Dark Glass Ponderings

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. -1 Corinthians 13:12

Title: The Anonymous Bride
Author: Vickie McDonough
Series: Texas Boardinghouse Brides #1
Publication Date: 2010

My rating: 4.5/5

I love reading a book that bursts my genre stereotypes!

I remember as a teenager my mother letting me borrow a series of Western prairie romances.  Now as a new Christian, I was really interested in Christian fiction.  I wanted to read books that would uplift and encourage me in my new faith.  However when I entered the bookstore all I found was a tiny section entitled Christian fiction.  Ninety percent of the books sounded like Little House on the Prairie knock-offs, the other 10% were written by Frank Peretti.  Unfortunately for many years I returned to reading secular fiction, very disappointed with novels that seemed to have the same tired plot.

My husband will attest to the fact that when I received this book I actually looked at the cover and groaned.  As a Christian I had no interest in secular romance novels and after reading these insipid prairie novels as a teenager, I could say the same for Christian romance. However, Ms. McDonough, you have created a rip-roaringly funny historical romance.

Luke Davis returns to his hometown after a decade.  When he is given a job as the town marshal, he is disconcerted to discover he is expected to take his meals at the town boardinghouse...the same boardinghouse run by widow Rachel Hamilton who once jilted him.  As a new Christian, Luke struggles with moving on...and discovers the boulder in the way is his forgiving Rachel.

Rachel's life circumstances have been most unfavorable.  While Ms. McDonough's novel is side-splittingly, wear your Depends hailarious she also deals respectfully with serious issues.  Although child/spousal abuse is not common in Christian historicals, unfortunately it has been a frighteningly real experience for women throughout history.  Rachel's guilt, shame, and healing throughout the novel were very authentic.

Throw into the mix Luke's hillbilly cousins, who decide Luke is in need of a wife and invite three different women to town to fill the "role"... and  resulting chaos is as comical as a three-ring circus with the whole town cheering on the sidelines.

I will be anxiously awaiting the second novel, Second Chance Brides...and wondering what Providence has in store for the other "brides."

Disclosure: This book was received as part of GoodReads FirstReads program.


This sounds like an excellent book! I haven't read my review copy yet, but now am anxious to read it. Cathy Marie Hake and Susan Page Davis also write wonderful historicals!

It was excellent. I've heard great things about Cathy Marie Hake and Susan Page Davis, so I'll have to give them a try!

You may like my book, then. I won't plug it here but you can go to my website if you like.

Very nice article, Julia. "I want to be truly able to say "follow me as I follow Christ" to my children." That really sums it up, doesn't it? When Jon was born, I quickly realized that for me to be comfortable and confident being in absolute authority over that helpless one, I needed to be helpless before my absolute authority and Lord, Jesus Christ. Keep those cards and letters coming, sweetheart!

Amen and thanks, Steve!


Thanks so much for the fabulous review!! My friends know I have a weird sense of humor, and I always wonder if readers will laugh at the things in my books that I hoped would be funny. It's great to know you enjoy The Anonymous Bride so much.

Your commenters mentioned Cathy Hake. She is probably the main reason I'm published today. She took interest in a newbie writer and saw something she liked. My very first book, A Stitch in Time, is a novella that Cathy did with me an two other authors. Also, Susan Davis is a great friend and one of my critique partners. We both worked with Cathy Hake in Virginia Brides. It's a collection of three exciting stories set in historical Virginia.

Also, I turned in the final edits yesterday for Second Chance Brides, which is book two in the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series and am currently working on book three, which is Jack's story as a young woman. FYI - she hasn't changed a whole lot.

Thanks again for the wonderful review!


Thanks for stopping by! I can't wait for book 2 and I definitely can't wait to hear Jack's story as a young woman. I think she was probably my favorite character.

I'll definitely have to read Cathy Hake & Susan Davis. I've heard so many great reviews of their books!

Julia M. Reffner

About Me

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Christ-loving bookworm & homeschool mom of 2 stealing the rare quiet moments to pursue that all elusive writing dream. I also write book reviews for Title Trakk and The Historical Novel Society.


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