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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Mail Order Brides and Chasing Clovers

Mail order brides have always fascinated me. In the 1800's women married for a sense of security, and financial stability. They were widows seeking help to raise their children, lost souls searching for independence.

In the 1800’s mail order brides became very popular. Men migrated west to farm land, build towns and cities, and mine for gold. Most being successful, soon found themselves financially stable. But one thing was missing...women. There were very few women in the early days of the west and if some popped up, they were always married. Soon men began sending letters to churches and newspapers back east looking for brides.

The women took on the status of mail order bride for many reasons, but one looms above all the rest...security. Times were tough back then and a woman needed to know she was taken care of. This wasn’t a marriage founded on love, but instead on knowing you had a roof over your head, food in your stomach, and money in your purse. Those things held precedence to love. This doesn’t mean some didn’t find love. I think that was possible, but it wasn’t the reason they were together.

In the early stages of writing Chasing Clovers, I started to research the mail order bride, and I began asking myself questions. Why would my protagonist, Livy Green marry a man she’s never met? Was she running from something, or possibly someone? Was she destitute with no where to live? Was she lonely? Was she married with children and now a widow?

I soon realized she was desperate, from my perspective you’d have to be. She didn’t necessarily want to be a bride, but she needed to escape the life she was living and there was only one way to do so...answer an ad for a mail order bride. I described her fears of first meeting John Taylor, her soon to be husband. She was nervous. Her hands shook, back rigid, no expression formed on her face. She didn’t know him. Was he a drinker, a gambler, a forceful person? She'd second guess herself, wanting to run for the hills and live in the wild, then marry a stranger. But desperation pushed her into this possibly dangerous situation, and she had no choice but to stay.

In Chasing Clovers, Livy and John’s story is an adventure filled with laughter, sorrow, and forgiveness. It is an emotional tale woven solely for you, the reader, to enjoy and fall in love with.

Below are actual ads from the book Hearts West: True Stories of Mail Order Brides on the Frontier by Chris Enss. I used this book for research and loved it.

"A lively widower of 40, looking much younger, 5 feet 7 inches high, weighing 145 pounds would like to correspond with some maiden or widow lady of honor who would like a good home, kind husband and plenty."

"A gentleman of 26 years old, 5 feet 3 inches, doing a good business in the city, desires the acquaintance of a young intelligent and refined lady possessed of some means, of a loving disposition from 18 to 23, and one who could make home a paradise."

"Wanted: A girl who will love, honest, true not sour; a nice little cooing dove and willing to work in flour:"

Watch for my book Chasing Clovers, published by Imajin Books on Oct 15th in e book!!!

Cheers,
Kat

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