Tag Archives: A Bouquet of Brides

At Home with Daffodils – the History & a Giveway

When I originally proposed At Home with Daffodils, my story in A Bouquet of Brides, I wanted the story set in 1895 in northeastern Oklahoma. When the novella was picked up by Barbour, and I began my research in earnest, I requested permission to move the historical timeline to after Oklahoma’s statehood, which happened on November 16, 1907. I made this change because I found myself getting lost in Oklahoma’s varied history. At the time of the original date part of what is now the state of Oklahoma was Indian Territory and part of it was Oklahoma territory.

To further confuse things, it was difficult to know just which part of Indian Territory had white people “squatting” on the land. There were many white settlements in Indian Territory, despite legal efforts to keep this from happening. Take this a step further by digging into the history of the Cherokee Nation, which settled in the area I wanted to write about, and it became very difficult to know how to handle history accurately.  Though my blond hair and green eyes might not show it, I have Cherokee and Choctaw ancestry. I wanted to handle those years with the respect due this heritage but soon realized that kind of research and historical undergirding was too dense for a book of novella length. I was relieved when the editor at Barbour allowed me to move my story to the years right after statehood.

Though modern conveniences like the automobile and electric lights were seen in the big city in these years (and the Titanic was being fully equipped with electric lights), this type of extravagance hadn’t made its way to the back hills of northeastern Oklahoma. Thus my story has undertones of the same kind of life many of us experienced through Pa and Laura as we watched the classic TV series, Little House on the Prairie.

In my story, my heroine’s mother is part Cherokee. It’s interesting to note that the nearest real town to my fictional setting is Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Tahlequah is the capital of the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Supreme Court Building, located in downtown Tahlequah and constructed in 1844, is the oldest public building in Oklahoma.

It was fun to research how my heroine, Dilly, dressed, fixed her hair, and managed daily life. Though this is the Edwardian era of Titanic fame, Dilly was far removed from all this fuss.

(Photo from

Dilly’s work in the general store and her life in this tiny community made a simple long black skirt, white shirtwaist, and sturdy boots more sensible.

I picture her more like this (photo found on Pinterest):

You can learn more about the history in northeastern Oklahoma by reading At Home with Daffodils.

I hope you enjoy A Bouquet of Brides, where you meet seven American women who were named for various flowers but struggle to bloom where God planted them. Watch how love helps them grow to their full potential!

To celebrate the release of A Bouquet of Brides, I’m giving away a copy of the book. Enter the drawing by signing up for my newsletter or leaving a comment on my blog during the month of January (USA readers only). Check out my website, where I have free resources and information about the Free to Flourish writing and speaking ministry.



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Author, speaker, and mom of four, Paula Moldenhauer encourages others to live free to flourish. She shares this message when speaking at women’s events, and it permeates her written work. Paula has published over 300 times in non-fiction markets and has a devotional book series, Soul Scents. Her first published novella, You’re a Charmer Mr. Grinch, was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards, and she now has six published works of fiction. Paula and her husband, Jerry, are adjusting to a sometimes-empty nest in Colorado. They treasure time with their growing family of adult children, spouses, and spouses-to-be. Paula loves peppermint ice cream, going barefoot, and adventuring with friends. Visit her at


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Holly & Ivy – the History

Holly & Ivy, my #HistoricalRomance novella in A #BouquetOfBrides, takes place in 1890, in Washington State. It’s about a young woman who accompanies her impetuous younger sister on her trip across the country to be a Christmas mail-order bride and is helped by a gallant stranger.

Like many people, I’m fascinated with the concept of mail-order brides. The idea of and use of finding a bride via the mail or advertisement gained popularity in the United States in the 1800s. A far larger number of men from the east traveled across the country to settle the west than women. This meant that finding a woman to marry for these men was severely limited. Unable to travel back to the east, men sent for brides. It might sound absurd at first glance, but women answered the call.

Being a romantic, I struggled with how marrying a person you hardly know could work with love and romance. What kind of a woman would choose to marry a man she’s never met? Traveling alone over such a vast distance could be dangerous for a woman in the 1800s with no guarantee her husband-to-be would be a good and kind man.

In addition to what would cause a woman to make a huge lifelong decision like this is the romance factor. I like romance before the wedding because I like the romance to lead up to the proposal and wedding. If they are already married, there isn’t a concrete goal to strive for. But it’s also fun to explore a couple falling in love after marriage.

This quandary sets my mind to work overtime coming up with possible scenarios. For this story, it’s not my main heroine, Holly, but her flighty sister, Ivy, who is the mail-order bride. Holly travels with her to talk her out of this nonsense. But her sister is unmoving in her position all the way across the country in spite of unsavory men bothering them. But when she meets her intended, her conviction waivers.

This is not the first nor the last mail-order bride story I hope to write. Cinda’s Surprise was the first. In her case, her friends corresponded with the prospective husband without her knowledge. Two others I hope to write in the future have heroines who are either trying to find and reclaim her children and the other wants to get out of a miserable situation and start anew.

In celebration of the release of Holly & Ivy, I’m giving away (US only) a print copy of A BOUQUET OF BRIDES Collection. To enter, subscribe to my newsletter and receive a free short story. I’ll be drawing for the book at the end of January.

Follow my blog at Mary’s Blog.


#ChristianRomance #HistoricalRomance #Romance

MARY DAVIS is an award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She has four more titles releasing in 2018; Courting Her Amish Heart in March 2018, The Widow’s Plight in July 2018, Courting Her Secret Heart (Working Title) September 2018, & “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in MISSAdventure Brides Collection in December 2018. She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.

Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-three years and two cats. She has three adult children and one incredibly adorable grandchild. Find her online at:
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A Bouquet of Brides


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January Book Release and Shawl Giveaway

Releasing January 2018

I’m excited about my new book releasing in January. A Bouquet of Brides is already available for preorder. My story in the collection, In Sheep’s Clothing, combines my love of history and fiber arts.


My heroine, Yarrow Fenn, is both a spinner and a weaver. She labors diligently to keep her family clothed after King William III signs The Wool Act into law. And she might even skirt the law a bit … but I won’t go into that here. Along the way, Yarrow befriends an orphan lamb named Meadowsweet. Pictured above is the real Meadowsweet, who lives here at Twin Willows Farm.

To celebrate this release of A Bouquet of Brides, I’m giving away the Meadowsweet Shawl. This shawl is handspun of natural white wool raised right here on the farm. I sheared the sheep, washed and carded the wool, spun the wool, and then knitted the shawl. It doesn’t get any more “Made in America” than that! The Meadowsweet Shawl is crescent-shaped with a raised back to keep your neck extra warm, or to fold over into a collar. The front can be wrapped and pinned or left loose to curl down the front.

I will draw the winner of the Meadowsweet Shawl on January 31st, 2018. To get into the drawing, subscribe to my newsletter and stay an active member by opening my emails! It’s that simple. The contest is open to anyone who has not won one of my book release shawls in the past. (Okay, this is only the second one, but I have three books releasing in 2018. I won’t have to change the wording each time I post the exception. And besides … it just sounded good.)


Posted by on October 24, 2017 in New Release, Shawl Giveaway


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