1887. Debutante Julia Crawford endures a lifetime of subtle ridicule as the plump, silly daughter of a premiere Boston family. Julia strikes out on her own to gain independence, traveling to the Midwest to marry an aging shopkeeper and care for his mother. Julia finds her new home rough and uncivilized after the sophistication of a big city, while closely held secrets threaten to ruin Julia's one chance at love.
Jake Shelling was 16 and grew up quick when his parents died from influenza on the South Dakota prairie. Left with a half-cleared farm and two young sisters, he spent little time on his own needs... till now. At 35, he figured it was high time to have some sons and a mail order bride would suit him just fine. No expectations of love, just a helpmate from sturdy stock, ready for farm life.
Will fate and chance play a trick on Julia and Jake?
©2012 Holly Bush (P)2015 Holly Bush
I wasn't actually expecting as much from this book, it sounded like your typical, fluffy, historical romance. And to be honest, it was exactly that in most respects. But it had a bit more depth to it than a lot of the others I've read in the genre. Julias secret wasn't really a secret to me, I'd guessed long before it was revealed and had also guessed how Jake would react to it. But I thought it was nicely handled and it worked well for the story. The reactions were in character and believable.
I liked both Julia and Jake as characters. Julia is made out to be the fat, silly, ugly woman in a family of great beauties although in reality it seems she's actually beautiful herself, just not quite so thin and beautiful as her mother would like and her sisters are. But as a result she's lacking in confidence and downtrodden. Jake is one of those oh so honourable men that seem to grace all these types of book. I thought the two of them worked well together although I have to admit, Julias actions after they first got married had me rolling my eyes. Poor Jake coming in from a full days work on the farm having to eat cold soup. But then Julia was never meant to be his bride in the first place. That mix up had me laughing, I could see how it happened, especially as I was listening to the book rather than reading it.
Can't comment at all about spelling and grammar since this was an audio book. I wasn't sure about the narrator at first, I'm not sure why, but she grew on me. With the exception of Jillians voice anyway. My god, could she have made her sound any more like a whiny brat if she'd tried? I'm not sure whether that was the intention or just how it came across. She is a bit of a whiny brat so it fit but it grated really badly. Other than that I thought the book well read and would listen to more by the same narrator. I find the narrator can often make or break an audio book. For me at least.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. More than I was expecting to if I'm honest. I was in the mood for a nice, fluffy read where I wasn't having to think about complicated plot twists and this fit the bill without falling into the mindless fluff category. Will definitely be looking at reading more books by the same author. For those it matters to, sex is implied but there are no graphic sex scenes at all.
"Unique Twist to Mail Order Bride Books"
I've enjoyed many Mail Order Bride books, but Holly Bush has written one of the best I have read/listen to.
It has a fresh approach with some surprises along the way. With so much being said in the introduction of the book I will say no more, not wanting to spoil it for readers.
I highly recommend listening to "Train Station Bride"; it is well worth a credit, or paying the purchase price.
"Short, Sweet Historic Romance"
Train Station Bride is a short, sweet, western historic romance. Although I felt certain of a happy ending, there were several twists and turns along the way. In a few cases I felt like some of the events were a bit unbelievable but all in all it is a very enjoyable story which won’t disappoint.
I received the Audible version of this book in exchange for an honest review and it was a pleasure to listen to this story. The book is narrated by Meghan Kelly and she does a fabulous job. She does just the right amount of voice changing so it is a very pleasurable listen.
If you enjoy light, historic romances, you will love this book!
"More steam than just that from trains"
It would be unfair to reduce the book to the steamy scenes, as my header may imply. It is much more than that.
On the whole, I really enjoyed this book (which was really helped by the narrator).
There were a couple of things I just knew were coming, but there were lots of twists and turns, so it wasn't predictable. There were a couple of very steamy scenes which I could have done without, and which I honestly think the book wouldn't have needed. Again, kudos to the narrator.
However, this is quite an emotional story which gave me goosebumps in parts, or had me choke, it was very touching. The characters were well developed, and I'd probably listen to the sequel if it wasn't for fear of more graphic sex scenes, which I don't enjoy reading about--or rather listening to.
As in other books from this narrator I've listened to, she did a great job at bringing all the moods and different characters across; it was a joy to listen to her!
I got this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
"Cozy, well read"
A cozy period romance, this is a perfect read to curl up with on a rainy day. Julia is marginalized in her own home, continually reminded of her shortcomings, real or imagined. She plans a brave bid for freedom, not an easy aspiration for an unmarried woman in the 1880's, escaping from her stuffy Boston home to the expansive prairie frontier. Complications challenge her to embrace her core beliefs. Will she be crushed or empowered? The narrator enhanced the story. Subtle voice differentiation, from the haughty mother to the foppish brother in law, helped me be there, or feel like I was. A sweet tale well told.
"What's a Ridiculed Debutante to do in 1887?."
The Train Station Bride by Holly Bush is what I consider an escape-read, or what others term a beach-read. It's a fast-paced story that makes it hard to stop listening. As such, the 5+ hours go by rather quick. Whether or not the audio edition compares to the print edition is subjective to whatever voices you hear in your head when you read this charming story. I have not read the print edition, so my honest review is based on my enjoyment of the audio version as read by the talented Meghan Kelly.
Mild Spoiler Alerts below:
Here's a question: If you knew you marrying someone at a train station, someone you'd only know through written correspondence, would you completely trust that the giant man before you is your intended, just because he had a preacher with him? I mean, what are chances there are TWO train station brides, and that you have just been married to the wrong rancher? What could be worse than that? Knowing that you are debutante who has never been good enough for anyone in her life, ever. She's unattractive and fat, dumb and useless. At least that's what she's heard all her life.
It's also the reason she took the deal to move to the mid-west, She had to get away from her horrible Boston family.
Julia and Jake's love story takes off at lightning speed. Jake thinks Julia is the living end, she thinks he is a tall hunk of happily ever after. In like - a chapter. That moves a little too quickly for me to believe that it will have endurance, but it does.
Darker secrets come, truths and lies and revealed, but most of all, Julia realizes that she is nothing like her unbearable family and has the heart of a wonderful mother and pioneer woman.
The story is formulaic but enjoyable. All this is what I got from the author's words.
Meghan Kelly's narrative was superb.
Sometimes, You can read a book and think 'meh'. You might even toss it aside as it doesn't keep your interest for very long. Meghan Kelly's performance is what made this story for me.
To be able to keep all the characters unique enough is a talent all on its own -but the nuance to which she gave voice to Julia Crawford was the best part. Julia starts out as mousy and almost mono-syllabic or robotic - awkward and clumsy in her speech. As Julia grows stronger in who she is and what she wants, her voice is stronger, until she becomes, in voice, the heroine of her own story.
I will be watching for more Meghan Kelly narrations in the future. It may be why I decide to use a credit on a book.
"Terrific historical romance with a dramatic twist"
TRAIN STATION BRIDE - Prarie Romance - The Crawford Family - Book One
Author: Holly Bush
Type of Book - Unabridged Audiobook
Narrator: Meghan Kelly
Length: 5 hours, 45 minutes
Genre: Historical Romance
Production Date: March 10, 2015
Produced By: Holly Bush Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.*
The year is 1887. Julia Crawford is the second of four daughters of a prominent Boston banker. Julia is blonde and plump but not unattractive. However she has always been in the shadow of sisters. She has dreamt of starting her life far away from her family and their obsession with money and status and the fact that they treat her as if she is an embarrassment to the Crawford family name.
Jacob Snelling is a middle age shopkeeper a thousand miles from Boston in a small town in South Dakota. Loneliness and the desire for a companion for his aging mother prompted him to place an ad for a wife in the Boston newspaper. Julia answered the ad and after corresponding back and forth by letters has agreed to travel to South Dakota and to marry him. She does not expect to love him or for him to love her. She accepts this and so it is that Julia sets off by train to meet her future husband.
Jake Shelling is 33. Both his parents died when he was only sixteen and he was left alone to run the family farm and to raise his two younger sisters. He was able to achieve both goals successfully. Now that his sisters are grown up and are married with families and farms of their own, Jake decides to order a bride from Sweden. He does not expect love, he is just looking for companionship and he greatly desires a son to pass the farm to when he dies. His prospective wife Inga Cropper is due to arrive by train.
Both Julia and Inga are traveling to South Dakota on the same train. Both women are meeting their future husbands at the train station. Neither woman has ever seen her prospective husband before. Both women have similar last names - Crawford and Cropper. Both women are blonde.
Jake and Jacob share a first name and their last names are nearly identical. They are both waiting for their brides to arrive on the same train and in the same small South Dakota town.
What could possibly go wrong?
This story has a unique romance plot which is refreshing and will keep the listener's interest throughout the entire five hours and forty-five minutes.
Narrator Meghan Kelly does a superb job with this audiobook. Despite the challenge of voicing multiple female characters and a few male characters, she has made the voice of each one of them different and distinct. She is able to portray not only the upper class society women with ease, but also the crotchety elderly woman as well as the down to earth sisters of Jake Shelling. Her portrayal of Julia's father's voice sounds exactly like what I would expect a Boston banker from the late 1880s to sound like. The voice she uses for Julia is perfection. Julia comes across as upper class, but still down to earth which is just right for her character. I also feel compelled to comment on how well she uses subtlety of tone and inflection to portray emotion. Meghan Kelly does a superb job narrating "Train Station Bride" and I am 100% sure that her narration added value to this audiobook and helped me make my decision to give it a five out of five star rating.
I really like the cover of this audiobook. The colors are perfect for a story set in the prairies and the woman in the old fashioned wedding dress, standing with her back to the listener while a train departs in the distance is exactly what I pictured Julia to look like.
I highly recommend this audiobook to all lovers of historical fiction, historical romance and regular romance novels. I was highly entertained by this feel good tale of finding true love in unexpected places.
I rate TRAIN STATION BRIDE as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
"This woman has as many layers as an onion and if he weren't careful he'd end up with tears in his eyes."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Holly Bush grew up in a house filled with books so it was probably inevitable that she became an author.
ABOUT THE NARRATOR:
Meghan Kelly was once a talent agent and has been a full-time voice actress and musician for the past six years.
"Wonderful historical romance western"
Train Station Bride: Prairie Romance by Holly Bush is a good old fashioned western romance. The story centers around Julia Crawford who, being 27 years-old and unwed, is an embarrassment to her blue-blooded Bostonian family. Julia's mother and older sister try to set her up with prospective suitors who are old, unattractive and rude. Finally being fed up with her family's poor treatment, Julia decides to respond to an ad in the paper for a bride by a South Dakota shopkeeper. She secretly takes the train to Cedar Ridge and mistakenly marries Jake Shelling instead. Jake is a farmer who raised his two sisters following their parents' deaths; and now that they're both married he's ready to marry himself. Jake ordered a mail order bride himself and showed up with a preacher by his side, who married them on the train platform among the hustle and bustle.
The rest of the story is Julia basically finding her self esteem and realizing her self worth. Life is not easy for Julia at first primarily because South Dakota seems uncivilized compared to the sophistication of Boston. But Julia is caring and has a can-do spirit. Jake is honest and, unconsciously, in need of someone to show him attention for a change. The secondary characters (Jake's family) enhance the story with their warmth, friendship and faith that Julia is exactly what Jake needs.
I listened to the Audible version of this story narrated by Meghan Kelly. She did an outstanding job, providing distinct and consistent voices for all characters, young and old. Meghan's narration certainly contributed to my enjoyment of this book. Great job!
"Sweet Story, Surprise Beginning, Nice Ending"
This was such a fun story. I've heard of mail order brides but this was completely a surprise start. The couple comes to love each other over time. She is accepted by the new family and her self confidence grows. Until her parents get involved and a terrible secret comes out and it feels like a betrayal.
This isn't a deep read, but it is very enjoyable. Perfect for a day on the beach or during spring showers. I would definitely recommend this book.
"Captured My Heart and Soul"
Every once in a while, comes along a love story that touches the soul. This story falls in that category. You never see it coming until it hits you hard. I love the two main characters. The author hid the plot well. There were many witty, funny moments. Beware, there are enough steamy moments but not over the top. The narrator did a fabulous job. She has quite a range of voices. There were a couple that was a bit tiresome but not detracting from the whole experience. All I can say is I wish it was longer. I listened to the whole book in one sitting. It was that good!
I was gifted this book for a fair review. The opinions expressed are my own.
This is a sweet story filled with somewhat cliched characters and situations. There is a comedy of errors in the beginning that causes the events of the book to unfurl, and it is a little too far-fetched. The remainder of the book is pretty straight-forward, so suspension of disbelief can be shed after reading the train station scene.
I like the narrator's characterizations very much, particularly of the women (and most particularly Flossie), they were very distinct. I had a hard time with the fact that there are noticeable volume changes. When either the main character,Julia, is speaking or when there is no dialogue, the volume is soft. But when any of the other characters speak, the volume goes up. I listen to audio books in the car, and I found that I frequently had to adjust the volume so that I could hear what was being said, or because it got too loud.
All in all, though, an enjoyable listen. I would certainly listen to another book by Holly Bush, as well as one read by Meghan Kelly.
Audio book provided for an honest review.
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