Author Interview and Giveaway – Almost a Bride – Jody Hedlund

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In The Bride Ships series, Jody Hedlund has woven rich description with deep, conflicting emotions, bringing to life a complex and unusual time in history. We’re all so excited to read the next bride’s story, because we know her journey to love will be full of adventure! Welcome to the Index, Jody!

Almost a Bride

Always close, but never a bride.

Longing to find true love, Kate Millington arrives in British Columbia on a bride ship. With countless men waiting to snag a bride, Kate has no trouble getting engaged. It’s staying engaged that’s the problem. After traveling to the remote mining town of Williamsville to marry her newest fiancé, she finds herself single again.

As the prosperous owner of a gold mine, Zeke Hart has everything he’s ever wanted except for a wife. At Kate’s arrival, he takes it upon himself to protect his childhood friend from the men clamoring to court her. The more he renews her friendship, the more he wants to win her for himself. But as much as Kate admires Zeke, she’s resolved not to marry someone who doesn’t share her faith.

When Zeke begins receiving anonymous threats, he unwittingly puts them both in grave danger. In the midst of peril, the past rises up to haunt them both, and Zeke realizes the fight for Kate’s affection may be his biggest challenge yet.


Jody’s Website


Questions about Jody’s Story

What inspired this story?

During the course of my research, I came across information regarding bride ships to the Pacific Northwest. While I’d heard stories of bride ships leaving England and sailing to Australia, I’d never heard of efforts to send brides elsewhere. As I explored the concept further, I discovered that in the 1860s, several bride ships left England’s shores with the destination of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, which at that time were both separate colonies of England and not yet part of Canada.

The more I researched these ships and the women who took the voyages, I looked frantically for the answer to the question: What sort of desperation did these women face that would drive them to take part in one of the bride ships?

I was utterly horrified and fascinated by the idea that women would willingly board ships, leave everything they’d ever known behind, and sail to a strange land, all for the purpose of marrying complete strangers. I couldn’t help but ask myself what kind of woman would do such a thing and why? The series is my attempt to answer those questions.

Did you include a real historical character or incident in your story?

In Almost a Bride, my hope is to show the perspective of one of the brides who came on the second bride ship that sailed to Victoria. This ship, called the Robert Lowe, left approximately four months after the Tynemouth (the bride ship highlighted in the first two books in the series).

While the women aboard the Robert Lowe were sponsored by the Columbia Emigration Society the same as the Tynemouth women, a distinct difference exists between the two groups. The group on the first ship came largely from the London area and was comprised of wealthy middle-class women as well as the poor plucked from orphanages and slums

The Robert Lowe women, however, were from the cotton manufacturing districts in Manchester, England. The calamity in the midlands was widespread, with tens of thousands of cotton-mill workers suffering from unemployment as a result of the cotton shortage brought about by the American Civil War. The women chosen to immigrate aboard the Robert Lowe were among the many who’d lost their jobs. In light of the bleak conditions in their homeland, the three dozen Manchester mill girls were happy to be offered the chance at a better life in the colonies where work and husbands awaited them.

Why did you choose the geographical location in which your book is set?

The English colony of British Columbia was overflowing with male settlers, primarily because of a gold rush that had occurred in the Canadian Rockies starting in 1859 and lasting for many years. As a result, miners and those hoping to profit from the gold rush, swelled into Vancouver Island and British Columbia, creating an influx of male settlers. A 1861 census showed that females only made up 11% of the population there. With so few women available, men who wanted wives had slim pickings.

With the men complaining about the lack of women, an Anglican missionary among the miners of British Columbia, Reverend Lundin Brown, finally was the one to write a letter to his sponsors in London, asking for Christian wives for the miners. As a result, the Columbia Mission Society formed an emigration committee and soon began making arrangements for the transport of reputable women who could come and marry the men and in so doing create families and bring stability to the wilderness towns.


Questions about Jody’s Reading

What was the last Christian Historical Novel you read, and what was your favorite thing about it?

I recently read Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson. I especially love how well Melanie intertwines the present story to the past.

What was the last Christian Historical Novel that you read that taught you something you didn’t know? What did you learn? 

I read We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels, and I learned a lot about racial issues in Michigan during the Civil Rights movement. Since I live in Michigan, it was particularly fascinating.

Jody is giving away either a paperback copy (USA Only) or an e-book (International entries welcome). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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