“The Anonymous Bride” is the first book in the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, set in 1886.

“The Anonymous Bride,” by Vickie McDonough

“The Anonymous Bride” is the first book in the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, set in 1886. Meet Luke Davis, the tall, blue-eyed, handsome marshal of Lookout, Texas. Never married, Luke offhandedly tells his quirky cousins that he would get married if the right woman ever came along. Little did he know he had set in motion a chain of events that would forever alter his life.

A month after Luke’s flippant statement, three mail-order brides show up ready and willing to marry the town marshal. Luke doesn’t have a clue what is going on, but quickly discovers that his cousins posted an ad under his name for a mail-order bride. Three women respond to the ad, and arrive in Lookout within days of each other. The women all need a place to stay and end up at the only boardinghouse in town.

The boardinghouse proprietress, Rachel Hamilton, is less than thrilled to learn of her new boarders. Rachel was in love with Luke and close to marrying him years before, but was forced to marry Luke’s friend after a tragic incident. Luke never forgave Rachel and left Lookout for years, traveling around the United States.

Now he’s back, and Rachel, now a widow, realizes she never stopped loving Luke. Rachel is put in the difficult position of taking care of the determined brides-to-be.  

With three women vying for the marshal’s affections, several contests are held to determine which woman is the best cook and seamstress. Not only must Rachel fulfill her hostess duties, but each of the women privately asks for help winning the contests. She agrees to do so, all the while not revealing her history with Luke.

Will Rachel find the courage to tell Luke of her feelings? Or might she enter the contests anonymously?

Though some might find the book a bit confusing at the beginning, keep in mind that the storyline includes background on each of the three mail-order brides, and just stick it out. It’s quite worth the effort!

If you enjoy this book, read “Second Chance Brides,” the second book in the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, released Sept. 1, 2010.