(hmmm....why is it I seem to be posting thoughts about two books at once lately. Laziness?)
Sixteen Brides, by Stephanie Grace Whitson is a pleasant post-Civil War story about sixteen women -- mostly widows, with one divorcee -- who sign on with a company promising to help them secure land grants in the Nebraskan territories. When they find out that their guide to the territories is really trying to sell them off as brides, several of the women band together in the tiny town of Plum Grove, Nebraska to hold on to their original dream -- freedom, independence, and land of their own. Adventure, discovery, and romance ensue. I have a soft spot in my heart for Western romances -- I think it's the Missouri girl in me -- and I enjoyed meeting the residents of and newcomers to Plum Grove. I was inspired by their adventuresome spirit, by the way they fought against society's expectaions, and by the way they determined to make a life for themselves. My only complaint is that I wish Whitson had turned this into two or three books. I wanted more! The book focuses on five of the "sixteen brides," and I think the ladies got a little short-changed. There wasn't room for the kind of development the stories needed, and you ended up with a lot more "tell" than "show."