The Bride Train
Taming the West one bride at a time
Seven women answer an advertisement to become brides for settlers on the Western frontier. The Bride Train takes them to a land plagued by violence and unrest, a place ruled by passion…where only a woman’s touch can tame it into love.
A little "history" on The Bride Train...
The mail-order bride phenomenon in 19th century America spawned personal advertisements, matrimonial newspapers and matchmaking services—even railroads wanted a piece of the action.
The Bride Train series was inspired by true events that took place in southeastern Kansas shortly after the Civil War. The government opened up what had previously been Cherokee land and settlers poured in. But the railroad managed to finagle a deal to purchase the large tract. The men who had filed claims under “preemption” were forced to broker deals with the railroad.
By 1869-70, riots broke out in protest of railroad land policies. Angry settlers burned ties and tore up track as fast as the railroad could put it down. Things got so bad, President Grant sent troops into Kansas to quell the violence.
A more peaceful solution was proposed: a program sponsoring the immigration of single young ladies into Kansas to become brides and provide a “calming influence” on the unruly men. I couldn’t find any evidence this program ever got off the ground. But what a great romance series idea!
Valentine's Rose, Book 1 in The Bride Train Series
I'm delighted to report The Bride Train series is already off to a strong start with some great reviews. Here's a blurb and excerpt from the first book.
An English nobleman desperate for riches, an Irish laundress longing for love…only in America could Fate be foolish enough to put them together.
One choice can change a life for better, or for worse...
Constantine Valentine, the second son of an English baron is in America for one reason—to make a fortune so he can return home and repair a tarnished reputation. Wedding a destitute Irish laundress isn’t his first choice, but a strange twist of fate makes a hasty marriage the key to gaining riches.
Rose Muldoon grew up in a New York slum and has battled hardship, hunger and heartbreaking loss. Against impossible odds, she still trusts love—something her privileged husband has never experienced, and can't accept.
She longs for home and family. He has no intention of staying in a marriage of convenience, not even for a beautiful woman who fires his blood and makes him yearn for what he doesn't have…or deserve. But when the unforeseen happens, threatening everything Val holds dear, he must make a choice.
Here's an excerpt:
The locomotive ground to a halt, heaving a smoky sigh. Along the side of the passenger car, feminine faces appeared at the windows. Some of them looked alarmed, others downright frightened. None of them appeared to be in a hurry to depart the safety of the railcar.
The panting throng surged forward.
Soldiers intercepted the men before they could reach the platform. Only a conductor, baggage handler and an official of some importance were allowed near the train.
Besides Val, the railroad official was the only other gentleman wearing a proper suit. He lifted his hands as if to roll back the Red Sea. “Keep your distance. Don’t crowd the ladies.”
O’Shea lifted his chin. “That’s Mr. Hardt, our new land agent. The one before him got whipped and run outta town. He was a molly, though. Don’t know what to call this one.”
The Irishman chuckled. “Maybe we’ll put an apron on him before we toss him on a rail.”
Didn’t sound as though this agent would be around for long either.
An overeager farmer slipped past the soldiers. As he climbed up onto the edge of the platform, the strapping railroad agent shoved him off, sending him ass-first into the mud. “We’ll proceed in an organized fashion…” Shouts and whistles drowned out the rest of the official’s remarks.
At last, the women exited the train. Val counted heads…only a dozen. “Do you know how many men signed up for brides?”
“Least a hundred, I’d wager,” O’Shea answered.
These sex-starved men had rioted over land prices. What would they do in light of a limited supply of women?
For those who don't know E.E. Burke...
A history geek and a sucker for a good love story…that’s me! And it pretty well sums up why I write historical romance. My favorite setting is the old American West, particularly the era of the steam railroad. Our nation’s growing pains during this period provide lots of fodder for great stories. As far as my fascination with American history, chalk it up to family roots. I can trace my ancestral tree back to the earliest colonists. One ancestor fought in the Revolutionary War, and I’ve got Yanks and Rebels on multiple family branches.
It took me five years to complete my first novel and to see my dream begin to unfold. My most thrilling moments include being a finalist in the prestigious RWA Golden Heart® contest, and striking up friendships with authors who have inspired me and whose books have a special place on my “keeper shelf.”
A little more about The Bride Train series
This "bride train" program (Young Ladies' Immigration Society) is first mentioned in my debut romance novel, Her Bodyguard, which is set against the same series of historical events. Click here to read a scene about the arrival of the firstBride Train.
I thought it would be fun to write an entire series about the railroad matchmaking service. The first question that popped into my head was: “What kind of women would answer an advertisement to leave everything behind and go to an unknown and largely uncivilized land to marry virtual strangers? They would have to be desperate, or adventurous in the extreme.
Let me introduce you to the first bride:
Rose Muldoon, 20, is an Irish laundress from Five Points, a crime-ridden slum in New York City. After a terrible tragedy, she finds herself alone, destitute and with few good men to choose from. She decides to seek a hardworking husband out West and start family to replace the one she’s lost.
When considering a hero who would be perfect for my Irish Rose, I thought, why not a dissolute English nobleman? (Don’t you love mismatched couples?)
Constantine Valentine is the second son of an English Baron. His reckless, irresponsible lifestyle results in banishment and unexpected poverty. Never one to quit, Val decides to seek his fortune in America and then return home to repair his tarnished reputation.
The surname Valentine, of Anglo-Saxon origin, comes from a Latin name Valentinus, from the root word valens, which means strong and healthy. The word “valor” comes from this root. But even a strong man is bound to have a weakness. One that only his true love can help him overcome…
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