Fresh out of Mrs. Pettigrew’s School for Young Ladies, Amelia Westcott and her two best friends are ready for adventure. Suddenly a life filled with social obligations and meaningless gossip seems unappealing. On a whim the girls investigate the phenomena of young women heading west to marry, and Amelia is captivated by the freedom such a decision offers.
Hugh Jordon needs a wife. The severe shortage of women in the Pacific Northwest makes advertising for a bride seem reasonable. As long as he finds a wife who is the exact opposite of his tempestuous mother, he’ll be well satisfied. Studying the applicants, he chooses one that seems to best fit his needs, and delegates his head clerk with the critical task of sending polite rejections to the others.
Unfortunately, most of them never get the letter Hugh anticipated and soon the brides descend, all expecting to marry the same man! Amelia is horrified, and realizes that the adage “marry in haste, repent at leisure” has never been more true. How could he do that to her? What sort of man was he, to propose to so many women? She simply must have their wedding annulled and return to Massachusetts at once.
Hugh has other ideas. In his opinion, the perfect place for his bride to learn about faith, loyalty and commitment is in his home and over his knee!
Her feet barely skimmed the gently sloping, verdant lawn as she hurried to a destination she had been to thousands of times. Reaching the iron gate, she sat the basket down momentarily as she took a small key from her pocket. It only took a moment to unlock the barrier the fathers had insisted on. Seconds later she was through and could see the bright sunlight past the thick hedge.
“I’m here,” she called out gaily, nearly skidding to a stop. “Oh,” she sighed dramatically as she dropped to the ground, the brim of her hat flopping up and down.
“What took you so long?” Grace demanded. “I’m starving and I almost had to go to the dressmaker with mother.”
Effie turned up her nose and gave a delicate shiver. “How horrible,” she drawled as she took the quilt from Amelia and spread it neatly on the ground.
“Don’t make light of it, Effie,” Amelia said with a laugh. “When mother died, father asked Mrs. Wentworth to take me along to the dressmakers with Grace. I’ve never been poked so much in my entire life.”
“Sorry,” Effie offered, sitting on the quilt and watching Grace unpack the basket.
“It’s all right,” Grace replied, picking up a pickle and taking a big bite. “You just have no concept of how exacting my mother can be,” she continued, chewing as she spoke.
“Wouldn’t Mrs. Pettigrew have a fit if she could see us now?” Amelia asked as she sat cross legged, her bare legs showing as she reached for her own pickle.
Effie straightened and placed her hand on her hips. Looking down her nose she began a perfect imitation of the woman they’d all grown to hate.
“Young ladies, young ladies,” she spat out crisply as she clapped her hands. “It is not proper to show your lower extremities,” she scolded, eyeing Grace who was sitting on her heels. “When a lady sits, she does so gracefully, gently sweeping her skirt to the side. She does not cross her legs, nor does she allow anything more than a glimpse of her ankles,” she continued, hiking up her pink dress and pointing her toes inward, giving her backside an inflated appearance.
Grace and Amelia howled with laughter.
“Ladies, a well-bred young woman does not bellow with mirth,” Effie informed them, wagging her finger. “She quietly titters behind her fan or a lace handkerchief. Observe,” she continued, plucking a small lace square from her pocket and holding it to her mouth as she giggled and rolled her eyes.
Grace and Amelia began clapping, yelling, “Bravo!”
Category: Historical – Regency & Victorian