The Prairie Doctor’s Bride ~ An Excerpt

A look behind the book!

To create a scene, quite often authors draw on their life experiences and the emotions they felt at the time. That is how Katie O’Rourke’s “date” with Doctor Graham became a scene in The Prairie Doctor’s Bride.

When my husband took his first job as a school principal, he moved our family to a remote rural area in western Illinois. We rented a big, old farmhouse on a hill surrounded by fields of corn and wheat and woods, three miles from the town where he worked. The picture above is similar to the house, except the condition was much better! I enjoyed living in the country, but there was no hospital nearby for me to work in my profession as an obstetrical nurse. I took a position at the closest place ~ a nursing home. I didn’t last long. Those lovely elderly men and women reminded me too much of my grandparents — one of which had recently passed away. My emotions were frayed after only one day of working there.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Nelson Graham, the doctor in my latest sweet western romance, the Prairie Doctor’s Bride, is in need of a wife (and a nurse.) Growing up in the east, he attended a boarding school and then a university in Boston. He never had much contact with the “fairer” gender and so when he decides to take a wife in Oak Grove from among the mail-order brides that the town has procured, he is more than a bit out of his comfort zone.

He makes a list of attributes he expects in a wife, but he also wants to make sure she will work beside him as his nurse. He is not expecting a love-match. There wasn’t much love in his parent’s marriage and so he decides the best he can hope for is a help-mate.

He goes about meeting each mail-order bride and assessing them to see which one would work out for him the best. Needless to say, I had fun with this part!

The following is an excerpt of one such meeting ~ (Hint: Katie is not the heroine!)

* * * * * * * * * *

The next afternoon he called on Katie O’Rourke. He’d heard good things about her from a few of his more gossipy patients. Miss O’Rourke had the start of lines near her pale blue eyes and a more generous girth than the other brides. He was immediately drawn to her pleasant smile and outgoing personality. He invited her to dine with him in the hotel’s restaurant.

“I’m surprised you asked for me, Dr. Graham. I imagined that you would be interested in a younger woman. After all, your first choice was Mara. She’s the youngest of us from the train.”

“There is something to be said for life experience in a good marriage, Miss O’Rourke. You and I are likely close to the same age and have far more in common.”

Rollie brought in two bowls of cabbage soup and two plates of scalloped ham and potatoes. He set them down before Nelson and Miss O’Rourke. “Hello, Doc. Ah…Miss Katie…I would appreciate your opinion on the meal.”

Nelson raised his brows. Miss Katie, was it? It wasn’t like Rollie to solicit anyone’s opinion, especially when it came to his wife’s cooking. Ever since Rollie married Sadie, he had said that she could do no wrong.

“Oh, Katie here is a fine cook,” Rollie said, catching Nelson’s expression. “She’s been teaching Sadie and me some secrets from her native Ireland. I wish she had been here for Saint Paddy’s Day.”
Across from him, Miss O’Rourke smiled. “You’re too kind, Mr. Austin. I’m sure this will be delicious.”

“Well, I’ll be waiting to hear your thoughts.” And with a quick rap on the table as goodbye, Rollie headed over to another table to speak with another couple.

She could cook! That was good news for Nelson’s purposes. He settled back to enjoy his meal, his opinion of Miss O’Rourke rising steadily.

“What is it you did before coming to Oak Grove?” he asked halfway through his soup.

“Ach. I suppose you might think that I was married before, seeing as how I’m older than the other brides, but I haven’t had the pleasure.”

“It was on my mind,” he admitted. “I find it refreshing that you don’t make excuses. Sensible.”

“Well…it is what it is, isn’t it?”

She took a bite of ham and potatoes before continuing, “Ye see, I took care of my parents. First my ma fell sick, and it became my duty to do the cooking and cleaning and tending to my sisters. Then, a year after she passed, my da had an accident on the river. He needed my help after that.”

“What about your sisters? Did they help?”

She shook her head. “They married off as fast as you can say Christopher Columbus. First Bridget and then Susan. I’m glad of it. They have bonny husbands and they are happy.”

Another mental check went down on the positive side his list. She thought of others before herself, and she’d cared for a sick mother and ailing father and hadn’t minded her duty. “Miss Katie,” he said. “The fact that someone hasn’t snatched you up bewilders me.”

A becoming blush rose up her apple cheeks. “It’s hoping I am that I’ll never have to care for another sickly person again, unless, of course it was my own. You see—I like to be out of doors and I’ve had so little chance to do that. A garden of my own to tend on my own little patch of land, and cooking what I grow. Could anything be better than that?”

Oh no. That didn’t sound like the life he had envisioned. “What about helping your husband?”

“I suppose it would depend on what he did. For instance, I do like animals you see. And as I said—growing things. Anything that is out of doors.”

“Well, what if he was a doctor?”

Her eyes widened. “Are you asking me for my hand?”

His heart nearly stopped. “No, no!” he said quickly. “Of course not. It’s much too soon.”

“Well, then, just what is it you are saying?”

“I’m obviously not doing a very good job of making myself clear. I meant to say, or to ask…” He was stumbling about like a fool! He took a deep breath and began again. He leaned forward. “I would expect my wife to work with me. In my office. Doing things such as a nurse would do.”

She snatched herself back from him as if burned. “I’m sorry, Doctor. I’ve done my duty as a daughter and I hope never to look on another hurt or dying man or woman in my life. It’s my heart, you see…”

“No. I don’t see,” he said perhaps a little too crossly. “You are experienced. You are obviously well suited for the type of work.”

“But I couldn’t bear to go through it again. Every person I tended would remind me of my ma or my da. I—couldn’t.” The last was said in a whisper as if she was remembering more than she wanted. Her eyes filled with tears. She stood. “I won’t be misleading you to think that I would.”

Others in the restaurant were watching the drama with growing interest. This was not how he anticipated the afternoon going. “Please, Miss O’Rourke. Sit down again. I would have you finish your meal.”

She stood there a moment, undecided.

“Believe me, I do understand. I’m disappointed, for myself, but I completely understand your position.” It was obviously too much for her gentle nature.

“Are we to be friends then?” she asked, her voice uncertain.

“That would suit me fine. A person can’t have too many friends.”

“To be sure,” she said, gave a relieved smile and slowly sat back down to finish eating.

* * * * * * * * * *

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt!

(I thought it fit well with Saint Patrick’s Day!)

Do you have a Saint Patrick’s Day tradition? Do you wear green?
To enter the giveaway, Let me know!
I will choose a winner tomorrow from among those who comment.




Raising her son alone, penniless Sylvia Marks has had enough of being the subject of town gossip. But when her son is seriously injured she’ll do anything to save him…even kidnap handsome Dr. Nelson Graham!

Nelson knows what he wants in a wife; she’s to be amiable, biddable and skilled in domestic chores. Gun-toting Sylvia Marks isn’t what he had in mind, but as the two are forced together he realizes she’s exactly what he needs!

* * * * * * * * *

To find out more please visit my website at

To purchase, or read more reviews…



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41 thoughts on “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride ~ An Excerpt”

  1. I just love HWR and I’ve yet to read one of your books. A giveaway is an ideal way to find an author to add to my go to authors list. I’m home pretty 24/7/365 and reading is my adventures in life. I’ve only been reading again since late November 2016 and I’ll be finishing up my 120th book soon. I am part Irish yet I actually know very little of that part of my heritage. I really need to rectify that. Some years I do cook corned beef and cabbage but I did not do that this year. This year I did make margaritas for my boyfriend and I as something green. Considering margaritas as in no way Irish that was a far far stretch. LOL I’d love the opportunity to read your book it sounds like a great HWR!

    • Hi Stephanie,

      I should have posted my VERY EASY corned beef and cabbage recipe that my family enjoys. Didn’t think about that. Maybe next year I will 🙂 I’m so glad that you enjoy HWR! Especially since I enjoy writing them! Good luck on being chosen for the giveaway! Your reply tickled me about the margaritas!

  2. I do wear green but in college I ran afoul with green beer. I have no real traditions for St.Patrick’s Day. I enjoyed the excerpt. Should be a fun read.

    • Hi DebraG!

      Thanks for stopping by. I think this is the first year that I didn’t wear a little green. I have a very tiny amount of Irish in me according to my mother’s genealogy research.

  3. Years ago, I used to get into St Patrick’s day, but as I have gotten older, I don’t really do anything. I may wear green, but this year, I didn’t. I enjoyed learning about your new book. It sounds really good. I am always intrigued by mail order brides and wonder what went through their minds having to pair up with someone that way instead of falling in love and marrying like we do now. But I guess when it comes to surviving, women would do what ever they had to. In a way, I think they were stronger and more courageous than women these days.

    • Hi Janine,

      St. Patrick’s Day slipped by fast for me this year too as I am on deadline for my next book. I’m glad that women here in the USA have more choices than in the past. I like to think that women try to do what is needed, what is necessary, and rise to the situation then and now. That may be a bit rose-colored on my part, but I truly feel we are blessed in so many ways 🙂

  4. Love the excerpt! I adored how Doc kept checking out the brides and finding them lacking. You have another winner on your hands. (Don’t enter me, I already have this fabulous story!) As for St. Patrick’s day, we wear green for fun, but that is it.

    • Hi Susan P,

      So very good to have you stop by! Thanks for the enthusiastic words for The Prairie Doctor’s Bride. I just love the women and men of Oak Grove — even though they are all in my imagination LOL!

  5. This sounds like a fun book! I usually wear green for St. Patrick’s Day. When my daughter was little, I always made green food for her. Green pancakes, green cupcakes, I tried green eggs but no one would eat them. She colored her hair with green sharpie markers one year (not fun).

    • Hi Estella,

      I tried to make “real” corned beef one year when I was a young bride and it didn’t turn out well. I should give it another try. For the past several years, I have made a casserole of potatoes, Libby’s corned beef (already cooked and in the can), and cabbage. It is delicious and easy and my boys eat it up. It’s our tradition on St. Patrick’s Day.

  6. Yes I do wear green but that is about it. This year we went shopping for a new dish washer so that is how I spent my St Patrick’s Day.

  7. Hi Chery C!

    I just do the green (usually — just not this year!) and the corned beef casserole I mentioned above. So I’m right there with you. 🙂 I wonder… do people even get pinched anymore if they don’t have on green? that used to be the “thing” when I was young.

    • My goodness — I guess with a name like Colleen you would have a “bit of the Irish” in you! Thanks for commenting and adding to the fun here! I like a beer once in a great while — usually with pizza which is also once in a great while. My family tends to order pizza when I am not around so that they can escape having to cook!

  8. I always wear green on St. Patrick Day—that it until this past Saturday. Don’t know why but this day came and went without wearing green or eating cabbage!
    Thanks for sharing your excerpt of The Prairie Doctor’s Bride. It sounds like a lovely story.

    • Thanks for your thoughts on the excerpt Connie! I could “hear” Katie speaking in my head as I wrote it. I hope the “Irish” in her came through. I agree — Saturday flew by for me too!

  9. This looks great! I’ll have to be on the lookout for it. There’s no Irish in my family so I always forget to wear green on St. Patty’s day. 🙂

    • Hi Caryl! I had to check my name book for “Kane” because is sure sounds Irish! My book said that it is Gaelic and Celtic. My bit of Irish comes through my mother’s side… I’m so glad that you enjoyed the excerpt!

  10. We have Scottish roots so Hogmanay is our holiday where you wish everyone a happy new year by visiting each of your friends’ homes and having a whiskey together. Note: “Whiskey” in Scotland means Scotch, period. Also note: If you have a lot of friends and family, the holiday lasts for days. 🙂

    I already have Prairie Doctor’s Bride, so don’t enter me in the contest.

    • So good to hear from you Eliza! I know very little of Scottish history and customs so I got a chuckle out of your comment. Good to know these things if I write a story with a Scot! I absolutely love the scenery whenever I see pictures of the land.

  11. Love,love the post and excerpt. I definitely will be reading this Kathryn. This year I had dinner at my daughter’s house. The family always gets into St. Patrick’s Day when we get together. My SIL made the corn beef & cabbage and she made homemade soda bread. Then like a bunch of of crazy people we donned green hats, big green sunglasses and took pictures. It was great.

  12. Hi!

    That was quite an excerpt — the kind that makes you want to read more. Loved it. As for green… Not sure I really own any clothing that is green.

    My mom loved green, but she had red hair, and so it complimented her.

    Great excerpt.

    • Thanks Karen! How nice to have you stop by! My mom was/is the same! Red hair and always has worn lots of green. No one is mentioning pinching people who don’t wear green. I’m thinking that tradition has left us… or maybe it was just something kids did where I grew up!

  13. We always fix a special meal for the weekend closest to St. Patrick’s Day so the whole family can get together. We usually decorate the house. Most often we fix corned beef and cabbage and soda bread. I have done a Guinness beef stew and Guinness chocolate cake. I have made Colcannon (mashed potatoes With cabbage) and Irish coffee pie. If we have wine, it will be loganberry wine (leprechauns hide in loganberry bushes). Everyone wears green, I put Irish music on, and if we have little ones we watch Darby O’Gill and the Little People. We finish the day with a nice cup of Irish coffee. Even if there are only the two of us, we do the same things.

    • Oh Patricia! I love these traditions you do! And I love Darby O’Gill and the Little People. Usually it is on TV this time of year, but like I said I have been busy with a book deadline and haven’t been doing much of anything but working on the book. I need to try something like this with my family!

  14. A big thank you to everyone who joined in and commented! My Giveaway has ended and the name drawn for a free book is Patricia B! Congratulations, Patricia! I hope you enjoy it.

    I’ll email you! If you don’t hear from me ~ email me at Kathryn at kathrynalbright dot com and (as another filly here often says) DEMAND YOUR BOOK! 🙂

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