Clara Stapleton is already a spinster at the age of twenty-two, with no hope of finding an acceptable husband in post-Civil War Boston. Craving adventure and a new life elsewhere, she answers an ad seeking a mail-order bride from a trapper in Alaska.
When Clara arrives at Phineas Glass’s home, she discovers that he’s died in the meantime and only his dour, grieving sister is left behind. Callie Glass doesn’t want her, determined to stay alone with her trapline, but it isn’t long before Clara’s cooking, housekeeping, and personality convince Callie to let her stay.
Oh how to talk about these characters when all I want to do is gush and swoon? Callie and Clara are smart and strong, finding their own ways to negotiate being different in a world that immediately puts them at the mercy of men. Callie has long known she’s a “tom” (lesbian), dresses like a man, and is as good a trapper as her brother was. Clara is only just figuring out her sexual orientation, usually dresses like a woman, and while she’s an incredible cook and housekeeper, she can also negotiate in town like she was born to it. Both women may be strong, but they also have tender, vulnerable sides, and each has to learn how to trust the other with them.
The Writing Style
Alaskan Bride is so well written that reading it is like taking a master class in historical fiction writing. The language and syntax of the time is there, but in a way that’s still easy for contemporary readers to take in. D Jordan Redhawk had obviously done a tremendous amount of research, but her world building is so elegant that information is simply conveyed throughout the story.
While Alaskan Bride is a romance, I would argue that it’s first and foremost a historical novel. The romance that’s there is well developed, but to call it a slow build is an understatement.
Everything? Yes, everything.
This isn’t a con per se, but there’s a constant level of sexual threat whenever Callie and/or Clara are around some of the men in town. After recently experiencing something similar with Jae’s book Hidden Truths, I think I need a break from American historical romances.
Alaskan Bride is a marvel and I cannot recommend it enough.
Excerpt from Alaskan Bride by D Jordan Redhawk
Callie walked Jasper’s trapline in a daze. For the life of her, she couldn’t figure out when she’d gone from the firm opinion of sending Clara Stapleton on her way this morning to this seemingly ineffectual haze of uncertainty. Is this what men feel when women run roughshod over them? She had the strange suspicion that it was, and the idea that Clara could bat her beautiful hazel eyes and cause Callie to throw common sense to the winds galled her. As the day passed, she mulled over her options and decided that come Hell or high water Miss Clara Stapleton would be sent away on the morrow.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781594935015
- Publisher: Bella Books
D Jordan Redhawk Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Alaskan Bride by D Jordan Redhawk. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.