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Tag Archives: Mary Davis

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.

#BouquetOfBrides

#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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The Pony Express – In the Beginning

RIDER COMING IN!!!ponyexpressbookcover

By Mary Davis

On April 3, 1860, two horseback riders raced across the West, one westbound from St. Joseph, Missouri and the other eastbound from Sacramento, California. And the PONY EXPRESS was born, filling a much-needed gap until the telegraph line could be completed. The telegraph was finished on October 24, 1861, rendering the Pony Express obsolete.

As a rider would approach a station, a lookout called, “RIDER COMING IN!” A special “bare bones” saddle was strapped onto a fresh horse and stood ready. The incoming rider would jump down, the four-pocket, leather mochila transferred to the waiting horse, the timecard marked, and the same rider or a new one would leap up and race off. The exchange took about two minutes.

hd_ponyexpress1860recruitinPony Express stations were set up 10-15 miles apart with fresh horses. A rider typically rode 75-100 miles. Bob Haslam is reported to have once ridden 380 miles in 36 hours. Buffalo Bill Cody claims the longest ride by four miles.

Though postage cost $10 an ounce at the start and $2 by the end, the Pony Express grossed only $90,000 and lost as much as $200,000.

The Pony Express was mostly used by the military as the Civil War approached and began. Because of the high cost, ordinary folks almost never used the Pony Express.

“The story of the Pony Express is one of the most romanticized events in the history of the United States. In some ways, the Pony Express could be considered one of the most famous financial failures about which little is truly known, but much is told.” (Here Comes the Pony! By William E. Hill)

An Unlikely Hero
BethAnn along with her little sister are running from a mistake
and finds security at a Pony Express station and love in the quiet affection of a
shy Pony Express rider known as the “Fox.”

Chapter One – June 1861

No one would likely be following them tonight. BethAnn White tightened her hold around her twelve-year-old sister as the eastbound stagecoach came to a lurching stop.

The driver called out, “Head of Echo Canyon Stagecoach and Pony Express Station.”

BethAnn accepted the offered hand and stepped down from the stage, then turned to help Molly. She gazed in the direction they’d come from. The sun was just dipping behind the western ridge.

She heard rapidly approaching hoofbeats but couldn’t tell which direction they were coming from in the dimming evening light. The sound bounced off the canyon walls, making the sound appear to be coming from everywhere.

“Rider coming in!” someone yelled. That, too, bounced around and came from everywhere.

This could be exciting to see a Pony Express rider exchange. She searched the area around her. Where was Molly?

The hoofbeats grew louder, and station personnel scurried around.

Molly would not want to miss this. Where was she? BethAnn stepped out in front of the stagecoach team and saw the outline of the rider racing in from the east.

Then she saw her.

Her baby sister.

Her only family.

In the path of a several-hundred-pound charging animal

headshot-3Award-winning novelist MARY DAVIS has over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She is a member of ACFW and active in two critique groups. Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty years and two cats. She has three adult children and one grandchild.

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