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Dacey: Bride of North Carolina (American Mail-Order Bride Series Book 12) Kindle Edition
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Beyond being the delightful romance that it was to read, this reader/reviewer literally stumbled onto the American Mail Order Brides series! With some 50 (count'em fifty!) romantic novels in this collection this incurable romantic will certainly go broke trying to buy and read all of them! This one, #12 in the series, will probably prove to be one of my favorites because it has been crafted by my favorite Western romantic author. And, finally, the possibilities of another sequel or connection with the author's Pendleton Petticoats series is just brilliant. Nice going, Shanna....now look what you have gone and done!
Braxton Douglas is tired of his mother’s meddling, and he wants nothing to do with her new scheme to get him married. He runs the family plantation, but he loves raising his horses, and that’s enough for now. However, the feisty, western woman has a way of wiggling herself into his heart.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with so little sense of place and often an erroneous one when it tries. Maybe it’s because I know North Carolina so well, but this story could have been anywhere the leaves change color in the fall - New England, New York, Canada, etc. Here are some of the things I questioned for Asheville in 1880:
- It would have been difficult to take a train from Massachusetts to Asheville in 1880 because the very first train didn’t arrive there until October 1880
- The western part of North Carolina had almost no plantations. The growing season wasn’t long enough. and the mountains made large-scale farming difficult.
- Telephone service didn’t come to Asheville until 1898
- I doubt if houses would have had clothes closets or bathrooms in Asheville in 1880
-Tobacco doesn’t grow in the area (with the exception of burly for cigars) because of the growing season being so short
-I have never known of wheat being grown in the area either.
- The very first electric lighting in North Carolina came in 1881, and Asheville would have had it even later
- In 1880, no one would have been eager to hire a woman to work with the horses on a horse farm
- Braxton would never have been allowed free access to Dacey’s bedroom
- In 1880, all dress shirts would have been white
It is obvious to me the author didn’t know her area and she didn’t do the needed research. The book doesn’t use any local dialects or culture. It doesn’t even mention the beautiful Smoky Mountains. There were other problems as well, like head hopping. I found Dacey’s western slang so overdone that it became quite irritating. I doubt if people talked that way in Oregon. However, the ending was well-done and somewhat redeemed the novel.
To recap, Dacey Butler went to North Carolina to marry a stranger when the factory she was working at burned down. She grew up on an Oregon ranch and loved riding, and she expected to be a farm wife. She did not expect to arrive at Asheville's Douglas Mansion... or that the handsome and ruggedly suave man, Braxton, to be her groom. Actually, neither did he, as this was completely his mother's idea. Braxton had enough of the conniving local women who just want him for his fortune. He was determined to resist Dacey, even though her vivacious spirit seems to be exactly what he was looking for... But will he change his mind, when there are gossipers around town who would NOT want to see them paired up?
A lot of these mail order bride books are written to a formula... Meet cute, reluctant groom, get to know, growing fondness, gossip and distrust, grand gesture, HEA. This one is more polished, but the idea that a girl can be confident enough to ride horses, travel across the country to marry a stranger, yet insecure enough to believe random overheard gossip, was too cliche.