MONTANA BRIDE Joan Johnston
A Bitter Creek Series #11, Mail Order Brides #3
A Perfect 10
Dell
ISBN: 978-0-345-52748-6
January 2014
Historical Western Romance

Montana Territory - 1875

After surviving the Great Chicago Fire of 1874, eighteen-year-old Miranda Wentworth left her three sisters in an orphanage while she traveled to Texas to become a mail order bride.  Miranda took along her brothers, Harry and Nick, and left behind: the twins, Hannah and Henrietta, and their youngest sister, Josie.  Miranda promised she would soon send for them, (TEXAS BRIDE, April 2012).  Months later, with no word from Miranda, the three remaining sisters escape from the orphanage and set out traveling West on a wagon train.  They are separated when Indians attack their wagon and take Josie prisoner, forcing Hannah to leave a wounded Henrietta behind to search for help. (WYOMING BRIDE, January 2013).

Karl Norwood is expecting an experienced widow and her children.  When they finally arrive, he sees a very young woman accompanied by two children who cannot possibly be hers.  Karl hates falsehoods, but he accepts Henrietta's story and sets about arranging their marriage.  Now that he has a ready-made family, Karl is anxious to bed his wife and create his own offspring.  His new bride is beautiful, and Karl feels blessed that this mail-order bride is easy on the eyes.

Henrietta, or Hetti, tries her best to warm up to her new husband.  He is definitely not the man she would have chosen as her husband; Karl is short and not handsome at all.  He doesn't stir her blood when she's near him, not the way his best friend, Dennis, does.  Alas, she made a bargain.  She has to protect the two orphaned children, Grace and Griffin, so marry Karl she must.  Hetti is lucky to be alive after Karl's Chinese assistant saved her from certain death by removing the arrow in her shoulder and nursing her back to health. And she feels responsible for the death of the children's mother, so the least she can do is take her place and marry Karl and see that they all stay together.

Henrietta becomes a mature young woman in the pages of MONTANA BRIDE.  Sometimes self-centered and spoiled, Hetti begins her journey to Karl's logging camp a very inexperienced young girl who quickly learns some very hard lessons.  Through the days and months that follow, Hetti sees that even though Karl is not as handsome as other men who have caught her fancy, he is truly a beautiful and caring person inside.

MONTANA BRIDE is the third book in the Mail Order Bride mini-series about the Wentworth children; and it is also the eleventh novel inside the Bitter Creek series.  Once again, Ms. Johnston has penned a wonderful story!  I have not found information on the next book in the series, which will surely be Josie's story.  Each of these books stands well alone, but you will not want to miss a single one of them.  Each book connects with the previous novels at the end of the story as we follow along with Pinkerton Detectives hired by Miranda, who are searching for her lost sisters.

MONTANA BRIDE is an especially heart-wrenching and romantic novel, with a bit of mystery too.  This book is no less than Perfect 10!  An unlikely hero and an even more unlikely heroine, Karl and Hetti bring us a one of the best stories of the year!

Do not miss MONTANA BRIDE or this series!

Diana Risso