Why do we Love Mail-Order Bride Stories so Much? Julie Ridgmont explains …

Mail-order brides who came west to marry suitors whom they had only corresponded with on paper are a popular subject among Western-themed blogs like this one, and among readers of Western romance. Why are we so fascinated with them? Perhaps because of the mystery and drama that must have ensued when a union was formed of such different means than our own? Or perhaps because this trope naturally makes a good romance because of the many aspects of marriage that will have to be sorted out between both parties?

If you look on Amazon, you will find almost as many mail-order bride stories as billionaire stories. So even though we as readers gravitate toward the same types of stories over and over, there’s still an element of intrigue that keeps drawing us to them.

As an author, I was wondering how to take this popular (and, let’s face it, overused) trope and turn it into something fresh, something that would stay in the readers’ minds a little longer than the average mail-order bride story. I was planning to write two stories about a widow and her grown daughter, both of whom had lost their significant others in the Civil War, and were moving west to start a new life. Then I was asked to write another story for the multi-author series, The Belles of Wyoming, after contributing three previous books. The fourth book, Daring to Love Again, proved to be more difficult than the others as I built a mystery around a sawmill owner and his family. The “bad guys” in this story had been terrorizing people in the surrounding area. When the law finally caught up to them, two of them were captured and hung. The third criminal committed suicide.

Melissa Burgess and her mother, Susannah Eversoll, were married to two of these men. After becoming widowed, Susannah decided to leave her husband’s memory behind and start over. She also decided to find a new husband for Melissa—without Melissa’s knowledge. And there is the fresh spin on this traditional trope—one that readers still love after reading hundreds of others like it. A Glimmer of Hope, Book 1 in the Brides of Hope Hollow series, is Melissa’s story, and Hope Springs Eternal, Book 2, is Susannah’s. Not every story in this series will be a mail-order bride story, however. I’ve taken care to build these stories around a town that cares for its own in southern Oregon (near modern-day Grant’s Pass and Medford). Book 3, Her Only Hope, has another fun twist in that the town blacksmith needs an assistant while recovering from an injury. What he doesn’t know is that the person who comes to his aid is a woman disguised as a man! I’ve been researching blacksmithing and even interviewed a farrier and watched him shoe his horse. It was a neat experience for a greenhorn like me. I can hardly wait to share book 3 with you. Thankfully, it won’t be too much longer. It’s slated to release on August 28, 2020. If you haven’t visited the town of Hope Hollow, Oregon yet, I hope you will soon. It’s a place that I wish I could visit for real.



As mentioned earlier, Susannah’s first husband was a rapscallion, and even though she married David shortly after becoming a widow, she is still trying to come to terms with who her first husband really was and the way he died. I’ve had a similar tragedy happen in my life, and so I’ve taken every precaution to tell this story in a sensitive manner and convey a message of hope and healing.

***Today I’m offering a signed paperback of Hope Springs Eternal, Susannah and David’s story. Are you a person of faith and been tested in some way? Or has your life turned out exactly as you planned?

Here is the blurb for Hope Springs Eternal:

Carving out a new life in Oregon isn’t for the faint of heart. Neither is becoming a mail-order bride.

For 36-year-old Susannah Eversoll, starting over after her husband’s suicide, not to mention betrayal, is what she feels the need to do. So she arranges for herself and her grown daughter, Melissa, to become mail-order brides farther west in the town of Hope Hollow, Oregon. But Susannah will be starting over in more ways than she planned. Although he is kind and caring, David didn’t tell her that his children are young and exhaustingly unruly. And when pushed to her breaking point, a freak accident wipes away her memory. Who is she? Who are these people? Where does she belong?

David Stratton’s hopes for the future died along with his wife two years ago. Now he’s doing the best he can to raise his rambunctious and sometimes quarrelsome children, but he needs help. More than that, though, he’s lonely. Now that he’s found Susannah, he isn’t about to let her go. When Susannah loses her memory in a skating accident, a traveling medicine man decides that he can help her. But is his interest in Susannah’s well-being genuine or does something sinister lie beneath? Can David unravel the mystery that shrouds his wife? Will Susannah regain her memory in time to save their marriage? Or will the love that began to blossom between them shrivel up and die in the wintry storms ahead?

Book 2 in the popular new series, Brides of Hope Hollow, is a story of hope and redemption, and a renewal of faith.

Universal purchase link for Hope Springs Eternal: https://amzn.to/2Mb5lDH

Julia Ridgmont’s author bio:

Julia Ridgmont grew up in the American West, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she knows how to ride a horse. What it does mean, however, is that she loves to weave the country’s rich history into riveting tales full of romance and intrigue.

When she’s not writing, Julia enjoys cooking, sewing costumes for her children, spending time with her husband, and watching her children perform in sports or plays—or, if she’s really bored or stuck on a plot twist, cleaning the house.

Follow Julia as she unveils heroes whose strength and courage are only surpassed by their tenderness, and heroines who hide their lonely hearts with a cover of steel. It will take overcoming insurmountable odds and an iron will for them to find a love that lasts forever. Luckily, they have Julia to help them along.

Not sure if you want to use these social media links, but here they are in case:

Julia’s NL: https://juliaridgmontbooks.com/subscribe

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/julia-ridgmont

Stories that Connect our Lives Facebook reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1493800594035114


Julia’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWecns0cO8kx2vHWUpRre-g


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46 thoughts on “Why do we Love Mail-Order Bride Stories so Much? Julie Ridgmont explains …”

  1. Welcome and good morning Julia- Your book sounds amazing, all 3. I agree the mail order bride trope has been used and used, however if the plot has twists in it, it speaks to me more.
    Sounds like you have incorporated mystery and faith into your book’s. I am a woman of faith and I believe we all have been tested at one time or another. If it wasn’t for my faith, I wouldn’t have survived.
    Thank you for visiting the P&P. May you have a blessed weekend.

    • Thank you so much, Tonya. I agree wholeheartedly with you! Faith has brought me through many hard trials in life as well. I’m always amazed by the Lord’s timing and mercy. I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well.

  2. Since having a head on car wreck 2 yrs ago which I still am recovering from my Faith has been tested many days. I also have an Awe of the magnificent God we have in how He brought me thru alive and with no further injuries than I did get. From the looks of the vehicle I shouldn’t even be here today.

  3. Morning these sound amazing and faith is very important part of our daily life. I look forward to reading your stories. God bless and have a wonderful day.

  4. You are a new author I haven’t read yet. I must say, your book covers are awesome. I just love the sound of Hope Hollow … there is a new beginning tone. My grandpa was a blacksmith so that book pique my interest. Yes, I am a woman of faith. Without HIM, my life at times would have been unbearable. Thank you for your blog today. So enjoyed reading it.

    • Thanks, Kathy! I chose that name for the town for that very reason. We all have to have hope. Without it, we’re beat. Also, I’ve been researching blacksmithing extensively for this book, so here’s *hoping* I get it right!

  5. I love mail order bride stories. Yes I have been tested many times in my life. I don’t think life ever plays out the way you plan.

  6. Good morning. Your series sounds great. Yes, there are tons of mail-order-bride books but so far I have loved the ones I have read. I prefer a Mail-order-bride book that includes a good mystery or a horrific bad guy than just another “typical” mail-order-bride romance. I’m always intrigued by the factor of “what would make a woman decide moving West as a Mail-order-bride” is her best option in life. Yes, I am a woman of faith. I have actually been through more hardship, or bad things, in my life than the average person. I have MS; have lost two siblings, one at a young age; parents divorced when I was young, shortly after the death of a brother, when I was 10 and my father almost immediately remarried; I literally died and was declared brain dead but woke up 3 days later shortly before they were going to turn my life support off and I had zero issues, I didn’t even end up having an MS exasserbation because of it all. So right there were two miracles in one. Of my list can go on and on. So I have deep faith in what my lord and saviour can bring us through. I’ve never read one of your books and would love the opportunity. Books are what keeps me sane, they are my adventures and vacations. Great blog.

  7. mail order brides still exist somewhat today – but with technology they see/learn more about each other than in the past – I think every day that we wake up we are being challenged in our faith – every decision we make due to him giving us free will.

    • Very insightful, Teresa. Recently, I was searching for true mail-order bride stories, and while I found a few from the 1800s, I discovered this phenomenon as well. It’s a fascinating subject and one that is sometimes hard to grasp (as to the why). I suppose it does go back to God giving us our free will, and if a woman feels that life as a mail-order bride may be an improvement, then I pray that it will be for her.

  8. Mail order brides are fascinating. I have been tested throughout my life. Strength is necessary and faith.

  9. I enjoy mail order bride stories very much. Challenges in my life have given me much to think about and thankful for too since I am still here.

    • I can so relate, Laini! Challenges strengthen our faith, and faith helps us meet our challenges. It’s a difficult but wonderful cycle designed by our loving Heavenly Father. Thank you for sharing!

  10. I am always amazed that we have the strength to withstand so much in life. Life threatening illnesses, many problems and difficulties but when I think about my parents lives which were struggles and they overcame so much I realize that we are able to confront so much in life.

    • Right?! I’ve heard people who saw my situation or my family’s situation say, “I could never do that,” or “I would never be able to handle that,” and I’ve thought, “Yes, you would. We rise to whatever challenge is given us.” The Lord never gives us more than we can handle, but only with His help. Thanks for the insightful comment, Ellie!

  11. Good Morning your series sounds very interesting. I have read a few mail order brides series. Hope Hollow sounds like a good town to visit.

  12. Your stories sound so good. I love a bit of mystery entwined in a romance. It sounds like these would be right up my alley. My life definitely has not gone exactly as I had planned. I’m thankful for a faithful and loving heavenly Father who really does work all things together for my good and His glory.

    • Beautiful way of putting it, Christy. He really does make things work for our good and His glory. I love a bit of mystery with romance, too. It definitely makes the story more interesting.

  13. Your books sound good! I may have one or more in my TBR stack, too!! I am a Christian, and I know my faith has been tested many times. My life has not turned out as “I” planned! However, through it all, God has seen me through and opened doors that I never thought would be opened. I’m doing something I always said I’d do, and something that I always wanted to do, so I feel life is pretty good!! There’s a few things I’d like to still happen, but I’m at the place where whatever happens, I’m content and know things will be fine.

    • That’s wonderful, Trudy!Having confidence in the Lord, knowing that He’ll take care of you, is such a blessing! I remember a time when my husband and I were struggling financially, and I was on the verge of panic. And then a certain hymn from church kept running through my mind, the tune only, not the words. Once I was able to sit down in a quiet spot, I sang the song to myself until I came upon the words, “And putting my trust in thy tender care and knowing Thou lovest me,” and I knew that was the message the Lord wanted me to receive in that moment. That will always be a defining moment for me.

  14. I am a woman of faith. I wouldn’t say my faith has been tested, but I have been. My life hasn’t turned out as I envisioned it when I was in college, but the life I have is good and I’m doing things I want to do.

  15. I have faith in God and have been tested with lots of challenges in life. When I had the car accident a few years ago it hurt my back and made caring for my family challenging. I was limited to what I could do till my back could heal and I prayed to God to help me keep going. My back still isn’t the same though I can do basically everything I used to know and I am grateful to have survived everyday because if I had slammed my breaks when I did I would not be here now.

  16. Hi Julia! Welcome to P&P. We’re so happy you came to visit. I love mail order bride stories for all the wide variety of plots they offer. I have a mail order bride series going right now and will end in November. I’ve immensely enjoyed exploring this trope that is very popular with readers. I wish you tons of success with yours and all your books. Enjoy your visit.

    • Thank you, Linda! It’s wonderful to be here with you all. I love mail-order brides stories, too, though I wasn’t familiar with them at first. I honestly thought they were just a made-up thing. When I realized they really happened (and still do), I was flabbergasted. Since then I have found many authors and mail-order bride stories to enjoy! I’m excited to check out yours!

  17. Hi Julia, yes, I am a person of Faith, and yes , I have been tested before, but I know that God knows what is Best. Your books sound live very good reads. Have a Great weekend. God Bless you and your family.

  18. Mail order bride stories are favorites of mine. I have been lucky that life has been good to me. It has not gone exactly as I planned or thought it would, but has been even better.
    I have faith, it is the only way to get through things like what is happening now. Man has been given the ability to fight the diseases that plague mankind even if it may take longer than we wish. When we look at the inequities in this world and the evil things that happen, faith that those who are guilty of not treating their fellow man as they should will see God’s justice, if not in this world, in the next.

  19. I want to thank the authors at Petticoats & Pistols for inviting me to share about my books today. Aren’t they all such fabulous writers? I’m honored to be among such novelists of this caliber.

  20. Thank you for this amazing post I always put my Faith in the Lord! He never leaves us or forsakes us! Love the covers on your books!

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