Sunday, January 9, 2011

Book Review: Second Chance Brides

Second Chance Brides (Book 2 Texas Boardinghouse Brides series) by Vickie McDonough, Barbour Books, 2010

Last May I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing The Anonymous Bride which was Book 1 in Vickie McDonough's Texas Boardinghouse Brides series.

Well, Vickie's second book of that same series is every bit as good as the first. Second Chance Brides is a stand-alone, yet numerous mentions are made to The Anonymous Bride so I'll give you a bit of background in case you haven't read the first...

Two Corbett brothers named Mark and Garrett invite a mail-order bride to town for their cousin whom they feel ought to get married. But to enhance the odds, they invite three women figuring only one will actually show up. Surprise! Four women answer the call. By the end Book 1, their cousin is married but the town has too many unattached brides on the loose.

Enter Book 2 aptly named Second Chance Brides which is the story of two of the remaining brides:

- Shannon O'Neil, the petite Irish immigrant who's all alone in the world.


- Leah Bennett, the oldest of eleven siblings who's running from any responsibility that includes wet diapers and leaking noses.

Both mail-order brides still live at Rachel's boardinghouse and there is much interaction between the three women. There is also many scenes with the men who are involved with them:

- Mark Corbett is one of the brothers who invited the mail-order brides to town. He likes Shannon's quiet fire but something in his past grips him in fear of being found out. He knows he's destined to walk his path alone and it's going to be far away in the city.

- Mark's brother, Garrett wants to marry the women off as soon as possible so he doesn't have to keep paying their boardinghouse bill. There's no way he's ready to settle into marriage at this stage, but maybe he can arrange socials to bring the area's single people together.

- Rand Kessler is the rich rancher who wooed Rachel in the first book but lost out to Marshal Davis. Rand is still on the lookout for a wife. And he has his eyes on Shannon.

- Dan Howard is the local livery owner who lives in a small house with his mother. He may be the tallest man in town but he smells like the horses he cares for every day.

And to round out the activities, Rachel's daughter Jack/Jacqueline continues to steal scenes as she dances her way in and out of trouble with her 2 male cronies and 1 arch nemesis.

Because of all the subplots and interactions, there isn't room in this book to deeply delve into the storylines of Shannon and Leah. But in the space available, the author does a creditable job of portraying the women's dreams and fears. We know why they react the way they do and can commiserate with their decisions.

Second Chance Brides is an enjoyable read about western life in the late 1800's. The individual characters stay true to their beliefs and I really liked following their stories.

I was delighted to discover that Jacqueline - older and perhaps wiser - will be one of the main characters in Book 3 of this series due out in Apr 2011. I can't wait for Jacqueline's book.

Books in The Texas Boardinghouse Brides series:

Book 1 - The Anonymous Bride (2010)
Book 2 - Second Chance Brides (2010)
Book 3 - Finally a Bride (2011)

Vickie McDonough came be found at

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