Maeve had never been so scared. She knew that she needed to act wisely, which meant that she needed to focus on her grandfather. After having both an arm and a leg broken, she was constantly taking care of him. He couldn’t even use the bathroom by himself. Adding to her concerns, their food was quickly running out as they lost all his income.
She brought her grandfather another glass of water and set it in front of him, trying to get every bit of nutrients into him as she could.
There was a potato to cook, but if he got it, that meant no one else would. Still, he was the one starving. The rest of them could last a little longer.
She heated up a potato, telling herself it was a worthwhile reason to heat the house. Still, it was a bit hard. She mashed it down and went to her grandfather, sitting next to him and holding the plate.
“Grandfather, why don’t you get up and have some potatoes? I know you are weak, but I really think this will help you feel a bit better.”
“You all eat it. You’re younger and need the nutrients more.” His voice was a bit hoarse, and she knew that it wouldn’t be much longer unless something huge changed.
“I have some for us out there,” she lied. Such tricks were the only way he would eat without a fuss.
“Just a few bites. I’m too weak to eat much.”
“Grandfather, you’re weak because you’re not eating. I need you to at least give it a try.”
“I’ll try a few bites. Then the rest can go to you.”
“Grandfather,” she sighed, but she knew she could only do so much arguing. She wanted to avoid his usual comments about it being better if he died or that he didn’t deserve food.
She took a bite-sized piece on the fork and held it to his mouth. “Eat.” He opened his mouth, nibbling on it, then when his tongue got a taste, it needed it desperately and took the whole thing.
“There we go,” she said. She hoped he would get distracted enough to eat more than a bite or two, and she was lucky that he did. She fed him the whole potato before he looked back at the plate.
“Hey, that’s everything,” he protested.
“We have more out there,” she promised, though she felt bad for lying. “Why don’t you lay back down? I’ll bring in some more food soon.”
“There is no more food.”
“Well, I’ll find some. Don’t you worry about me. I can make sure we all get to eat. I’ll have you know I’m pretty good at living with little.”
“That’s because you grew up that way.”
“Well,” she leaned in close, whispering, “I have a way out.”
“What? What’s that?”
“I’m going to be a mail-ordered bride out West, then I am going to bring you all over. It’s the land of opportunity, you know.”
“Do you really think it’s better?” he asked.
“At this point, it can’t be worse, so I think we have no other option than trying.”
“Well, I’ll keep you in my prayers.”
“I’m not leaving quite yet. I promise I’ll make sure that you are safe before then, and I’ll send money back every single week to make sure that you can afford food. And I’ll bring you over as soon as I can.”
“How’s your husband? Is he nice?”
“I haven’t found one quite yet, but I hope to soon. I just have to find the perfect one, so that he won’t mind helping you all get settled when it’s time. It may take a bit because we’ll have to find a place for you all to stay and jobs to keep you going. But I know that we’ll get to the point where you’re much better off than you are here.”
“I trust you,” her grandfather said. “I know you can keep us all safe. If you think this will do that, then please do it.”
“Let’s just see if we can get Father to agree,” Maeve said, which made them both laugh.
“You know,” Helen said to Frank as she stirred the chili, “it would be nice to have another woman out here.” The kitchen was large and pristine, filled with pots and plates and lots of love.
“Oh, I think you do just fine on your own,” Frank said, but he frowned a little, knowing what she wanted was only fair.
“You must be lonely.”
“How could I be lonely when I have my sister around?”
“Very funny, but really.”
She put one hand on her hip, so Frank knew she meant business.
Frank sighed. He wouldn’t mind a wife either, but it wasn’t as easy as she seemed to think it was. “There are too many men here, not enough women. It’s one of the problems of being in a logging town.”
“Aren’t a lot of the men getting mail-order brides?”
“Sure, but I don’t know if I want a bride I’ve never met.”
“You can write each other back and forth for quite a while before she comes. That would probably help you feel a bit better, and you can fall in love with her without ever seeing her. After all, how important are looks?”
“Well, I’ll consider it if that would make you feel better.”
“It really would.”
“What about you?” he asked.
“Oh,” Helen said, looking a bit somber. “It hasn’t been long enough since Jedidiah has passed. I know maybe I need to move on so that you don’t have to take care of me, but it’s not that easy.”
“I would never expect you to remarry before you’re ready,” Frank said. “Even if you’re never ready, I’d be here to help you forever.”
“That’s kind of you,” she said. “Maybe with time, you can help me find a husband. For now, we can find you a wife, and maybe she’ll even know how to make more things than just chili. I think we both would agree with that,” she said, and they both laughed.
Frank told himself he could get a bit more clarity if he talked to his best friend, Matthew. He headed to Matthew’s house, which was even bigger than his, but cluttered if not dirty, and Frank didn’t feel the same essence of love.
“Do you think I should get married?” Frank asked.
“Do you have your eye on someone?” Matthew side-eyed him, but at the same time, his expression was filled with glee.
“No, but so many of the men are getting mail-order brides, so I wondered if maybe I should consider one too.”
“I think that would be a great option for you. You know it’s time to settle down, have a wife, kids, a family to love and support.”
“I just hope I can really find someone good. What if I bring them all the way here, and I don’t like her?”
“I expect you can grow to like just about any good woman.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Frank said pensively.
“Besides, I think a wife could help you get calmed down.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Only I think sometimes you focus on your thoughts a lot, rather than the actions you need to take in front of you.” He met Frank’s eyes, something Frank took for confidence.
“Are you saying I’m getting fussy over nothing?”
“You said it, not me,” Matthew said.
Frank considered that too. Sometimes, he did focus a lot on things he could do to make the logging company better, but it was always bigger-picture issues. He wanted to keep the men safe and thought about it often, but Matthew and the owner, Gareth, always said logging was simply a dangerous business, and they were doing all that was reasonable to keep people safe. That bothered Frank a lot, but he also knew they were probably right. Logging had never been safe.
So maybe that was being in his head too much when he should have been there for them. He needed to be better at taking care of the day-to-day operations, like making sure the men turned up on time, and the pay reflected the work. He only hoped that that was enough.
“I think I’ll answer some ads,” Frank said. “I don’t think it could hurt. If I don’t find anyone, well, then maybe God didn’t want me to have anyone right at this moment. But at the very least, I could see my options.”
“I think that’s a great option,” Matthew said. “I would be sure to have your sister look over it to make sure it’s the type of thing women want to see, but if you’d like, I can look it over too. You’re very kind, Frank, and I think you’d really like having a family.”
“I would,” Frank answered, “and at thirty-one, I’m not getting any younger anytime soon. I don’t want to be too old for my children when they’re growing up, and I don’t want to die on them when they are young. They deserve to have parents around for longer than mine were.”
“Then it may be time to go ahead and look, and if you don’t find anyone, at the very least, you put in the effort.”
“Thank you,” Frank said. He would just have to hope this would be enough. He couldn’t imagine never having a wife, and the older he got, the more he wanted one. Maybe his family and friends were right. Maybe it was time
“Mother, Father, I think I have a plan that could help us,” Maeve said when they both were seated.
“Well, I think we may not be able to be helped before your grandfather is healed, but if you have any ideas, we’d love to hear them,” her father answered.
“I know it may seem like too much, but I really think this could help.”
“Don’t keep us in suspense then,” her mother said.
“I’m going to become a mail-order bride with someone out West.”
“You know, I’m going to post an ad in papers over there, and if any man is interested, I’ll move there. It will be one less mouth to feed, and eventually, I’d be able to bring you there too.”
“Do you have any idea how dangerous that could be?” her father asked. “I don’t think it’s the right idea. I think it will be more important to make sure that you are safe before we go about considering marriage. Maybe there’s a nice boy around here.”
“I’m not doing it to get married,” Maeve said.
“But you do realize this will require you to get married?”
“Of course, but the West is the land of opportunity. I understand that this is risky, but isn’t staying here a lot riskier?”
Her father sighed, and she was pretty sure that she had won what was becoming a battle of wits. Before, when times were good, her father had been firm, funny, and full of life. Lately though, her father was quick to give up and knew when something was a losing battle. “I need to meet him before you marry him.”
“Father, don’t you think that’s quite unrealistic?”
“No, not at all. I think it’s the perfect amount of realistic. Even with that all happening, we’re still Catholic. Never forget that. So yes, I need to meet the man you are marrying before you marry him. It is non-negotiable.”
For a moment, Maeve wondered if she could get away with marrying a man without her father’s knowledge, but she knew that was a dangerous game to play. It would be much better to follow her father’s rules and keep to what he wanted, because she would hate to be cut off from him in any way. In addition, she had always been the type of woman who listened to her father. It wasn’t that she thought he was always right, it was just that she thought he had a lot of good opinions, and that it was part of being a good daughter, particularly a good Catholic daughter. So, she wasn’t going to stop listening any time soon.
“I’ll see. I don’t know that many men would agree, though, since it can be so expensive to get a whole family over, and if you come, everyone else has to too.”
“Yes, it couldn’t be just me,” her father agreed. “If in a few weeks you still don’t have any luck in finding a good man, we can reconsider. But you are beautiful, kind, family-oriented, and great at running a home. There’s no reason why you can’t find a man right away.”
“I can help you write the ad,” her mother said. “That will be the most important part of finding someone.”
“So, you are on her side?” her father asked.
“James, something needs to change. We all know that. Besides, you already agreed to her going. Let’s just agree on that.”
“Very well, Olive,” he said, leaning over and kissing her cheek.
Maeve was relieved, and she hoped that there would be no more arguing about it, even if the situation was odd. She knew her mother would help her, and she knew that maybe if she left off the details about her family for now, and just how poor she was, there would be an opportunity to talk to the men before dropping what would be a very big possible piece of concerning information.
“I wish we could put in some sort of image of you,” her mother said when her father left them to make the ad. “You’re so beautiful, any man would be lucky to have you.”
Maeve blushed. “Well, I don’t know about all that, but no matter what, an image isn’t an option. Maybe it would be better, instead, to show off my personality.”
“Well, that’s easy enough. Let’s make a list, and from there, we can go ahead and include things about how you look.” Her mother pulled out paper, which she always kept as a way of staying organized.
They made a list together, and Maeve thought it turned out well:
-Interested in children
“It’s not very long,” Maeve said.
“Perhaps not, but these are the things men are interested in. With a few tweaks, we can make the perfect ad.”
“I’ll consider that,” Maeve answered.
There were so many ads that Frank found it a little overwhelming. He didn’t know how to tell if a woman was the kind of woman he wanted to be looking for. Luckily, Helen was there to help as they opened newspaper after newspaper and pulled in all the information they could find.
“What are you looking for?” Helen asked.
“You would know that better than me.”
“Well, you want someone who is ready to have kids, who knows how to keep a house, and who is kind. I would say beautiful, and hopefully, she is, but unfortunately, that’s not something we can check in the ad. But I think if she has the rest of the qualities, beauty won’t matter as much.” The kitchen table was absolutely covered with papers, and she was going through them with a pen, but wasn’t finding many to circle.
Frank nodded. “I agree.” He appreciated beautiful women, but beautiful women weren’t the main thing he was looking for in his wife. If she took good care of him, his sister, and their future children, that was good enough.
The problem was, there were so many ads promising that, as all men seemed to want the same thing, and all women knew that and promised it in their ads.
“How do I tell them all apart? They all look the same.”
“Well, what about this one?” Helen asked. Frank took it to look it over.
Woman with dark hair and blue eyes looking for a man anywhere out West in America. She is adept at running a home as well as basic farm and gardening maintenance. Hardworking and money-savvy, she can do advanced seamstress work and is kind and bright. Very family-orientated and looking to have children and otherwise grow the family as soon as the husband is ready. Maeve looks forward to your response.
“I know you like the dark-haired, blue eye mix, and she seems like she could be a lot of help around the house. Of course, it could be good to respond to a few just so you have some options, but I think this should be one of your choices.”
“Help me pick out a few more,” Frank said, “but I’ll be sure to write her right away. I don’t want to lose good women by waiting too long.”
“She definitely seems like a good woman.” Helen gave her a huge circle.
“I had better hurry up and be one of the first people then,” he said. “I bet she’s getting a lot of responses.”
“Well, let’s go ahead and write one right now then. I know you don’t write many letters, but for me, I find what works best is answering each part of it one section at a time, so you don’t miss anything. That way, you have plenty of space to get to every part without realizing you forgot something and cramming it in at the end.”
“Okay,” he said, and they crafted something together.
My name is Frank Conners. I’m tall and broad with hazel eyes and have a deep voice. I do not have a farm, but I will need help around the home, and a garden would be a lovely addition to the bit of land I do have. Fresh vegetables have always been a weakness of mine. Money is not tight with me, but I understand that it is always good to be careful with money. We can use a good seamstress in town, because there is a lot of wear on the clothes of loggers. I live in a logging town, and I am a manager there. I can take good care of you.
I also am very family-oriented. My sister is a widow, and she lives on the property with me, in a separate house. If you’d like, you can stay there till we get to know each other a little better and are sure we want to get married. I understand if you want to know me for a few weeks, and it might make me a bit more comfortable, as well.
I am also hoping to have children right away, so I hope that we can go ahead with that as quickly as possible once we are married. I want to have a chance to be a father, and I think that that is something good we can do together. I would love it if you could tell me a bit about your interests and when you are hoping to come down.
Please write me soon if you are interested.
“How does that look?” Frank asked when they had finished with a few simple changes.
“I think it looks great. You included some important details about you, and you told her a bit about the town and what she would be doing here. Women also like talking about themselves, so I think she’ll appreciate the questions. I am sure she comes from poverty, if she knows a lot about saving money, so I am wondering if she will want to be coming right away. I hope so, because then we can get started on the next stage of your life. Though I do agree that it may make sense for her to stay with me, just for a bit. You may want to be sure that she is the right person for you.”
“Do you think I will be the right person for her?”
“I think anyone that ends up with you will be lucky to have you.”
“You have to say that. You’re my sister.”
“Then why did you ask me?” she said with a laugh. “If it’s not her, it’ll be someone else. That’s why we’re going to write to a few more women today. But I think this one is a good shot.”
“Thanks,” Frank answered. “Me too.”
“Lost in a Whirlwind of Emotions” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
Maeve Kelly has lived her whole life in poverty, first in Ireland and then in New York City. In order to fend for her family in need, she decides to go West compromising on a marriage of convenience. Fate brings her to a small lumber town, at the side of an honest man, Frank, who will slowly and unexpectedly steal her heart. But the path to happiness is rarely a straight line and as the town falls into turmoil caused by the greedy company owners, Maeve will try and awaken the workers to injustice. Her efforts, although well-intentioned, will end up driving a wedge between her and her future husband…
Can her pure love show him a future more bright and just?
When Frank Connors answered an ad for a mail-order bride he simply intended to fill a void in his dull life but never expected to fall head over heels in love with someone he had never met. Maeve’s gentle kindness and unfaltering strength call to him and awaken a long-forgotten yearning for love and life. This same restless spirit he so much admires in her is what stirs the waters in their small community and shakes up his position as a foreman in the local lumber company. His intuition suggests trusting her but his whole life’s work is crumbling under his feet…
Will he make the leap of faith and surrender his heart to her?
As the situation intensifies in their small town and dark secrets are revealed, Maeve and Frank will find the spark between them very much alive while they work together. Will they stay united against the storm that is coming their way or will the strife between them be too much to overcome? Will they survive this whirlwind of emotions?
“Lost in a Whirlwind of Emotions” is a historical western romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.