A RELUCTANT BRIDE: THE BRIDE SHIPS, BOOK ONE, by Jody Hedlund, Bethany House, Baker Publishing Group


Living in London’s poorest slum, Mercy Wilkins harbors little hope for a better life. So when she’s offered the opportunity to join a bride ship sailing to British Columbia, she agrees. The journey abroad is her only prospect to escape a bleak future—both for herself and to help her sister, who’s suffering in a workhouse.

Wealthy and titled Joseph Colville leaves everything behind and takes to the sea to escape the pain of losing his family. As the ship’s surgeon, he’s in charge of the passengers’ welfare aboard the Tynemouth, including sixty brides-to-be. He has no immediate intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, the two must fight against a forbidden love.

With hundreds of single men congregating along the shore of Vancouver Island, eager to claim a bride from the Tynemouth, will Mercy and Joseph miss their chance at true love, or will they overcome the obstacles that threaten to keep them apart?

352 Pages

Out June 4, 2019


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Okay, first and foremost… what a beautiful cover.

Next, I’d suggest that readers take time after reading the book to read the author’s notes about how she researched and applied her findings to her story. Fascinating when fiction meets facts.

Now, this has to be one of the best researched historical fiction books that I’ve had the pleasure to read. Written about the 1860s and the yet to be Canadianized colonies of western Canada, where men outnumbered women by an incredible ratio, this book focuses on a fact-based time where brides were brought in from England by churches to marry single men of the colony. Strangers offered homes, marriage and a forever life to strangers…

How this was done is not for me to say; you’ll have to read the book. The characters are depicted accurately for the time, focusing on class systems in London, sea travels and problems that occur during lengthy journeys and of course, brides for unknown husbands at the end of said journeys.

Hedlund’s character is layered, poor and flawed, not to mention desperate for a new, better life than the one she faces if she stays in London. She is driven to her decision out of fear for a loved one as well as for her own well-being.

The writing is perfect, just mesmerizing and memorable. Hedlund has a lyrical quality to her writing that exudes throughout the pages of this book. Her story-telling abilities shine exquisitely. I love her books, but I have to say, this one tops the charts above them all. The pacing is continuous and flowing, moving from one transition to the next flawlessly. The romance is sweet and not over-powering. The energy and tension builds steadily pulling the reading along. I love the interactions between characters, their personalities and flaws.


I gave this book:


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