Denise Hunter is one of my favorite authors. I have devoured her books and series to the point I had to slow down just so I wouldn’t go into book withdrawals waiting for the next book. Her contemporary books are easy to find, but her earlier books…not so much. Here’s the part where I mention Franklin County Public Library, a wonderful library system that is a viable part of the community, a true gem in the small town of Rocky Mount, Virginia. They offer a monthly book sale from time to time. This program is a double blessing as it provides affordable books to readers of all ages and the funds raised by the sales provide free educational and fun programs for the whole community to enjoy. The last book sale provided several treasures for me, one being all four of Denise Hunter’s Kansas Brides books! These stories are all set in late 1800’s Kansas around a little country town called Cedar Springs. Although a bit predictable, you can see the author’s talent and ability to build characters and community that you will want to revisit over and over.
Stranger’s Bride – Sara trades an abusive home for a loveless, but safe marriage on a farm in Kansas with Nathan who only marries her to claim his inheritance.
Never A Bride – Jane has never felt beautiful or pretty. Teased as a child, she lives with the weight that no one will love her. Luke Reiley loves Jane’s pretty sister, Cassy. When Cassy marries his brother, he has to come to terms with his feelings and continue to care for his family’s ranch. Jane comes to take on household chores to help while the married couple is away. Suddenly both of these young people come face to face with their anger and fears. What they discover could bring them both peace or misery.
Bittersweet Bride – Mara is the town debutante and flirt. She toys with men and snubs people she feels are beneath her. When her family loses a fortune, Mara has to come to terms with her new reality, one where others are snubbing and laughing at her. A handsome rancher and his sister reach out to help Mara find her way past the hurt and find a way back to God.
His Brother’s Bride – Cade lost his devoted wife, Ingrid, shortly after she gave birth to their son, Adam. Emily is a mail-order-bride seeking a family, a fresh start, and a way to save her grandmother from an unscrupulous uncle. When she arrives she is devastated to discover that her situation isn’t what she’s expected and now she has a husband who doesn’t want children!