Ready Made Families
This book actually contains 5 stories that are sweet romances, each story is related; it is better to read them in this one book as the minor and major characters appear in subsequent books. Zoe Matthews writing talent is evident in this book.
The Unexpected Family: Amanda and Craig
Widowed Amanda and bachelor Craig each want to adopt a child from the train; they will find the love of a lifetime, as Craig has loved Amanda for years.
A brother and crippled sister are on the orphan train. Amanda’s heart goes out to the girl and Craig’s to the boy; this is the beginning of uniting a family in love and security as they decide to marry to keep the siblings together.
This was not always the case, as many times the children were separated forever from their siblings. Read this sweet story of love and the forming of a strong family unite.
The Promise of a Family: Lydia and Clinton
Lydia and Clinton’s story is next. Lydia’s dying fathers wants her to run from a cruel fiancée to a prearranged marriage to Clinton in Maple Grove.
Clinton is the son of her father’s former employer; unbeknownst to Lydia the marriage was arranged years ago between the two families. Clinton and Lydia marry and are happy for a time. Lydia unable to carry a child to term is broken hearted, she and Clinton have grown apart but the orphan train will bring this family back together in love.
They adopt 2 brothers and later the sister; they create a loving happy family. But it was a rocky road for this family to reach happy ever after. This is a sweet story of 3 siblings and 2 adults that form a united family.
Big Spring Ranch: Anna and Alex
Anna is on the train with her two best friends, Katrina and Serena. They hope to be adopted in Maple Grove, as they want to be close to each other. Estelle and Charles Davis adopted Anna from the orphan train.
They own the general store in town. Estelle runs this family with a stern hand. Anna is expected to work all the time in the store and Estelle controls every aspect of Anna’s life. Anna did not get the loving happy family she desired. Anna answers a mail order bride ad from a rancher in Montana.
She secretly leaves Maple Grove to her future on the Big Spring Ranch in Montana with Luke. But things are not what they seem. She has a surprise waiting in Montana.
Big Spring Ranch is owned and operated by three brothers, Luke, Alex, and Paul. Alex has written Anna as Luke. Things are hopping on the Big Spring Ranch as Anna arrives and Luke is furious.
Read this story to find how Anna attains her happy ever after with one of the other brothers.
Big Spring Ranch: Serena and Paul
Serena has always desired a loving family above all else. As a child she dreamed of being adopted and loved.
The Nelson’s adopted Serena; they own the town bakery and need help with the children and bakery. Serena always felt she was only there as a nanny and helper; she never felt loved. Anna’s brother-in-law, Paul wants a wife and asks Anna if one of her friends would consider marrying him.
After writing Paul for some time Serena leaves Maple Grove for Montana and what she hopes is her happy ever after. Ms. Matthew’s writing was so pungent, it was filled with sadness for Serena.
Her adopted parents did in fact love her, but Serena always held herself back from them. She comes to realize perhaps she was the one that would not let them love her as they wanted to.
Paul and Serena have a few rocky moments, but Serena will realize her life long dream of a loving family. It was wonderful to see her dream come true.
Big Spring Ranch: Katrina and Luke
The Mayor Richard Porter and his wife Margaret, adopt Katrina. The Porters were from a prominent family back east and always felt they were better than anyone else.
Katrina was allowed to get her teaching certificate, however, the Porter’s have plans for Katrina that she will not abide. They expect Katrina to marry their nephew who is a hard cruel man to keep her inheritance in their family.
Anna writes Katrina offering her a teaching position on the Big Spring Ranch that will include Sage, Luke’s daughter and other children near or on the ranch.
Katrina and Serena secretly leaves for Montana. She and Luke have an instant attraction, however, Luke is fighting the attraction; he had one bad marriage and didn’t want another one. It was a marriage in which his wife had secrets that were not revealed until after her death.
But love will win out in this sweet story of Luke, Katrina and his daughter Sage. Katrina will find her happy ever after and the love of a lifetime.
Character, Plotting And Development:
I loved that Ms. Matthews included the history of the orphan trains before each book and the stories are related. The story of the orphan trains were heart breaking at times; children traveled from the east to the west to total unknown conditions in search of families.
Although they were suppose to find families to love them it didn’t always work out. Some people were looking for workers and helpers for the farms where conditions and their treatment were awful; in those cases it was not a happy ending.
The children that grew up with the alternative families in this book did not find what they were looking for as they felt they were workers/helpers who must pay back the family for taking them in.
All these stories started in Maple Grove, Texas and three traveled all the way to Montana where they will find what they have looked for all their life. Love, happiness and security is at the end of the road.
Author Zoe Matthews, did a wonderful job of inter-grading the stories together and it was great to follow the girls to their happy endings and watch how their lives changed for the better. The title states 4 books however there are actually 5 in the book.
These stories will appeal to anyone that likes good clean romances. This book was a free read on kindle unlimited, if you would like to purchase from Amazon I have placed a link in the side bar.