We’ve got a guest today, so put on your smiles and your company manners and welcome Shanna Hatfield who will entertain you and inform you about mail order brides in the old west. Check out her delightful fictions.
The Women of Pendleton Petticoats
Imagine a mail-order bride from Chicago, who has never been anywhere else, stepping off the train out west to meet her husband and discovering a lively, colorful city that is nothing like the quiet, dull town she anticipated.
Her gaze travels over the milling crowd, taking in the sight of people from all walks of life as they mingle on the platform at the depot.
There’s a tall, handsome cowboy wearing a shiny deputy star. A Chinese man wearing a queue and wide-brimmed conical hat hurries on his way, keeping his head down and gaze averted. Two Indians with colorful wool blankets stand talking to a young woman with her black-haired baby strapped into cradleboard. Finely dressed gentlemen escort women attired in the latest fashions. Ranchers pick up supplies while farmers with huge wagons and lumbering teams unload burlap sacks filled with golden kernels of wheat.
This was Pendleton, Oregon, queen of a golden wheat empire, at the turn of the century.
My latest historic western romance series, Pendleton Petticoats, is set this fascinating western town.
During the period of 1900 through 1910, Pendleton experienced a boom in both population and modernization, making it the perfect setting for this series.
Although many thought it was a Wild West town (which it was), it was also a very progressive town with a theater, opera house, French restaurant, and tearoom. Pendleton opened a telephone office in 1902 and was the second city in the state to install paved streets in 1904.
The people who inhabited the town were an eclectic mix from every background
As I began writing the first book in this series, I envisioned a mail-order bride stepping off the train, completely unprepared for what awaited her. She expected the town to be quiet, dusty, and backward. What she found was something so entirely different.
It is nearly impossible to fathom the bravery and strength of mail-order brides. They left behind everything they knew to travel somewhere they’d never been to pledge their life to a man they had yet to meet.
I can tell you right now, I’m not cut out for that kind of adventure. I also wouldn’t do well with the lack of electricity or in-door plumbing the majority of them faced.
Fortunately, for the women in my Pendleton Petticoats series, they found themselves in homes with telephones and bathrooms.
Aundy, the main character (and namesake) of the first book in the series, knows she is physically strong and capable to work on her husband’s farm, but she has no idea of the depths of inner strength and fortitude she possesses until it is tested.
The second book in the series, Caterina, features a feisty Italian girl on the run from the mafia in New York City. Have you ever wondered how many women journeyed out west because they jumped on a train with nowhere else to go? Unlike Aundy who arrived in town as a mail-order bride, Caterina is free and unfettered – or as free as she can be, hunted by powerful men bent on vengeance.
Ilsa, my latest release in the series, shines a light on one girl’s struggle to toss off the fetters of expectations placed upon her as she learns to believe in herself.
Isn’t that what we all should strive for?
Shanna Hatfield is a hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure. In addition to blogging, eating too much chocolate, and being smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller, she is a best-selling author of clean romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
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