About the Book
Book: Penelope’s Pursuit
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense
Release date: June 29, 2021
Are mail-order-brides changing their minds or is something sinister going on in Kansas?
Ten years ago, Penelope’s sister ran away as a mail-order bride, and it was the last their family ever heard from her. Now, with their parents dead and Penelope all alone, the young woman has one goal. Find her sister.
It took enough grit for Henry to write to Miss Mildred Crenshaw about finding him a wife in the first place, but when the stage arrives and no bride steps off, the whole thing feels like a confidence scheme. Investigation, however, sends chills down his spine as he realizes women are leaving the east for the west but many never arrive at their destinations.
Is it any wonder that Penelope doesn’t trust the man who abducts her from the clutches of her new friends and rides off into the sunset? Is his explanation reasonable? Can she convince him to help her find her sister?
And is she about to fall in love with a homesteader on the untamed prairies of Kansas?
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About the Author
Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.
More from Chautona
Mail Order Brides: Do We Romanticize the Past?
Although I recall reading about mail-order brides in school… somewhere… Patricia MacLachlan’s Sarah, Plain and Tall was my first introduction to the idea of advertising for or requesting the services of a matchmaker to find a wife. The book and the subsequent movie showed the difficulties of such a marriage and left us all with a satisfactory ending.
Some years later, while doing a bit of research, I discovered another side of the coin—a horrifying picture of what happened to some gullible young women and the unscrupulous people who used such matchmaking schemes as a means for human trafficking. It sickened me, as it should anyone.
All my ideas for mail order bride novels ended up as wadded up balls of mental paper and in the wastepaper basket of my mind. A few years passed, and I came up with a twist on mail order brides, one that will see the light of day if I ever have time to write it. A few more years passed, and a series of books featuring a matchmaking service for mail-order brides and the Homestead Act resurrected those ideas. I smoothed a couple out, reconsidered, and decided against writing them.
I’d have to miss the opportunity to join the series.
My mind never does follow orders well. Within minutes of that decision, I had a story. What would happen if there was some funny business going on with girls going west? How could I combine a satisfactory ending where two people came to a meeting of the minds and hearts in the midst of fighting something that ugly?
Penelope’s Pursuit was born.
Is my story idealized? Probably. I’ll be frank with you. I’m okay with that, too. See, sometimes all we need is a reminder that mankind is sinful and in need of a Savior before the story turns into how things should have been. After all, fiction mirrors reality, but it is also an escape.
I hope Penelope’s escape to the west and her pursuit of her sister encourages you to turn to the Lord for every decision, in every trouble, and with every praise possible in between.
I enjoy mail order bride stories because it fascinates me that young women would travel for days to meet a man they don’t know. They meet and agree to wed and start their lives together as strangers. I think for some of these women it would be exciting and a feeling of hope. But what if there was another side to the mail order brides?
The author takes us into the dark secrets that people don’t talk about. Young women would be contacted when they were matched with a single man. Traveling for days they were to be met at the station by their intended. But things don’t always go as plan. There is evil in the world and this story shows us the seedy side of mail order brides.
I couldn’t help but like Penelope. She is a smart young woman who sets out to find out where her sister disappeared to. She remembers being ten years old and her sister telling her she was going off to be a mail order bride. Penelope is now twenty and no one ever heard from her sister the moment she left for a supposedly happy life. I thought she was brave to pretend to be a mail order bride and travel to the town her sister was to be at ten years ago. Penelope’s heart beats a bit faster as she gets closer to the town.
Rueben to me is a hero. If he didn’t listen to his instincts that day he saw Penelope, she could well be the next victim that disappears. How he convinces Penelope that she is danger was only by the grace of God. Why would a stranger grab her off the street saying that he was there to save her? I loved how he protects her from harm and partners with her to find her sister.
Welcome to the dark side of human trafficking in the Wild West. It is hardly talked about, but it happened. Young women were kidnapped and forced to do things that were degrading. In order to keep them under control they provided drugs so they wouldn’t leave. The author lets us inside the ugly world of greed, power and money in a time period where women were afraid to speak up.
I like how Chautona allows readers to see a side of mail order brides that isn’t all happy and safe. The faith element is strong in the story and fits right in to how the two main characters depend on their faith to help find Penelope’s sister. I won’t tell you if they find Penelope’s sister because it is a very important part of this journey into a dark secret.
This not a happy feel good romance, but it is a story that opens our eyes to the evils of the world that began many years ago. People were afraid to speak up, and looked the other way. It is a good reminder for us today to speak up if you see something that isn’t right. I pt reminds us to trust God and follow His directions. Thank you Chautona for a story that looks at the other side of the coin and exposes the tricks the enemy uses to do harm.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.