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Dangerous Men #2

Brides of Prairie Gold

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Accompanying twelve mail-order brides on a westbound wagon train, disgusted wagonmaster Cody Snow is unprepared to fall for the beautiful Perrin Waverly, whose painful past reminds him of his own

384 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1996

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About the author

Maggie Osborne

29 books436 followers
Margaret St. George

Maggie Osborne is the author of I Do, I Do, I Do and Silver Lining, as well as more than forty contemporary and historical romance novels written as Maggie Osborne and Margaret St. George. She has won numerous awards from Romantic Times, Affaire de Coeur, BookraK, the Colorado Romance Writers, and Coeur du Bois, among others. Osborne won the RITA for long historical from the Romance Writers of America in 1998. Maggie lives in a resort town in the Colorado mountains with her husband, one mule, two horses, one cat, and one dog, all of whom are a lot of aggravation, but she loves them anyway.

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179 (40%)
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103 (23%)
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37 (8%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 60 reviews
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,726 reviews673 followers
October 26, 2016
I read Brides of Prairie Gold as an unabridged audiobook narrated by Chris Faulkner. If you’re looking for a good bit of grit alongside your adventurous romantic entanglements you may want to track down a copy of the paperback. The narrator tries (too hard at times) but this book has an enormous cast and I think this one would’ve been better suited to a multi-cast of narrators. Many of the women end up sounding very similar and when they are hysterical, angry and screechy it’s hurtful to the ears.

I didn’t take notes so this is off the cuff, probably inaccurate and may make less sense than my typical review.

Set in the 1800’s, twelve women leave Missouri and head out on the Oregon Trail to become the mail order brides of men they’ve never met. So glad I wasn’t born back then . . . The trip is wrought with danger and disease and the man in charge tells them that at least one of them will not arrive alive. They go anyway. And, for the record, he wasn’t lying.

The story follows these women but only a few become main characters, thank the gods, as my head would’ve exploded from confusion. They slowly reveal the reasons they’ve chosen to take this difficult trek for what may probably be a difficult life and I found it all fascinating. They’re forced to work together (even when some of them despise each other) to survive. The trip delivers everything Cody promised in the way of danger and then some. They’re forever changed by what they’re forced to endure and become, for the most part, stronger women for it.

This story is rich with historical and character detail and it has a little bit of everything one could hope for in book of this kind. There’s action, the promised death(s), prejudice, clashes between the classes, rumors, forbidden romances, complicated and constantly evolving relationships between the women, unlikely friendships and alliances and even a psychopath to make me happy. If you want drama that isn’t overly dramatic you’ll find it here. I’m not overly fond of historical fiction of this kind but this book? This book I loved despite my issues with the narration. The story gets a 4.5, the narration a 3.
Profile Image for Duchess Nicole.
1,258 reviews1,527 followers
February 25, 2015
I'd have to agree with previous reviews that state that this is more of a women's fiction book. However, it had plenty of romance as well...enough to satisfy this romance lover. There were three main stories taking place...that of the romance between Cody Snow, the leader of the wagon train, and Perrin Waverly, the shunned woman, another about the plain Jane bluestocking bride and one more about the rich, spoiled girl who basically makes life hell for everyone on the wagon train until they turn on her. None of the stories ever get boring, and I loved how each character wasn't meant to really be understood and loved. They were written just as they were, and it was take it or leave it.

A lot happens to these ladies and gentlemen during their trek across the U.S. Death and disaster wait at every turn, and the author does not shy away from the harsher realities of the American West.

One of my favorite things about this book was the ending, in which Osborne gives us a small insight into each of the brides and their husbands. Just a taste of what became of them all after the end of the book...how they lived and how they died, and even then she wasn't all hearts and flowers. It was a fantastic way to end the story.

FYI, this is an audiobook review and I'd rate this narrator 5 stars. She was dead on for each of the characters. Fantastic job.

Steam rating: 1
Profile Image for Lisa Kay.
924 reviews516 followers
July 27, 2011

★★★★½ Wonderful story of a group of brides traveling the Oregon Trail in 1852. Well narrated by Kris Faulkner, though I must admit I had to refer to the hardcover copy I have in order to keep the multiple characters straight and to understand that crazy opening. True, after the few books I’ve read of Ms. Osborne, I am used to a bit more humor. Nevertheless, this is a well-researched book with believable characters that have some depth to them – most of whom chose to help forge a nation in the wilderness. It’s also a good study of John Bradford’s old adage, “There, but for the grace of God, goes I.”

Addendum: In order to enhance your listening pleasure, I updated www.shelfari.com with a description of all the characters (no spoilers). Here is the link: Brides of Prairie Gold’s List of Characters @ Shelfari.
Profile Image for Tina.
1,762 reviews281 followers
April 10, 2011
I am really surprised about how much I liked this book.

It is the story of 12 women who, for each of her own reasons, feel the life they are leading in the small town of Chastity, MO is untenable so they agree to be mail order brides to un-met husbands in Oregon.

They meet with the wagon train master, a no-nonsense man named Cody Snow who lays out the realities of travelling 2,000 miles in a wagon train over somewhat hostile territory.

"Tomorrow morning we will embark on a journey that will take us halfway across a continent, We'll be on the trail for 2 and a half thousand miles, and over five months. We're going to encounter all kinds of weather and problems we can't anticipate now. Several of you will fall seriously ill along the trail; one or two of you in our party will die. These are facts based on experience. There's cholera and measles on the trail; dysentery is a common ailment. We're going to ford rivers and cross mountains. It's going to rain, hail, and snow on you for most of eh trip, the sun is going to broil you alive. We'll encounter every type of wildlife you can name, some of it dangerous."

Added to that the women were required to drive their own wagons, set up and dismantle their own tents, cook their own food, and take care of their own livestock.

As the team gets underway it is a first confusing keeping all the names straight. But it soon becomes clear that several of the women stand out. Perrin Waverly is nominally the heroine of the book. She is described as very beautiful but she is an outcast amongst the women because she was the mistress of a man back in Chastity. Perrin is conscious of the other women's disdain and she works hard to rise above it. She catches the eye of Cody and they deny their attraction because he has sworn off women because his wife betrayed him(yawn!) and she is promised to the man in Oregon who is to be her husband.

I liked Perrin. She had a bit of that noble, suffering heroine thing going on. And she was just so nice and worked so hard. You just root for her. But even though she was the heroine, I honestly didn't find her story/character arc the most fascinating. Yes, she and Cody made a great main couple. But the author just didn't give her story the teeth that she did some of the others.

There is also Mem Grant a spinster who hated being the unmarried one next to her prettier sister. She is looking at the journey as the adventure of a lifetime because she has had a thirst to travel and see and experience things. She falls in love with Webb Coate the half-Indian scout on the trip. But Webb has eyes only for the lovely Augusta.

I think I actually liked Mem the best of all the brides. Truthfully, I think Mem's story arc was closer to a true heroine of a romance novel. Her fate on the trail and at the end of the story was fantastic. She was just as nice as Perrin and was one of the few women on the trail who really didn't dislike Perrin and she works in her way to get the other women to start to come around.

And then there is Augusta Boyd. She is the most beautiful woman in the train. The spoiled, pampered society maiden who has never known want. She secretly yearns for Webb while despising him for being half-Indian. She absolutely hates Perrin and does everything she can to undermine her whenever she can. Some of the other women are sycophantic because they are now able to be a part of her society where she would have never deigned to notice them back at home.

I thought Augusta's story arc was hands down the most fascinating. She is the typical, hateful spoiled character with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. But Augusta is more than that as we learn as the story unfolds. Over the course of the story, I hated her, I pitied her and I, surprisingly, kinda liked her.

The other women tended to be rather more supporting characters. And they all had secrets which come to the light over the course of the gruelling trip. And yes, some of them don't make it to the end.

Outside of the characterization, I thought the author did a bang up job of making you feel the true arduousness of the journey. The descriptions of the rain, the dust, the disease, and the endless exhaustion. It was more -- gritty--- than some western romances that I've read.

At the end the author includes an epilogue that tells about what happened to each of the brides, even the ones that left the train early. I thought that was a nice touch and it felt fitting.

This is my first ever Maggie Osborne book but it won't be my last.
Profile Image for MBR.
1,200 reviews379 followers
December 29, 2010

The Brides of Prairie Gold center around the twelve woman who travel to Clampet Falls, Oregon from Missouri as mail-order brides. Wagon master Cody Snow has no idea how he ended up with agreeing to take these brides to their destination. This being the last trip that Cody was going to take, he was also carrying a stash of weapons and whiskey unknown to the brides on board to sell. A journey that was to take a period of around 6 months of their lives through rough terrain and weather, Cody doesn’t know how he is going to survive the incessant problems that seems to crop up amongst his travelers. Accompanying him as his scout is the enigmatic half-Indian Webb Coate who makes for a pretty interesting character as well.

When Cody lays his eyes on the beautiful Perrin Waverly, the red-hot attraction that flares between them is instantaneous and unwelcome at best. Cody whose dead wife Ellen had betrayed him and got pregnant with another man’s child and died giving birth had left a bitter taste in Cody’s mouth where women are concerned. Cody had vowed that no woman would ever have that kind of power over him and his heart and he had resigned himself to settling down on his own. Perrin was a woman who had made a lot of mistakes in the past. Perrin viewed men as users of women, who always took and never gave anything back. Widowed quite unexpectedly from her jealous husband Gavin Waverly who had left her no means to fend for herself, Perrin had been at the end of her wits as to what to do when Joseph Boyd, Chastity’s wealthy banker had befriended her. In the end, Perrin had offered herself to him as his mistress, an act that had tainted her forever in the eyes of the citizens of Chastity. This journey towards a new life and a new husband was supposed to be her second chance. But life and its unexpected twists had thrown Augusta Boyd, Joseph’s proud daughter who doesn’t want anything to do with the woman who in her opinion had ruined her father which in the end had prompted him to commit suicide.

Needless to say, the journey doesn’t start off well for Perrin or Augusta. Augusta is a character that brings out all sorts of emotions from the reader. She is spoiled to the core, demanding and pretty much thinks of herself to be above everyone else who was performing the journey along with her. Augusta hires Cora to do her bidding, and whilst Cody had ordered that everyone who was traveling with him had to do their share of work, Augusta refuses to lift a finger to do work she deems to be beneath her. With only 40 dollars to see her through the journey since her father had been completely ruined financially, a fact Augusta had managed to keep a lid on till now, Augusta is scared of not making it through the journey.

Cody as the wagon master has always opted that his travelers select a representative from their group to bring their problems to, so that Cody can only attend to those problems that are deemed unsolvable by the representative. When Perrin draws the paper marked X which effectively makes her the group’s representative, none of the group members are enthusiastic about the fact. They all know of Perrin’s reputation and were doing their hardest to ignore Perrin and not associate with a woman who had fallen from grace.

Cody curses and thanks the fact that being the womenfolk’s representative undeniably put Cody and Perrin into a situation where they could no longer avoid each other. Sparks fly and the atmosphere pretty much crackles with tension whenever Cody and Perrin are together. Though they try to deny the combustive attraction between them, it is inevitable as the rising sun that these two would come together in an explosive manner that pretty much obliterates everything else. When Perrin realizes that Cody has no intention of ever marrying again, but wants to continue their relationship, Perrin knows that she won’t ruin her second chance at respectability even if it means saying no to the man who had effectively captured her heart forever.

I don’t think I can effectively describe what goes through during this tough journey that these brides take to reach their futures and their husbands. The rough and tough journey inevitably toughens them up. There are losses, deaths, squabbles and disease that occur during the space of the journey. Making the journey doubly dangerous is a long term enemy of Cody, who is hell bent on killing Cody and stealing the arms and whiskey that Cody was transporting. And amongst the women is a bride who has an unhealthy obsession with Cody, who thinks that she is the bride meant for Cody who in the end nearly kills the woman Cody loves with everything in his being.

This book is a pretty great read which enriches the reader with the perils of traveling during the 1800′s. Life was tough and hard and people had to toughen up and face life head on if they wanted to survive. The most remarkable change comes out in Augusta, who finally gets what she deserves and a bit more, and in the end this makes her into a better woman, who but in the end loses the man she loves, because she was too proud to think that a half Indian was beneath her.

The story of how Mem, a 28 year old spinster and Webb Coate find each other was pretty interesting as well. Webb who at first smolders at the mere thought of touching the hauntingly beautiful Augusta Boyd, finally finds everything he had been searching for and more in the arms of Mem, the woman who completes him in every way.

I recommend Maggie Osborne novels for those romance readers who require something more than just a man and woman getting together and falling in love. If you want a romance with a bite of adventure, a little bit of mystery and enough passion to knock your socks off, this is a must read.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Becky ♡The Bookworm♡.
681 reviews70 followers
June 11, 2016
This was a great story about second chances and the strength of the pioneer women. We start in Chastity, Missouri, with a group of mail order brides as they embark on a 5 month journey along the Oregon Trail to meet their future husbands. Each woman has a unique story, there own hopes and dreams, and they all have issues with Perrin Waverly. Our heroine is in for a long journey that will test her physical and mental endurance all the way. I thought the relationship between the women was very realistic, but I loved how they managed to work together to survive the trail. Maggie Osborne writes such great historical westerns. I always feel like I'm a silent observer, watching over the shoulder of the characters. I really enjoyed reading this book!
Profile Image for Pamela(AllHoney).
2,631 reviews360 followers
September 4, 2015
This isn't a typical romance and perhaps should be listed as historical fiction with romantic elements. The story deals with the wagon train full of Oregon brides and the journey from Missouri to Oregon. There were too many characters to follow that the romance portion got shoved onto the back burner. Still the obstacles and pitfalls and heartache and joy along the way made this a decent read. I wasn't happy with the way the author left the ending but it wasn't anything that would cause me to cross this author off my reading lists. There is a little mystery involved but it wasn't too hard to figure out. Still it was a little added bonus to the story.
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,214 reviews207 followers
December 10, 2011
I listened to this book and enjoyed the woman who told the story.This was a good story of women who traveled west to be brides in Oregon. I loved how different each of these woman were and how they all worked together and fought together. The book was very real and I got a good feel of what it must have been like for them. There were a couple writing problems that held the book back like repetition of the characters thoughts and feelings were repeated over and over.It is hard when the book follows so many different characters. This book had some light swearing and lots of sexual innuendo, but no details sex scenes.
Profile Image for Sonia189.
919 reviews25 followers
July 25, 2017
I liked this novel, it was fantastic to read about the trip those women had to embark on to marry and how difficult it was. What made this book so interesting for me wee the different women and how they interacted among one another, what made them strong and weak and how each one's actions could affect the trip of all. The romance aspect was also good and sufficiently intriguing and well paced for me to be eager for every page.

Of course, as you can assume, there is a whole psychological side in everything, especially when it comes to the "lesson" each woman had to grasp while dealing with things and overcoming issues.
I was tempted to give it 5 stars until the end because despite some less then good situations, as a whole this was quite engaging.

The problem, for me, was the sort of epilogue where we find out what happened to each bride when they finally arrived. I was quite happy to know all married but... and so my enjoyment was a bit bitter.
Profile Image for Megan Kelly.
Author 46 books40 followers
April 7, 2012
Maggie Osborne is a terrific writer and didn't disappoint this reader with Brides of Prairie Gold. * This tale crossing the country by covered wagon is made more interesting as the wagon train is made up of mail-order brides. The heroine is shunned by the other brides for her past indiscretions, and the hero has baggage enough to fill a wagon.
There's romance and history of course, and as one would expect in an Osborne book, a great deal of emotion and fun. At first I found it difficult to keep the brides straight as to who is which, but it gets easier.
* The only thing I disliked was the summary at the end of what happened to the people. But another reader might love that. IMO, it made the end of the book sad. I'd say skip it.
Profile Image for Sedoo Ashivor.
438 reviews
February 1, 2016
I loved, loved this story! At first, I had a hard time getting into it because I couldn't grasp where the story was going, then a little later, I had to acquaint myself with the many characters but thereafter, it was fabulous! I relished the love relationships especially Webb Coate and Mem's, they were such a realistic couple!
Profile Image for Alison.
982 reviews5 followers
May 6, 2023
While this has some romance, this is a story about women in one of the harshest environments striving to overcome their circumstances while learning whether it is worth it to hold on to social strictures or throw out all preconceptions in order to survive.

It isn’t until the end of the book, but I enjoyed their arrival in Oregon. I used to live in a house on acreage west of Mt. Hood that was part of the Oregon Trail. Our neighbor’s home was on the historic registry and originated during that migration. Plus, there is a settlement and supply point that is still in the nearby town and is a living museum. Reading this book in culmination with living in that area just brought it to life a bit more.

Osborne has a way of making you pick sides with her characters and by the end she leaves you surprised at the unexpected growth some characters take, as well as the lengths her villains will go to to exact revenge.
Profile Image for Meggie.
414 reviews49 followers
March 21, 2022
I tagged this as historical romance, but it felt more like women's fiction than straight up romance. Twelve women set out on a wagon train from Missouri, hoping to reach Oregon (and their future husbands). That's a lot of characters to keep track of, so fortunately most of them fade into the background.

I liked Perrin Waverley, but found her plotline with Cody Snow not as interesting as what happened with Mem Grant and with Augusta Boyd. Especially Augusta! She starts off as a rude, racist snob--and while she changes over the course of the story, I felt like her final fate was a little mean-spirited, especially compared to what happened to Perrin and Mem.
Profile Image for Joyce.
47 reviews9 followers
February 17, 2023
Maggie Osborne's tales always capture my heart. This novel is so much more than a romance novel, for it captures all sides of love and hate as it winds it's way along the Oregon Trail.

Twelve brides set out, each with a different and desperate need for a new life. Many are strangers as the journey begins, and all will be changed forever by this arduous journey.

This is the story of how relationships are forged or broken by hardship. On a trail that leads some to madness, bonds are formed that can never be broken. And sometimes a love develops that can conquer the past and chart a new course for the future. It is a joy to share this journey.
Profile Image for Ana.
183 reviews3 followers
April 26, 2023
I'm in awe of this author. Brides of Prairie Gold is not precisely a romance, though at least two couples do find a satisfying happy ending. It's an adventure book with characters that are wonderfully drawn, human and (some of them) relatable. There's too much historical accuracy for the sensitive modern reader, so I suppose if one is offended by the facts that: on those trails many died, indigenous people were not treated well, and women didn't have much agency they should stay away from this book. For everyone looking for a good read and a lot of "reality" going with a spot of romance, I can't recommend this enough.
40 reviews1 follower
June 23, 2018
I'm surprised I like this as much as I did. I heard it rather than reading and that sometimes makes it or breaks it. I didn't love the lady reading the book but...

What I did enjoy though was how the author created so many characters, brides, each with their own story. It all blended so well. I liked how there was so much historical facts and information. Having just recently visited Independence Rock myself and saw engraved names myself, I totally appreciated what the story was talking about.

I didn't realize this was part of a series though! I'll have to look up the other ones.
Profile Image for Angelica Taggart.
Author 2 books17 followers
June 25, 2020
A great story of city women becoming pioneer women, heading to Oregon to be mail order brides.
I really enjoyed it. Each of the characters is well-developed.
I listened to this thru Libby -- and the reader is excellent. I didn't realize it was a series .. am looking forward to the rest.
Profile Image for Janet Koops.
Author 4 books2 followers
November 10, 2020
I read this book because I was interested in a story about the Oregon Trail. I was not disappointed. The romance took a back seat to the hardship, strength, and eventual friendship of the women traveling for months across the country.
113 reviews
May 9, 2022
Definitely a masterpiece! Romance is not the main focus of this book but a journey across to the West for a group of women. It's about women who find themselves and bond with each other. I can hardly think of any other author who depicts human strengths and flaws so acutely. Love it!
50 reviews
April 19, 2023
Ambivalent. The story is strong in that I was engaged with the characters, found them realistic, and was eager to experience the story. That said, the characters are very morally gray and aren’t particularly likable. Definitely a more draining read than anticipated.
Profile Image for Beatriz Valle.
377 reviews6 followers
April 16, 2019
I love this author. Every book is a new adventure full of competent women in a incredible scenario. I liked better Mem an Webb's love story.
Profile Image for Stacy.
541 reviews
June 19, 2022
Maggie Osborne has cemented her standing as a favorite author with this story about women traveling the Oregon trail in search of a second chance.
1,153 reviews14 followers
August 20, 2015
I thought this was absolutely great. I could have done without the death notices though. It was a bit of a damper but I really liked the story.

I thought there were really great moments in the book. One of these moments was the brides wearing their wedding gowns as camouflage. I thought it was a really evocative image and it embodied their tough spirit and how they kick ass.

Some parts were harder to read but it was worth it. Augusta's racist thoughts were harder to plod through but it was worth it for her transformation. I loved that she did get her comeuppance in an unexpected way. It wasn't the material wealth that ultimately hurt her. It was partly that but a deeper cut was losing out on Webb. She missed out on love because of her prejudice. She was too late. By the time she was a proper and decent person, someone else moved in. The person who she needed to become came too late.

I loved the characters. They grew on me. They had distinct personalities and they carved out their own stories along the journey. I loved Mem and Webb together. I thought that she could be a bit melodramatic at times and she does have a spot of selfishness, but her relationships were interesting. I liked her friendship with Webb, which blossomed into something more. I wish I read more of it from his perspective since he was initially interested in Augusta. I also liked her relationship with Bootie. It was framed in a way that Bootie appeared to be a nuisance. When it came down to it though, Bootie was just a really good person. She might be a bit clumsy with how she came across but she meant well. I thought the scene where Mem finally told Bootie she was glad Bootie was there was really sweet. It was a nice scene because Bootie's inner nature showed up. She was aware that Mem wasn't too enthused about her joining but as she said, she didn't want to part with her. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it was really nice. I could read events from her perspective and see the shift as she grew as a person. That is what the characters did in this journey. They were preparing for a new lease on life and the journey was a life changing one. They had to work hard and along the way, they developed as people. The writing captured that and it was really nice to read.

Perrin and Cody were the main character but I thought it was really balanced with others. They don't hog too much of the spotlight. It was an alright story. It finally got going when Perrin demanded marriage from him. Their road to romance was rocky because Perrin didn't trust men and Cody didn't trust women. I thought their reasons were a bit shaky but whatever.

Overall, the characters were really fascinating. The writing was really spot on. It brought the stories to life and I have no doubt that this was a hard task to accomplish.

The story revolves around brides being escorted to their grooms. The brides have their reasons for answering the advertisements. The overarching theme for these women is a new start. Each has their reason on why they left their old life behind. They had problems back home including bankruptcy, tarnished reputation, opiate addictions, and lack of prospects. The journey presented a lot of problems that forced them to grow as people. Perrin found courage and self respect. Mem found her love. Bootie found her strength. Augusta found a person. Not all of them had pleasant epiphanies. Winnie relapsed and squandered her second chance. People like Sara discovered the depths they would go for ambition.

While a lot of conflict were internal ones, they also had to face external problems. Cody's enemy kept popping up to steal the cargo. The last attack involving threats to the brides if the arms wagon weren't surrendered. They also had to face a deranged bride who was deluded into a secret affair with Cody. This led to attacks to Perrin, the last attack being a paring knife aimed at her neck.

Anyways, I just want to say this book was great and that is due to the writing. The characters came alive even if they weren't sympathetic. Their problems, tribulations, and growth were interesting because they were written well. The characters were distinct with a voice of their own and as a result, are able to carve out their own place in this book. Even minor characters are memorable even if their moment to shine was brief. They were impactful and I fully attribute that to the writing.

Honestly, I want to knock the rating down because of the epilogue. Endings do make or break the book for me. I just thought the epilogue tarnished the story slightly. However, the book really was great and I think I will leave it at five stars.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mariachiara.
Author 16 books89 followers
April 30, 2013
Titolo: The Brides of Praire gold

Trama: Cody Snow non sa cosa l’abbia spinto ad accettare l’incarico di guidare una carovana di dodici spose per corrispondenza dal Missouri fino a Clampet Falls, Oregon, ma già prima di partire si è pentito di averlo fatto. Non solo dovrà sorbirsi le loro innumerevoli lamentele e proteggerle dai pericoli del viaggio, ma dovrà anche combattere contro l’attrazione che prova verso una di loro, Perrin Waverly, poiché lei è promessa ad un altro, e lui ha giurato a se stesso dopo la morte della moglie, che non si sarebbe mai più sposato.

La mia opinione: Il mio libro preferito di questa autrice al momento. Non li ho ancora letti tutti, ma sarà sicuramente ai primi posti, poiché mi è piaciuto un sacco, nonostante sia piuttosto corale. Che dire. Mi è piaciuto talmente tanto che ora sto leggendo tutti i romance che riesco a trovare con protagoniste spose per corrispondenza. Nel vecchio west vista la mancanza di donne alla frontiera e nei nuovi territori appena colonizzati, era usanza che gli uomini mettessero annunci sui giornali cercando moglie, e le donne, spinte dalle più varie ragioni potevano rispondere all’annuncio via lettera. Ne conseguiva una corrispondenza che spesso si concludeva con l’uomo che pagava il viaggio alla donna che lo raggiungeva e i due, pur non essendosi mai visti, si sposavano.

Ora, di solito, se una donna rispondeva ad un tale annuncio era perché aveva dei problemi a trovare marito in altro modo o non aveva altro modo di mantenersi.

In questo libro le dodici donne della carovana hanno avuto diversi motivi per decidere di affrontare un viaggio così duro e pericoloso: Perrin è vedova, non può mantenersi da sola e non vuole rimanere nel suo paesino dove la sua reputazione è a pezzi a causa di un suo errore di giudizio dovuto però alle sue circostanze. Le pesa andare a sposarsi lontano, non per il viaggio, ma per il fatto che gli uomini l’hanno sempre sfruttata o delusa e non crede che la cosa sarà diversa stavolta. Mem invece è una donna troppo indipendente, troppo alta e schietta per trovare marito nel suo paesino, e ha sempre sognato di vivere un’avventura, desidera ardentemente questo viaggio, e le spiace un poco che sua sorella, che dipende un po’ troppo da lei, abbia deciso di seguirla perché è rimasta vedova da poco. Hilda è una maestra troppo brutta per trovare marito in altro modo e abbastanza piena di coraggio tedesco per tirarsi indietro davanti a questa sfida. Sarah, vedova di un ufficiale, ha viaggiato al suo fianco per il mondo e sa cosa aspettarsi da questo viaggio, troppo avanti con gli anni, ormai trentenne se vuole marito deve andarselo a trovare e non ha certo remore a farlo. Augusta dopo gli sbagliati investimenti del padre e il suo suicidio non possiede più nulla al mondo se non l’orgoglio di quella che una volta era la famiglia più ricca della città e odia l’idea di questo viaggio, ma non ha altra scelta. Jane, figlia di un pastore si unisca alla carovana per non viaggiare sola verso il suo promesso sposo che conosce già bene e che l’aspetta. Alice è in fuga sotto falso nome da un marito troppo manesco. Thea, una dotata disegnatrice, timida e riservata, spera in un nuovo inizio. Cora, una povera serva illetterata non ha altre prospettive. Winnie è assuefatta all’oppio e i genitori sperano che allontanarla dal paese potrà aiutarla, mentre Ona nasconde un segreto ancora più oscuro.

Il viaggio viene descritto non con troppi tediosi particolari, ma con la giusta accuratezza. Le difficoltà grandi e piccole, i problemi su come e dove occuparsi dei propri bisogni, la polvere, la sporcizia, la stanchezza la malattia, eppure è tutto parte di uno sfondo pittoresco e verosimile a una storia romantica e avvincente. In particolare, oltre alla storia principale tra Perrin e Cody. Assistiamo al triangolo amoroso tra Webb, la guida indiana della carovana (che in realtà è solo per metà indiano ed è unico erede maschio di Lord Albany, Un ricco Duca inglese), Augusta bellissima, ma arrogante e razzista, e Mem, non bella, ma atletica, dolce coraggiosa e sopra ogni cosa amichevole, leale e curiosa. Webb all’inizio è attratto dall’incredibile bellezza di Augusta, ma quando lei lo respinge perché mezzo indiano, per fortuna si accorgerà di Mem…..Ora queste poche parole non vi rendono l’idea della loro storia che è davvero molto dolce ed è la parte del libro che ho amato di più, ma fidatevi se vi dico che vale veramente davvero la pena di leggere questo romanzo. Poiché oltre a tutto ciò che vi ho già detto contiene anche un mistero da risolvere……
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