A sweet, wholesome romance set in 1890. Lilly Lind was forced to emigrate from Sweden two years ago, due to circumstances beyond her control. She finds a job as a garment maker in the Brown Textile Mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts, finally feeling as though she is settling in her new country. Then a suspicious fire burns the mill, making Lilly seek another way to survive. She answers a mail-order bride ad in the Grooms' Gazette and sets off for Chicago, believing she will be a business owner's wife.
Kansas rancher Seth Reagan travels to the Union Stockyards in Chicago to attend the 1890 American Fat Stock Show, the American Horse Show, and to purchase horseflesh to augment his herd. When arriving at the train station, he overhears a conversation between a young woman and a shady-looking man. Seth becomes concerned for the mail-order bride who is whisked away to a saloon, not to her new husband's home.
When Seth goes to the saloon to check on the young woman, he finds her in trouble and offers to help her escape. While buying horses and arranging their return travel to Kansas, Seth realizes he would like to bring Lilly home with him, too, but she is still being hunted by the saloon owner's thugs.
Lilly's good fortune in meeting Seth makes her want to start a life with this man, but he came to Illinois for horses, not a bride. Would he want her after he learns of her secrets?
©2015 Linda K. Hubalek (P)2016 Linda K. Hubalek
I loved this novella. It was everything I hoped for in a mail-order bride historical romance: charming, sweet, romantic, some suspense, loveable characters, historical detail, and a happy ending. However, I was disappointed with the narrator. Other listeners might really like how she narrated, but I did not.
First, I must address the narrator's performance. Her pitch was fine, and she seemed really prepared and knew the book well. Her voice for the hero Seth was pretty good with a believable Midwestern accent; he just sounded like he had a little nasal congestion. The voices for the villains were quite good, too. Mainly, my issue is how the narrator has this weird halting way of talking. Her words do not flow well at all. She sounds somewhat robotic with her weird half-pauses at random intervals and emphasis on words that don't need emphasising. This is most apparent when she is reading a non-speaking part. Also, I did not like her voice for Lily and thought the accent was not an authentic Swedish accent, but I am no expert on Swedish accents. Lilly's voice sounded like a bad impression of Miss Piggy. To prospective listeners, please try the sample before you buy, and you can hear for yourself whether you agree or disagree with me.
When I first started listening to the book, I strongly disliked the narration, but I had won a copy of the audiobook and had promised the author that I would write a review. I then forced myself to keep listening, and after 20 minutes, the high quality of the writing allowed me to get accustomed to the narration.
I love this story. Lily was a strong woman who has been through some tough times, but she keeps going and perseveres. She is a little naive at first, but I was sympathetic with that. When Lily has to escape a terrible situation, I liked her so much and the sequence was so well written and believable that my heart was literally racing. The author Linda Hubalek also has a dastardly villain that really keeps Lily and Seth on their toes. Seth, the hero, is such a good, loveable guy who is very courageous. The author does an excellent job with the plot, and I could not find any inconsistency in the details! Bravo to the author!
FYI, there is just kissing in this novella; any lovemaking takes place off-stage or behind closed doors. I think this book is fine for anyone 13 and up; there is some punching and attempted forced prostitution/human trafficking, but the details are tastefully written, and Lily escaped before anything really bad could happen.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not paid for my review.
I really enjoyed the story it was all that I thought it would with a lovely pretty clean plot. Lilly sign up for a mail order bride is all excited about starting a new life with a new husband only to get there and find he is not what he should be and she is about to live a life that is her worse nightmare. Never did she ever dream her life would turn in to this. One man out shines them all when he sees her and things do not add up. When they met again she is in a pickle as he finds a way to get her alone to find out if she needs help. This is where things get interesting with them trying to get her a way and all they have to do to get her out and safe. Even if they get her out will she still be safe?
I didn’t care for Ms. Velwest at times she sounded robotic with little breaks or something in there that took away from the story. Something was a little off with Seth voice but I did think the villains she does very nicely. Lilly’s voice did not sound Swedish I am unsure of what accent it was but it wasn’t Swedish. She knows her book well there were not any high or low places where you could tell she took a break nor where there any background noises. The only issues I really had with her narration were the robotic which did not come across as a smooth listen. There were times I thought now that is how it is done but she went back to the other way. I have listen to some other samples of her narration where this is not the case it is more to do with the fact books she has done. Her normal voice is very pleasant. I did have a hard time getting through this I felt the narration did take away from the story and that I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it. I do feel if this narrator took her time and worked on making a smooth read with normal talking she would be a wonderful narrator.
I loved the characters, plots and scenes which the author brings to life in your mind. This was a delight with a few passionate scenes but nothing to hot just enough to give the reader the feel that there was something powerful going on. At first Lilly comes across as naïve not having a clue what her husband to be had planned for her. Once she got away from that you find her a very strong character that has a thing or two to show the man around her. She is a very smart lady knows her way around a horse farm. Seth is a true honorable man who is the hero as he comes in and takes Lilly away giving her a choice at a better life. You will have to read to see if it is with him or if she moves on to greener pastures. I enjoyed the way they came together getting to know each other along with his parents there were just a dear and kept me smiling. I do not want to give this away so I will just say the author really brings to life how hard it can be for a mail order bride but does it with taste and in a very classy way. This story left me wondering just how many Lilly were there that have answered mail order bride ads only to find themselves in a mess not getting what they agree to and having to live a life as she would have if not for Seth. My wish is for every woman who has or will find themselves in this mess that there will always be a Seth for them. This was really a wonderful book that I hope you will pick up to read or listen to. Just because I didn’t like the narrator doesn’t mean you won’t. This has a wonderful plot with wonderful characters that you can relate to that are normal everyday people just trying to get by.
I felt that the storyline was good and I would definitely want to give this author another chance, but never by the same narrator. I would have to say without hesitation that this is probably the worst narrator of any of the four hundred books that I have listened to so far. I am not sure who she auditioned for to get the job, but there is no way that she comes anywhere close to being professional. The narration was done in a staccato style, pouncing on the words like a cat pounces on a mouse. The high squeaky voice that she uses for the girl, and the low monotone robotic emotionless voice she uses for the man were so irritating that I could never relax and simply listen to the story itself. Too bad. I felt that the author deserved a better deal than that.
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