Janet Tronstad: “Mail Order Sunshine Bride”

Tronstad_Janet-close_crop (2)I’m delighted to be back at P & P with another one of my mail-order bride stories.  Usually when I visit we talk about something related to these brides of the Old West (my favorite historical setting and I’m guessing it’s yours, too).

Today I am going to ask a question that has bedeviled women throughout history – from servant girls in the 1800’s to today’s ultra-modern internet dater.  Regardless of the time in history, scores of women are always asking — ‘What does a man want in a wife anyway?’

I’ll wager that nowhere have women asked that question with more desperation than the mail-order brides in the late 1800’s. In the western territories, men outnumbered women by as much as nine to one. In the east, thousands of women wanted to get married and were unable to find mates. Today a single life is a good life, but in those days it wouldn’t have been fun to be ‘on the shelf’ as they said.  A spinster had no status and, often, limited social options. For her livelihood, she usually either depended on relatives (sometimes being an unpaid servant to them) or lived a life of hard work and poverty.

It was no wonder that publications like the “The Matrimonial News,” a San Francisco paper, were flooded with personal ads from women as well as men seeking marriage.

For my brides, I’ve created a fictitious publication, Mrs. Murphy’s Matrimonial Catalogue, that will mirror these newspapers.

JTronstad_MailOrderSunshineBride_(1)In my upcoming novella, “Mail-Order Sunshine Bride,” my widowed heroine, Nellie O’Reilly, tries to figure out what it is that men want in a wife before she sends an ad to Mrs. Murphy for publication.  Nellie’s late husband, not a particularly kind man, always said she had little enough beauty, but she did have a non-demanding personality and that was what men wanted anyway. So Nellie advertises that she has a ‘sunshine personality.’

Unbeknownst to Nellie, the night before she and her young son arrive in the Montana territory, the storekeeper who had pledged to marry her reads her letter aloud to a dozen men at a poker game.  He gathered so much interest in his “Sunshine Bride” that he was offered a wager by another man for the right to marry her. The storekeeper lost the bet.

When Nellie steps off the train the next morning, the question of who she is to marry is so problematic that the sheriff takes her into protective custody until it can be resolved. Thus begins a rousing tale.

There are many things a man or a woman could find attractive in a mate.  But if you were going to answer the question right now, what would you say you would most look for in a marriage partner?

My ‘Mail-Order Sunshine Bride’ will be part of an indie anthology published in late June. When it is available, I will give a free e-copy of that anthology to someone who comments on this post.

For updates on this and other historical mail-order bride stories I will be writing in the future (I’m planning another Christmas one, ‘Mail-Order Santa Bride’), please like me on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Janet-Tronstad-Dry-Creek-author/183817431655670

In the meantime, let’s talk!
Guest Blogger
Updated: May 6, 2014 — 8:58 pm

23 Comments

  1. Janet, I would want a respectful, kind, trustworthy man who believed in GOD. And not a gambler. Also one who wanted children. I would love to win your book. I love books of the Old West . Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  2. Janet,

    I love stories mail order bride tales, and almost any romance set in the Old West. I can’t wait to find out who Nellie marries.

    I hope I’m the lucky winner.

  3. I am looking forward to reading ‘Mail-Order Sunshine Bride.’a man who believed in GOD, respectful, kind, trustworthy.Thank you for the opportunity to win.I enjoy reading your books.Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. I would look for compassion, honesty and intelligence.

    I do enjoy mail order bride stories. I love the sheriff as protector/care taker. Is he married?

  5. Welcome to the Junction, Janet!!! I love the idea of your fictitious publication. The granddaddy of online dating. Your book sounds wonderful. Congrats!!! Hope you sell millions of copies!

  6. Reliability and a sense of humor are most important to me character-wise. Can’t wait to read your new story!

  7. Oh Nellie sounds like she has a great story to share… can you imagine being part of a bet like that and not knowing what is going on.
    For me I want someone reliable, has a sense of humor, honest, & loves animals.

  8. Janet, I’ve been anxious for your mail-order books to come out! So glad it’s almost here! I look forward to starting them. We’ve talked several times about mail-order brides and what that experience would be like! Yikes! I guess I would most want someone who would care about me, not just want a “worker bee”! I’d like a partner & a friend, growing into love & confident as we get to know each other later.

  9. Hi Janet, welcome back!! We’re thrilled to have you visit us again. I love the premise of your new book. I can only imagine how scary it would be to journey to a place but found the man you were supposed to marry had wagered you in a game of chance and lost. I love that twist. You’ve intrigued me. I’m going to have to read this story.

    Wishing you much success with it!

  10. Hi Janet. Your book sounds like a fun read – just the kind I like to curl up with. I’m a sucker for a good mail order bride story!

  11. Welcome back, Janet! So glad you’re here. I love when “best laid plans” go awry and the right man gets the girl. Congratulations on your new release.

  12. Congrats on your new release. I love mail order bride stories. They are my favorite read, I think. I am reading one right now. Thanks for sharing with us today.

  13. Oh, you all have such wonderful thoughts on what you would want in a husband if you were a mail-order bride. I can’t wait to find out who wins the book either!

  14. I think a help-mate would be the best all-around trait. It covers a lot of territory. Being able to work together on all the daily chores that must be done is a big part of that. Anticipating what needs to be done before he asks is really nice and often a big surprise for him.
    Congratulations on your latest story. The anthology should be a good one.

  15. I think I would look for a man with compassion, fidelity, a Christian man. One who wouldn’t shout but talk and listen. I’m looking forward to reading this story and the others in the anthology.

  16. I love mail order bride stories and have always been fascinated with the thought of “Would I become one if I lived back then?” This book sounds very intriguing!

  17. HI Janet, this sounds like a great book. Thanks for offering one!

  18. Avatar

    I enjoy mail order bride stories. I will enjoy reading Nellie’ story, too. It sounds like a good read.

  19. Your book sounds great!
    The one thing I’d look for in a mate is someone who is interested in being a “partner”. Someone who values your input and doesn’t think you don’t have an opinion.

  20. I believe, back in the days of Mail Order Brides, a man wanted a wife that would work as an equal, be a companion, a good mother to his/their children and had a good sense of humor. Someone who would eventually love him unconditionally and being a good cook would help too.

    I love Mail Order Bride stories and would love to win a copy of yours when it releases!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  21. Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on being a mail-order bride. I had a great time visiting with all of you. If you want to be notified when Mail-Order Sunshine Bride is available for purchase, join me on my author’s Facebook page.

  22. I would want a husband to be trustworthy, honest, a strong godly leader and loving in a gentle manner. I love Mail-order bride stories!
    grammador at gmail dot com
    Thank you,
    Dorie

  23. I would want a friend who believed in God , family and me

Comments are closed.