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A Reluctant Bride

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After facing desperate heartache and loss, Mercy agrees to escape a bleak future in London and join a bride ship. Wealthy and titled, Joseph leaves home and takes to the sea as the ships surgeon to escape the pain of losing his family. He has no intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, they must fight against a forbidden love.


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After facing desperate heartache and loss, Mercy agrees to escape a bleak future in London and join a bride ship. Wealthy and titled, Joseph leaves home and takes to the sea as the ships surgeon to escape the pain of losing his family. He has no intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, they must fight against a forbidden love.

30 review for A Reluctant Bride

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    Why do I love historical fiction? This book is a prime example of why! After reading the book and about the author's research which sounds like she had a blast researching it by the way I realized this is based on a true event. I LOVE books based historically on true events. A Bride Ship! Doesn't that sound so romantic? Now I've read plenty of books about mail-order brides but none about Bride Ships, cue dreamy sigh! I love the main character's name as well, Mercy. Mercy truly is an angel of mercy. Why do I love historical fiction? This book is a prime example of why! After reading the book and about the author's research which sounds like she had a blast researching it by the way I realized this is based on a true event. I LOVE books based historically on true events. A Bride Ship! Doesn't that sound so romantic? Now I've read plenty of books about mail-order brides but none about Bride Ships, cue dreamy sigh! I love the main character's name as well, Mercy. Mercy truly is an angel of mercy. She administers to sick infants and children in the slums of London. Living among the poorest of the poor in London where disease and filth are prevalent she jumps at the chance of a better life by joining a bride ship except she doesn't know it's a bride ship. She thinks the ship that's bound for British Columbia is taking the women there for a better life of employment as nannies and housekeepers. Meeting Joseph Colville for the second time on the ship the Tynemouth, this angel of mercy brings a sick child to the doctor again and he sees her for the compassionate woman she is. Though he is not looking for romance just in caring for the ships passengers as their surgeon he and Mercy must fight against their romantic feelings for each other. With the woman being so strictly chaperoned will a chance at true love pass them by? I highly recommend this book! Pub Date 04 Jun 2019 I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Tagg

    Wow, I was soooo all in on this latest release from Jody Hedlund! I've been a long-time Hedlund fan and have enjoyed so many of her books...but I think this one takes the enjoyment to a whole new level. I loved the characters and I LOVED the romantic tension. (Like, whoa, so much tension. So well done.) And the setting was an extra fun surprise for me...a lot of times, I don't super love it when a book starts in one place and roams to another. I tend to want to sink into whatever setting for the Wow, I was soooo all in on this latest release from Jody Hedlund! I've been a long-time Hedlund fan and have enjoyed so many of her books...but I think this one takes the enjoyment to a whole new level. I loved the characters and I LOVED the romantic tension. (Like, whoa, so much tension. So well done.) And the setting was an extra fun surprise for me...a lot of times, I don't super love it when a book starts in one place and roams to another. I tend to want to sink into whatever setting for the length of a book. But with this one, I felt fully connected to all three main settings - the seedy shadows of London, life aboard a ship at sea, and eventually British Columbia. I read this novel in one sitting and I'm now I'm just crazy impatient for the next in the series. Highly recommended!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    A new Jody Hedlund book is always something that I meet with great anticipation. When it’s the opener of a new series, even better! A Reluctant Bride is a lovely start to her Bride Ships series. I love that Hedlund tackles another intriguing historical event, this time women being a part of a bride ship to be sent to marry complete strangers. This is something I have vaguely heard about before but have never read any fiction concerning this happening. Our main character Mercy is a desperate woman A new Jody Hedlund book is always something that I meet with great anticipation. When it’s the opener of a new series, even better! A Reluctant Bride is a lovely start to her Bride Ships series. I love that Hedlund tackles another intriguing historical event, this time women being a part of a bride ship to be sent to marry complete strangers. This is something I have vaguely heard about before but have never read any fiction concerning this happening. Our main character Mercy is a desperate woman. Given the option of the workhouse, living on the streets, or perhaps an even worse fate, Mercy decides to forgo them all and agrees to sail on one of the bride ships. Bound for a colony and potential marriage to men they have never met, Mercy and the other women are kept under strict separation by their chaperones. Mercy, however, has a gift for tending to those who are ill, and becomes a great help to the ship’s doctor. This doctor, Joseph Colville, happens to be an aristocrat, and the stark contrasts between their stations in life is one of the fascinating elements of this story. From living conditions in London to sailing conditions on the ship, Hedlund shows the contrast between the sheer desperation of the poor and the ease of the rich. While this novel is classified as a historical romance, the plot doesn’t suffer any from that distinction. Plenty of plot points held my attention, and I also enjoyed Mercy and Joseph trying to work through their obvious differences in stations of life. The romance is easy to root for, of course, and readers looking for some sigh-worthy moments will not be disappointed. I’m hopeful that some of the secondary character from this story will be back with a story of their own in coming books. A Reluctant Bride is the perfect summer read to sink into with its fascinating history, endearing characters, and tender romance. I am eager to see where Hedlund takes the series next! I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review, and the opinions expressed here are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)

    I was enthralled by the journey of Mercy and her interactions with Joseph. There was a nice balance between the introspective thoughts of the characters and the adventurous plot as they travel through storms, illness, and other obstacles, all under the watchful eye of the bride program's chaperones. I loved the historical details that brought the era to life while the emotions of the characters brought the people to life. Mercy and Joseph both have a large capacity for compassion, and the self-s I was enthralled by the journey of Mercy and her interactions with Joseph. There was a nice balance between the introspective thoughts of the characters and the adventurous plot as they travel through storms, illness, and other obstacles, all under the watchful eye of the bride program's chaperones. I loved the historical details that brought the era to life while the emotions of the characters brought the people to life. Mercy and Joseph both have a large capacity for compassion, and the self-sacrifice they see in each other draws them together. They are so well-matched, even though they come from completely opposite ends of society's spectrum. There is plenty of tension as they know they can never be together, but can't help falling in love. It was obvious to me that the future they could have together serving the less fortunate in London as doctor and nurse would bring powerful change, but I had to wait for them to realize and get on board with it ;) I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next in the series! (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    Great start to a new series! In A Reluctant Bride, Hedlund focuses on what life was like in London and how that influenced young women to leave their homeland and family to marry a stranger in a foreign country. Mercy and Joseph both have servant hearts. His upper echelon standing in society naturally puts a separation between them. I enjoyed being aboard the Tynemouth with Mercy and Joseph and living through a part of history I knew nothing about. The author's note at the end shares what was fact Great start to a new series! In A Reluctant Bride, Hedlund focuses on what life was like in London and how that influenced young women to leave their homeland and family to marry a stranger in a foreign country. Mercy and Joseph both have servant hearts. His upper echelon standing in society naturally puts a separation between them. I enjoyed being aboard the Tynemouth with Mercy and Joseph and living through a part of history I knew nothing about. The author's note at the end shares what was fact and what was fiction in the novel. I look forward to the other novels in the series. I'm hoping for a focus on a specific character. Time will tell! My gratitude to publisher Bethany House for a complimentary copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and the opinions expressed are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    So much love for this incredible book, the start of the ‘Bride Ships’ series by Jody Hedlund. Let’s just start by saying, yet again, she seems to be able to root out a piece of little known history and create something amazing out of it. I’d never heard of the Bride Ships, and it fascinates me. The journey alone takes a 1/3 of a year. Such an epic voyage to take to get from England to Vancouver Island. What’s more telling is the desperation of so many to leave all you’ve ever known to start fres So much love for this incredible book, the start of the ‘Bride Ships’ series by Jody Hedlund. Let’s just start by saying, yet again, she seems to be able to root out a piece of little known history and create something amazing out of it. I’d never heard of the Bride Ships, and it fascinates me. The journey alone takes a 1/3 of a year. Such an epic voyage to take to get from England to Vancouver Island. What’s more telling is the desperation of so many to leave all you’ve ever known to start fresh - knowing that marriage to a complete stranger awaited you at the end. I literally lost sleep over this book. It was so hard to put down. The characters were so expertly written, they felt real inside my head. You will live & breathe every experience with them. Both Joseph & Mercy are complex and their situation - one of the biggest taboo’s of the cultural day. Joseph being from the highest of aristocracy, and Mercy from the lowest rung of the dirt poor ladder. How could their lives even cross? Yet, they do, and this story is beautiful, intense & tender. You will find yourself fighting for them with every obstacle and challenge they face. Of course each is strong enough to live life alone, but together they make a powerful force to be reckoned with. Can not wait, for what comes next. Thanks to Bethany House for the complimentary copy. This is my honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joleen

    A Reluctant Bride (The Bride Ships #1) by Jody Hedlund Locations: Poverty stricken London, May 1862 Vancouver during the Cariboo Gold Rush and smallpox epidemic Orphan trains and now bride ships. Of what else am I unaware? This was a wonderful book. I loved Mercy, truly an embodiment of her name. Basically a street person, as her mother was unable to care for all her children, Mercy took orphans under her wing, trying to keep them alive and bring them aid as most were malnourished. Dr. Colville (aka A Reluctant Bride (The Bride Ships #1) by Jody Hedlund Locations: Poverty stricken London, May 1862 Vancouver during the Cariboo Gold Rush and smallpox epidemic Orphan trains and now bride ships. Of what else am I unaware? This was a wonderful book. I loved Mercy, truly an embodiment of her name. Basically a street person, as her mother was unable to care for all her children, Mercy took orphans under her wing, trying to keep them alive and bring them aid as most were malnourished. Dr. Colville (aka Joseph, aka Baron of Wiltshire) was what any Christian woman might hope for in a husband; thoughtful, gentle man of God with a heart of gold. But these two perfectly (otherwise) matched people could never meet social expectations: She was uneducated and among London’s poorest of the poor; he, a well educated physician as well as a lord. But time and time again they are thrown together assisting the sick at a clinic in London, aboard the bride-ship, and in Vancouver. Their attraction is palpable, but it would just never work. Besides, she was given free travel and food aboard the bride ship, and in return she was to marry one of the many settlers in British Columbia. Another character, a mystery of sorts, was “Miss Lawrence”, a gentlewoman also bound for North America to find a husband. But the odd injuries Mercy perceived on what little of her body she saw while nursing Miss Lawrence were never spoken of to the end. And, not surprising, she will be the main character in the next book in the series I am so looking forward to reading! Very good book!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    I always love learning something I didn't know, but it's somewhat embarrassing when it's the country you grew up in. I had no idea that there were bride ships arriving in Vancouver Island, and to think that my Cdn. history class could've been so much more interesting if the teachers had though to add this little nugget of gold. As usual, Jody Hedlund latest story hits all the right spots for me. It may have been a bumpy ride from England to Victoria and Vancouver Island, but reading A Reluctant B I always love learning something I didn't know, but it's somewhat embarrassing when it's the country you grew up in. I had no idea that there were bride ships arriving in Vancouver Island, and to think that my Cdn. history class could've been so much more interesting if the teachers had though to add this little nugget of gold. As usual, Jody Hedlund latest story hits all the right spots for me. It may have been a bumpy ride from England to Victoria and Vancouver Island, but reading A Reluctant Bride was so smooth, and yes, I got a handsome man to swoon over, and a beautiful young woman to root for, but that's usually what I expect with anything that I read from Jody Hedlund.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This was a historical journey that took me to places and taught me things I didn't know. I've read a lot but I have never read about the depravity of London in 1860 like this. Jody tells of a family living in the slums of London and what there life was like. I understand more completely why a woman would choose to get on a ship for months to leave this hell. The story is well done and the history was spot on and told well. I also got a very nice love story with some great moments. She weaves the This was a historical journey that took me to places and taught me things I didn't know. I've read a lot but I have never read about the depravity of London in 1860 like this. Jody tells of a family living in the slums of London and what there life was like. I understand more completely why a woman would choose to get on a ship for months to leave this hell. The story is well done and the history was spot on and told well. I also got a very nice love story with some great moments. She weaves their story in so well and it was nice to find out it was based on truth. The Christian element was done well. It is part of the story and adds nicely. This is not a light read and very hard subjects are talked about but it is all done well. The prostitution, working conditions, lives of poverty were spoken of as a way to teach not to be crude or invoke shock to sell more books. I appreciated this. The story is long and did take me awhile to read it's just a book you don't want to speed threw.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Abbi

    Jody Hedlund's books are always fascinating to me! I love the way she takes a bit of history that is often overlooked or not even known about and creates a beautiful love story around it! This book, and the ensuing series, give us a peek into the lives of women who found themselves on one of the "bride ships" headed to the other side of the world. Mercy and Joseph were both great characters! Though they came from completely different stations in life they both had a heart to help others in need. Jody Hedlund's books are always fascinating to me! I love the way she takes a bit of history that is often overlooked or not even known about and creates a beautiful love story around it! This book, and the ensuing series, give us a peek into the lives of women who found themselves on one of the "bride ships" headed to the other side of the world. Mercy and Joseph were both great characters! Though they came from completely different stations in life they both had a heart to help others in need. I loved how even though Joseph was an aristocrat he never hesitated to help those who society deemed beneath him, regardless of what his peers thought. And Mercy had a servant's heart willing to literally give the clothes off her back if it meant someone else was taken care of. They had some obstacles to work through in their relationship but their romance was sweet. This book didn't have a lot of surprising twists and turns or any huge dramatic moments but I honestly really enjoyed that fact. It was at it's core just a beautiful romance set during a unique part of history. Definitely another win from an amazing author! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Mercy Wilkins lives in one of the poorest sections of London. She's grown up assisting with the care of her siblings and neighboring children, and has often seen sickness and disease carry them away. Work of any decent kind is hard to find in 1862, much less if you are a young woman, but Mercy is determined to make a way for herself and to continue to help others. After seeing the struggles that come with marriage and motherhood, she promises herself she'll do everything she can to avoid both. At Mercy Wilkins lives in one of the poorest sections of London. She's grown up assisting with the care of her siblings and neighboring children, and has often seen sickness and disease carry them away. Work of any decent kind is hard to find in 1862, much less if you are a young woman, but Mercy is determined to make a way for herself and to continue to help others. After seeing the struggles that come with marriage and motherhood, she promises herself she'll do everything she can to avoid both. At the urging of her sister Patience, Mercy agrees to travel to British Columbia under the care of the Columbia Mission Society. They are promising a new life in a new land desperate for female workers -- and brides. It isn't until Mercy is on board that she realizes the full extent of the mission's expectations. Dr. Joseph Colville has all but renounced his title and wealthy estate in order to serve the lower classes and travel the world as a ship's doctor. As a younger son, he was never supposed to inherit the responsibility of a lord. Though loving friends and family members question whether Joseph is a modern-day Jonah running from God, he insists he'll know when he's found the time and place to settle down. The trip on board the Tynemouth is full of dangerous situations. There are storms, emergencies, and even a mutiny! It was interesting to read in the Author's Note how many of the situations came straight from the real life history of this bride ship. I'd never heard of bride ships before, and it was somewhat horrifying to think of these women coming on board with only the clothes on their back, yet full of hope for the future. How bleak their lives must have been! There was once scene that left me shaking my head. A storm with hurricane intensity holds the ship in its grip, and Mercy fears she will die. When she confesses to Joseph that she doesn't know if she'll go to Heaven, he says, "If we are to perish this night, you most assuredly do not have anything to fear in standing before your Maker. You are the closest to an angel I think I shall ever meet on this side of heaven." That's a nice compliment, I suppose, but it doesn't meet Mercy in her eternal need. Mercy needed to know about Jesus' personal love, care, and sacrifice on her behalf. I find it sad that in a novel about Mercy wanting to live free from her past, true spiritual freedom was not a greater part of the story.* As one can expect with any Jody Hedlund novel, there is plenty of romance. The story moves at a good pace and I was not entirely sure how it was going to end until I reached the final pages. I would recommend this for readers ages 16 and up. I received my copy of the book from the author. All opinions in this review are my own. This review originated at http://reviewsbyerin.dreamwidth.org *If you have any questions about the freedom and salvation that can be found in Jesus, please do not hesitate to contact me!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Aimee (Getting Your Read On)

    I don't think I've ever read anything about the bride ships that came to Canada from England. It doesn't necessarily surprise me that something like that happened but what does surprise me is the "how" of it all, I guess. The author took many of the events of this book from actual accounts so the story was very true to what really happened. I really love that because it gives me such a good feel for where the brides came from and how they may have felt and acted. It was so interesting! I love le I don't think I've ever read anything about the bride ships that came to Canada from England. It doesn't necessarily surprise me that something like that happened but what does surprise me is the "how" of it all, I guess. The author took many of the events of this book from actual accounts so the story was very true to what really happened. I really love that because it gives me such a good feel for where the brides came from and how they may have felt and acted. It was so interesting! I love learning about lesser known events in history which would explain my love for historical fiction. Mercy is such an awesome character. Despite her horrible upbringing she embodies everything kind, gentle and compassionate. I loved her almost instantly. The author does such an incredible job of bringing the characters in this book to life. They felt like real people with struggles and growth. The growing intensity between Mercy and Joseph was fantastic. I was completely caught up in it and invested every step of the way. This is one of my favorite books this year, I think. I have a handful of them now. I can't wait to see what comes next in this series! Content: peril, mild violence, kissing - I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Beth Erin

    Full review on FaithfullyBookish.com Mercy and Joseph’s story is more than the convergence of two worlds or a sweet tale of opposites and attraction. Hedlund digs deep to the very core of compassion and humanity by exposing and stripping away societal expectations, prejudice, and even legacy. Both characters struggle to overcome obstacles, navigate the literal and figurative stormy waters of life, and discover their God-given purpose. A Reluctant Bride has not only sparked my interest in the histo Full review on FaithfullyBookish.com Mercy and Joseph’s story is more than the convergence of two worlds or a sweet tale of opposites and attraction. Hedlund digs deep to the very core of compassion and humanity by exposing and stripping away societal expectations, prejudice, and even legacy. Both characters struggle to overcome obstacles, navigate the literal and figurative stormy waters of life, and discover their God-given purpose. A Reluctant Bride has not only sparked my interest in the historical aspects but it has also pricked my heart for those who are suffering in similar and heaven-forbid worse circumstances at this moment somewhere in the world. I highly recommend this story, eagerly anticipate the next installment of The Bride Ships series, and fully expect the characters, setting, and message to linger in my heart and mind for a long period of time. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    This was a thoroughly eye opening experience on a time and event in history I had no idea existed! The characters are incredibly well done, and I so enjoyed getting to know Mercy most of all. The plot was a fascinating one, and it’s rather amazing how much truth the author used in putting it together. I had such a hard time putting this book down. The view the readers get is from those in the steerage to those of wealth...and the drastic difference between the two. I felt the embarrassment of th This was a thoroughly eye opening experience on a time and event in history I had no idea existed! The characters are incredibly well done, and I so enjoyed getting to know Mercy most of all. The plot was a fascinating one, and it’s rather amazing how much truth the author used in putting it together. I had such a hard time putting this book down. The view the readers get is from those in the steerage to those of wealth...and the drastic difference between the two. I felt the embarrassment of the women as they were put through such difficult events. These kinds of reads always make me wonder what I would have done in the characters shoes. So many women put in almost unbelievable conditions, left to decide if they want to sail away and marry a man they have never met or take a chance on dying in a workhouse or on the streets. This story is incredibly crafted to have the readers in empathy with the characters, yet wonder if they would ever give themselves over to such a scheme. It helps to open the readers eyes to the plight of some, and to be so very thankful that I myself never had to make such a decision. With realistic characters, a compelling story, and a plot based on true events it’s an experience not to be missed! I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    The start of a new Jody Hedlund series is always an exciting thing. She has more than earned her spot as one of my must-read authors with her stellar characters and in-depth research that shines through in her stories. The idea of bride ships is something I think I was aware of but had never really given much thought to. Through Mercy and the women she befriends on the voyage I was really able to feel the desperation that would drive a woman to leave her family and homeland behind for such an un The start of a new Jody Hedlund series is always an exciting thing. She has more than earned her spot as one of my must-read authors with her stellar characters and in-depth research that shines through in her stories. The idea of bride ships is something I think I was aware of but had never really given much thought to. Through Mercy and the women she befriends on the voyage I was really able to feel the desperation that would drive a woman to leave her family and homeland behind for such an unknown destination. The journey from England to British Columbia felt very claustrophobic and Mr. Scott’s presence always seemed to loom around the corners as I was turning pages. I was getting some serious Mr. Collins vibes from this character and his obsession with class and patronage. His awkwardly long bows had me looking around uncomfortably right along with Joseph and Mercy! Mercy’s situation in life is about as bleak as it could be and yet she is always willing to give a little more of herself to those in need, even to her own detriment. She is a ray of light whenever she’s on the page and it is so easy to see why others are drawn to her. The living conditions in the slums of London were absolutely shocking to read about! Buildings being propped up and filth in the streets? I could almost feel the diseases crawling and was so happy to escape. I am looking forward to reading the next in the series to see how life develops on Vancouver Island after the brides arrive and begin to settle into life on the frontier. I highly recommend this to fans of historical fiction and romance. I received a copy of this book from the author and Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emilee

    Wow! I finished this one last night. It’s an amazing novel. It was a little heavy on the romance to be believable, in my opinion, but still really good. What got me was it was based on a true story and in the Author’s Note at the end of the book she tells of all the true accounts. It’s crazy. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    A Reluctant Bride was a beautiful novel and a wonderful start to a new series. The author wrote a story that truly captured the main character’s despiration. She felt that she had no choice but to join the women on this voyage and try to escape the horrid circumstances and living conditions of the slums of London. The main characters, Dr. Joseph Colville and Mercy Wilkins, came from very different upbringings and stations in life. They were continually drawn to each other throughout the novel and A Reluctant Bride was a beautiful novel and a wonderful start to a new series. The author wrote a story that truly captured the main character’s despiration. She felt that she had no choice but to join the women on this voyage and try to escape the horrid circumstances and living conditions of the slums of London. The main characters, Dr. Joseph Colville and Mercy Wilkins, came from very different upbringings and stations in life. They were continually drawn to each other throughout the novel and both resisted the idea of a possible relationship based on what was expected of them. I really appreciated the way Joseph and Mercy began to understand the idea that their placement in certain social classes was not something that came from God, but rather that God valued all people as equals. I loved the romance in this story, as well as the vivid detail of the long sea voyage, which was full of danger. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. You can read this review on my blog: https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.c...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Monzon

    I am a puddle of mush. 😍😍 SO good!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kav

    "What's the small part God's calling you to? Are you seeking His leading or are you running away from it?" (p 22) Jody Hedlund has made a cracking good start of her Bride Ships series with this first book. There's such depth in both the character development and the faith thread that it was easy to be swept away right from the very first page. And I love that the story went in directions I wasn't expecting. I was completely entranced by Mercy and Joseph and the very different worlds they come from "What's the small part God's calling you to? Are you seeking His leading or are you running away from it?" (p 22) Jody Hedlund has made a cracking good start of her Bride Ships series with this first book. There's such depth in both the character development and the faith thread that it was easy to be swept away right from the very first page. And I love that the story went in directions I wasn't expecting. I was completely entranced by Mercy and Joseph and the very different worlds they come from. The way their lives intersect both in London and on the ship -- such a magical 'destined for each other' kind of aura and that made me all the more anxious during the gnarly bits that threatened my blood pressure! There's this one odious individual in particular who gave me conniptions - gah, but he's lucky I wasn't on that ship or it would have been 'man overboard' for sure! :-) The historical research is impeccable, and it's worth reading the author's notes at the end of the book for some extra insights. Hedlund doesn't gloss over the horrid conditions in the London slums or in steerage on the ship. I shudder just remembering some of those scenes and marvel that our ancestors had the courage and gumption to go through what they did for a better future. And I love that books like this one bring history to life and help me appreciate the sacrifices of those who have gone before. Honestly, I'm kinda speechless over this one. Riveting. Enthralling. Moving. Uplifting. Not to be missed in my books! "I want you to remember that when we are troubled on every side," Patience said, her voice wavering, "we can't get caught up in seeing the problems from our view. God's so much bigger and has things worked out in His ways -- ways we can't begin to understand." (p 61) Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Bookworm Lisa)

    Wow! Just wow! This book is beautifully written and captured me from the beginning. It is a lovely love story about learning to trust and recognize love, overcoming social expectations, and the plight of the poor. This is a story that I don't think I will be able to emotionally let go of for a while. As I read about the living conditions in London during the middle nineteenth century and the conditions on the boat for the poor, I started to think of my own ancestors who made the journey during th Wow! Just wow! This book is beautifully written and captured me from the beginning. It is a lovely love story about learning to trust and recognize love, overcoming social expectations, and the plight of the poor. This is a story that I don't think I will be able to emotionally let go of for a while. As I read about the living conditions in London during the middle nineteenth century and the conditions on the boat for the poor, I started to think of my own ancestors who made the journey during that time period. I am sure that they traveled in steerage and lived in the less desirable areas. I am filled with greater gratitude for them and the sacrifices they made for themselves and ultimately for me. This book is filled with history and doesn't sugar coat life for the people during that time period. Jody Hedlund chose fictitious characters and put them in situations that really happened. I couldn't help but love the characters, the setting, and the time period. This book entertained me while opening my eyes to history. If you love romance and history, this is a book that I would highly recommend. It does contain kissing and Christian themes. Source: I requested a copy from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kailey

    Jody Hedlund has done it again! This is another 5 star, must read historical novel! Somehow she gets me so wrapped up in the story. I just couldn’t put it down! I loved it! I cared so much about the characters and their circumstances. I just had to know what was going to happen. I can’t wait to read more! I highly recommend this book! I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Harris

    My Review: Genre: Romance, historical, fiction. My Rating: 4 and 1/2 stars. My Favorite Character/s: Mercy was so different (in a good way, I promise!), her character so strong and kind — never caring for herself, but for others. I don’t really understand where she was coming from and it was nice getting to see why she did what she did. My Verse for Mercy is Luke 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, (King James Version.) Jos My Review: Genre: Romance, historical, fiction. My Rating: 4 and 1/2 stars. My Favorite Character/s: Mercy was so different (in a good way, I promise!), her character so strong and kind — never caring for herself, but for others. I don’t really understand where she was coming from and it was nice getting to see why she did what she did. My Verse for Mercy is Luke 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, (King James Version.) Joseph was a wonderful character and he was so good for Mercy even if they didn’t know it at first, and I enjoyed reading when he put a curtain . . . Mr. Collins (Pride and Prejudice) like character in his place. 😉 My Verse for Joseph is Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (King James Version.) My Thoughts: In the past, I’ve heard of Bride Ships, the idea of them was odd, interesting, and yet slightly romantic and scary . . . I guess? I’ve read Mrs. Hedlund’s books before and enjoyed them, which led me to sign up for the launch team with little hope of getting on since I hadn’t been on any launch teams for the author before . . . But, after a while, I got an email saying I got a place and to expect my ARC paperback in the mail soon. Long story short I got it in the mail a few weeks later and, um, read it within hours. I just couldn’t put it down, the romance was perfect, the characters bond so sweet and loving. In all this is a wonderful novel from Hedlund! I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review and am truly happy to provide it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kristine Morgan

    Jody Hedlund is one of my favorite authors of Historical Fiction. She does a fantastic job of researching the setting and subject matter. Her words convey vivid scenes that create pictures in my mind. I could feel Mercy's despair and desperation to find her own way in the world, but fear joining her life or heart to anyone else. I fell in love with Mercy's kindness and found myself cheering her on. Joseph Colville has a title and wealth, but not happiness. He is serving as a ships surgeon while Jody Hedlund is one of my favorite authors of Historical Fiction. She does a fantastic job of researching the setting and subject matter. Her words convey vivid scenes that create pictures in my mind. I could feel Mercy's despair and desperation to find her own way in the world, but fear joining her life or heart to anyone else. I fell in love with Mercy's kindness and found myself cheering her on. Joseph Colville has a title and wealth, but not happiness. He is serving as a ships surgeon while he hides from the life God has planned for him. This was an awesome book and I look forward to the next in this series. So grab some ginger tea to settle your stomach from the ups and downs of life aboard a ship and settle in for a great read. i was given a copy of this book by NetGalley.com with no expectations. All thoughts are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    My thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. For those who enjoy historical romance, this tale of a young girl who signs up to sail from London to British Columbia, Canada to become the future bride of a miner will be of interest. It wasn't to my taste, and I found the romance between the ship's surgeon and Mercy to be improbable. Yes, Mercy is a pretty, kind and decent girl, but it was Joseph Colville's character that didn't ring My thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. For those who enjoy historical romance, this tale of a young girl who signs up to sail from London to British Columbia, Canada to become the future bride of a miner will be of interest. It wasn't to my taste, and I found the romance between the ship's surgeon and Mercy to be improbable. Yes, Mercy is a pretty, kind and decent girl, but it was Joseph Colville's character that didn't ring true. In her Acknowledgement, the author reveals that a ship's doctor had in fact married one of the "miners' brides" but in this story, Joseph Colville is a wealthy and titled peer of England, as well as being a doctor. That was stretching it a bit for me. I rate this a 3 out of 5.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund is the first in the series Bride Ships. It is set in England and British Columbia in 1862. Mercy Wilkins has a servant’s heart but she is caught in poverty. Chapter 4: “Was death so common a visitor in these parts that people expected it, maybe even welcomed it as the only true savior from the pain? Or had they, like her, closed off their heart to the pain in order to continue on?” She embarks on a ship to the British colonies in order to give her siblings a bett A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund is the first in the series Bride Ships. It is set in England and British Columbia in 1862. Mercy Wilkins has a servant’s heart but she is caught in poverty. Chapter 4: “Was death so common a visitor in these parts that people expected it, maybe even welcomed it as the only true savior from the pain? Or had they, like her, closed off their heart to the pain in order to continue on?” She embarks on a ship to the British colonies in order to give her siblings a better chance to survive in their London slum. “She longed for the chance to finally stand on her own. This trip, this voyage, might be the only possibility she’d ever get to do that.” The only thing she wasn’t told is that she is expected to choose a husband when she arrives. Joseph Colville is a nobleman but is fleeing his responsibility after the death of his family. He has become a doctor and is helping the destitute in the slums. Joseph and Mercy meet on the Tynemouth where Joseph is the ship’s surgeon and Mercy sometimes assists him. This was a very sad story for most of the book. Ms. Hedlund eloquently conveyed the utter squalor of Shoreditch slum of London and the poverty that beset the city in 1862. She vividly portrayed the deep privations of the sea voyage that took many months. Yet hope was in the story too. Mercy and Joseph learned a lot about God, themselves and eachother. They showed their humbleness even in rough times. They also progressed in their faith and trusted in God to show them His leading. A thought provoking, epic historical book, once again proving that Jody Hedlund is a phenomenal writer who is not afraid to tackle a hard subject. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    "Where is a ship when you need one?" Desperate to leave the slums of London behind, hoping to pave the way for her beloved sister to escape the cruel clutches of the work house, Mercy Wilkins boards the Tynemouth, not realizing that the sturdy sailing vessel is travelling half-way around the world to British Columbia, bearing; of all things . . brides! Getting married is the last thing on Mercy's mind; her impression of men leads her to believe that they serve only one purpose, breeding children "Where is a ship when you need one?" Desperate to leave the slums of London behind, hoping to pave the way for her beloved sister to escape the cruel clutches of the work house, Mercy Wilkins boards the Tynemouth, not realizing that the sturdy sailing vessel is travelling half-way around the world to British Columbia, bearing; of all things . . brides! Getting married is the last thing on Mercy's mind; her impression of men leads her to believe that they serve only one purpose, breeding children that no one can afford to feed. Shortly after leaving England, while desperately attempting to care for an ill companion, Mercy comes face to face with a man she scarcely thought important enough to remember, the young doctor from London's Shoreditch Dispensary. They had shared a very sacred moment; death. Joseph Colville, Dr. Joseph Colville, Lord Colville . .. had never settled for tradition; his restless spirit pushing him to travel the world, his medical skills being indispensable on board many a ship. Resisting an invitation by his kind mentor, Dr. Bates, to to remain in London and partner in his efforts to treat the city's poor, Joseph accepts a surgeon's position aboard the Tynemouth. It's there that he crosses paths, for the second time, with the quite lovely, but also quite indigent passenger, Mercy Wilkins. As poverty and nobility collide, Mercy and Joseph must summon the courage to heed a wise ship captain's advice; "do not let the barriers of class interfere with anything. Not work. Not life. And especially not love." If it were only that easy. I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vera Godley

    Jody Hedlund has begun the new Bride Series with an in depth look at the poverty and tragedies that existed in London during 1862. There was the wealthy class and there was the poor. The poor who lived desperate lives without adequate clothing, food, shelter. Mercer Wilkins was one of the poor. Her family lived crammed into a slum. At age 10 the children were often thrust out of the home and onto the streets to make it on their own or they had to go live in the "workhouse" where they were systema Jody Hedlund has begun the new Bride Series with an in depth look at the poverty and tragedies that existed in London during 1862. There was the wealthy class and there was the poor. The poor who lived desperate lives without adequate clothing, food, shelter. Mercer Wilkins was one of the poor. Her family lived crammed into a slum. At age 10 the children were often thrust out of the home and onto the streets to make it on their own or they had to go live in the "workhouse" where they were systematically starved and worked to death. Then Mercy had the opportunity to board one of the Bride Ships and leave London and go to a new country, the new colonies of British Columbia on the Western side of what is now Canada. The story of the trip aboard the aging ship is a compelling read. The characters, the circumstances, the storms, the conditions all beautifully fleshed out in words that imprint themselves firmly in the reader's mind for their haunting clarity and desperate cry to be heard. But the story doesn't end on board the ship at sea, it continues after they land in Columbia and the young women are exposed to the cheers and leers of the hundreds of waiting men who want a bride. Today we can hardly comprehend the situation with which these women were faced. Again, Jody Hedlund makes history and specific parts of it come alive. Imprints the people and their situations firmly in our hearts and minds. She shows us the humanity of the characters. The good guys and those whose personalities leave much to be desired. She weaves a gentle romance into this beautiful story showing us that the heart can often win out and love can bloom no matter how fierce the storm of life into which we are thrust. I totally enjoyed reading A RELUCTANT BRIDE and can highly recommend it. DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are solely mine and are freely given.

  28. 4 out of 5

    MJSH

    “Though her hair was damp and unkempt, face smudged and weary, her garments soggy and splattered with all manner of filth, for a reason he couldn’t explain, she had grown more beautiful and not less.” What an incredible journey! Jody Hedlund is well-known for her beautifully written historical fiction and this beginning of a new series about bride ships will surely delight her fans and garner more followers. The story sets out in Victorian London where squalor, poverty, and hopelessness abound an “Though her hair was damp and unkempt, face smudged and weary, her garments soggy and splattered with all manner of filth, for a reason he couldn’t explain, she had grown more beautiful and not less.” What an incredible journey! Jody Hedlund is well-known for her beautifully written historical fiction and this beginning of a new series about bride ships will surely delight her fans and garner more followers. The story sets out in Victorian London where squalor, poverty, and hopelessness abound and moves across the oceans to Vancouver Island (British Columbia) where untainted beauty and new opportunities await. Truly this story enveloped me completely and had me right there next to Mercy and Joseph as they battled the darkness of London, the trying and emotionally confusing voyage across the different oceans and waterways, and the uncertainty in a new world. Mercy, in her sweetness and goodness, is instantly lovable. Though meek by practice in her world of poverty, she has a fire and persistence that allow her to keep loving those around her and tend to the sick with gentleness and care. She’s been beaten down by the difficulties of life yet still holds on to her desire to help others in their suffering. Joseph is a privileged peer who has chosen to become a physician and finds himself at home serving others. But he’s running away from responsibility because of his deep-seated wound of having lost his family at a young age. Separated by class and so much more, their friendship is unlikely and frowned upon, especially since she’s unwittingly become one of the prospective brides on a bride ship to Vancouver Island and he’s the ship’s surgeon. Yet their like-mindedness in caring for the sick and their shared life experiences bring them together and their relationship unfolds ever so sweetly. This book is a must-read for all fans of historical fiction. I received a copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nancee

    A Reluctant Bride is an incredible journey from poverty stricken London, and the impossible living conditions in the slums. Mercy Wilkins finds her way to a bride's ship bound for British Columbia. Conditions on the ship are grim, and Mercy's only saving grace is that the ship's surgeon recognizes her compassion for those who need her. He requests her assistance in nursing the sick aboard ship, and the two share a unique camaraderie which develops into a strong attraction forbidden by Mercy's ch A Reluctant Bride is an incredible journey from poverty stricken London, and the impossible living conditions in the slums. Mercy Wilkins finds her way to a bride's ship bound for British Columbia. Conditions on the ship are grim, and Mercy's only saving grace is that the ship's surgeon recognizes her compassion for those who need her. He requests her assistance in nursing the sick aboard ship, and the two share a unique camaraderie which develops into a strong attraction forbidden by Mercy's chaperones and the doctor's position in life. Filled with danger on the high seas and plagued by seasickness among other serious illnesses suffered aboard the Tynemouth, the sadness and losses that Mercy suffered at home appear to have followed her aboard. Hedlund's cast is strong and well developed. True life situations are heart wrenching, but true strength of character is one of the highlights in those represented in this book. A great deal of research was obviously undertaken in order for true life events to have been portrayed through Mercy's story. This is a fast paced tale of the torments of the time, and yet a blossoming love story creates a charming quality that surpassed my expectations. Don't miss this deeply touching story. I highly recommend it! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book. All expressed opinions are honest and my own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tricia Mingerink

    Another good book by Jody Hedlund. This book focuses a lot on the trials of a long sea voyage, and I found the history in it really fascinating. Both Mercy and Joseph were compelling characters, though it did annoy me that on the audiobook, the narrator gave Mercy a very child-like sounding voice that made her seem younger than she was. Which is doubly strange because it was a narrator I normally enjoy. But that is more a critique of the audiobook than the book. This book has a very sweet, adora Another good book by Jody Hedlund. This book focuses a lot on the trials of a long sea voyage, and I found the history in it really fascinating. Both Mercy and Joseph were compelling characters, though it did annoy me that on the audiobook, the narrator gave Mercy a very child-like sounding voice that made her seem younger than she was. Which is doubly strange because it was a narrator I normally enjoy. But that is more a critique of the audiobook than the book. This book has a very sweet, adorable romance in it, and it is less steamy than some of this author's other books. It has some kissing, but that's where it stops. I also liked that this book took a little extra time in the last couple of chapters to wrap up some loose ends. Sometimes Christian historical fiction books tend to wrap up the romance, then boom, the book ends just like that. So I appreciated that this book took a little extra time and care with the ending.

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