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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Review of a Great Read: Paper Roses

Long before I began writing, I was a voracious reader of romances. I still love a great story, and there are many wonderful authors writing them. I invite you to check back on Saturdays when I share my reviews of some books I've enjoyed recently, both historical and contemporary.

The Review

Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot

Mail-order bride Sarah Dobbs treasures her “Paper Roses,” which is what she calls the letters she received from her husband-to-be after she answered his matrimonial advertisement. She leaves Philadelphia in 1856 and arrives in Texas to be met by her groom’s brother, Clay Canfield, and the news that her fiancĂ© is dead. Sarah can’t go back east and determines to make a life for herself and her young sister out west. Clay offers her the cabin his brother had built for them, which is on the Canfield ranch.

While Sarah seeks to make a living in the German-French settlement, Clay searches in vain for his brother’s murderer. Although focused on his self-appointed task, he can’t escape sweet, plucky Sarah, who invades his world and his thoughts. Sarah fights the prejudice that pervades the town—and her growing feelings for Clay. He struggles to balance the needs of the community with his desire to return to his life back east. Both have difficulty trusting God, Whom their friends assure them can meet their needs if only they’d turn to Him. Can these two hurting souls overcome their differences and find peace, faith and love?

Amanda Cabot’s tender tale drew me in from the first chapter. Clay and Sarah are likable characters whose hurts and heartaches touched me, and yet both are strong, resilient people who have the fortitude to forge ahead despite the trials they face.

The story is cleverly woven, and I was drawn from one scene to the next as I waited for Sarah to discover her place in the small town and for Clay to find the murderer. The conclusion is surprising and satisfying. I enjoyed Paper Roses because of Cabot’s characters and story-telling ability and look forward to reading more of her work.

• • • • •

Win a Book

If you enjoy reading inspirational romances, leave a comment for your chance to win my once-read copy of the title I just reviewed. Be sure to include your email address when prompted, so I can contact you. (I don't share this information.)

I'll choose the winner from all those who leave a comment by the Friday after the post and will list the winner's name the following Saturday.

Last Week's Winner

Congrats to Elizabeth Pina, winner of my once-read copy of Diamond Duo by Marcia Gruver.


sherrinda said...

Hi Keli! I love mail order bride stories, don't you? The ultimate blind date! So this one has a surprise ending? Sounds intriguing! ;)

Keli Gwyn said...


Mail order bride stories are my all time favorites, followed by marriage of convenience stories. That said, you probably won't be surprised to hear that I've written several. :)

sherrinda said...

Keli, are you submitting any of your manuscripts yet? I cannot imagine writing 5 books in 2 years! That is just unbelievable! It has taken me a year to write ONE and it's still not quite finished. lol (almost, though!) :)

Keli Gwyn said...


Since completing those five stories, I learned a great deal more about craft and know they need work. I'm in the process of rewriting one of the five. That's the book I mention in my weekly recaps.

I don't write a story as quickly these days. During the two years I drafted those five, I was a hermit.

Since crawling from my cave and discovering many wonderful new friends in Cyberspace, I no longer hole up and write for weeks on end. I also blog, participate in loops, attend my local RWA chapter meetings, go to writers conferences and more. Plus I'm an officer in my local Toastmasters club. My life is rich and full--and much more balanced.

Amy De Trempe said...

Mail Order Bride stories are always great. Thanks for posting another review

Keli Gwyn said...


Seems like I'm in good company, since you're a fan of mail order bride stories too. This one has a twist, since the groom was murdered before the bride arrives, but the new hero is great. For reasons I won't share, since I'm not into spoilers, he's just the man for the heroine.

Jody Hedlund said...

Sounds like a great book! I'd love a chance to read it.

Keli Gwyn said...

Got you down, Jody!

mez said...

Paper Roses sounds like a lovely, touching story. I'm another one who enjoys mail order bride stories! Please include me, Keli. Thanks.


Keli Gwyn said...


If I turn a book over and see that it's a mail order bride story, I'm hooked then and there. They are my all time favorites.

If you see this comment, please contact me: keligwyn (at) keligwyn (dot) com. You won a book earlier this month, and I want to get it on its way to you. However, I don't know if my emails are getting through to you.

mez said...

I tried yesterday and then again just now with this e-mail above... hopefully you will get it this time. I've been trying since you wrote earlier in the month! Thanks for not giving up on me.

Keli Gwyn said...


Yay! Your messages got through this time. I'll get your book on its way to you. Happy reading.


Amanda Cabot said...

I'm so thrilled that you're as intrigued by mail-order bride stories as I am. I've always thought that it must have taken a lot of courage to agree to marry a man you've met only through his letters. What would make a woman even consider doing that? And what if he turned out to be a total dud? One thought led to another, with the result being Paper Roses. I hope you'll enjoy it.


Keli Gwyn said...


Thanks so much for stopping by. It's great to have an author visit.

As you know, I loved your story. I look forward to sharing it with one of my visitors.

Keli Gwyn said...

I held the drawing, and Amy is the winner of Paper Roses.

Congrats, Amy. I'll be in touch.