“With shaking limbs, she climbed into the plush carriage awaiting her, the precious bundle in her arms, worth far more than money.”

Opening line of The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

Each time I pick up one of the Daughters of the Mayflower series I look forward to learning about a new element of American history whilst getting to know another generation of these delightful characters. The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse is a fantastic addition to the collection focusing on the Pony Express. Once again, I’d never heard of it, and was fascinated to learn about the message and parcel conveyance business which ran from the West coast to the East coast of America.

Our cast of characters includes the wonderful Jack, a woman on the frontier who challenges the gender norms by managing her own station after the death of her father. Her grief is fresh and she comes to terms with the loss through studying scripture and the help of friends.

Elijah, a businessman, enters the station to learn information about his boss’s heir but learns more about living a Christian life in relationship with God in his observance of Jack and her friends.

Amidst this, two mysteries are afoot. Who is the missing heir and money is being stolen through forgeries on the route and both Jack and Elijah end up dangerous wrapped up in these investigations.

Beautifully written and interesting, I enjoyed it from start to finish. For the horse lover, who like me holds their breathe when they are central to the story, no horses are injured in the story – thank you Kimberley. It’s a five out of five on the en-JOY-ment scale and highly recommended.

From the back cover:

Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Jackie can’t decide if Elijah is friend or foe. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed?

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Barbour Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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