I don’t know why, but lately I’ve been enthralled by mail-order brides. No, I’ve not been “studying” them, or “researching” them—yet. I’ve just been wondering why this became such a practice—and a successful one—among women of all walks of life, or so it seems.

What would make a woman leave everything familiar to her and travel to “parts unknown” to marry a man she knew nothing about? What’s scarier than online dating? Being a mail-order bride! Once they’d made the commitment to leave their homes behind—much to the consternation of many family members and friends, in some cases, I would imagine—the die was cast.

A woman would have to be certain in her own mind that what she was going to was better than what she was leaving behind. She would have to be resourceful enough to plan some kind of “exit strategy” if things didn’t work out. And I suppose, many times, women resigned themselves to the fact that they would become a soiled dove—the lowest of the low—in order to survive.

In spite of all the scenarios we might come up with for a mail-order bride to leave the life she has known behind her for something completely foreign to her, there are, I’m sure, many that we never could have even contemplated. For each story is personal, intimate, and heart-rending in its own right.


One of the most unusual books about mail-order brides is Jim Fergus’s story, ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN—which is not about “mail-order brides” as we think of them, but in a totally different way—a trade by the U.S. Government of 1000 white women to the Indians in order to achieve assimilation into white culture. Interestingly enough, this premise WAS discussed in reality, but not carried through. In the book, however, Fergus shows how the government emptied insane asylums of women and sent them to the Indians…only most of the women were not insane, but had been “put away” by their families for one thing or another.


Would you have what it takes to be a mail-order bride in the old west? I’m not sure I would, but it’s fun to think about.

Mail Order Christmas Bride

This is a collection of Christmas mail-order bride stories that Prairie Rose Publications just released with some wonderful tales of how some women with pasts they needed to leave behind find new beginnings at the most joyous time of the year. These eight stories by Livia J. Washburn, Kathleen Rice Adams, Cheryl Pierson, Patti Sherry-Crews, Jesse J Elliot, Meg Mims, Tanya Hanson, and Jacquie Rogers will provide you many hours of reading pleasure during this holiday season!


Here’s the blurb, with a teaser for each story.


What could be better this holiday season than a warm fire, a cozy chair and a heartwarming collection of mail-order bride Christmas stories? A MAIL-ORDER CHRISTMAS BRIDE includes eight wonderful reads by some of your favorite authors.

Livia J Washburn kicks off the anthology with her story, KISSING UNTIL CHRISTMAS, about a mail-order bride who isn’t exactly what she seems—but her unwilling groom hides a dangerous secret of his own.

It’s A LONG WAY FROM ST. LOUIS in Kathleen Rice Adams’ story, but can a handsome Irish alley-brawler and a former debutante rekindle their romance from a decade earlier, now that circumstances have changed?

Ella’s cryptic letter brings her husband’s brother, Caleb, home for Christmas in STORE-BOUGHT ORNAMENTS by Patti Sherry-Crews. Can they finally claim the love they’ve been denied for so long?

Secrets and surprises are in store when families meddle with a beautiful single mother and an outlaw-turned-respectable in Tanya Hanson’s story. Phoebe Pierce may have too many secrets of her own to keep HER HOLIDAY HUSBAND…

An earthquake lands a young woman backward in time in her great-great aunt’s southwestern home. Jesse J Elliot’s story of a TIMELESS love that will prevail, no matter what century, is one you won’t forget!

In this tale by Meg Mims, will it be true love or a HOLIDAY HOAX for these mail-order brides who are traveling together? When they “switch” grooms in Holliday, Nebraska, will things work out for the best, or will they end up ruining their futures?

Hec Murdock orders up two brides for himself and his brother, Zeke. But somehow, he neglects to let Zeke know what he’s done. I HEARD THE BRIDES ON CHRISTMAS DAY is classic Jacquie Rogers-style fun with a humorous, heartwarming ending!

Can a jaded lawman from Indian Territory and a debutante on the run manage to find their own “happily-ever-after” in A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE? Cheryl Pierson’s tale pits a young woman against a monster, with only one man to protect her—a U.S. Deputy Marshal—who stands to lose his heart—or his life.

Prairie Rose Publications is proud to bring you another wonderful collection of Christmas tales for your reading pleasure! A MAIL-ORDER CHRISTMAS BRIDE is sure to bring you hours of enjoyment

I’m giving away a copy of A MAIL-ORDER CHRISTMAS BRIDE to one commenter! The question is, would you leave your familiar surroundings and go west to be a mail-order bride? Be sure to leave your contact information in your comment!


Thanks for stopping by today! Drawing will be held after 9:00 p.m. Central Time. If you just can’t wait to see if you won, here’s the Amazon link!


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A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work:
I live in Oklahoma City with my husband of 40 years. I love to hear from readers and other authors--you can contact me here:
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  1. No. Absolutely not. I don’t think I could leave all that I knew and go to a place where I knew no one and marry someone I didn’t know or love. Those women were quite brave.

    I would love to be in your drawing. Thank you.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.
    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    • Cindy, I have mixed feelings–it would truly depend on what I was leaving behind–if I was in a dire situation I needed to get out of. They were very brave, though, weren’t they?

      I’ve got you entered!

  2. Yes I could and can even be a email order type bride still even now. By writing letters you get to know the inner if not outer person. It did work then, it can and still does with techno help from the web. It was the best blind dating setup service then and now. Proving once and for all it works the old “If it aint broke dont fix it” adage.

    • Elaine, I agree! The art of letter writing has all but been lost over the years, since the advent of the computer. And e-mail is just not the same as a letter, is it, though you’re right–it still works. Letters are so much more personal and you CAN tell about a person–even through things such as their penmanship and the words they choose, not to mention the spelling.

  3. If my situation was desperate; no family due to illness or an accident, parental suppression, or my family wanting me to marry someone I detested. I believe I would have taken the mail order bride route. I’m a hard worker and I love the outdoors. I would have been scared but I would have tried it to survive.

    • Yes, Mary. So much depended upon the circumstances in each instance, I’m sure–and upon the personality of the women involved–I’m sure there were many more who were too timid to do such a thing and spent lives of utter hopelessness, trapped in horrible situations.

  4. Being a mail order bride would be terror to me, unless I was able to thoroughly investigate the gentleman first, but sight unseen, I couldn’t/wouldn’t do it unless the situation was perilous. Example: suppose my husband died suddenly and he was a gambler and lost the farm in a game of poker. I would suddenly be homeless without income. Being a Mai Order Bride would seem like a saving grace.

    Or, if I was an orphan and suddenly released from an orphanage? Or what if I was damaged goods due to rape and none of the townspeople looked my way? That amount of disgrace could also make a single woman leave her surroundings and pray a stranger would rescue her seems plausible.

    Intriguing? You bet! But I prefer to wonder from the safety of my home through the stories of talented writers such as yourself. I can’t wait to read yours in this collection of stories. Thank you so much for offering this giveaway.

    • LOL Carolyn! Yes, that’s the marvel of writing and reading about these women, isn’t it? They’re imaginary, along with their dire situations. It’s one thing to read and imagine (and write!) but quite another to actually LIVE it, isn’t it? Thanks for your kind words.

  5. I’d say no. But, circumstances were different for women of the the 19th century. So, I might not have had a choice….

    P.S. I met my husband through a personal ad I placed almost 30 years ago.

    • Alisa, I would say your marriage was “meant to be”! And I’m sure a lot of these mail-order marriages did work out happily ever after, too, but what a chance to take back in those days. Such a long way to travel and once they left–well, I’m sure they wouldn’t be welcomed home with open arms if things didn’t work out.

      Congratulations to you and your hubby!

  6. Back then, I probably would want adventure and would think about it. Now, though, I want to know what’s going on too much to be able to not know who would be at the other end. Lol
    Lattebooks at hotmail dot com

    • Susan, I’m with you on that! And young women in any time are naïve simply because of the age–My mom used to say, “I’ve lived longer than you, and I’ve seen more than you have.” I used to roll my eyes and think, “Yeah, right. I’m smart enough to deal with life.” As I’ve gotten older, I know exactly what she meant, and of course, I wasn’t above pulling out that line and using it on my own kids. LOL

  7. In this day and age it sounds horrible but I think it would depend on circumstances. In the past women had very little say in anything so they went into it with a different mindset. As long as he was kind (and clean lol) I possibly could do it if I had no family or came from a situation that was hopeless. My grandparents were from Sicily where arranged marriages were the norm. My grandmother had a choice of two men (she was lucky) and she picked the one that was coming to America. Her mother had died young and she was raising the second wife’s children. She was married for over 50 years.

    • Catslady, oh, yes, CLEAN. And that might have been hard to find back then! LOL That’s very interesting about your grandmother–and it was very smart of her to pick the one who was coming to America. She sounds adventurous! Heck if you’re going to raise kids, they may as well be your OWN as someone else’s!

      Thanks for coming by!

  8. I would say if I had a decent family life no but if I was an orphan or such I think life just might be a little better.

    • Right, Kim. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But like you, if I had no family or no hope of anything better, I probably would become a mail-order bride, thinking, “It’s got to be better than this.”

  9. Hi Cheryl, oh, it was such fun being part of this anthology! I’ve always been intrigued with the mail order bride. Of course most of them were “pen pals” for a while before heading west. I wonder if any of those letters back and forth contained…untruths or at least hyperbole? I remember reading that many Eastern women entertained the notion of MoB because the Civil War had decimated the availability of health young men.

    Love to you and merry Christmas!

    • Tanya, I imagine that was the truth of it–if there are no men available, women would want to go where the men were if they were to ever have a hope of having a family life. I loved your story in this anthology! So glad you threw in with us for this collection–it was a LOT of fun!

  10. I don’t think I would have had it in me to be a mail order bride. Putting fear aside, those girls looked to the opportunity of a better future for themselves and pushed ahead.

    • Melanie, I bet a lot of them didn’t think that either, but in the right circumstances, our survival instinct takes over and we do things we never thought we would be able to do. But as a choice…I probably couldn’t have done it, either.

  11. In my dreams I love romantic tales, but in reality… I highly doubt I would willing choose life as a mail order bride.

    • Naomi, it would be very hard, wouldn’t it? But I know there are times when life really doesn’t offer much of a choice. We just do what we have to do. I would be a chicken, though, I think.

  12. I feel that given a number of circumstances, I would definitely have been a mail order bride. As you’ve stated, if I’m leaving behind some very bad circumstances, moving ahead to the unknown would be a better choice.
    Dali Castillo

    • True, Dali! And I’m thinking there were some terrible circumstances we can’t even really wrap our heads around in our day and age–back then, people didn’t talk about certain things that would have made their life intolerable. That might have seemed like the only thing to do–just pack up and head out for the unknown.

  13. I don’t know that I could….. Maybe, if my circumstances were really horrible and my only other choice was surviving using the oldest profession known to women. . . . But I don’t know that I’d make a good bride. 😉

    • LOL Glenda! Exactly. I’d rather be married to someone I didn’t know than to have to become a prostitute, wouldn’t you? Oh, Lawzies! I think that’s why it’s so much fun to imagine the circumstances that could make a woman do that.

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