Nine stories of young women seeing blue, Blue Ribbons that is of which they wish to win at their State Fair. But that may not be all they win. Some are watching the crowds for that one Mr. Right, hoping they might have the chance to win his heart. Some of these young men may have been a little resistant and other are not resistant at all to this idea.
Each novella takes us to a different state telling the history for that year and about the Fair itself. Like how the Fair is set up, what it offers as attractions and more adventure than any of these young people may have ever experienced in the lives.
I liked all nine of the novellas. Some captured my heart a little more than others. To say which one is a favorite I must keep that a secret.
The County Fairs I attended were not State Fairs but I found them memorable unlike these young people had enjoyed. My kids have even walked away with some Blue and Red Ribbons showing Nubian Dairy Goats.
Congratulations to these authors for this adventurous collection of romance novellas with Christian values. Let's give all of them a big Blue Ribbon.
Disclosure: I received a free ebook from NetGalley/Barbour for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.
Meet nine men and women whose competitive goals take them to state and county fairs between 1889 and 1930. From baking pie to polishing pigs, from sculpting butter to stitching quilts, everyone has something to prove to themselves and their communities. But in going for the blue ribbon, will nine women miss the greatest prize of allthe devoted heart of a godly man?
1-Requilted With Love by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1889...North of Lansing, Michigan....Sarah Richmond is hopeful of winning a Blue Ribbon as she enters her quilt in the Michigan State Fair and knows exactly what she will do with the winningsdonating it for a chance at getting better medical care in her home town. Grant is a balloonist - dangerous work - and developing an engine to hopefully make them more steerable. He is more than willing to look after the lovely Miss Sarah and protect her from all the leering jerks at the fair, and also protect her from knowing the truth about his occupation. But what will happen when she discovers the truth? Will she be brave enough to face her fears? And will she win the blue ribbon (and prize money) for her quilt? Will Grant earn enough money selling balloon ride tickets to pay his bills?
My thoughts: Requilted with Love is a cute story set around a quilt that took five years to make... I was a bit confused why she'd want to donate money to a facility that provided such shoddy care, I'd be more wanting to fire everyone and hire competent workers, but it was explained later in the book. Miss Sarah is still a much nicer person than me though in regards to that. She has the gift of mercy and service and is quick to step in. Grant is a dear hero, kind and considerate, though not weak, even when he gives in. I enjoyed getting to know both these characters. Enjoyed the historical information in the author's notes, and that a mutual friend of both Ms. Pagel and I shared was honored by having a character named after her.
2-Seven Medals and a Bride by Angela Breidenbach
Fair in 1893...Bettina is a Chicago native with a degree in botany and she's interested in making contacts. Luke is a mine owner from Montana and all the ladies with him from Montana are searching for a bride for him. Bettina is their first choice. But she isn't even remotely interested in a miner. What is a man and matchmakers to do?
My thoughts: This is a fun story that had some laugh-out-loud moments. I loved this story, and couldn't read it fast enough. It was fun reading about the world fair in Chicago and Luke's efforts to find Bettina after meeting her on the ferry.
3-A Taste of Honey by Darlene Franklin
Spruce Hill, Vermont 1896...Edith Grace harvests honey from the bee hives in the meadow between her property and her neighbor, Mr. Oscar. She is experimenting with the honey in different recipes to come up with the perfect recipe hoping to win a blue ribbon at the upcoming state fair. However, Mr. Oscar's son, Grant has other ideas and they don't include Edith using his honey. He wants to plow the land under and use it for crops. Will they come up with a workable compromise?
My thoughts: This story was really cute and fast paced. I enjoyed getting to know Edie and Grant and their different personalities. I loved how things had been worked out between previous generations--and I won't say how so I won't give things away. This story held my interest all the way through and I had to keep reading once I started it. Parts seemed a little contrived, but it needed that to be able to work things out in fifty pages. A really good story. .
4-Altered Hearts by Gina Welborn
Sioux Falls, South Dakota 1908 county fair...Reba has dreams of making beautiful hats and selling them in the city--where she wants to live. Levi loves horticulture, but has a sensible head and is committed to family. Reba is prepared to throw her family over to reach her dreams.
My thoughts: I love hats and always have. Remember going with my mom to a hat shop in St. Louis, though when I was a young girl hats weren't as showy as the ones in this story. I admired Reba for following her dream but wish she wouldn't have crushed so many people in the process. Levi -- I get him. He's like my dad and my oldest son, slow to act but putting a lot of thought into their actions before they decide. I really liked this story...
5-Better with Butter by Jennifer AlLee
Fallon, Nevada 1916... Ella and her father run a dairy and Ella's boyfriend Max used to work there but he sold over to a margarine company. When they meet each other at the fair, sparks fly, especially when new-fangled meets old-fashioned. Will they find common ground?
My thoughts: A cute story. I liked it, I liked Max - and Ella, but I do not like margarine (but will admit it is easier to spread than butter) and I hated that that product threatened the dairy industry so badly. The story ended without closure which really annoyed me and left me confused. But up until then it was really good. .
6-Driven to Distraction by Becca Whitham
Western Washington Fair Puyallup Valley, Washington 1918...Tragedy struck both Jolene Caplan and Robert Montgomery's families a year earlier resulting in anger, bitterness and unforgiveness between the two families. But Robert is back from War and Jolene is being pressured to accept a proposal from a Frenchman. Will happen when Robert and Jolene meet again?
My thoughts: I'll be honest. Auto racing is not my cup of tea. I don't relate to a woman at home in an oil pit. Just me there. And the hatred and anger and fighting -- and Jolene's personality and ... well, this is not my favorite story. It was well-written. And this is all just me. I know other women will disagree. Just as real life auto races give me a headache and make me feel sick, this story did the same. Probably all psychological. And Jolene tends to be very rash and react without thinking...
7-First Comes Pie by Niki Turner
Colorado 1920...Rifle's Apple Pie Days annual festival is coming and Lorelei Boyd plans on entering a contest-winning pie to save her family's sugar beet farm from ruin. Emmett Dewey caught her "stealing" apples but is attracted to the sweet pie-baker. But he hasn't time for a relationship -- he needs to fix up the property and sell it for a profit. Cute Miss Boyd isn't enough to make him stick around -- or is she?
My thoughts: This was a sweet story. Lorelei was a true heroine, kind, gentle and loving, and Emmett a hero- though a bit blundering. I loved the sparks between them, and how Lorelei had the gift of mercy and a servant-ness to her so willing to go out of her way to help others. Lorelei is also really creative and that was fun. I loved this story and it ended with a happy sigh.
8-Front Page Love by Tiffany Amber Stockton
Douglas, Wyoming state fair...Paige Callhan arranges items to be judged in the Agriculture Hall. Paige meets Andrew Lawrence, a reporter from the Denver Post covering important aspects of the fair and sparks fly.
My thoughts; This is a slower moving story, but I enjoyed getting to know Paige and Andy. It was fun the way they "met" the second time. Both main characters were very sweet and kind, and it was a lovely moment when Paige is surprised at the ribbon ceremony. I thought at first her boss didn't like her, but that didn't seem to be the case at the end. Good read.
9-Competing Hearts by Cynthia Hickey
1930 Arkansas...Annie Mae Thompkins enters a quilt and her childhood friend Jonathan Mercer enters his pig. Things don't go as planned....
My thoughts: This book wasn't as out-of-control as most of Ms. Hickey's stories I've read. This one almost seemed calm and quiet compared to her usual style. It didn't like the main characters very well and they weren't as fleshed out as other stories, Not one of the best stories in the book, but I did appreciate that it wasn't as over-the-top as I've come to expect from her.
Over-all thoughts: A good collection with a wide assortment of really top-notch stories. I like these collections and am glad Barbour is doing them. Great cover, too. 4.16 stars for the collection. I received this book from netgalley for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection by Cynthia Hickey, Gina Welborn, Jennifer Atlee, Angela Breidenback, Darlene Franklin, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Amber Stockton, Niki Turner, and Becca Whitham. This series is a wonderful collection of historical fiction novellas. This collection is full of faith, love, hope, and so much more. This wonderful collection of novellas has women that are competing for the blue ribbon prize in their fair. Each story a delight that will surly capture your heart. Be sure to order your copy of The Blue Ribbon Bride collection today. 5 stars! I received a complimentary copy of this book. This review is my honest opinion.
Nine historical novellas set during the late 19th century and early 20th century follow various participants at local and state fairs, along with the adventures surrounding their experiences at the fair. I enjoyed the variety of colorful settings, interesting characters, unique plots, and sweet romances. Several of the inspirational stories deal with overcoming hardshipssomething anyone can identify withand participants wanted to win a blue ribbon to gain money to help their needy families. Learn historical tidbits too, like when various things were introduced, like Cracker Jacks, and about the car polo circuit. Travel from state to state with each authors contribution. I appreciate all the background research to produce accurate details and their ability to weave these in naturally. Whatever element of the fair you enjoy, and some you may not know about, can probably be found in this collection. So feast your mind on this winning combination of friendly competition, delectable food, farm animals, crafts and quilts, and love. I was provided a free copy of this book by Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own.
Who doesn't love a book filled with 9 novellas about county fairs? This is packed full of sweet stories that you will enjoy reading. Each author has their own distinct writing style and you will make many friends as you read this collection. Below are the authors and a mini bio on each. Great job ladies!!