Second Chance Brides carries on where The Anonymous Bride left off. It's the story of two of the remaining brides: Shannon O'Neil, the petite Irish immigrant who's all alone in the world, and Leah Bennett, the oldest of eleven siblings who's running from any responsibility that includes wet diapers and leaking noses. Both mail-order brides still live at Rachel's boardinghouse and there is much interaction between the three women. There is also many scenes with the men who are involved with them:
- Mark Corbett is one of the brothers who invited the mail-order brides to town. He likes Shannon's quiet fire but something in his past grips him in fear of being found out. He knows he's destined to walk his path alone and it's going to be far away in the city.
- Mark's brother, Garrett wants to marry the women off as soon as possible so he doesn't have to keep paying their boardinghouse bill. There's no way he's ready to settle into marriage at this stage, but maybe he can arrange socials to bring the area's single people together.
- Rand Kessler is the rich rancher who wooed Rachel in the first book but lost out to Marshal Davis. Rand is still on the lookout for a wife. And he has his eyes on Shannon.
- Dan Howard is the local livery owner who lives in a small house with his mother. He may be the tallest man in town but he smells like the horses he cares for every day.
And to round out the activities, Rachel's daughter Jack/Jacqueline continues to steal scenes as she dances her way in and out of trouble with her 2 male cronies and 1 arch nemesis.
Because of all the subplots and interactions, there isn't room in this book to deeply delve into the storylines of Shannon and Leah, but in the space available, the author does a creditable job of portraying the women's dreams and fears. We know why they react the way they do and can commiserate with their decisions. Second Chance Brides is an enjoyable read about western life in the late 1800's. The individual characters stay true to their beliefs and I really liked following their stories. I was delighted to discover that Jacqueline - older and perhaps wiser - will be one of the main characters in Book 3 of this series due out in Apr 2011. I can't wait for Jacqueline's book.
Vickie is a master at making her characters come alive. Not just her hero and heroines, but her secondary characters jump off the pages. In book two of her Boardinghouse Brides series continue to follow the lives of the people of Lookout, Texas. She brings back the characters you fell in love with in the first book and continues to weave the stories of their lives. Vickie did a fabulous job in not only the characters, but in making you feel like you are living the history. If you are looking for a good series, look no more.
Book Two in the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, "Second Chance Brides" is a wonderful continuation of the stories of Leah Bennett and Shannon O'Neil, mail-order brides stranded in Lookout, Texas.
Both Leah and Shannon know they only have two options available after the debacle in the first book leaves them dependent on Garrett and Mark Corbett for support: get a job or find another man to marry. The Corbett brothers do try to atone for the mess they created by sending for the mail-order brides by giving Shannon a job as bookkeeper in their business and hosting Saturday socials for the town's eligible singles.
Both women struggle with allowing their past to come between following God's wishes and what they think will make them happy. Leah was the oldest of eleven children, missing out on much of her childhood due to helping her mother to raise and care for her younger siblings. She promised herself that she would never be tied down to children again, and that promise almost costs her the man of her dreams, livery owner Dan Howard. Shannon immigrated from Ireland with her parents, only to have them die shortly after arriving in New Orleans, leaving her alone. She had pinned her hopes on starting a new family when she traveled to Lookout as a mail-order bride and now blames the Corbett brothers for still being alone and almost destitute. Against her will, she begins to fall in love with Mark Corbett, it seems he feels the same. Then Mark tells Shannon that he will never marry, leaving her distraught and confused. Will she marry another before Mark can reconcile his past and realize Shannon was meant for him?
Other characters from the first book "The Anonymous Bride" are present as their stories are also continued: Rachel and Luke Davis and Rachel's daughter, Jacqueline "Jack." Vickie weaves their continuing story into Leah and Shannon's in a way which enriches the storyline without confusing the reader. An unerring faith in God is evident as the story unfolds, first in one character and then in another. This message is delivered in a masterful, well-written way that leaves the reader feeling uplifted.
I've read several of Vickie's books and thoroughly enjoyed each of them. "Second Chance Brides" did not disappoint me, it just helped cement my love of her writing style and left me eager to read the final book in this series, "Finally a Bride." I highly recommend "Second Chance Brides" to everyone.
With a great premise, Vickie McDonough does it again in this sequel to The Anonymous Bride.
What do you do with two leftover mail-order brides? Well, Shannon and Leah find out in this delightful historical romance. The author takes you to Lookout, Texas and with humor and intrigue shows us the answers. Great characters, from the kids, especially Jacqueline, to the towns people, and then of course the Corbett brothers, are found throughout the story. I am looking forward to the third offering in this trilogy. Dare we hope it is the story of Jacqueline?