Thursday, August 23, 2012

ABG Reads Blog Tour: "Train Station Bride" by Holly Bush Excerpt

Title: Train Station Bride
Author: Holly Bush 
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Book Baby 
Number of Pages: E Book, aprx 216 

1887 Debutante, Julia Crawford endures a lifetime of subtle ridicule as the plump, silly daughter of a premiere Boston family. Julia strikes out on her own to gain independence, traveling to the Midwest to marry an aging shopkeeper and care for his mother. Julia finds her new home rough and uncivilized after the sophistication of a big city, while closely held secrets threaten to ruin Julia’s one chance at love.

Jake Shelling was sixteen and grew up quick when his parents died from influenza on the North Dakota prairie. Left with a half-cleared farm and two young sisters, he spent little time on his own needs . . till now. At thirty-five, he figured it was high time to have some sons and a mail order bride would suit him just fine. No expectations of love, just a helpmate from sturdy stock, ready for farm life.

Will fate and chance play a trick on Julia and Jake?


Chapter One

“Really, Julia, do hurry,” Jane Crawford said to her daughter still seated at the ivory lace-covered vanity. “The guests are arriving, and you should be there to greet them.”
Julia Crawford smiled up at her mother with resignation. This was a battle she did not need to win. She would make no argument.
 “I’ll be down shortly, Mother. Jolene and Jennifer are there. Our guests are here to see them, not me. Has Jillian gone down?”
 “She is standing with your father at the door,” her mother replied.
“I’ll be down in a moment, then. Do go down to the guests. You know how father fusses when you leave him alone,” Julia said as she spun a blonde curl around her finger.
Her mother glided to the door and closed it softly. Julia cocked her ear, waiting for the soft patter of her mother’s slippers on the steps. Only then did she pull the gold chain from her neck and insert the key that hung from it in a gilded jewel box.  With a final glance at her bedroom door, Julia pulled a white envelope from the case and unfolded the letter it held.

Dear Miss Crawford,
I will be at the train station to meet you on the appointed day. My mother and I look forward to your arrival. I will stay above my shop until the day of our marriage. My mother has graciously allowed you to stay with her during that time. She is pleased to know you do needlepoint. Her arthritic hands no longer allow her to sew, and she is most anxious to have another woman about. I am anxious as well . . .

Julia read to the last line even though she could have recited the letter as if it were the Lord’s Prayer. Very truly, Mr. Jacob Snelling.  The day would arrive for her to depart sooner than she both hoped and dreaded. Mr. Snelling was a successful shop owner, near fifty years old, with an aging mother in a small South Dakota town. He had never married. His mother had begun to complain of a lack of company, and he admitted he was lonely. Those two forces had led him to place an ad for a wife in the Boston Globe nearly a year ago. And to Julia’s shock she had answered it. Their correspondence had been proper, more formal than she had expected from a merchant in the Midwest.
That formality had been a great comfort to her. It was what she was accustomed to. And he sounded like a truly nice man. He had great regard for his mother, of that Julia was certain. His letters were filled with news of the aging Portentia Snelling and that always brought comfort to Julia when she was most terrified of what she was embarking on. A man so devoted to his own mother would certainly be kind to her. Julia rose from the vanity seat with a smile on her face. One more formal evening with her family could not deter her now.

Keep an eye out for my next posts which will include a guest post, review, and a giveaway!  To follow the entire tour, please click here.

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