"Sometimes God asked difficult things of a man, and for Luke Davis, what he was fixing to do was the hardest task ever."
And so begins The Anonymous Bride by Vickie McDonough (Barbour). This book brought me many delightful hours and kept me wondering throughout the book . . .
How many brides does one man need?
It's been years, but Luke Davis is back--older and wiser--and still alone. Returning as Lookout's new town marshal, Luke is determined to face the past and move on. He flippantly tells his cousin he'd get married if the right woman ever came along. But then he discovers that the woman who betrayed him is now a widow, and all his plans fall at his feet.
Rachel has carried her guilty shame for eleven years. Her marriage to James Hamilton was not what Luke or the town thought it to be. Now James is dead, and her long-time love for Luke is reignited with his return to town. So when three mail-order brides appear, she panics.
Could they possible find love a second time?
Rachel begs his forgiveness, but Luke finds he has none to give.
And then the brides arrive. Three of them--ordered for Luke through newspaper ads by his incorrigible cousins. The only place in town for them to stay is Rachel's boardinghouse. And none of the ladies is willing to let Luke go. When choosing a bride becomes a contest, the chaos that ensues is almost funny.
When the mayor forces Luke to pick a bride or lose his job, will Luke listen to his heart that still longs for Rachel or choose one of the mail-order brides?
Will Rachel find the courage to tell Luke that she loves him? Or take an anonymous part in the contest for his hand?
The Anonymous Bride was a joy to read and a very entertaining historical romance. Vickie McDonough is an experienced author, but this first trade length novel was fantastic! The novel was filled with many interesting and lively characters. I found the hero and heroine endearing. Vivid and historically accurate descriptions of the ficticious town of Lookout, Texas brought this story to life. Although the book was sprinkled with humor, the satisfying, sentimental end had me reaching for a tissue. Vickie is a talented storyteller and I look forward to reading the next two books in the The Boardinghouse Brides series.
Read the first chapter.
Vickie McDonough's website.