His Accidental Bride

Written by Carolyn Twede Frank
Review by Fiona Alison

With the recent popularity of books about mail-order brides, Frank has employed this subject in her latest historical romance. Despite a slightly awkward start, this is the kind of book which grows on the reader exponentially. In 1897, saloon girl Dorothy Bednar spontaneously jumps aboard a train departing for the West. Chased by her violent brother, she eludes him by hiding in a compartment paid for by a mail-order bride who has developed cold feet. The would-be bride persuades Dorothy to take her refusal letter to the would-be-bridegroom, lawyer Ronald Smith, in Colorado. Well-meaning Dorothy promises to do as asked, but love has its way of interfering with the best-laid plans.

What follows is a romance beset by Dorothy’s guilt and her unsavoury past, and Ronald’s perfectionist quirks. It is well-paced, charming, and different enough to make it stand out from the usual romance, and its characters, finding their way in small-town Old West, remind us of the basic goodness of most people.  The ending is to be expected, but it’s a romance after all, and there’s plenty going on to keep the reader turning the pages with interest.