Monday, June 17, 2019

Charlene Raddon’s FOREVER MINE – Mail Order Bride Angst in Oregon!

The story begins in 1891 as impetuous Ariah Scott arrives in Oregon as a mail order bride for one Pritchard Monteer. However, his uncle, Bartholomew Noon, keeper of the Cape Meares lighthouse, meets her at the station instead. Bartholomew and Ariah quickly fall in love, which wouldn’t be so bad except that Bartholomew is married, albeit to a harridan named Hester, who denies him her bed.

The story is well written with great descriptions of the environment on the Oregon coast and life among the lighthouse keepers. And one can tell the book is based on solid research, even down to the Chinese ring neck pheasants that Bartholomew raises.

Though she is in love with Bartholomew, Ariah marries Pritchard, but Pritchard isn’t quite up to being a husband. Instead, he finds his manhood in the bed of a poor, mistreated waif of a girl who lives “in town.” Noble Bartholomew remains in a loveless marriage while pining for another man’s wife with whom he shares a love of poetry and birds. And Ariah tries to find her place while fearing a Greek uncle bent on her demise.

It’s a story of mismatches and the mistakes of youth that affect one’s later life. All of the characters hide something from their past they would rather not face, something they don’t want to reveal. Raddon treats well the difficult subject of infidelity, and though the morality may be confusing at times, she brings and intriguing story to the page.

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