Wednesday, June 20, 2012

TBR Challenge Review: Mail-Order Bride

Mail-Order Bride
Maureen McKade
Historical Romance/Western
Avon/January 5, 2000

Kate Murphy arrives in the Rocky Mountain mining town as a mail-order bride— just in time to discover she's a widow before she's a wife. Looking to earn the stagecoach fare out of this dangerous town, Kate never expects the true peril to come in the tantalizing form of Trev Trevelyan. 


The handsome mine superintendent desperately needs someone to care for his two young, motherless children, and Kate is delighted to take the job. But first the children capture her heart...and then the leaping attraction between sweet Kate and the smolderingly handsome Trev is too powerful to deny. Although Kate longs for the safety of his arms, will she ever be able to accept the danger of his life?

This month's suggested theme is Westerns and boy do I love a western! I had plenty to choose from and decided to go with one of my favorite tropes - the mail-order bride.  I've read a couple of books from this author so I was curious to see how well she could make me believe in the mail-order bride romance.

A mining town is a dangerous place, not only for miners but for single women. Kate Murphy doesn't plan to stay single long, she just needs to find her fiancé. When Kate learns her intended has just been killed in a mine accident she is desperate to get out of this rough town and to the nearest city, Denver.  Fate places Kate in the path of Trev Trevelyan and she is hired to care for his children.  It's funny because Kate has no experience but Trev doesn't have a lot of options so he trusts Kate. I think her looks helped her get the job if only on a subconscious level since Trev definitely noticed Kate's looks.  I did like Kate's tenacity that was balanced with her ignorance of mining and the culture of the mining town.

Trev Trevelyan is a very busy mining supervisor, putting in long hours with little time for his children.  The time he does spend with them, he cherishes which made me like him.  He did come across as very driven to succeed at all costs.  This was due to him growing up the very poor son of a miner in Cornwall.  If it hadn't been for his relationships with his children he would have felt distant, a character with little warmth.  Eventually that warmth was shown towards Kate but the convenience factor did play a role in their romance.  Kate was there in Trev's home with no other respectable options for earning money.  They did make time to talk and get to know each other but it felt contrived.

The town itself, the mine in particular, play an important role in Kate and Trev's romance.  Trev being the superintendent for a number of mines has his future tied to the wealth and future of the mines.  Kate doesn't like the danger of the mines or the violence that springs up with the miners and talk of unions. The tension between Kate and Trev is fueled by the drama surrounding the mines.  Even with that drama, the plot moved fairly slowly and predictably.  The antagonists were obvious, even the one(s) who were not suppose to be.  The romance too was predictable with Kate determined to leave and Trev wanting Kate to stay and take care of his children and him as well.  Kate was portrayed as an independent woman wanting to make her own way but this was after her fiancé died which didn't fit with a mail-order bride scenario.  

Mail-Order Bride might be suffering from predictability but that won't keep me from trying more western romances from this author. 

Rating: C


  1. I love the mail order bride theme too! But this one doesn't seem to fit the trope well enough. Although the western theme is well represented with the mining town setting. It looks as if the chemistry is just not there between these two. Did I get that right?

    I'd like to read another one of your reviews of a McKade book though... I need to add some westerns to my TBR. I noticed this last week I don't have to many left! LOL

  2. I liked this one better than you did (I think my grade was a straight B), but yeah - it is predictable. It's the sort of book where you know EXACTLY where it's going the moment you read the first chapter.

    I'm still working through McKade's Avon backlist, but I've found her Berkley westerns have a bit more of an emotional "punch" to them. Also, they're pretty risky. If you haven't read A Reason To Live yet - you should. It's breathtaking.

  3. Hils ~ Try A Reason to Live. Very good & emotional. Here's the link - review

    Wendy ~ Yes, Reason was certainly different from this one. More enjoyable too.

  4. That must sucks for a mail-order bride to find out that her fiancé has died before she arrives! By the way, is there a bit of backstory to Kate? Why did she choose to be a mail-order bride and where does she comes from?

    I wouldn't have liked the mine setting much I think ^_^; So lucky for me, I don't have this one in my TBR pile, but I do have a book by her somewhere... Maybe I'll wait for next year TBR challenge! LOL.

  5. Nath ~ We do find out why Kate agreed to be a mail-order bride. She's from Kansas and her father, her only family, died after being ill. They were very poor so she had nothing left to keep her there and no job prospects.