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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • HIYA S! I’m new to that whole “Mail Bride Trope?” Never even heard of it but NOW I’M TOTALLY INTERESTED, although I probably doubt I’ll read this book (even though it sounds like it should have been really good) I don’t think I’d be able to get into it either, especially since you didn’t. (Especially with the fact that the protagonist just sounds whiny and desperate. SO not a good combo….

    • Hey, Keionda! Your comment visits always put a smile on my face. 🙂

      Oh you should try a mail order bride story some time. They can be fun. But yeah, probably not this one. Haha!

  • There are aspects of this story I would like because man I love Mail Order Bride tropes so much. But I can see where this could be frustrating with the characters in denial about certain things.

    • Yes, I love these, too, and I was eager to love this one. But it was so unreasonable to me for her to expect and demand love after two weeks, to expect him to stop putting so much effort into his business, and she jumped to conclusions right away all while keeping her own secrets. Just ugh…

  • Why is it called Baron?

    • He is a wealthy man so the whole town calls him ‘baron’. And he mail ordered his wife so now he’s called the ‘Mail Order Baron’. I didn’t get it either until half way.

  • I can honestly say (I think) that I have never read a mail order bride plot before. As much HR as I’ve read in the past, that trope wasn’t among them. I’m more of a betrothed type of reader.

    • Yes, I like the usual betrothal kinds, too. But every once in a while, I think it is fun for the ‘let’s see what came in on the stage coach’ type. LOL

  • There’s something fun about seeing a marriage of convenience turn into more. I haven’t read a lot of books with that trope so far, but I enjoyed the historical romance book with this trope that i did read, although that wasn’t a mil order bride. I like a good slow burn romance, which is probably why the marriage of convenience trope works for me.

    I like those hints to relationships with previous characters or that develop throughout the books, so it;s a shame when you don’t get those connection because you haven’t read the previous ones, but like you said they still can be read as standalones.
    It’s a shame this story got off on the wrong foot and you never fully got into it after that. I don’t like it when characters have the wrong idea and then either don’t communicate that or get annoyed because the other does something wrong, while they couldn’t have known what she’s thinking. I can see why that rubbed you wrong. I am glad to hear there were some good parts thought even thought the characters and how they were in denial didn’t work for you. Great review!

    • Yes, the mail order/marriage of convenience story is like an adventure b/c anything can happen, but it usually takes a while for the relationship to build up.

      The connection with the previous books was obvious to me, but didn’t interfere. I did think it would have been interesting to see how this situation began when he was competing with his friend for the other lady, but there was enough in this book so I wasn’t confused.

      Yeah, she jumped off the stage and started jumping to conclusions about why he wasn’t there to meet her even though he sent his best man and had a nice hotel room, bath, and meal all set up for her. Then she got crabby about his past when she was hiding her own. And she expected love and change right away when she knew going in that it was an arrangement. Got tired of her without getting out of the first chapter. 🙂

  • I’ve really enjoyed the mail order ones I’d read and the title on this one caught me but oh my word the heroine. Nope. I can’t handle that kind of behavior. One of my recent ones and dang if I can remember which it was the heroine had unrealistic meltdowns like that about him not being instantly in love with her when she was with him. It was like okay it’s been a week. Slow your roll lady! lol

    • I was all set to have a good time with it since it’s been a while for a mail order bride read, but there it was on the second page. He’s out at his mine trying to save lives and she’s having a tizzy b/c he sent his man to meet her at the stage and get her settled at a comfortable hotel with a meal and bath. Then she freaked b/c he told her the truth about courting his best friend’s wife and her not choosing him. And the list goes on and on. These types of people exhaust me even if they’re fictional. 😉

      • Whew I can’t say I’d blame ya on that one. I really can’t. That kind of thought process just doesn’t make sense at all. smh