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The Cumberland Bride

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Member Reviews

Shannon McNear does her research and places such descriptive words when writing The Cumberland Bride. Moving out west was once a quite common, but potentially a dangerous migration. Crime, wildlife, and angry natives are possibly lurking on the paths used by those moving west.

Courage and strength of Kate Gruener during her journey through the Kentucky Wilderness Road along with her family keeps her focused on their destination. Her traveling scout, Thomas Bledsoe, accesses the terrain while directing the path for the travelers. With news of Shawnee unrest, Bledsoe is extra alert and takes greater risks by taking a more dangerous path that is potentially catastrophic.

Traveling with this group is full of jealousy, irritation, injuries, and loss. It’s a non-stop journey of adventure when traveling with this group! This historical fiction based around what is called the Cumberland Gap is well researched and very realistic.

The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear was provided complimentary in exchange for an honest review. I give this book five out of five tiaras because it is full of adventure and I felt as if I was traveling on this journey with the characters!

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I thoroughly enjoyed this story from a new-to-me author. I am making my way through the Daughters of the Mayflower series and really enjoying them. I'm so impressed at how each author maintains their own voice and yet how the series feels so cohesive and somehow as if it might have been written by just one author. I enjoyed the pacing of this story - after some time to get to know the characters and wonder about some of their mysteries, the pace really picked up and it was action-packed and full of emotion. I also appreciated the author's portrayal of both good and bad men on both sides of various wars. I'm now not only looking forward to the next Daughters of the Mayflower book but also to the next chance I have to read a book from this author. I enjoy her attention to historical detail and her characterizations.
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Something must have happened with the download. I cannot find a NetGalley copy, so I will not be reviewing here.
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I am grateful to get to read most of the books in this series so far. I love seeing each generation since from the 1st book and until now.
I thought it was rather neat to be looking at Kentucky in a different way. I pictured myself looking over the land as the pioneers might've seen it for the first time.
I've been to the Cumberland valley but not the Gap. How cool it would be to actually visit it as they must have. Although it will look different for me than it would them.
I'm not a fan of Kentucky but I did enjoy the journey and I hated to say goodbye.
I hope to read about many more journeys within this series.
My thanks to Netgalley. NO compensations were received. All opinions are my own
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Such a sweet story.  I'm partial to stories that include Native American history so this definitely fit the bill.  I've really enjoyed the Mayflower brides books. This may be my favorite so far
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Kate Gruener is excited to travel with her family into the uncharted and untamed wilderness territories. She has a passion for telling stories, and intends to document her adventures in the new land. She is intrigued by their scout Thomas Bledsoe, a jack-of-all-trades kind of man, with a vast knowledge of the wild, but beautiful land around them. But there is more to Thomas than he lets on, and will Kate's curiosity get them into more trouble than they bargained for?

Slow to start, it took a while for this one to get going, but I'm glad that I kept reading because it was worth it. The story builds and increases in intensity as the story progresses. I liked how it focuses on a lesser thought about time in history, and settling the Southern parts of the United States. 

Kate has a thirst for adventure and telling stories, she wants to write about Thomas and tell his story, and talks to him almost non-stop. She learns to rely on a faith of her own, as she fights to survive the wilderness territory and the dangers that it brings. 

Thomas is a man who casts two shadows, walking in between two worlds, but never fully in either. he struggles to find his place in the world, and though initially annoyed with Kate's chatter, he does warm to her attention. I liked how he and Kate have deep discussions, and also talk about their faith. 

Overall, I'm really glad that I hung around for this one, I almost didn't finish it and that would have been a shame. It wasn't till about thirty percent of the way through that it really picked up, and when it did, the intensity continued to grow, ultimately coming together for a heartpounding and satisfying conclusion. Strong characters, with excellent themes of faith and hard to put down adventure. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear is a great 5th book in this series put out by Barbour Publishing called Daughters of the Mayflower.  I have read the whole series so far and have really enjoyed each book.  Their covers draw me in and each author puts their own spin on each story.  Sometimes with series I feel like they try to stretch out something a little too far and yet with this one I love everything so far.  This particular story was really fun to watch as they take a journey and need to hire a man to see them there safely.  Kate finds herself asking questions of the scout, Thomas, and over time this starts to work on Thomas.  He’d rather not get tied down, but she has quite the pull.  I also loved how the author threaded in the historical side.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

****Also posted on Amazon, CBD, B&N
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Reading tales of the perils that many of the early settlers faced is always unfathomable to me.  The bravery and heroism that it must have taken to leave everything, travel under the most difficult of circumstances, all in hopes of a more prosperous life is commendable to say the least.  Kate and the young Gruener family, along with several other families, leave the only life they've known in hopes of a brighter future.  Kate's faith throughout the journey is inspiring and her craving to document everything she can makes her a woman after my own heart.

Thomas is hired to help lead, and protect, the expedition all while at a crossroads of his own.  The attraction between Kate and Thomas is noticeable to everyone, no matter how much each of them try to deny it.  Poor Kate is accident prone throughout the entire novel yet somehow Thomas is always there to help, making your heart swoon for both of these characters.  

This dynamic, paired with their characters growing in such a short amount of time, the obstacles throughout the journey, and a beautiful backdrop of uncharted Tennessee territory, made for a sweet and enjoyable story.  My only negative is that there are parts of the book that do tend to lag but other than that The Cumberland Bride is a superb historical fiction and another wonderful installment in The Daughters of the Mayflower series.
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"The Cumberland Bride" by Shannon McNear was an interesting addition to the series. The novel is Christian historical fiction and there are many references to faith and prayer.

Firstly, let me explain that I had no idea what the Cumberland Gap was before I read this book. Now, thanks to the author, I am much wiser. The Cumberland Gap was also known as the Wilderness Road. Basically, it was a route discovered in 1750, which enabled settlers to travel from Virginia to Kentucky across the Appalachian Mountains. It was a dangerous and sometimes treacherous route, because it was steep and provided many opportunities for falling down to your death or being ambushed by the native people.   

The main character Katarina Grace Gruener, known as Kate to her family, travels the Cumberland Gap with relatives and other settlers  guided by mysterious and handsome Thomas Bledsoe. She is fascinated by him from the beginning. He thinks her pretty, but bookish and clumsy. The events in the book proves him right. I am sorry to say that the poor girl is the biggest nincompoop on the Wilderness Road. She constantly causes trouble for everyone. Don't get me wrong, she is a kind person, a good girl really, but she can be extremely cotton-headed. She wanders in the woods alone, when there is a danger of attack... She writes compromising things in her diary, that can be later read and discovered... I guess, she redeems herself at the end, when she shows courage in the face of danger, but sometimes she was behaving so silly it was difficult for me to read. Poor girl! 

The first half of the book describes the settlers' travel with occasional mishap and growing fondness between Kate and Thomas. The second half is very dramatic with many dangers and some surprises. I liked that the native people weren't shown simply as villains. The author showed also their kindness. 

I received "The Cumberland Bride" from the publisher via NetGalley. I would like to thank the author and the publisher for providing me with the advance reader copy of the book.
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It's official...This is my favorite book of the Daughters of the Mayflower series. Not that I don't love other books in this series, or enjoy all of them. But this one was fabulous! Life has been a little busy the last several months and I was super slow reading and reviewing this book by its publication date. But I'm slowly going back and catching up on several books that I missed. I figured that I'd pick this one up and skim through it quickly to finish it so I could write a review for it and get myself all caught up. Ha! Yeah right! My plan backfired completely on me. Thanks to this author that I've never read before. I was sucked in completely! I couldn't set it down. It was so good! I was completely pulled in and transfixed throughout the story of the Cumberland Bride.

I love historical fiction. I love any era honestly. I think it's all fascinating and amazing to learn about the different time periods and how people lived and thrived. These early settlers were so amazing. I live in an old town that was settled back when the West was very young and it became a major hub for travelers, so it is very rich in history. I love the history of it and the surrounding areas as well. Although where I live and the setting of this story aren't close by each other, it still felt like the histories of both places were similar and very fascinating.

There is most definitely a love story involved in this one and I have to say that I loved watching the relationship develop between the two main characters. Thomas Bledsoe has been hired by the Gruener family to scout for them as they are journeying to the new land they plan to settle on. Thomas and the Gruener's daughter, Kate, have plenty of great encounters. Several of them little mishaps but they are drawn to each other, even when they try to avoid the pull that they feel.

I'm not going to go into detail because I don't want to spoil anything. I will tell you that there are moments of suspense, laughter, heartache, friendship, sweet and tender moments and plenty of adventure. I loved the main characters but I also thought that the author did a great job of supporting characters to help round out the cast in this book. The adventures that this group experiences along their travels resembled the lifestyle and struggles of the time. The struggles with trying to settle the land peacefully with the Native Americans and yet the anger and hurt caused by both sides of that land battle kept some suspense going throughout the story. Well done for sure!

I'm so glad that I finally picked up this story and devoured it. Yes, I did devour it. I read it super fast and absolutely loved it! 

If you're wondering about this being a series and needing to read all of them to understand the story, you don't need to. The books are connected by a family line but you are able to read them individually and not feel like you've missed something by doing so. The authors may mention the couple who came over on the Mayflower throughout this series but only in referencing who the main characters of each book descend from. So pick and choose or read them all. I hope you enjoy whatever you choose to do.

Content: Clean. Some moments of peril. Some kisses and mild innuendos about relations between a married couple but nothing graphic. This is a Christian fiction so the characters do occasionally pray to God for help and guidance and a couple small scenes of Sunday worship but nothing that felt over the top for those readers who might shy away from Christian fiction. I felt like it was well done and if you're interested in the book but not those small scenes, I think you'd be fine skipping over them and not missing any pertinent information for the storyline.

I received a copy from the publisher, Barbour Publishing, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.

Happy Reading!!!
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*thank you to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for this free copy in exchange for an honest review*

I’ve read quite a few of the DAUGHTERS OF THE MAYFLOWER series but I think this one is my least favorite. I love a good historical fiction but this one didn’t tickle my fancy...I think because of the subject matter and how it’s mostly traveling. It could also be because it’s about a time period I’m not particularly familiar with. 
Nonetheless, the romance is what kept me turning pages. The way the characters fall for each other is so genuine and easy-to-read...I loved being a fly on the wall.
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She's curious, he's reticent, and they are in for quite a bit of trouble along the way in the fifth entry in the multi-author Daughters of the Mayflower series from Barbour Books. Shannon McNear takes readers for a frontier adventure, blending nature, romance, faith and family dynamics with danger, politics, and period detail.

Whether it is Kate Gruener's love of story, Thomas Bledsoe's past or his present relationship with his sisters, there is much to enjoy in this tale that depicts some of the dangers and hardships encountered in the Cumberland Gap of the late 1700's. Add to that some delightful romantic tension and strengthened faith, and you have one of the best novels of this series.

Having only read a novella by this author previously, I was delightfully surprised to find that The Cumberland Bride was easily one of my favorites in the series. If you are a fan of American history in fiction, frontier romance and/or adventure, and a well crafted tale, this is a book for you. If you prefer that romance to be chaste and the inclusion of a faith element, then even more so.

Though I've only previously read one novella by Shannon McNear previously, I predict that for readers of Historical Christian Romance, she is one to watch. Highly recommended.

This review refers to an advance digital galley read through NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Another well written book in the Daughters of the Mayflower series, you’ll be swept up into Kate’s Wilderness Road adventure. Historical facts, well developed characters, and great descriptions of the country make this an enjoyable read. Full of danger, clean romance, and faith I highly recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
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Shannon McNear has painted a very interesting picture of the early founding of our country and the settlers traveling the wilderness to establish new homes. Her description of Katrina Gruener and her family and of their scout Thomas Bledsoe are very intriguing drawing you into the characters, their history, and budding relationships.

I really enjoyed this book the best of all in this series and they are all good. I recommend it 5 stars. Kate Gruener loves to journal which, turns out, was a task many early settlers like to do. Thankfully they did, so that we know more of what happened, why, and what they thought. But Kate's journaling habit causes problems for her family especially her Dad. She loves to hear others stories to the point that she is a distraction especially for their scout Thomas Bledsoe.

Thomas is a taciturn but very kind person; and, against his better judgment he finds himself looking out for Kate more and more and rescuing her from one predicament after another.

Thomas has and interesting relationship with the Indians and the reasons for that have roots in his past.

Many thanks to Barbour Publishing for allowing me to read this book from Netgalley.
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I was captivated by this wonderful historical romance!

The development of the characters was incredible. I felt an almost immediate connection with Kate as the book started off with her sneaking away to do something she had been told was a waste of time. She was writing down stories she had been told. I have always loved to “waste” time in reading.

Thomas was torn between two lifestyles and two families. This really captured my interest and held it as he was trying to figure out where he fit in. It can be a very difficult journey to take for many different reasons.

I loved all of the details given for how life was lived on the frontier in the 1790s. It was very interesting to read about the conflict between the Shawnee Indians and the settlers. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All of the opinions expressed are my own.
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The Cumberland Bride
Daughters of the Mayflower - book 5
by Shannon McNear
Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Barbour Books
Christian ,  Romance
Pub Date 01 Oct 2018

I I am reviewing a copy of The Cumberland Bride through Barbour Publishing Inc and Netgalley:

This book takes us back to 1794 where we meet Kate Gruener and her family.  Her father is ready to move the family farther west into the wilderness so they can farm untouched land.,  Kate is eagerto live out her own adventure the way her Fathet did during the war for Independence.  Kate sets her sites on learning more about their guide, Thomas Bledsoe.  Thomas job is to get the settlers across the Kentucky Wilderness Road safely while listening to hear anything about Shawnee unrest. 

Naive Kate’s curious nature could put them both in the midst of danger.  

Is there more to Thoma’s Shawnee connections than he is willing to tell?  Is there an unseen courage in Kate that can Thwart danger?

I give The Cumberland Bride five ou of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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Enjoyed reading this story and seeing Kate and Thomas's love for each other grow slow and steady as they traversed the dangerous wilderness road. While I could chuckle at Thomas's exasperation at Kate's constant attempts to get to know him, when he finally opened his heart to her- wow, what a romantic he was! I was also intrigued by the insights into the Shawnee lifestyle. I've lived in the Carolinas and Tennessee where this story takes place and have always been interested in the Native Americans that graced those lands in frontier times. Captivating story filled with danger, unique characters, and a sweet romance.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. A review was not required but was voluntary and contains my own thoughts and opinions.
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Set in 1794, Kate Gruener's family has decided to move and they hire Thomas Bledsoe as their scout to take them on the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky.  Before reading this book, I knew very little about this part of the country.  The descriptions of the author led me to do some research of my own and I discovered several beautiful pictures of the area.  How awe inspiring it would have been to travel here as an early settler.  I appreciated the author notes at the back of the book that gave even more historical notes about this time in American history.  I thought it was interesting that the Shawnee people would sometimes be at odds with white settlers but at other times would adopt some of the white people into their culture and treat them as one of their own.  Although I enjoyed learning about the trials and tribulations of travelers during this time period through they guise of a fictional story, I didn't like the romance story line of this book.  I felt like there was more of a physical attraction between Kate and Thomas as compared to an emotional connection so I didn't like how quickly they were thinking about marriage to each other.  Thanks to Barbour Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of this book.  All thoughts expressed in this review are my honest opinions of the book.
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"My shoes won't fit."
"Nothing wrong with that," he muttered.  "Keep you from wandering off."

"The Cumberland Bride" (2018, Barbour) by  Shannon McNear], fifth in the multi-author "Daughters of the Mayflower" series, is a Christian historical romance set in 1794 Tennessee.  The novel is a standalone story, with the previous books in the series focusing on previous generations of the Lytton/Chapman clan.  (The heroine's mother is Jemima Lytton Gruener.) I wanted to read this book because two of the books in this series are by authors who are personal favorites.  And I'm a completist, so that means I needed to read the entire series, of course!

Rating: 4  stars

The heroine:  Katarina Gruener, or Kate, loves stories, and loves to write them down, much to the chagrin of her father.  Her family is traveling "northward on the Wilderness Road" into Kentucky.   Kate is a competent young lady, but she also seems to have a propensity for needing to be rescued.  Given the difficulty of the journey, however, this tendency seems completely plausible.

The hero:  Thomas Bledsoe has been hired as a scout to guide the Gruener family up north.  He's very good at what he does.  As a hero in a Christian fiction book, he seems to fall short, in that his faith in God is lacking.  (This is later remedied, however.) He thinks of Mr. Gruener:  "Just what they needed, a pack master who aspired to preach."  

Historical background from Wikipedia:  "The Cumberland Gap is a narrow pass through the long ridge of the Cumberland Mountains, within the Appalachian Mountains, near the junction of the U.S. states of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee.  Famous in American colonial history for its role as a key passageway through the lower central Appalachians, it was an important part of the Wilderness Road"

Christian elements:  Specific prayers and Bible verses are quoted in this story.  "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me."   Thomas' struggle with his faith in God is highlighted, and shows growth. 

Is it clean/chaste?  Yes!

What I liked: 

*It seems that Ms. McNear has done her research.  The story shows evidence of the author's attention to detail.  "Much nonsense happening up around Boone's fort with the whiskey tax."  Or, I would never have considered the need for the travelers to have "time to dry out their footgear before needing to walk a whole day again." 

*I enjoyed the hero and heroine's curiosity about one another through their journey.  It's portrayal seemed very realistic, except for the early jump-starting.  (See below.)

What I didn’t like: 

*Words or phrases not from the period.  (For example, "Like that would happen."  "Just what they needed…"  "footgear")  

*Thomas' interest in Kate happens too quickly, before any significant interaction between the two of them.  


The bottom line:  This is a great wagon-train type story.  I recommend this book to fans of Christian historical fiction and those who have an interest in the Shawnee or American Indians in general.    I look forward to reading more by this author, and would like to try "The Highwayman."
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My favourite book of the Daughters of the Mayflower series. What a great read. 

Lots of historical information and a wonderful romance. I truly enjoyed this book very much.
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