Tuesday, August 1, 2017

"Genevieve: Bride of Nevada" by Cynthia Woolf

Today I decided to indulge in a guilty pleasure of mine and read a Mail Order Bride novel. Why do I call it a guilty pleasure? Because just about every mail order bride book that I have read follows a pretty standard formula. 1) Something happens causing a young woman to need to relocate. Generally she doesn’t have a lot of money or options, so she winds up answering an advertisement in a newspaper from a man across the country who is looking for a wife. 2) She takes a long train ride to wherever her future husband lives and marries him the day she meets him. 3) There are usually a number of hardships or difficulties that they must endure and overcome together. And 4) Once they overcome these difficulties together, love wins out and their happy ending is ensured. There are a few variations of this from different authors, but in general that’s the standard formula. The book I chose for today was no different.

“Genevieve: Bride of Nevada” definitely counts as your standard Mail Order Bride novel. It’s one of a series of books that were written by a number of authors. In this series, there is a book for every state in the USA. This one focuses on Genny, a young woman who has just lost her job as a factory employee when the factory burns down. She answers an ad for a Mail Order Bride from a rancher in Nevada who was recently widowed and needs a wife to help him raise his two small children. The problem she encounters after she meets him is that he doesn’t intend for it to be a “real” marriage. His wife had died in childbirth and he is unwilling to let himself love another woman and risk losing her that way as well. And no “real” marriage means that there will never be any more children and no risk of losing someone else.

As she really has no other options at that point, Genny agrees and marries Stuart. She falls instantly in love with his children, and they are almost as quickly in love with her. Then she discovers that her new husband intends to share a bed with her, though there will be no physical intimacy between them. (Remember, he’s not willing to risk his heart or to father more children.) Unfortunately for Genny, she truly wishes to have children of her own in addition to the two of Stuart’s that she is helping to raise. As expected, she falls in love with a husband who keeps pushing her away.

Next comes the expected obstacle they must overcome. Genny, realizing that she loves her husband, but miserable over his unwillingness to return her feelings and make their marriage a “real” one, packs her few belongings, leaves her wedding ring behind, and returns to the nearby town. She hates leaving the children, (the youngest of which had just that day started calling her mama), but she can’t remain as nothing more than a caretaker and housekeeper. Back in town, she takes a job waitressing at the hotel restaurant in the hopes that she might at least be able to see the two children once in a while.

I’m not going to go into further detail as to what happens next. After all, I don’t want to give the whole story away. I’ve mentioned already that this book follows the standard formula for Mail Order Bride stories, so you can pretty much guess at what will happen. Several times this book did make me tear up, sometimes due to sadness and others at happy moments. (The subject is one of my guilty pleasures, after all). There were a couple of spots that could have been slightly better edited, but overall it wasn’t bad. It was a very quick book to read. I finished it in less than a day, and as expected, I did enjoy it. Hopefully you will too.

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