Richly detailed, vivid, and unforgettable, this is an extraordinary novel about three women challenging the American West—and unpredictable fate—for a future only the most daring can secure…
For Clara Bixby, brokering mail-order brides is a golden business opportunity—and a desperately needed chance to start again. If she can help New York women find husbands in a far-off Nebraska town, she can build an independent new life away from her own loss and grief.
Clara’s ambitions are shared by two other women, who are also willing to take any risk. Quiet immigrant Elsa hopes to escape her life of servitude and at last shape her own destiny. And Rowena, the willful, impoverished heiress, jumps at the chance to marry a humble stranger and repay a heartbreaking debt. All three struggle to find their true place in the world, leaving behind who they were in order to lay claim to the person they want to be. Along the way, each must face unexpected obstacles and dangerous choices, but they also help to forge a nation unlike any that came before.
"I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction--I think I overdosed on it in my tween and teen years. But there are a few writers working these days that I do pay attention to, and Kelly O'Connor McNees is one of them. I so loved her first book, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, I could hardly wait for this new one. It entails mail order brides coming from New York City to the nearly womanless town of Destination, Nebraska in 1866. Clara Bixby, heartbroken over her baby's death and her husband leaving her, hatches this plan when she's also fired from her job as a bar maid. She sends a letter to the mayor of Destination, who answers back that his lonely male constituents are very much interested in investing in wives. This commences in a two state round up of some very, very interesting characters with everything from comedy to tragedy and everything in between. You'll love them or hate them, sometimes at the same time, but you won't forget McNees' delicious cast of characters. I know I won't."