Deeply Devoted by Maggie Brendan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Summary from Goodreads:
When Catharine Olsen leaves Holland for America as a mail-order bride, she brings along some extra baggage: two sisters, her mother's set of Blue Willow china, and a tragic past. When she arrives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, she promptly marries Peter Andersen and dreams of starting life over in this rugged land. Peter is kind and patient with Catharine and accommodating to her sisters. His mother, however, is not. When she begins a campaign to sabotage Peter's marriage, Catharine is distraught, worried that her secret past will be discovered. Will her life end up as nothing but broken pieces? Or will these trials make her stronger?
This book ticked all my boxes. It is a prairie romance with a mail-order bride who is a new arrival from Europe, so there is also a bit of a culture clash. There were real secrets and issues in this book, unlike some books where the whole central conflict could have been resolved with one five-minute conversation. It is spread over a long period time so that the reader can see Peter and Catharine's love grow. The subplot with Clara, Peter's mother, was fleshed out and showed her as a woman with needs and reasons for her bad behavior. All of these aspects added up to a satisfying novel for me.
The one little quirk that bothered me in this novel was the way Catharine's sister Greta talked. I'm not an expert in 19th-century speech patterns or anything, but Greta sounded more modern than the other characters. She would utter phrases like, "Cut it out, Cath!", which sounds more like something one of my daughters would say, not a 19th-century teenager whose first language is not English.
This is the first book in a three-book series. It doesn't end in a cliffhanger so you can stop with this book, but the author did create plot points that give you a reason to pick up the other books. If you enjoy spending time with the characters in this book, then this is good news.
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