(Photo courtesy of Glacier National Park Photo Archives.)

I can’t honestly explain why, but the concept of “mail-order brides” has always intrigued me. Maybe it’s the romantic in me, wanting every lonely heart to find its true love. Maybe it’s the adventurous side, seeking the challenge of conquering the unknown. Whatever the reason, the concept has crept into two of my historical novels (A Hopeful Heart in 2010; and Beneath a Prairie Moon earlier this year), and in both I had a rip-roarin’ good time writing the stories.

The thing is, God created man and woman and designed the two to complement each other. So it shouldn’t be surprising that men in the West who were all alone wanted wives. Nor should it make us shake our heads in wonder that unmarried women would be interested in securing a husband. There were several “matchmaker” businesses in operation during the mid-to-late 1800s, and there were also a number of private individuals who posted ads—either men requesting a wife or women offering themselves for marriage. Historians differ on how many of these unions were truly happy, but when one is writing fiction, of course we shoot for the “happily ever after.”

I actually wrote Beneath a Prairie Moon to satisfy readers’ requests for another mail-order bride story similar to A Hopeful Heart. In A Hopeful Heart, a woman rancher brings inept Eastern women to her ranch and teaches them how to be ranchers’ wives before matching them up with local single ranchers. I twisted that around in Beneath a Prairie Moon and instead made the group of men seeking brides the inept ones when it came to courtship, and Mrs. Helena Bingham, owner of Bingham’s Bevy of Brides, would not send her girls to louts! So she sent one of her girls—one who’d been rejected by several matches already due to her hoity-toity attitude—to teach these men to be tender, attentive husbands.

Oh, such fun to place this young woman who’d been cast from high society (through no fault of her own) into a rough and rugged Kansas town and watch her interact with these goodhearted but very lacking-in-social-niceties men. Throw in a no-nonsense bow-legged sheriff (think Festus from “Gunsmoke”), good ol’ unpredictable Kansas weather, a storekeeper determined to find his bride the old-fashioned way, and a desperate man who’ll steal a wife if he can’t buy one, and— Well, let’s just say I had a good time. I’m not exactly a humor writer, but humor developed naturally as Abigail tried so hard to tame these untamable fellows, and I laughed out loud more during the writing of this book than any other.

Yes, there’s something intriguing about placing two strangers together and watching them find a way to mesh their lives and maybe, just maybe, discover their one true love.


(Btw, if I were a wife seeking a husband and had to pick from the fellows in the photograph at the beginning of this post, I’d take the second from the left. Can you guess why? Answer that question and your name will go into a drawing to win a copy of either of my mail-order brides books—your choice!)

May God bless you muchly as you journey with Him!


BIO: In 1966, Kim Vogel Sawyer told her kindergarten teacher that someday people would check out her book in libraries. That little-girl dream came true in 2006 with the release of Waiting for Summer’s Return. Since then, Kim has watched God expand her dream beyond her childhood imaginings. With almost 50 titles on library shelves and more than a 1.5 million copies of her books in print worldwide, she enjoys a full-time writing and speaking ministry. Empty-nesters, Kim and her retired military husband, Don, live in small-town Kansas, the setting for many of Kim’s novels. When she isn’t writing, Kim stays active serving in her church’s women’s and music ministries, traveling with “The Hubs,” and spoiling her quiverful of granddarlings. You can learn more about Kim’s writing or find purchasing links for all of her books at http://www.KimVogelSawyer.com.

Guest Blogger


  1. Is it because the second from the left is holding a baby?

    BTW, I love mail-order bride stories too, and yours sound terrific! Thanks for a fun post. 🙂

  2. Looks like a cat to me.(don’t have my glasses on ) So if that’s it you must be a cat lover. 🙂 Your book sounds wonderful. I also enjoy Mail Order Brides stories.

    1. Heh heh heh. Hang out with me on Facebook and you’ll find out how much I love cats. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. This sounds like a great book, especially tbecbook set in KS as that’s where I live.
    I know why you want the guy in the photo, he’s holding s kitty cat. You must love cats. Thanks for the opportunity to win one of your books.

    1. I do love kitties, and he seems gentle. Good luck in the drawing!

  4. It looks like a cat to me in his arms. Anyone who loves cats must be OK. I am thinking that is why you choose him. Thanks for the chance.

    1. Yep, we cat-lovers are a breed apart. 🙂 Good luck in the drawing!

  5. That is one fat cat! How cute is it that he’s holding it! The left one is holding something, too, but I can’t tell if dog or cat. Mail order brides have intrigued me, too.

    1. I figure any man who cradles a cat that kindly has to be all right. 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

  6. Oh my gosh, he’s holding a cat! And it’s coloring is the same as my Miss Kiki (she’s about that round too). I would definitely pick him too. Any man I am interested in has to understand my love for cats. 🙂

    1. Your Miss Kiki must be very loved. 🙂 My husband tells people if I had to choose between him and my kitty Clyde, Clyde would win. I usually say, “No comment.” LOL!

  7. Because he is holding a cat so he is a cat lover.

    1. Yep! His gentleness with a kitty tells me he’d be gentle with me. 🙂

  8. I thought it was a puppy, but whatever, he thought enough of her to bring her a potential pet. Which means he’s at least capable of caring for her and probably a nice guy.

    1. Psychologists say people who are kind to animals are kind at heart. So his cradling that critter says a lot. 🙂

      1. I can see why you’ d rather have that man than the one on the right. That second one from left is holding the cat very gently, as if he is used to holding babies. Fur babies too!

  9. Kim, I love mail-order bride stories and marriages of convenience! Janette Oke used a marriage of convenience in “Love Comes Softly” and jump-started a whole genre. People back then were desperate, they didn’t have the options we do today, especially in the wilderness — widowed men needed someone to raise their children, destitute women needed a respectable home. It’s a respected genre within our genre and one I hope to write myself some day. Love DOES come softly, and makes a great read.
    Kathy Bailey

    1. You’re absolutely right. Blessings on your writing career!

  10. The man is holding a cat which is unique and special.

    1. Yep, it’s a unique man who likes cats. 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

  11. Avatar

    Second from the left, a John Lennon look alike thats an animal lover and the cat isn’t trying to get away so he must be a good person too… I haven’t read one of your books and HWR is one of my favorite genres so I hope I win. A giveaway is an awesome way to find a new author to add to my go to authors list.

    1. Animal lovers rate high in my book. 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

  12. This type of novel interests me greatly because it is meaningful and unforgettable. The man must be holding a cat. That is so cute.

    1. He is holding a cat! And the cat seems so content. That tells me this guy must have a good heart. 🙂 Good luck in the drawing!

  13. Hi Kim…..Welcome back! We’re happy to have you visit. I love that photo of those men! Makes me laugh. They’re a sad-looking lot but I think I’d take the one in white. Not sure what he’s holding…maybe a dog. I love the mail order bride concept and will launch a series about them in January. I’ve had a lot of fun writing the first two. I think they’re unique and readers will love them. I hope. Your series sounds like a lot of fun. If only the real men had had someone to teach them something about women before their brides arrived! I’m sure things would’ve gone lot smoother.

    Wishing you tons of good fortune with your books. I love the covers of both! Very pretty.

    1. I’m with you, Linda, because I would take the guy on the left in the white shirt too, also wearing a tie and suspenders with his hair parted in the middle. I can’t tell if he’s holding a cat, or his hat in his right hand and something else in his left (though likely a cat the way his hands are cupped). Either way, he’s the only one to have taken off his hat and coat and let his tie show! 😉

      The second man from the left is indeed holding a cat whose striped tail is curled under his hand, I can see that now. He is wearing spectacles too because it looks like his eyes are whited out, but my son pointed out it must be glare.

      Three of the men are wearing leggings of some kind but the two in the middle sure have colorful ones. And I didn’t notice the black dog with the white on its chest the first time either.

      1. I found some other croppings of the photo above which BTW was from 1901 Montana, and I’m feeling more confident that Mr. White Shirt is holding his coat rolled up with his hat on top in his right hand. Mr. WS definitely isn’t wearing leggings either. So my take is that he tried to look more dressed up for the photo than the usual coats/hats/leggings. He’s got himself some ‘shine’ on those suspenders too. 😉

    2. Hi, Linda. It’s fun to visit here. 🙂 And yes, that photo is so full of character! Blessings on your series.

  14. Aww, is he the one with the kitty? I haven’t read either of those books. Not sure how I missed out. Thanks for the giveaway.

    1. Yes, he’s cradling a cat. Gotta be a nice guy, right? 🙂 Good luck in the drawing!

  15. Because he’s holding a Kitty Cat so that has got to mean he’s got a gentle way about him. Have a Blessed Day Kim!!!

    1. You nailed it. 🙂 Blessings to you, too!

  16. He is holding a cat and your house is filled with cats.

    1. Haha! The Hubs would definitely say our house is full of cats, but I wouldn’t mind adding another one or two to our menagerie. 🙂

  17. The gentleman is holding a cat and you are a cat person.

    1. Right on both counts. 🙂 Thanks for popping by!

  18. He is holding a cat in a comfortable way. Cats are picky when choosing their owners and the fact that it seems comfortable with him says a lot about his personality. Plus, he is wearing glasses. Could he be a reader? The man on the left is holding something, but you can’t really tell what it is.

    1. I figure anybody who will cradle a cat will most likely be kindhearted. 🙂 I hadn’t thought about him being a reader, but that would be the icing on the cake.

  19. Real men carry cats. That kitty looks like my Tuffy. Gotta love a man that takes to cats. Loved your history today.

    1. “Gotta love a man that takes to cats.” Absolutely. Thanks for coming by!

  20. I guess you’re a cat person

  21. I’m going to say you’re thinking any man who holds a cat in a photo would be gentle with a woman and a great choice for a cat lover like yourself.

    1. Your thinking aligns perfectly–or should I say purr-fectly?–with mine. Thanks for popping by!

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    I’d say you’d choose that man for three reasons. 1. He’s nice looking in a rugged way. 2. He’s holding a cat so he likes animals and cuddling. 3. He wears glasses so he must read a lot.

    I, too, have always been fascinated by mail-order bride stories. I’ve read about real-life mail-order brides whose stories vary from happy to sad or terrified. That’s the nice thing about romance fiction–there’s always a happy ending.

    1. The real stories are intriguing, aren’t they? Too bad not all of them ended well. But they took a chance! What courage they must have had to make that journey to an unknown result.

  23. That man has a tiny animal in his arms. Is it a cat? There’s something special about men who love animals….and little children 🙂

    1. I agree. A man who is gentle with animals will probably be gentle with people. It says a lot! Thanks for coming by. 🙂

  24. Because he is holding a cat.

  25. He’s holding a cat!

  26. You like him because he is holding a cat.

    1. Gotta be a good guy if he likes cats, right?

  27. Kim, you would pick that dashing young man not because of his rugged good looks, but because snuggled within his arms is a fluffy cat! I know how much love and happiness your pets (especially your cats) bring into your life each day. I hope you’ll consider adding my name to your drawing. I just finished up Bringing Maggie Home and I am in need of another good book! 🙂

    1. The cat sealed the deal. 🙂 Good luck in the drawing!

  28. He’s holding Miss Kitty! “If you want to know the character of a man, find out what his cat thinks of him.”

  29. I think that the reason you would choose the man second to the left is because he’s wearing glasses which may mean that he loves to read. Also maybe because that he’s holding a cat. So after he finishes his hunting he likes to sit by the fire with the cat in his lap reading a good book.

    1. Books and cats…two of my favorite things. 🙂

  30. Avatar

    Because he’s your today honey!

    1. Haha! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  31. Well….He’s really handsome and must be kind because he holding a little kitty cat like he really loves it which means he has a good heart and would love a wife kindly too.

    1. That was my thought–if he’s nice to cats, he’s probably nice to people, too. 🙂

  32. He’s holding a cat and usually animal lovers are pretty nice people! 🙂 I love mail-order brides books, but I haven’t read these two yet.

    1. Animal-lovers are my kind of peeps. 🙂 Good luck in the drawing.

  33. You like this man because he is holding a cat, one of your favorite creatures!
    I sure love your books and receiving your Facebook messages every day!

    1. Cat-lovers are all right with me. 🙂 Thanks for the kind message!

  34. Looks like an animal so if he loves his pets… he might be a good bet!

    1. Any cat-lover is okay with me. 🙂

  35. Because he’s holding a cat. But one has to wonder why.

    1. I wondered if it was his company? Pets are good companions.

      1. Yes, but cats have a mind of their own and tend to disappear for days on end.

  36. He has a cat but it looks like the first guy has one too and he’s kinda cute so I’d prob pick him. Is the cats supposed to make them more desirable, you think?

    1. I had to blow the pic up pretty big to see what the other guy was holding–his coat rolled up! I imagine the cat was his company, but any man who cradles a cat so kindly will likely be kind to his wife, too. That’s why I chose him. 🙂

  37. He is holding a kitty! ?

    1. I didn’t mean for the question mark to be there.

    2. Isn’t that too cute? A rough man cradling a cat. I love it!

  38. Because he’s holding a big, snuggable cat!

    1. Yep! Gotta love a guy who loves cats. LOL

  39. Eligible bachelor number 2 is a cat lover!

    1. Sure looks that way, doesn’t it? That makes him the winner in my book. 🙂

  40. He is holding a cat. Does one of your fur babies look like this kitty?

    1. That cat reminds me a lot of my childhood kitty, Mittens. 🙂

  41. The man in the picture is. Holding a dog & you have some I love reading your books hope to again I would love to win a paperback of your choosing

    1. Thanks for answering, and good luck in the drawing!

  42. Avatar

    Ah – it’s because he is hugging a kitty of course!

  43. I’m pretty sure you chose Number 2 because of the cat. I’ve always believed you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat animals, and if this man cares enough about this cat to hold it in the picture, then he is probably a pretty good man. ?

    1. I’ve thought the same thing. Which is why I don’t trust people who are unkind to animals.

  44. Definitely because of the cat! He has unique coloring and looks content with his master. Thank you for writing this post as I was wondering about the background. I’m in the middle of Beneath a Prairie Moon and have laughed out loud at the humor. I’m not sure I read the first book you mentioned.

    1. So glad you’re enjoying BENEATH A PRAIRIE MOON. Maybe you’ll win A HOPEFUL HEART!

  45. Because he is holding a cat.You love cats . Thank you for the opportunity to win.Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. You are absolutely right. Enjoy your weekend!

  46. Second from the left of course. He’s a cat lover.

    1. If he likes cats, he’s gotta be all right. 🙂

  47. I’m sure it’s because the gentleman is holding a fur baby (cat). That hits the heart for me!

    1. It hits my heart, too. 🙂

  48. I think you would choose the 2nd from the left because he was holding a cat. I like Mail-Order Bride stories, too. I’m not sure why, either.

    1. The cat sealed the deal for me. 🙂

  49. Perhaps holding the cat means he has a tender spot for felines, making it possible that he also has a tender heart for a special female!

  50. A cat will get you every time!

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