What a delightful collection of nine novellas that all have the common theme of seeking blue ribbons for various reasons at fairs. I love the faith based stories that each tie romance into them. They make you laugh, get teary eyed, and leave you wanting more. The historical aspect is very endearing and interesting. The characters are real and identifiable. Carrie Fancett Pagels, Cynthia Hickey, and Darlene Franklin were familiar authors to me that you can always count on for a wonderful read, but I also enjoyed the new to me authors as well. This book does not disappoint, as for me it is a step above other novella collections I have read.
I received a complimentary copy of this from Carrie Fancett Pagels. The review and opinions are my own and I was not required to write them.
The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection: 9 Historical Women Win More Than A Blue Ribbon at the Fair
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 winningsnothing for herself. She has suffered grief more than once in her young life and has strong feelings on certain things, like balloonists for oneI can certainly understand her feelings and fears. Even though she has decided to live a certain way, God has other plans for her. Will she trust God's guidance?
I love Sarah's spirit, courage and faith. I was hoping she would find peace from her past griefs and loveand a blue ribbon. I love Grant Bentley's integrity and determination, although he tends to be bossy at times...he means well. Like Sarah, he has suffered grief and heartache. He is hiding something from Sarah that may end a budding romance before it even begins. I like his friend, Lee Hudgins, who is a big tease with a southern drawl. Sarah's Aunt Bonnie Swanson is a character, and loudGrant likens her to a conjured hurricane images and the bane of his existence, but she is loveable. Bonnie's little daughter, Lila, quickly captured my heart. There are a couple characters I did not like much...one man was a scoundrel and his lady friend a schemer and liarthey were perfect for each other.
This is a fun, humorous, heartwarming and romantic story. There are heartbreaks, griefsome long held grief, forgiveness, reconciliation, second chances, learning to trust and lean on God as He guides, dreams, love and faith and a surprising ending.
(I had the privilege to be one of the beta readers for this story (no monetary gain were exchanged), this is my honest review)
2-Seven Medals and a Bride**** by Angela Breidenbach
Fair in 1893...this is a fun story with some humorous moments that had me laughing out loud. I really liked the sweet matchmaking ladies from Luke Edwards' home. Bettina Gilbert is sweet and determined to make a difference for those less fortunate, I think she had a good plan. I was hoping she could find a way to do that and find love.
3-A Taste of Honey**** by Darlene Franklin
Spruce Hill, Vermont 1896...Edith Grace harvests honey from the bee hives of her good friend and neighbor, Mr. Oscar. She is experimenting with the honey in different recipes to come up with the perfect recipe 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. I really liked Mr. Grant and hoped his son would come to his senses before he did something he would later regret. I like the way Edith doesn't give up and holds to her values and faith. Surprising developments bring a solution that will benefit everyone. Cute and heartwarming story.
4-Altered Hearts**** by Gina Welborn
Sioux Falls, South Dakota 1908 county fair...Reba Diehl creates beautiful hats and wins ribbons for them. Winning ribbons is one thing but what about her dream? Levi Webber loves horticulture but will he be forever stuck on his family farm instead of following his dream? Misunderstandings and heartbreak follow for Reba and Levi, will they find a way to overcome them? Wasn't sure I liked Levi at first as he is a bit presumptuous, but I liked him by the end of the story. I really liked Reba, her determination to make her dream come true and learn from her mistakes. Fun heartwarming story.
5-Better with Butter*** by Jennifer AlLee
Fallon, Nevada 1916...it was interesting how Ella Daniels sculptured with butter and entered her sculptors in the fair each year. Maxwell Sinclair worked at the new margarine company, which put him in conflict with Ella. Can they overcome their differences and forgive? I had hard time getting into this story. Parts of it was interesting but some parts I didn't care for. I did like Ella and Maxwell and hoped they could work out their problems. Cute story.
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 more anger, bitterness and unforgiveness between the two families. They reminded me of the feud between the Hatfield and McCoys. Jolene and Robert had a lot to deal with and I hoped they could find a way for their families to forgive each other. Cute and fun story.
7-First Comes Pie**** by Niki Turner
Colorado 1920...Rifle's Apple Pie Days annual festival will be here soon and Lorelei Boyd plans on entering a contest-winning pie. Emmett Dewey found himself an apple rustler and trespasser...or did he? I liked the interaction between Lorelei and Emmett, they are fun characters. There is some suspenseful moments when some men take it upon themselves tonot telling. Fun, heartwarming story.
8-Front Page Love**** by Tiffany Amber Stockton
Douglas, Wyoming state fair...Paige Callhan and her best friend Mollie help out in arranging 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 her life is changed in a way she had not envisioned resulting in some surprising situations and ending. Cute story.
9-Competing Hearts**** by Cynthia Hickey
1930 Arkansas...this is a cute and fun story with Annie Mae Thompkins entering a quilt and her childhood friend Jonathan Mercer entering his pig. Things don't go as planned, learning to trust God and some surprises for them all and the reader.
I received an e-copy of this book via NetGalley, (no monetary gain were exchanged), this is my honest review~
Nine authors and 9 different states with a wide variety of things that were considered 'State Fair' worthy. A blue ribbon was the ultimate prize. If a monetary prize came with it, that was even better.
1889 in Michigan begins our 'tour' of state fairs with its lovely quilts. Who would have known that balloonists were called professors? The Colombian Exposition or the Chicago World's Fair introduced the world to all the wonderful things America had to offer - especially as you moved west to Montana with its wonderful flora and minerals. Vermont produced the very best honey - one could almost see the beautiful flowers as you ate it.
The turn of the century brought fancier things forward. Millinery was very new in a South Dakota - after all, when did a farmer's wife need a fancy hat? Butter had been around almost forever but margarine was something new at the 1916 fair in Nevada. After all, margarine didn't need a cow and it had a unnatural color - did it even taste good?
Washington State had auto polo at its fair in 1917. Imagine cars racing towards a large ball in the middle of a field with a man on the running board holding a mallet and trying to hit that ball toward the other goal. Good thing cars did not travel very quickly in those days!
Colorado's Fair featured many lovely baked items, not the least of which was apple pie made from the Colorado Orange Apple. Wyoming was a place where dreams came true - especially with cherry cobbler.
No fair would be complete without animals. Around 1930 there wasn't much to bring to the fair, but in Arkansas the decision was made that the 'fair must go on'! There were all sorts of animals on the farm and many were blue ribbon winners, including the pig in this story.
Having never been to a state fair, this book was really fun to read. I received a copy from NetGalley to read and review. There was no expectation of a positive review.
I love these kinds of books because it is a nice variety of stories. Each one had a beautiful story line and each one well written . Each story told of love at the state fairs all around the country. There are nine collections in this book from a variety of authors. Some authors I had never read books from but will be looking for their books now.. If you like state fairs and like information about them this book will be a great read for you. I would recommend it to my friends and family.
Blue Ribbon Brides was great read about the fairs of the past (1889-1930) With the wonderful descriptions and fun facts I felt like I had visited each one. The amount of research was amazing in all the books. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of romance and great information that can be found in one small book.
My favorite of these books though is the book by Carrie Fancett Pagels, Requilted with Love. It just happens to take place in my favorite place, Michigan. She packs her story with a lot of great Michigan facts that I never heard of. She then wows you with some great romance and a tad bit of suspense.
I was taken back in time with her wonderful descriptions. I could just imagine the beautiful quilts hung up, the balloons in the sky, and even hear the morning crows of the rooster!
All these books are great reads and you will be sure to find a favorite too!
I received this book from one of the authors through Netgally in exchange for my honest review.