16 October 2014

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection - Review of Vickie McDonough's Novella

The Westward Christmas Brides Collection

Forging a Family by Vickie McDonough
The Westward Christmas Brides Collection (Barbour Books, 2014)
Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels 

In Forging a Family, Vickie McDonough has crafted a beautiful Christmas novella. Beth Ruskin is accompanying her father, a physician, west and is bringing one last (of ten) orphan on the train, hopeful to find little Lizzie a home. Meanwhile burly blacksmith Cade Maddox, a widower, is trying to figure out how he can possibly take care of his daughter, Annie, three, by himself.

The bridge washed out and the train passengers all must find places in a tiny town to stay.  When little Annie is injured, Beth and Dr. Ruskin must help.

Sparks fly when Beth meets Cade. He's the first man she can really imagine herself falling in love with. But her father would never approve of a smithy. And Cade thinks the same thing. He has tried unsuccessfully to find a caregiver for Annie, in his small town.

As Beth helps Cade and Annie, bringing little Lizzie along with her, you can see they were meant to be a family. But when Cade goes through some difficult struggles and is seriously injured, all bets are off. But of course there is a satisfying happy-ever-after or I wouldn't give it five stars~

This story was a real page-turner yet the author managed to make sure you were grounded in the setting in each scene.

Five out of Five Stars *****

Bibliotherapy elements: Loss of spouse, adoption, injuries, making difficult life choices.

Giveaway: We're giving away an ebook or paperback copy of The Westward Brides Collection this week. Have you read any other stories about orphan trains?

37 comments:

  1. CARRIE, thank you for the great review! I have read plenty of stories about orphan trains and I can't think of a title right now of a single one! Talk about after surgery brain fog! So my comment here is absolutely redundant, but I DID enjoy the review. lol Sounds like a lovely, heartwarming story, VICKIE!

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    1. We have to get a copy to you Angel Diana! You'll love these stories! I know I've read more, too, one was by a friend of mine and not yet published.

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    2. I think I read one by Kim Vogel Sawyer. I don't know, but have read a few...that I DO know! And they are all different and always heartwarming.

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  2. I loved the Orphan Train series by Joan Lowery Nixon as a teenager and it got me interested in the history of orphan trains. Looking forward to reading the novellas in this collection!

    colorvibrant at gmail dot com

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    1. Oh, thanks Heidi for mentioning that one. Will have to check it out!

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  3. Carrie,

    Thanks for the awesome review! I'm delighted you enjoyed Forging A Family.

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    1. I did. I loved this story! You are welcome! Blessings, Vickie!

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  4. Thank you Carrie for a wonderful review. I have read several articles about the orphan train. Would love to read this book!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Melanie this is a great book for your book club for Christmas! TY! Blessings!

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  5. I loved all the stories in this Christmas Brides Collection but I have to say, this was definitely one of my favorites!! A beautiful, heartwarming story that hits all the right spots! :) And one you summed up really well Carrie!
    And as for the other orphan train stories, they are on the tip of my tongue....

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    1. I haven't gotten through all of them yet, Noela! We need you to review some, too!! TY! Hugs!

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  6. Great review Carrie!
    (I am not entering the contest--I already have the book)

    I have read Forging a Family and found it wonderful!
    All the novellas in The Westward Christmas Brides Collection are wonderful.

    Blessings, Tina

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    1. Thanks, Tina! I'll keep reading each night then!

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  7. Hi, Carrie!!

    Loved your review and would love to read "Forging a Family" - as well as the other stories in "The Westward Christmas Brides Collection"!! It sounds like such a heart-warming, exciting story - full of life's trials, I would love to learn the solutions to them.

    I love books containing children characters - the orphan trains are something I had no knowledge of until a year or two ago. I think they are a fascinating subject - holding even more interest for me since working for years in a children's home for abused and neglected children.

    I haven't read any stories about orphan's trains - however, think I do have one which I haven't had the opportunity to read yet. It probably is the one by Kim Vogel Sawyer that Diana mentioned. I know all about that surgery "brain fog", Diana. I'm not sure it totally disappears - after having several, and adding advancing age to it (LOL)!!

    Thanks and hugs, Carrie!!

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    1. TY Bonnie! I bet you were amazing with the children and an incredible blessing to them! I think I read about this as a child and found it to be so disturbing that I didn't want to think about it. With the advent of the Women's Suffrage movement, Social Welfare reform began and children began to have a better chance at getting help. Blessings!

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  8. P.S. Shared post!!

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    1. TY, Bonnie! I appreciate your help in getting the word out!

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  9. I have not read anything about orphan trains. I must admit that now I am very curious. Sounds very interesting.
    cindialtman(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Cindi, I don't know if they are talking about it at school or if my son read about it on his own, but a couple of years ago he talked with me about it. He found it as disturbing as I did when I read about it as a child.

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  10. I have read about the orphan trains. No book comes to mind. would enjoy your books..
    dkstevensne(at) outlook dotcom

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    1. Lots of great authors in this collection but I'm not one of them, Deanna! I am enjoy reading them, though!

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  11. Thank you for sharing this lovely review, Carrie! I adore Christmas stories!!

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    1. Me, too, Brtiney! I love writing them, too. I'll probably end up writing a new Christmas story pretty regularly from now on. This was a super read. Vickie is so talented!

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  12. I have heard about the orphan trains, but never read any stories about them. I should start here.

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    1. This has the orphan trains in the background. Makes me want to read some of the stories or see if I can find a movie about them. Vickie did a great job of stirring up interest!

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  13. No I haven't read any books about orphan trains, that I know of anyway. I think I would remember if I had! :) I do think that I have watched a movie about a couple of kids that came from an orphan train. I don't doubt this novella will be great and keep up the intrigue! :D Wanda just has a way that makes you not want to stop reading sometimes!

    Blessings, Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a) Chavez

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    1. Vickie did a great job with this story. I'd love to read some more of her stories!

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  14. Carrie,
    Thank you so much for your review of this book! I love your blog! I look forward to my email updates everyday! You have helped me find a number of new books that are on my TBR list!!
    I have never read a story about an orphan train, but definitely want to after reading this!!! I sooo have my fingers crossed to win a pb copy of this book!

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    1. The other ladies who read and review for the blog do the "heavy lifting" Christina. They do an amazing job and I trust their recommendations. So glad you found us!

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  15. I've always been fascinated by orphan trains. I've read several books about them but I don't remember the titles! Thanks for a great review! kosterbind (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. If you do remember, Kelly, I hope you will come back and tell me! Or look for me on FB and tell me! Blessings!

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  16. Carrie,
    Thank you so much for your review of this book! I love your blog! I look forward to my email updates everyday! You have helped me find a number of new books that are on my TBR list!!
    I have never read a story about an orphan train, but definitely want to after reading this!!! I sooo have my fingers crossed to win a pb copy of this book!

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  17. Carrie,
    Thank you so much for your review of this book! I love your blog! I look forward to my email updates everyday! You have helped me find a number of new books that are on my TBR list!!
    I have never read a story about an orphan train, but definitely want to after reading this!!! I sooo have my fingers crossed to win a pb copy of this book!

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  20. Sounds like a wonderful book God bless u
    I have read orphan train stories before

    ChrisG

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  21. I have read books on the Orphan Trains especially the series written by Jane Peart.
    Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.
    Janet E.

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