Monday, May 07, 2012

Maggie Brendan's Deeply Devoted ~ Reviewed

By Maggie Branden
Published by Revell

Back Cover: 

When Catharine Olsen leaves Holland for America as a mail-order bride, she brings along some extra baggage: two sisters, her mother's set of Blue Willow china, and a tragic past. When she arrives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, she promptly marries Peter Andersen and dreams of starting life over in this rugged land. Peter is kind and patient with Catharine and accommodating to her sisters. His mother, however, is not. When she begins a campaign to sabotage Peter's marriage, Catharine is distraught, worried that her secret past will be discovered. Will her life end up as nothing but broken pieces? Or will these trials make her stronger?

Readers will love negotiating the clash of cultures and class as a highborn European and a Western wheat farmer learn to love one another and trust God with both the past and the future.


 Deeply Devoted is the first in a new series written by Maggie Branden which takes place in 1887, Cheyenne Territory, Wyoming! I’m thankful for the review copy of such a fun, and encouraging book. The author pens a sweet, heart-felt story that reminds me of the Love Comes Softly series written by Jeanette Oke.

Maggie Branden pens a novel that gives the reader a peek at life back in 1887 and how hard it was to live in the Cheyenne Territory. I enjoyed all the quirky and fun characters in this book even the practical and responsible sister Catharine Olsen who was born and raised in Holland. She takes on the job of becoming a mail-order bride and moves her and her sisters to America.

Maggie said in her research, “Mail-order brides were a huge part of settling the West. My heroine was from Holland. Many Dutch Brides settled in Minnesota, but I took the liberty of having them travel to Wyoming to marry a wheat farmer.”

That’s when the fun begins. This author had me laugh out-loud when I read about these women of privilege learning to live on a wheat farm. Peter takes Catharine his bride and her sisters to the store to get suitable clothes to work in. The girls talk about their new clothes choices, these ladies were raised in a home of privilege they had servants and didn’t do any physical labor. So when this author describes a scene where the ladies go to a country store to look at clothes you have to laugh out-loud.

“Oh, look, there’s overalls like our stable boy wore back home,” Anna grinned. “I might like them.”

Catharine held up the overalls in disbelief. “I’m not really sure why we would need these.”

“Peter did say that we would be doing outdoor work, and working in a dress would be difficult in the wheat fields,”

…you know, I can see how it would be easier to do gardening in these than in a skirt with a lot of petticoats, can’t you? Anna said.

“Well, you could be right. But those shoes are hideous. I can’t see myself in them.” Greta groaned.

I enjoyed Catharine and the relationship she had with her sisters. They are playful and each has a different reaction to this new home and foreign land in America.

Catharine and her sisters might have gotten more than they bargained for but they are willing to give it their 100 percent. Peter, Catharine’s new husband thinks the same thing. Why hadn’t Catharine mentioned she was bringing her sisters in there letters? It was going to take some getting used to but he also was willing to do whatever it took to make the marriage work.

Peter’s mother however was filled with suspicion and felt betrayed by her son. How could he marry a women he’d never even met when she had the perfect woman already picked out for him right in their home town? They went to the same church even, grew up in the same school. This Catharine has bewitched her only son and she was going to do whatever it took to prove it. Why would a woman leave Holland with her sisters and move to America? She had no family here. She must be fleeing trouble. Peter’s mom would find out what kind of trouble if it was the last thing she did.

I enjoyed this novel, these characters getting to know the Wild West and Catharine’s love of china. Not just any China but the Blue Willow kind. It reminded her of home.  The author’s passion for history, family, Blue dishes and faith are fun to read about throughout this story. The faith message is not preachy but honest and believable. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel and the setting. I look forward to the other books in this series. I highly recommend this book for a great escape; you’ll be encouraged, energized and learned about American history along the way!! It doesn’t get any better than that.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

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