BOOK DETAILS

A Bride for Carlton: Sweet Clean Historical Western Mail Order Bride

A Bride for Carlton: Sweet Clean Historical Western Mail Order Bride

by Karla Gracey

ASIN: B01G789JTQ

Publisher Karla Gracey Press

Published in Romance/Historical, Literature & Fiction/Historical, Romance, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

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Why would an accomplished governess respond to an advertisement in the Matrimonial Times? Myra Gilbert had never considered such a thing, but something has awoken within her and she is determined to take her chance on love.

Carlton Green claimed his lands, and now has the deeds in his grasp. But something is missing in his life. Will his quest to find love fill that hole, or is there something from his past that could change everything and leave him with nothing?

Sample Chapter

Myra Gilbert sat in the nursery alone while her charges took their music lesson with Master Julian. She cherished these rare moments of solitude. So much of her life was taken up with caring for twelve year old Margaret and fourteen year old Carolynn. They were lovely girls, but boisterous and rarely sat still for a moment. But they would have no need of her soon enough and she wondered if she would ever find a position that was so amenable when the time came.

It had been the tragically early death of her dear Papa that had left her alone and with little to support herself with. Thankfully, as the daughter of the local Schoolmaster she had enjoyed the privilege of a good education, and so becoming a governess had seemed a most logical step. Now, after eight years with the Fitzherbert’s she could feel her role had changed. She had no desire to remain with the family as simply a chaperone, though she had so loved teaching the girls. But there was little more she could impart to them now. They were young ladies; she had taught them to read and write, to draw, and they were good and kind. They would make excellent marriages, if only they could learn to curb their excessive exuberance for life.

She sighed heavily. She had once been just like her charges, dreaming of her future husband and children. She too had longed to be swept off her feet by a handsome young man who had eyes only for her – yet her chance had never come, and now she was destined for spinsterhood and a life as a governess. She wished she didn’t mind, but she had yet to reconcile herself to her fate. She still hoped, against all the odds, that there was love and a family in her future. But as each year passed, that hope became less and less strong. It was now but a mere flicker in her heart. But she enjoyed her work, and that was a consolation to her, and her girls had won her heart and her devotion.

A newspaper sat on the table to her side, and she picked it up - surprised to find that it wasn’t the usual Daily Bugle – but the Matrimonial Times. She could only presume that there must have been some mistake with the delivery that morning, the Fitzherbert’s would have no need of such a publication after all. Intrigued, she flicked through the pages, amused by the pleas of lonely farmers, ranchers, miners and their like. So many of them sounded so very like her after all; lonely and feeling that time had passed them by. She could feel the pain in so many of the words, and her heart went out to them. But though she so desperately longed for a family of her own she could not understand how any woman could ever bring herself to respond to such advertisements; heading off to who knew where to live with men they knew little to nothing about. No, she prayed she would find a man using more traditional means, though she was beginning to think it unlikely. She was fast heading towards the spinsterhood she so dreaded; at twenty-seven she was often passed over at social events for the younger and wealthier young women of her acquaintance.

She was about to put the newspaper down and go in search of her novel, when she caught sight of an advertisement that seemed completely unusual, though she only had this morning’s perusal of the publication to judge. She read it once, then again, and again:

A Gentleman of Montana, wishes to enter into a correspondence with a view to matrimony; she must be gentle, kind and full of courage. A liberal education, and love of theatre and music would be highly prized, and to be a fine cook and care for hearth and home would be preferred. The subscriber is a man of modest means, with land of his own and believes that he has qualities that such a woman would appreciate. Address in Sincerity E.T.C., Box 483, Matrimonial Times

So many of the advertisements that she had skimmed over had been almost gushing in their sentimentality, yet this one was not. It gave no clue as to the character or habits of the man who had submitted it in the hope of attracting a wife. It seemed almost cold, unfeeling. She was sure that it would have been unlikely to catch the eye of many women, who seemed to want romance more than the things that would truly last. Not that she thought marriage should be a mercenary act, but a good home and friendship would stand a couple in far better stead than hearts and flowers she was sure. Yet, for some reason the words resonated within her, and she felt a brief flutter of excitement deep in her belly.

Hardly believing that she was doing so, with her curiosity getting the better of her, she began to pen a letter to the mysterious man who had put himself unwittingly into her line of sight. She scribbled hastily, barely heeding a word she wrote, and then sealed her missive in an envelope and addressed it carefully. She tucked it into her reticule and rushed out of the house to the postal office. She barely dared to catch a breath, barely took a moment to think until she walked back outside and realized what she had done. What if he replied? Even worse, what if he did not?

*****

Carlton Green stared at the stark black and white print of his advertisement. It shocked him to see how foolish it seemed to be doing such a thing, now he saw it nestled within the pages of this ridiculous newspaper. Whatever had he been thinking, to advertise for a wife in such a way? He could see nothing in it that could interest a young woman worth having; in fact he thought it made him sound pompous and unlikeable indeed. He seemed to expect much of a wife and yet was offering her nothing in return. He had slaved over the words for days, had thought he had chosen so carefully, and yet now they looked dull and expectant. Exasperated, he threw the newspaper into the fire certain he would have no replies, and got on with his chores. There was time enough for him to find a wife – but the sowing would not get done on its own.

He held enough land to eke out a comfortable living, but it was hard. He worked from sun up to sun down, no matter the weather. He grew oats and some wheat on his one hundred and sixty acres, granted to him now in perpetuity thanks to the Homestead Act. He often wondered how he had stayed the course required to be granted the deeds to his lands. But despite some very difficult times, terrible harvests and having to work himself to the bone he had done so. Many had failed, their steadings had been left abandoned as disease and the sheer enormity of the task had become clear to those with less hardy natures than his own. He had lost many friends to the cemetery, and even more back to the lives they had left behind thinking that the opportunities here in Montana would be better. He missed them, and life out here miles from the nearest town could be all too quiet. It was time to settle down and make this land a home, and so his search for a wife had begun. He needed somebody to share in his good fortune, to care for and to protect, and to fill his life with joy and laughter.

He was still here, and he was not just surviving – he had begun to truly thrive - and it was now time to settle down and make Montana a home as well as an adventurous enterprise. Stepping outside into the warm sunshine, he gazed proudly at his neatly furrowed fields, and the large yard that would make a wonderful playground for young children. The paddock held horses and ponies that needed to be ridden, and the peace and quiet ached to be rent with the sound of fun and family. Then he turned and looked behind him at the ramshackle cabin he had laid his head down in for the past five years, and laughed. His dreams may seem achievable when he looked at everything else he had – but he could hardly expect any woman to wish to live there. The sod cabin was just a room; it had no windows and the chimney belched smoke so badly he had to put out the fire over night to ensure he didn’t choke in his sleep.

He vowed to head into Sun River to speak with Ardloe Reed once the spring sowing was done. The carpenter had built many of his neighbors some sturdy looking homes in recent months, and it was time he did the same. He could have no illusions that any young woman seeing how he currently lived – without having been entirely enamored of him - would be right on the next train out of Great Falls or Billings before he could stop her. He chuckled wryly as he thought of some Eastern city girl hitching up her skirts and making a run for it, it seemed most unlikely but it amused him nonetheless.

He shrugged his oilskin jacket on as he crossed the yard. The air in the barn was cold no matter the time of year, and he was glad of the hardwearing coat and his second best hat to keep the worst of the chill breezes from tearing through to his skin. He blew on his fingers to warm them before lifting a sack of seed. He’d check it over and then get going. He had three more fields to sow with wheat today, and a further four with oats tomorrow. Half his fields needed to see the run of the plough still too. He whistled as he began to stack the sacks of seed onto the cart, enjoying the brief respite from the cold that he got from being in the spring sunshine. He hitched Marlin, his broad-backed and sturdy cart horse into the shafts and with a click, and a swift flick of the whip to the reliable animal’s flanks, the two of them set off to the high fields.

Carlton loved the land he had chosen with all his heart. He had been lucky enough to take his pick. There had been so few homesteaders coming out this far when he first arrived, but he didn’t doubt that more would come, especially if the rumors turned out to be true that the Government wanted to extend the scope of the Homesteading Act. The land was fertile, both crops and livestock seemed to thrive here if you worked hard enough. Men who were hungry for success and weren’t afraid to work for it could do very well here.

But his was a lonely life. Many of his contemporaries, those brave few that had come out here to try and make new lives, had brought wives and children with them or at the least sent for them once they had gotten settled. The transition could be harsh, and many families had not managed to secure the deeds to their lands. He was proud he now had his securely stored in the vaults of the Great Falls bank - and that he had done so alone. But he longed for companionship now the lands were in good heart and he could afford to hire some help. At least that was a task that would be easy to fulfill. There were always men looking for work at the Saloon in Sun River, and even as far away as Great Falls and Billings. Eager young souls arrived on the train every day.

Carlton longed for sons, to bring up and to show what life could be like if you worked hard and earned your rewards; to work alongside him on the farm to create a family empire and so in his loneliness had placed that advertisement. He couldn’t help but regret having done so now as he thought about how cold he had sounded against the other Matrimonials he had spied on the page near his own. Maybe that was to be expected. Maybe Fate had taken a stand as he had penned his own words, to ensure he would remain alone.

After all, he wasn’t entirely sure that he should ever be a husband or father given his checkered history. He had made such a mess of it all the first time around, had caused such pain that it hardly bore thinking of. But that was the past, and he prayed every day that his loneliness here in Montana could make up for his past digressions, that his commitment to the earth would somehow redeem him. That he would one day deserve the happiness so long denied him.

Continues...

Excerpted from "A Bride for Carlton: Sweet Clean Historical Western Mail Order Bride" by Karla Gracey. Copyright © 2016 by Karla Gracey. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Karla Gracey

Karla Gracey

Karla Gracey was born with a very creative imagination and a love for creating stories that will inspire and warm people's hearts. She has always been attracted to historical romance including mail order bride stories with strong willed women. Her characters are easy to relate to and you feel as if you know them personally. Whether you enjoy action, adventure, romance, mystery, suspense or drama- she makes sure there is something for everyone in her historical romance stories!

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