The Express Bride - Woodhouse,  Kimberley

Barbour has a great concept with The Daughters of the Mayflower series. Covering some of America’s most auspicious historical events, the characters all descend from two Mayflower passengers, and yet each story stands alone so that they can be read in any order. Add to that the wholesome Christian perspective and you have a compelling series that addresses true periods of history from a fictional viewpoint. Having read each book as it releases, I have enjoyed every one of them, but some have left a deeper impression than others.

Kimberley Woodhouse’s “The Express Bride”, The Daughters of the Mayflower book nine, ranks among my favorite installations in this series. To begin with, it focuses on a brief but fascinating interval in American history, one that I have always found rather enthralling. Upon reading the author’s note at the end, I was surprised to learn that the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company, better known as the Pony Express, actually failed financially during its short-lived run. The brevity of its existence makes it all the more interesting to me, and I was quickly drawn into the tale.

“The Express Bride” offers a glimpse into the routine and way of life of a combined express and stagecoach station in 1860. Located in the isolated wilderness of what was then the Utah Territory, the Carson Sink station serves as a tiny town unto itself. More remarkably, a young woman named Jacqueline “Jackie” Rivers runs the station and takes care of the riders who live there. As she adjusts to life without her recently-departed father, she finds herself embroiled in helping James Crowell root out a counterfeiting operation while also assisting a man named Elijah Johnson in the search for his employer’s heir.

Several aspects of this story appeal to me. The main characters are endearing, and the residents of the Carson Sink station have an easy camaraderie that adds depth to the narrative. Jackie is tender-hearted but also has admirable strength of character as she shoulders many responsibilities while still dealing with her grief. With a prominent Christian element, this story highlights the virtues of forgiveness and loving one another, and I appreciated that the author points out that two of the characters had been unequally yoked because one had not truly accepted Jesus into his heart. Not being much of a fan of romantic angst, I also enjoyed the fact that intrigue and discoveries dominate much of the narrative, with the romantic thread serving as an overall small portion of the book. Containing an inspirational message throughout, historical details about the unique Pony Express venture, and mysterious happenings, I highly recommend “The Express Bride” as a stirring western adventure.   

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.