Katie: Bride of Virginia

Read the Excerpt

Katie Maverick dodged a horse and buggy as she ran across the busy street in Lawrence, Massachusetts, hurrying back to the grungy apartment she shared with two other young women. The unopened letter in hand could be the answer to her prayers, or the start to her demise.

Since the fire had destroyed the factory where the three had worked, they'd made the decision to find husbands, and signed up as mail-order brides.

Julia and Genny were leaving at the end of the week for their new lives with the men who’d responded to their letters. And Katie couldn't afford the apartment alone.

Unable to bear if the news was bad, she waited to open the letter with her friends for support.

After running into the small, over-packed building, she threw open the apartment door. Genny stood at the stove, mixing cornbread for the third time that week for supper. "Good, you're home. Cornbread and milk is about all we have to eat."

Katie held up her envelope. "I think it's a response to my mail-order letter."

"Julia, come in here," Genny called. "Katie has her letter."

Julia, came around the corner of the one bedroom they all shared. "Open it. What does it say?"

With shaking hands, Katie ripped the seal on the envelope that held her future. She glanced at her friends and licked her lips, her heart pounding in her chest.

"Dear, Miss Maverick, I'd like to offer to marry you.”

Katie squealed with excitement, her friends joining her as they all jumped up and down. She had an offer of marriage.

“Oh my God, you did it,” Genny said.

“Read the rest of the letter,” Julia responded.

“As my wife,” the girls tittered again, “you will be expected to help my aging mother and take care of the house. I live ten miles from Charlottesville, Virginia and own a vineyard which is the family business.

“As your husband, I will provide for you, though I'm not wealthy by any means. If this arrangement is agreeable to you, I have enclosed a train ticket from Lawrence to Charlottesville.

Please telegram my friend, Frank Lowe the details of when and if you will arrive. I look forward to meeting you.

Sincerely, Daniel O'Malley."

Katie's heart leaped in her chest, she was getting married. The three girls squealed again, and came together in one big hug as they jumped up and down, until Julia had to stop because of pain in her leg. All three had found husbands.