Risking all their hopes and dreams on promises of fertile land in the Northwest, thousands set off on the Oregon Trail between 1843 and the 1890s. Despite the majestic landscape and daily opportunities for fireside chats, the trail was hardly the place these migrants expected to find romance. In these nine novellas, travelers on the wagon trains experience all the challenges and dangers of the trail. Some will lose much, settle down along the trail, and even turn back home, while others endure to the end. Readers will enjoy traveling along with the romantic adventures in which faith is honed.
Civil War – Missouri
Irish immigrant Maggie Malone wants no part of the war. She’d rather let “the Americans” settle their differences-until her brothers join Missouri’s Union Irish Brigade, and one of their names appears on a list of injured soldiers. Desperate for news, Maggie heads for Boonville, where the Federal army is camped. There she captures the attention of Sergeant John Coulter. When circumstances force Maggie to remain with the brigade, she discovers how capable she is of helping the men she comes to think of as “her boys.” And while she doesn’t see herself as someone a man would court, John Coulter is determined to convince her otherwise.
As the mistress of her brother’s Missouri plantation, Elizabeth Blair has learned to play her part as the perfect hostess-and not to question her brother Walker’s business affairs. When Walker helps organize the Wildwood Guard for the Confederacy, and offers his plantation as the Center of Operations, Libbie must gracefully manage a house with officers in residence and soldiers camped on the lawn. As the war draws ever closer to her doorstep, she must also find a way to protect the people who depend on her.
Despite being neighbors, Maggie and Libbie have led such different lives that they barely know one another-until war brings them together, and each woman discovers that both friendship and love can come from the unlikeliest of places.
1868 – Texas
Discovering her daughter is holding bank patrons hostage to interview daddy candidates sends widow Daisy Trumbo running to intervene. But when real bank robbers take advantage of the fake stickup, the hero of the day is Bass Parker—the man Daisy blames for her husband’s death. Yet duty compels her to care for him as he recovers from his injuries.
Bass is determined to make amends to the widow and child of the fallen soldier who took his place on the battlefield. But he slowly finds himself feeling more than obligation to this independent woman and her spirited little girl. Their happiness hinges on Daisy’s forgiveness, but can she let go of the past?
Late 1860s – Indiana
In the celebratory mood of the recently-ended Civil War, Sarah discovers her betrothed has been keeping a devastating secret.
While the tiny town of Wabash, Indiana, celebrates the end of the fighting, Sara Montgomery attends the parties, but inside she’s fighting a deep sadness. The love of Sara’s life, Rand Campbell, didn’t come back from the front.
So her brother and ailing father persuade her to pledge herself to another man—despite her misgivings. When Sarah finds out that Rand is in fact alive—and that her fiancé Ben Croftner knew it—she indignantly breaks off their engagement.
Croftner doesn’t take rejection lightly—and a single woman with a sick father makes an easy target. He abducts Sarah, his intentions anything but honorable. Then Rand comes to her aid . . . only to reveal that he has been posted at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and asks her to go with him as his wife.
Will Sarah leave her dying father’s side for the only man she’s ever loved? And what plans are forming in the jealous heart of Ben Croftner?
1863 – Virginia
Compelled to atone for the sins of her slave holding father, Union loyalist Sophie Kent risks everything to help end the war from within the Confederate capital and abolish slavery forever. But she can’t do it alone.
Former slave Bella Jamison sacrifices her freedom to come to Richmond, where her Union soldier husband is imprisoned, and her twin sister still lives in bondage in Sophie’s home. Though it may cost them their lives, they work with Sophie to betray Rebel authorities. Harrison Caldwell, a Northern freelance journalist who escorts Bella to Richmond, infiltrates the War Department as a clerk-but is conscripted to defend the city’s fortifications.
As Sophie’s spy network grows, she walks a tightrope of deception, using her father’s position as newspaper editor and a suitor’s position in the ordinance bureau for the advantage of the Union. One misstep could land her in prison, or worse. Suspicion hounds her until she barely even trusts herself. When her espionage endangers the people she loves, she makes a life-and-death gamble.
Will she follow her convictions even though it costs her everything-and everyone-she holds dear?
1869 – Texas
Maude Harkey is resigned to a loveless life until a baby is born—and orphaned—at her boardinghouse home. She’ll never be a wife…but she can still be a mother. Yet a boardinghouse is no place for a newborn. Enter Jonas MacLaren—a handsome, exasperating rancher with an offer too good to refuse.
Jonas can handle running a ranch—but handling his cantankerous mother is another matter. Maude matches his mother’s stubbornness so she’ll be a perfect live-in companion. But she’s there for his mother, not for him. He’ll just have to keep his wounded heart closed to her beauty, her humor, her warmth and strength—and her irresistibly adorable baby.
1866 – Washington
Drew Wallin’s youngest brother is determined to see him married—so he kidnaps Drew a prospective bride. Not only is Catherine Stanway beautiful, but she’s a nurse who can help their ailing mother. Drew doesn’t have time for distractions—he’s too busy watching over his fatherless siblings. Yet he’s drawn to this woman who carries loss and pain equal to his own.
Catherine has traveled West to use her nursing skills to save lives, not to find a husband. She knows if she gives in to Drew’s matchmaking family, she’ll be risking her already bruised heart. But maybe it’s time she takes the ultimate risk to win the groom she didn’t know she wanted!
1866 – Montana
Patience Cavanaugh has lost hope in romance. The man she yearned to marry is dead and her dreams are gone with him. Now she is consumed with restoring a dilapidated boardinghouse in order to support herself.
Despite Patience’s desire for solitude, Jedediah Jones, the local marshal with a reputation for hanging criminals, becomes an ever-looming part of her life. It seems like such a simple arrangement: She needs someone with a strong back to help her fix up the boardinghouse. He needs a dependable source of food for himself and his prisoners. But as she gets to know this “hanging lawman,” Patience finds there is far more to him than meets the eye–and it could destroy their tenuous relationship forever.
With a keen eye for historical detail and a deft hand at romantic tension, Maggie Brendan invites you to a Montana gold rush boomtown, where vices and virtues are on full display and love is lying in wait.
1864 – North Carolina
Amanda Dunn set sail from England for Wilmington, North Carolina, hoping to somehow restore shipments of cotton for her family’s textile mills, which have been severely disrupted by the American Civil War. But when she meets Nathaniel Cooper, her desire to conduct business and quickly return to England changes.
Amanda’s family across the sea deems the hardworking merchant unsuitable for the lovey and accomplished heiress. And when Nate himself begins to draw away, Amanda has her own battle for a happy future on her hands.
As the War Between the States heats up, Nate’s brother, a Confederate officer, comes for a visit. Nate begins to think about joining up—not in support of slavery but to watch his brother’s back. Yet will this potentially life-changing decision put the union between him and Amanda she so wishes for in jeopardy?
1862 – Mississippi
A Mississippi Plantation: Civil War pits countrymen against one another and tears a nation asunder. Life and death are held in the balance where everyone is a slave to something.
One is born free, yet lives as a soul in bondage…
Lydia Harper never intended to purchase a slave. But when she witnesses a woman being beaten in the street, all her pretenses begin to unravel. A bride to a man she barely knows and bound by her secrets, Lydia will risk everything to save a stranger. Amid the War Between the States, the mistress of Ironwood faces the battles in her own heart and discovers strength in a way she never imagined.
The other is born to serve, yet holds the spirit of freedom…
Ruth, standing on the threshold of desperation, has lost everything she holds dear. After being pulled from the dirt, she is no longer a field hand but the personal maid to the lady of Ironwood. Ruth soon realizes adversity pays no mind to the color of skin. When propriety slips, she discovers they have more in common than she dreamed possible. In a time when fear brings the South to its knees, two women will forge a friendship in the fires of redemption and thrust Ironwood into a new future – where the battle for freedom has merely begun.