Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Reads with Mary Connealy, Darlene Franklin, and Carla Olson Gade

Over the next few weeks, I am going to be sharing the novellas contained in The Homestead Brides Collection. There are nine stories, and I will be sharing my review of three of them each time.

This book contains nine novellas by eight veteran authors (Mary Connealy, Darlene Franklin, Carla Olson Gade, Ruth Logan Herne, Pam Hillman, DiAnn Mills, Erica Vetsch, and Kathleen Y’Barbo) and one newbie (Becca Whitham).  These stories provide the perfect quick read for your day. While they all focus on the pioneering folks of the 1800s, each story contains its own cast of characters on a quest to secure land and create a bright future.  This collection is a nice way for readers to be introduced to a wide variety of authors and possibly find some new favorites!

Homestead on the Range by Mary Connealy:  Widow Elle Winter and widower Colin Samuelson meet shortly after his arrival on the Nebraska prairie. There seems to be an immediate connection, until he learns that between the two of them, they have seven children. He can barely handle his own three. He does agree to friendship. The connection grows when a tornado hits the area. In addition to dealing with nature, they must deal with the antics of their children. Are they in favor of the union? This tale is a combination of “The Brady Bunch” and “Little House on the Prairie.” Connealy’s wit is evident, even as the characters cling to God in life’s storms. “Martha” leaves the readers with a good reminder: “Love always fits. Family always fits.”

You can find Mary online at

Priceless Pearl by Darlene Franklin: Rick Eady grew up poor, and America Barton grew up rich. They meet each other during the Oklahoma Land Rush. The Bartons are clearly out of their element, and Rick offers to help. In exchange for helping them farm, America helps him learn to read. Rick is a hard-working man with a strong faith. Can her parents see that those qualities are more important than money? While some scenes drag at times, overall, this is a sweet romance. The perils at that time are evident, and it is a reminder that many people who moved there were ill-equipped to face things without God’s help.

Proving Up by Carla Olson Gade: Nils Svensson longs for his wife to see the timber business that he is building. He is interested in acquiring the neighboring land. He learns that Elsa Lindstrom has claim to it, which thwarts his dreams. Is his only interest in her land? This story is interesting in the fact that it educates the reader about the Timber Culture Act of 1873 and Swedish immigrants. The tale outlines the misunderstandings and surprises that many faced in this new world.

You can find Carla online at

You can purchase the book at the following Amazon link:

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