Well, I learned something new the other day on Facebook! It seems that, for a large group of readers, mail-order bride stories are a thing of the past—not interesting anymore. Is it possible to use up every single imaginable scenario for a mail-order bride to find herself in? I wonder…
I remember my mom saying several times during my growing up years how sad she thought it would be if every combination of notes had been used, and there was no possibility of any new music being written. Mom was a wonderful vocalist, and I played the piano. Admittedly, I had never thought about that until she mentioned it. But you can bet, after she did, my mind went to work on that idea—what a tragedy it would be if that were to happen! And…COULD it happen? I laid awake at night, my 10-year-old brain running amok.
So, in writing, I guess I applied that same thought to telling stories. With so many people in the world who write, isn’t that a lot like composing a certain kind of musical piece? One with your own flair for storytelling and your own “tune” as you weave the characters, the plot, the setting and the inevitable “angst” that has to happen to come to a crashing finale—a satisfying end that leaves the reader with a smile and a desire to read more!
I have to say, I was disappointed to hear that MOB books are not looked upon with as much favor as they once were. To me, those stories, done well, are some of the very best. I think, for me, at least, part of the appeal comes from the thought that mail-order brides were very real—not just something made up that never actually happened in our history. And coupled with imagining all the hardships so many of them went through, I’m not sure I could ever run out of MOB ideas.
The very idea of being desperate enough to leave everything you’d known and held dear to go to a place where nothing was familiar is one that is hard for me to even consider DOING. I think this is so because I do not like surprises. I’m not much of a gambler, or a risk-taker. But I do understand that many of those women felt they had no choice but to go—and again, when I imagine the depths of desperation they must have felt, I believe there is no end to possible circumstances that might have placed these women in the situations they found themselves in.
But the circumstance that forces these women to seek a husband in a faraway place is only the beginning of the story for that couple. For surely, the “other half”, the groom, must have his own reasons for being willing to marry a woman sight unseen, as well. If she needs the security of a man to support her, what are the reasons he needs a permanent woman—rather than a lady of the night?
How can they agree on anything? How can they fall in love in such a forced way? How can they make a marriage last for a lifetime, as so many did? What happened when it didn’t? So many questions—so many stories.
Do you have a favorite MOB story? Or are you sick of them? I’m working on a MOB story right now—so I’m hoping that there are still some readers out there who still love the MOB premise. As for me, I love so many different types of stories, and read so much, I can’t ever say I would get tired of MOB stories, as long as they’re not too “contrived” and strain believability.
How about you? What do you think?
Here’s an excerpt from my last MOB story, SABRINA, which was part of a four-book set called MAIL-ORDER BRIDES FOR SALE: THE REMINGTON SISTERS. The other authors in this boxed set are Livia J. Washburn, Jacquie Rogers, and Celia Yeary.
Boxed set of four full length mail order bride novels.
Brought up in the wealth and comfort of Eastern “old money” in staid and proper Philadelphia, the Remington sisters are forced to scatter to the four winds and become mail-order brides. In order to gain a fortune, their sinister step-father, Josiah Bloodworth, has made plans to marry them off in loveless marriages. Time is running out, and no matter what lies ahead in their uncertain futures, it has to be better than the evil they’re running from…
EXCERPT FROM SABRINA:
Both Cam and Sabrina have secrets–Cam has pretended to be his brother, Robert, in an effort to find out if Sabrina could care about him. Being half Cherokee is a burden he knows too well–and he knows he’s got to have the right kind of wife to survive in Indian Territory. But Sabrina has not been entirely forthcoming with her situation, either. Let’s take a look…
“I’d—I’d like an explanation,” she said frostily.
“And I’m gonna give you one, Sabrina. The best I can, any-how.” Cam raked a hand through his hair. “Let’s sit down over here—”
“No, thank you. I’ll stand.” Her voice was prim, proper, and as icy as a frozen pond in January.
Cam sighed, hooking his thumbs in his gun belt and tilting his head back to look at the night sky. “You’re not making this any easier.”
“No. I don’t intend to. You’ve deceived me. You’ve made me feel…foolish.” She let out a deep breath. With it went some of her anger. “I trusted you, C-Cameron.” It was still hard to think of him as “Cameron” rather than “Robert”—and it was going to take some getting used to.
Cam took a step toward the boulder he’d sat on earlier. “I’m sorry for that. It was wrong of me, ’Brina. But I had to be sure—”
“Sure? Of what? I’m the one who’s given up everything to come here to a place where I don’t know anyone—evidently, even my husband—to a land that is unfamiliar—”
“Sabrina, you haven’t given up everything. Even though, right now, you may not recognize it, I’m your best bet for any protection you might need.”
He bent a dark, searching stare on her. “You’re running from someone—your stepfather, maybe others—there in Philadelphia. When they get here—”
Sabrina’s eyes were wide, and she felt the blood drain from her face. He hadn’t said “if”—he’d said “when”. He believed they were coming. It had been in the back of her mind, ever since she’d boarded the stage west, but to hear it voiced by Cam… Still, he didn’t really even know the full circumstances of her leaving Philadelphia…he couldn’t be sure she’d be followed.
“You believe they’ll follow…for certain.” She shuddered.
Cam’s expression changed, letting her know he’d only speculated up to now; her reaction had let him know he was right. “I’d like the full story. When you’re ready.”
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