The eight stories in this collection were very varied in quality, so I’ll give each a very brief review and individual rating as well as an overall rating for the collection.
Shenandoah Hearts by Carrie Fancett Pagels
This is one of the weakest stories in the collection. Way too many characters with several side romances going on, it reads like the un-fleshed-out outline for a series. All the bits of the actual romance were ‘told’ rather than shown. Two stars.
Heart of Nantahala by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
This one was a relief after the poor quality of the first; I liked it a lot better, though it felt unfinished because we never found out who the saboteur was. Four stars.
Her Redcoat by Pegg Thomas
This one was excellent. A believable, slow-growing relationship between a ‘redcoat’ (an English soldier) and a Metis woman, this one wove real historical events into the narrative while keeping the focus on the protagonists. Five stars.
A Heart So Tender by Debra E. Marvin
Pretty good, but I’d have liked more insight into the characters of the protagonists. We didn’t really get much insight as to their emotions; though the narrative felt very realistic, I wanted more about their growing feelings. Three and a half stars.
A Worthy Groom by Angela K. Couch
Really good. Widow Lorinda has no choice but to marry Marcus, her abusive dead husband’s cousin. She has no reason to think he will treat her kindly, and Marcus struggles with his own anger issues. A man choosing to break the cycle of abuse is a powerful story to tell, and this one is beautifully done. Powerfully emotional, I’m definitely giving this one five stars.
Across Three Autumns by Denise Weimer
Jenny, the heroine of this one, is a magnificent goddess among women, but she feels big, clumsy and ugly, especially compared to her pretty little sister. She can hardly believe Scottish scout Caylan wants her, the one the local Indians call War Woman. The slowest of slow-burn romances, the two of them are hardly in the same place. Through tragedy, illness and death, they slowly grow close. The only problem I have with it is that I have great difficulty believing they could find a happy ending considering the situation they ended up in at the end of the story. Four stars.
The Counterfeit Tory by Shannon McNear
Treated badly by her loyalist father and brothers, Lizzy has no particular reason to betray a man she suspects might be a rebel spy to them. Quite the opposite, she finds herself helping Jed as he infiltrates her cousin’s gang of troublemakers. Jed’s respect for her quickly grows and their eventual happy ending is very believable. I enjoyed this, but felt it was, like several others in this collection, cut off too short. I wanted to see where Jed and Lizzy eventually ended up. Four stars.
Love’s Undoing by Gabrielle Meyer
I didn’t like the circular nature of this one. While Abi and Henry’s love story was really very good, I didn’t care for the fact that Abi concluded she belonged right back where she started, because she never really had a chance in Montreal. She was treated badly there and concluded it would be the same everywhere, so she basically ran home with her tail between her legs, and Henry let her. Well written, but the ending left a bad taste in my mouth. Three stars.
While some of the stories weren’t to my taste, this is a solidly written and very well edited collection. I didn’t find a single typo in all eight of them, and as far as I could tell the historical accuracy of the works was absolutely stellar. I’m happy to give it an overall four stars.
The Backcountry Brides Collection is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.