I’m pleased to share my latest historical, Libbie: Bride of Arizona, that was part of an unprecedented author collaboration of 45 authors writing a mail-order bride story connected to each of the 50 American states!
Will a tomboyish outsider with unusual habits find a home with an Arizona rancher who has strict ideas on what’s appropriate in a wife?
Publisher: Inked Figments
Release Date: 1/5/16
Alone for the first time, tomboyish Libbie Van Eycken accepts a mail-order proposal and travels across country to find a place to call her own. Arizona rancher Dell Stirling needs a wife but didn’t count on the eccentric creature that brings chaos in her wake.
Exclusive to Amazon: http://amzn.com/B017L14VS2
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“What do you have there?” Libbie stepped forward and angled her head, hoping for a peek at what the women had been looking at when she entered. But, as always, her short height thwarted her from seeing.
Sally glanced between the two other women and then reached behind her sister and stepped forward, laying a newspaper on the block table in the middle of the room. “Dora used to work at a textile mill in Lawrence which is about thirty miles away. Just recently, the place burned down, leaving approximately one hundred women without jobs.”
“Oh, that’s awful.” Not that she’d ever held a job, but Libbie knew many women in America worked in offices or factories to support themselves. “What will they do?”
“Well, Sally is my only family, and I’ve come to Boston to find a new job. I stayed in Lawrence for a week, hoping to find similar work but there’s naught to be had.” Dora glanced at the door to the main hallway and stepped closer. “Miss, please don’t tell your aunt I’m here. At least, not until I find work and can offer to pay for my room and board.”
“Yes, Libbie, please keep our secret.” Sally wrapped an arm around her sister’s shoulders. “Although, now I’m thinking Dora should arrange for a husband through the gazette’s ads.”
Surprise jerked Libbie back a step. “A husband in a newspaper?” Then curiosity forced her gaze to the page.
“See? Grooms’ Gazette.” Sally pointed to the masthead then moved lower. “Elizabeth Miller works as a matchmaker in a nearby city. She prints and distributes this newspaper as a way to share information about men in other states and the frontier who are hankering for wives.”
A wave of gratefulness for her family, as far-flung as they were now, flashed through Libbie. Granted the trans-ocean travel by ship was long and boring, but she knew they’d be waiting with open arms at the end of her journey when her time at the Academy was completed. She scanned a few of the letters and then leaned both elbows on the counter, intrigued by the variety of situations the men were in. Logger, rancher, shopkeeper, doctor, farmer, miner, lawyer, professor, saddler, dentist, saloon owner—almost every occupation under the sun. Most sounded honest and upstanding, and also very lonely. Some were too specific in their requirements, which told her those men would not possess easygoing personalities. She straightened and waved a hand toward the newspaper. “Dora, are you considering this?”
“Several of my co-workers were writing letters to arrange matches when I left Lawrence. My friend, Grace Dickinson, wrote to a gentleman who’s a mason way out in Montana.” The young woman wrung her hands and shook her head. “I just don’t know if I can do this. Although having a home of one’s own sounds wonderful.” She turned toward Sally and her lower lip quivered. “But to move too far away worries me.”
“Tell her, Libbie, that coming from another country ʼtisn’t so bad.” Mary crossed her arms at her trim waist. “Sure, I miss the green pastures of County Cork and watching the ships in the harbor. But I like being warm and having a roof over me head even more.”
The cook spoke the truth. Although Libbie barely remembered her father’s older sister from the family’s visit when she was seven or eight, she was grateful to be staying with her aunt and cousins. After a month in Boston, Libbie still hadn’t adjusted to the large number of people living so close together, or the noise from peddlers in the street, horse-drawn cabs and trolleys, tolling church bells, and wailing fire sirens. “Every place I’ve lived has good and bad aspects. Only you can decide what town or situation is best for you, Dora. Maybe you should look for the locations of men living the closest to Boston.”
A smile creased Dora’s chubby cheeks. “I like that idea. Thank you.”
“Excuse me, miss, but yer aunt hasn’t yet rung for her tea.” Mary frowned and glanced at the pendulum clock on the wall. “Could ye step into the parlor and check on her?”
“Yes, Mary, I will do that on the way to my bedroom. I have been sent home with Mrs. Templeton’s specific instructions to practice my gliding.” She held out her arms straight and took exaggerated sliding steps. Glancing over her shoulder, she noted the women stood with hands covering their mouths, suppressing their laughter, and she gave them a cocky grin.
About the Author
As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication–a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.