The four McBride brothers have their worlds turned upside down when their precocious younger sister secretly places an advertisement for a mail-order bride.
Kit McBride knows that Buck's Creek, Montana, is no place to find a wife. Between him and his three brothers—plus little Junebug—they manage all right on their own, thank you very much. But unbeknownst to Kit, his sister is sick to death of cleaning, cooking, and mending for her big brothers, so she places an ad in The Matrimonial News to get them hitched.
After Maddy Mooney emigrated from Ireland, she found employment with an eccentric but poor widow. When her mistress decides to answer an ad for a mail-order bride, Maddy is dragged along for the ride to Montana. But en route to the West, Maddy is suddenly abandoned and left to assume the widow's name, position, and matrimonial prospects….
With no other recourse in the wilderness, Maddy must convince Kit she’s the wife he never knew he needed.
Part Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, part Ransom of Little Red Chief and Tom Sawyer, this book brings the best of these comedies for this historical rom-com. I would like to clarify that Maddy doesn’t really set out to convince Kit she’s the wife he actually wants. When she arrives (unwillingly) at his trading post, a series of unfortunate (but hilarious) events have occurred, mostly at the behest of the book’s most memorable character: the kid sister, Junebug McBride. All she really wants to do is go back home to Ireland because America isn’t all it's cracked up to be. When Kit finds out his kid sister has placed an ad for a WIFE on his behalf, he doesn’t want one, not even one as pretty and lovely as Maddy. And his other three brothers certainly don’t want a wife.
Who then wants a wife? Junebug. In what I would consider a more accurate response to having to take care of a bunch of dirty, ill-mannered backwoods-men, Junebug has had it with all the cooking, cleaning, laundering, housekeeping, and all manner of things womenfolk have been saddled with since time immemorial. (God bless Millie* who pushed up her sleeves and took it on, but I would not have.) So Junebug places an ad for a wife, but what she receives is not who represented herself in her letters (an irony that knows no bounds.) Maddy is actually the “maid” for the supposed wife in question, but when Junebug meets the marital prospect and realizes her mistake, her rectifying of the situation ends up leaving Maddy homeless and abroad.
Maddy ends up spending some time in the company of these brothers, though she too is not the wife material that Junebug was hoping for. After all, what Junebug would have liked most was someone who could cook. (She despises cooking, something that many of the readers could probably sympathize with.) Maddy is a housemaid, so cleaning, sure; laundry, perhaps to some extent; but cooking? Nope. Meanwhile Kit is worried about Maddy, who when she arrives, is frightened by his brother and then horribly injured. Maddy is convalescing and isn’t able to help with the chores (yet again something Junebug was not wanting–another person to care for.) However, given some time, a new arrangement is made: the brothers will send Maddy back to Ireland (once she is healed) after she gives some “feminine” lessons to their sister, who they point out is as wild as a badger. No one has to marry anybody…except after some time in close proximity, now Kit and Maddy are reconsidering the idea. What if she stayed? That is, until the original “bride” returns to claim her man.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.
Both the main characters are lovely and worthy hero(ine)s and Kit McBride is a very deliciously built Hemsworth brother who is a blacksmith, strong but sensitive, while Maddy is a plucky heroine who is just trying to make the best of some unfortunate things that have happened to her. Morgan–the scary older brother–is definitely going to be an amusing hero of the next book (a very crusty old dragon on the outside, marshmallow middle); and Junebug, the character who steals every single scene she is in–and she’s in a lot of them–well, it will be interesting to see who manages to tame her. I can’t wait to read more. Well done.
*main character from Seven Brides.