About the Book
Book: Penelope’s Pursuit
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense
Release date: June 29, 2021
Are mail-order-brides changing their minds or is something sinister going on in Kansas?
Ten years ago, Penelope’s sister ran away as a mail-order bride, and it was the last their family ever heard from her. Now, with their parents dead and Penelope all alone, the young woman has one goal. Find her sister.
It took enough grit for Henry to write to Miss Mildred Crenshaw about finding him a wife in the first place, but when the stage arrives and no bride steps off, the whole thing feels like a confidence scheme. Investigation, however, sends chills down his spine as he realizes women are leaving the east for the west but many never arrive at their destinations.
Is it any wonder that Penelope doesn’t trust the man who abducts her from the clutches of her new friends and rides off into the sunset? Is his explanation reasonable? Can she convince him to help her find her sister?
And is she about to fall in love with a homesteader on the untamed prairies of Kansas?
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About the Author
Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.
More from Chautona
Mail Order Brides: Do We Romanticize the Past?
Although I recall reading about mail-order brides in school… somewhere… Patricia MacLachlan’s Sarah, Plain and Tall was my first introduction to the idea of advertising for or requesting the services of a matchmaker to find a wife. The book and the subsequent movie showed the difficulties of such a marriage and left us all with a satisfactory ending.
Some years later, while doing a bit of research, I discovered another side of the coin—a horrifying picture of what happened to some gullible young women and the unscrupulous people who used such matchmaking schemes as a means for human trafficking. It sickened me, as it should anyone.
All my ideas for mail order bride novels ended up as wadded up balls of mental paper and in the wastepaper basket of my mind. A few years passed, and I came up with a twist on mail order brides, one that will see the light of day if I ever have time to write it. A few more years passed, and a series of books featuring a matchmaking service for mail-order brides and the Homestead Act resurrected those ideas. I smoothed a couple out, reconsidered, and decided against writing them.
I’d have to miss the opportunity to join the series.
My mind never does follow orders well. Within minutes of that decision, I had a story. What would happen if there was some funny business going on with girls going west? How could I combine a satisfactory ending where two people came to a meeting of the minds and hearts in the midst of fighting something that ugly?
Penelope’s Pursuit was born.
Is my story idealized? Probably. I’ll be frank with you. I’m okay with that, too. See, sometimes all we need is a reminder that mankind is sinful and in need of a Savior before the story turns into how things should have been. After all, fiction mirrors reality, but it is also an escape.
I hope Penelope’s escape to the west and her pursuit of her sister encourages you to turn to the Lord for every decision, in every trouble, and with every praise possible in between.
“Penny will always be pretty because she does some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.” I love this line in Penelope’s Pursuit by Chautona Havig. So many people today base their self-image on how they look. But one point Havig makes clear is that beauty comes from within and spreads outward.
There’s just something about mail-order bride stories that appeals to a great audience. The western factor. The unknown. The strangers-to lovers trope.
Chautona Havig sets out to satisfy that reading itch, but also has another purpose in mind: showing that alongside all the romance we assign this genre and period, there was a dark side. Sometimes mail-order brides were used as another way to further nefarious activities that we think of as modern-day issues. Solomon says, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”
I loved the tone that Havig sets for this book. I found Penelope very easy to identify with, and Reuben is a gem! Both are stubborn, but with good hearts. Their care for others drives them to do unusual things that they wouldn’t otherwise dream of doing. How many of us can say we love others that well?
Havig carefully weaves her faith message into the story in snippets, and it doesn’t feel preachy, but natural.
I was so thankful to see that there are two more mail-order bride books by Havig to come, as she set the bait quite nicely.
If you enjoy westerns, mail-order bride stories, realistic historical romances and tales with faith interwoven, you might enjoy Penelope’s Pursuit as much as I did.
I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own, voluntarily given.
Magnificent! Truly a Different side to the usual Mail-order Bride story!
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To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.