One of my favorite books of 2011 was A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (review here). It was the first book that I’ve ever read that dealt with marriage as a transaction, specifically mail order brides. So, when I first heard about Train Station Bride, I was intrigued to see how Holly Bush would build a story around this concept. Obviously, it’s not something that one encounters often, so I was already expecting to really enjoy the story based on how much I liked Mr. Goolrick’s work.
Train Station Bride tells the tale of two individuals from very different backgrounds in 1887. One, a Julia Crawford hailing from a wealthy family in Boston, is the subject of ridicule and bemusement at her family’s expense due to her eccentric ways and weight. Determined to break away from this stigma and get a fresh start, Julia decides to leave her family and travel to the developing western US. On the other hand, we meet Jake Shelling, a strong country man who grew up on the plains of South Dakota and raised his family single-handedly after his parents’ death from influenza when he was just 16 years old. Now in his early thirties, Jake decides that he would like a companion in life, more to help him start a new family rather than finding a soulmate. In fact, he’s decided to order a mail order bride. What will happen when Julia and Jake’s path’s come together? Will their polar opposite backgrounds cause them to repel each other, or will there be some truth to the phrase “opposites attract?”
I really enjoyed the humor that Bush instituted throughout the work, it allowed you to see a lighthearted side of Julia and Jake that made them more relatable and comfortable as characters. I was wondering how Bush would make a marriage between a Boston socialite and a farmer from South Dakota work. I really liked how she took their best qualities and used those qualities as the tool to change the lives of each other. For example, Julia is raised in a life of wealth and manners, and Bush uses Julia’s pedigree as a way to bring light and happiness back in to Jake’s life. She can’t cook, as a farmer’s wife is expected to do, but she does know how to decorate and sew as she was a socialite. With these skills, she’s able to turn Jake’s bare farmhouse into a home, and begins to transform his life for the better. All in all, although there were some grammatical and verbiage errors, I still found joy in reading this heartwarming and endearing love story. It’s a great addition to your to read pile.
4 out of 5 stars
This is my thirty-fifth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge
Train Station Bride by Holly Bush
Book Baby (2012)
eBook: 216 pages
Special thanks to ABG Reads Book Tours for my review copy!