Verna Clay’s historical romance novel Abby: Mail Order Bride
(2012) is the first book in the Unconventional
series, followed by Broken Angel
, Ryder's Salvation
, and Joy's Return.
The novel follows widower Brant Samson, who places an ad in the local paper to look for a mail order bride after the sudden death of his young wife. Looking for a mother for his three young children, Brant doesn't expect Abby to be the kind of person who replies. Considered an old maid at the ripe age of thirty-eight, Abby has a strong desire for romance and a will to finally live her life after years caring for her elderly parents. The book follows their unexpected romance as Abby acclimates to family life, and the Samson's balance their grief with the joy of Abby's presence in their lives.
Brant Samson has recently lost his beloved wife to lung fever. He and their three surviving children live on the frontier in Two Rivers, Texas, a small town made up mostly of cowboys and ranchers looking for open space and freedom.
The death of Brant's wife leads to some trouble at home. He can't manage the farm and care for the children at the same time, and though his eldest daughter tries to pick up some of the slack in the home, she is only 10 years old and cannot make up for the loss of a wife and mother. The family is deep in their grief, compounding the struggle to maintain and move forward. Ty, the oldest son, is only 14, and though he helps his father on the ranch, he is so lost in his grief that he spends most of his time reading dime novels, hoping for a distraction from the pain he doesn't know how to feel.
Brant knows that finding an eligible woman in Two Rivers will be next to impossible. Very few women live in the fledgling state of Texas, and those that pass through won't be interested in taking on a grief-stricken man and his three children. So, Brant does something that he doesn't particularly expect—he decides to put an ad for a mail-order bride in the paper. Anxious, he doesn't expect much but knows it is his only hope of finding a mother for his three children.
Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, 38-year-old Abby is trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. For many years she stayed at home to care for her elderly parents; because of that, she never married and is now considered an undesirable old maid. Abby works as a schoolteacher, but there is nothing other than her students to keep her tied to Philadelphia. When she sees an ad in the paper for a wife to move to Texas, she writes back. She doesn't expect much, but her frankness and Brant's even more honest reply begins a courtship that will lead to unexpected and unconventional love.
In Texas, Brant is courteous to Abby. They marry when she arrives, but he gives her her own bedroom until they can get to know each other better and become comfortable. Before long, Abby falls for Brant, who is a kind man and a good father. They begin an unexpectedly steamy romance, and Abby soon finds herself loving Brant's children and considering them her own. When tragedy strikes the family again, Brant watches as Abby helps the family manage its grief, admiring the strong woman who came into his life at just the right moment.
The author of 25 romance novels, including a contemporary western romance series that includes 10 books, Verna Clay also has written a quartet of historical western romances, of which Abby
is the first. Author of the Oasis
series about a trailer park romance in rural Arizona and The Shapeling Trilogy
, a paranormal romance series, she has also published young adult novels under the pen name Colleen Clay. Abby
was the winner of the 2014 Historical Romance Gold Medal Winner Readers' Favorite Book Contest.