The Bride Wore Blue, by Mona Hodgson

book coverHeaded toward a fresh start but tethered by her past, Vivian longs to break free, to find forgiveness and love.

At last, the sisters are reunited! The youngest Sinclair, the family “baby”, is moving from Maine to Cripple Creek, Colorado and joining Kat, Nell, and Ida. But Vivian is a young woman with a will of her own, and made some decisions back in Portland that have begun to haunt her. Will she be able to live up to the expectations of her three perfect and now happily-settled sisters?

The sisters warmly welcome Vivian to the mountain west, but the wild-and-woolly mining town isn’t ripe with opportunities for a respectable young woman. The youngest Sinclair sister is determined to make her own way, so when she’s offered a job as a hostess in a sporting house, she takes it, thinking the position is appropriate for a tainted, unlovable woman like herself. Although she’s convinced she’ll never be asked to entertain privately, Vivian keeps her employment a secret from her sisters, knowing they’d be mortified—as will Carter Alwyn, the kind and godly sheriff’s deputy who’s sweet on her.

Vivian is descending into a life of secrets, lying to the very people who love her and could help her heal from her mistakes. Will an outpouring of grace remind her that she is still God’s beloved and that her past can be washed as clean as Rocky Mountain snow?

This is the third in the Sinclair Sisters series, set in the Colorado mining town of Cripple Creek at the end of the 19th century. Vivian dreams of being a dress designer, but her options are few after making a series of bad decisions. She would rather join her father in Paris, France, but when he says no she has no choice but to travel west. She can’t find a job and she needs rent money. In desperation – and with perhaps a touch of naivety – she takes a hostess job at the brothel belonging to the infamous madam, Pearl de Vere. The problem is that recognizes more than one of Pearl’s clients, including the man who robbed the train on which she traveled to Cripple Creek.

Ida and Vivian are the oldest and youngest of the Sinclair sisters, and they also come across as the most naïve. For example, in this book Vivian is asked if she is a working girl and she replies in the affirmative. What she doesn’t seem to understand is that a working girl is a woman who works in one of the many brothels. Due to sisters’ actions, their reputations in the town are at risk. I found myself wondering how their actions might have also hurt Nell and Kat since they were well-established in the town.

The Bride Wore Blue features many familiar characters from Hodgson’s previous two books. One of them is Tucker Raines financial nemesis from Too Rich For a Bride, bank manager Updike. He continues to be unpleasant and demanding, but he has his own secrets. In my review for Too Rich For a Bride, I suggested that the book could be read without having read the first book in the series. I’ve since changed my mind. It is definitely easier to read each book in order; if only to remember which husband is married to which sister. The first time I read The Bride Wore Blue I often got confused between Kat and Nell and their husbands. I then read the series in sequential order and it made a lot more sense.

Mona Hodgson continues to include a well-known Cripple Creek historical figure in her books. Pearl de Vere did exist and ran an expensive brothel in the town. One night in 1897, she hosted the party to “end all parties.” The events of that night are described in this novel, including how it tragically ended. As with the previous books, you get a real sense of what life was like in this mining outpost.

Although we are now out of Sinclairs, Mona Hodgson does have another book in the series planned. Twice a Bride is due to be published in October 2012 and it looks like it focuses on Ida’s sister-in-law, Willow.

Publisher:  Waterbrook Press

Publication Date: 08 May 2012

Page Count: 320

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Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for my free copy of The Bride Wore Blue, which I received in exchange for an honest review.


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