Fans of Western Historical Romance, particularly Mail Order Bride-themed romances will find this nonfiction volume by Chris Enss an enlightening and entertaining read.
I purchased and read Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier in paperback, specifically for research for my fiction writing. I read the book expecting a lesson in history and this book definitely delivered (including a bibliography citing sources). I quickly found myself immersed in the nonfiction accounts of women who left hearth and home and traveled great distances to marry a man they’d fallen in love with through letters… or simply banked on as a good prospect.
Enss organized this roughly 100-page volume into chapters containing seventeen individual historical accounts spanning the Victorian Era. Each chapter shares the tales through journal entries, newspaper advertisements, photographs, firsthand accounts, segments of letters, and stylistic cartoons (advertisements) supporting the material. Enss writes in a conversational tone that makes for easy, informative reading. It’s far less about historical facts than about the living, breathing reality of men and women seeking matrimony through less-traditional means.
I enjoyed the diversity of each couple’s story. Some knew one another well, and had courted prior to a separation wherein they continued associating by letters prior to reuniting on the frontier. Others simply answered advertisements with a brief letter, whereupon the couple agreed to marry. Others enjoyed a lengthy courtship through letters. Some involved family members assisting with the selection of a bride. Some matches ended in significant disaster while others yielded lasting contentment and happiness.
I wholeheartedly recommend this nonfiction title to fans of Mail Order Bride romantic fiction. This book sets the historical stage through all seventeen vignettes, paints vivid pictures of circumstances in the nineteenth century (and early twentieth), and enhances the enjoyment of Mail Order Bride Romantic Fiction.
The 116 page paperback edition, published by Globe Perquot Press, is currently $10.24 on Amazon and the Kindle edition is $9.59 (Note: prices are subject to change). It’s also available from Barnes & Noble.
BOOK REVIEW: Buying a Bride by Marcia A. Zug Matrimonial Fool and his Money (on Sweet Americana Sweethearts) BOOK REVIEW: Object: Matrimony, The Risky Business of Mail-Order Matchmaking on the Western Frontier, by Chris Enss BOOK REVIEW: The Doctor Wore Petticoats–Women Physicians of the Old West, by Chris Enss NEWSPAPER Brides vs. Mail-Order Brides America’s Victorian Era Love Letters Mail Order Brides in the 19th Century American West Begin Reading a 12 part SERIES of articles on Nineteenth Century Mail-Order Bride SCAMS– Link to Part 1 Real Mail-Order Bride SUCCESS Stories! Marriages in the West (1867)
Copyright © 2015–2016 Kristin Holt, LC