The Cumberland Bride

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

The Cumberland Bride, by Shannon McNear, is another in the fabulous Daughters of the Mayflower series. It is a historical fiction series that follows a family tree linked by the daughters across American history from the landing of the Mayflower through the events of World War II. In The Cumberland Bride, the author brings us to Tennessee in the mid-1790s and the reader meets Katarina Gruener, (curious--almost to the point of pestering, warm brown eyes and so full of grit and faith!) and her family following the Wilderness Way through the Cumberland Gap to frontier land in Kentucky. We also meet Thomas Bledsoe, their guide, a man who has determined to live a life alone so as to not "leave a woman cry over me" as he had done with his sisters, a man who does not know who he truly is or where he belongs. Beautifully written, the story draws the readers in right away and keeps their interest high with the struggles and dangers that Kate and her family encounter along the way, as they cross mountains, rivers and are sometimes plagued with dissension in the caravan and are ever on the lookout for Shawnee attacks. The personalities and emotions of the characters are realistic and relatable. The settings are such that the reader can easily visualize and even transport themselves into, feel the desolation of the wilderness with its rutted roads, dusty trails, and dangerous waters. The author adds in a lot of historical information and gives a glimpse of Native American life during this time period and of course, there is a romance--often tension-filled but sweet, none-the-less. The pages of this book were infused with drama, history, family, and emotional tension. and threaded throughout was the soft tender message of God’s love and the reality that there is no hope but in Him, God the Father. I am looking forward to reading more of this author's works and more, as well, in the Daughters of the Mayflower series, a series for those who love stories of history, adventure, romance, and family legacy.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions are my own.
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After seeing a raving review for this book by one of my favorite authors, Michelle Griep, who wrote another book in this Mayflower series, I knew I had to read this one. I am more and more picky, especially when diving in to a newer or unfamiliar author—too often disappointed. But in this case, I am very pleased to say I was drawn in right away, happy with the style, charmed by the story, and ready to add this book to my collection!

McNear presents the story of Kate and Thomas so well, in a gentle flow and balance of description, action, and characters. I find a romance story that does not have instant, head-over-heels love refreshing. Instead, the gradual build of attraction into relationship offers a story far more believable and enjoyable. Their initial interactions had a natural, awkward charm at first, growing deeper as time passes, revealing their characters little by little through their pasts and present circumstances.

Thomas reminded me a little of Sully, from Dr. Quinn. He lives tediously between two worlds, not truly belonging to either, with family in each. He is standoffish but cannot hide the gentleness of his soul, even while denying his deepening attachment to Kate as she continually finds herself falling into trouble.

Kate loves her family deeply, and I admire her most for that. She is sweet and vulnerable, but doesn't want to be a burden on anyone. And she loves to hear people's stories. The problem is, Thomas's story intrigues her most of all.

Rising tensions with the natives create a perfect backdrop for the journey, as Thomas joins Kate's family and others to lead them through a dangerous landscape to the place they will settle.

I look forward to seeing more from this talented author!

I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher though NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is an adventure across the Kentucky Wilderness Road. Traveling to their new home we run across Indians, on the road troubles and the rain and mud that comes with the dirt trails. Some hard times, kidnapping and a little romance made this an interesting and sometimes oh no, now what's coming story. Enjoyed every page! "I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Barbour Publishing, I was under no obligation to post a review." My review is voluntary..
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I loved the expansive wilderness setting in this book and the various feelings it gave throughout the story- anticipation and adventure, trepidation and danger. I could relate to Kate as she shows her inexperience in the elements, but also her strength, determination, and grit. Like Thomas, I couldn't help but admire her lack of complaints and selfless attitude. Even though it takes a while for Thomas to warm up to her enough to spark a friendship, she doesn't go unnoticed. I enjoyed learning about his past as a former captive of the Indians and the unique perspective and skills it gave him. The journey begins with a slow but steady pace, but definitely picks up with action and conflict that draws Kate and Thomas closer together. I finished the book with a satisfied feeling, and I think it's a story that would be enjoyed by fans of Laura Frantz and Lori Benton. Highly recommend!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
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I just finished this book last night and....LOVED it!! I wanted to take a chance with an author who is new to me, Shannon McNear, because I thought the book description sounded interesting. I'm so glad I did! 

This story had a Last of the Mohicans feel to it, because of the same general time period and setting. Not to mention that Thomas Bledsoe had a definite Daniel Day-Lewis/Hawkeye vibe going on. Totally the masculine hero who had a background with the Shawnee, was an excellent shot, and could track and lead people through the wilderness. He even has the physical traits of a 1700's era scout, with buckskin leggings, long hair, and other markings he gained from living with the Shawnee. I can't help but love the broody male heroes. Swoon! Kate was the heroine in this story. I loved her innocence and strength of character. She had to face many hardships yet wasn't the whiny, complaining female you sometimes see in novels like this. The romantic tension was built up so well. There were some great moments throughout the various stages of the journey between the Thomas and Kate, but also with other characters in the story. This book is part of the Daughters of the Mayflower series, but each book can easily be read alone. I would definitely recommend this one! Below is the list of all the books in the series:

The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)​
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)

Personal Takeaway: With God's help, we can persevere through the trials of life and face the hardest moments with peace.

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in order to give an honest review, which I did.**
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Wonderful, captivating story.     From beginning to end,  simply could not read it fast enough.  Shannon McNear is an amazing story teller.    I felt like I was taken back in time reading this.   All the descriptions are made so vivid,  I felt like I was there.   Its a story first and foremost of loving and trusting in God.   Two cultures brought together in an uncivilized world.   I felt like I was on this journey of the  Gruener family traveling so many years ago in an untamed country of wilderness.  I so enjoyed the love story of Kate,  one of the Gruener children,  and Thomas also known as Eyes of Sky - his Shawnee name.    The adventure begins in Tennessee and ends in  Kentucky.   Hard to imagine that most of the trail could not be travelled by covered wagon,  so they took pack horses.   Can you even imagine traveling this way,  much less leaving almost everything you own behind,  not to mention all the danger?    The author,  Shannon McNear,   can tell a story like not many can.    I didn't want to go into a lot of detail,   just wanted to tell enough to make you want to read this amazing part of history.   Oh BTW,  I am a descendent of William Penn on my dad's side and have Cherokee blood from my mother's side.   I only wish history had been this interesting to me 50+ years ago.    A must read and I highly recommend "The Cumberland Bride"!
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As the Daughters of the Mayflower series unfolds, paralleling America’s history and English colonization, the stories become more compelling and thought-provoking. Several readers have commented on not caring for the first book in the series, but I would encourage them to try the books that follow because they were, in my opinion, more interesting. Also, any of these books can easily be stand-alones. “The Cumberland Bride” takes place in 1794 along the Wilderness Road that ran from northeastern Tennessee to the western Kentucky frontier. That fact in and of itself was enough to garner my interest, since literature focusing on this specific time period and region seems few and far between, at least in Christian fiction. 

The story itself is captivating and full of complexities that embellish the plot. McNear does not shy away from supplying details that immerse the reader in the experience, which I appreciate; it is refreshing to read a Christian story that acknowledges the rough side of life and does not hide behind rose-colored glasses, yet remains clean content-wise. The threat of Indian attack and the horrors of such are discussed, but not graphically. Likewise, the deprivation and difficulty of traveling and living in the wilderness forms a large part of the narrative, a stark reminder as to what our ancestors survived. The conditions seem unbelievable now, and I find myself wondering if people 200 years from now will look back and think the same of our lifestyle.

Another aspect of this novel that really shines is the presentation of the characters. Katarina Gruener, the heroine, has obvious flaws and fragility, which makes her truly come to life on the page. I felt added kinship with her in her affinity for writing and recording stories. Her naivete enhances her relatability, and the awkwardness of the burgeoning romance throughout the novel is endearing and true to life. Indian-settler relations are explored from both sides, with Thomas Bledsoe playing a leading role due to his shadowy past, and I valued how the Native American perspective is respectfully offered. The character dynamics are excellent. For anyone who enjoys a historical jaunt full to the brim with adventure and faith, “The Cumberland Bride” is not to be missed.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
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I really enjoyed this tale of a group of settlers crossing the Cumberland Gap in hopes of starting a new life in an unsettled land. I thought the characters were well drawn. I quickly grew attached to Thomas and felt he was the best drawn of all. He was provided a bit more back story than most of the others so he felt more fleshed out. I would have liked to see a little more to help round out Kate and her persona. The interest and infatuation started slow and didn't really go anywhere for a long while. 
"The Kiss" was a bit of a leap but felt like it was about time. I loved all the history and description of the wildlife and fauna of the area. It made me want to look the location up on a map or find pictures or drawings from that time period. There were also lovely Religious elements without it taking over the story or feeling too forced. Thomas's doubt in God and yet his growing need to trust in Him was what really tied the story together.

I really enjoyed the story and look forward to reading more by this author and in this series.
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Although I’ve lived in Tennessee for over twenty years, I have not yet visited the Cumberland Gap and pretty much all I know about it is that when the weather turns cold, the forecasters warn that those in that area should expect snow.

In The Cumberland Bride, author Shannon McNear brings to life the majesty and the danger of what could arguably be called the first gateway to the west (before Lewis and Clark forged their trail). The author draws readers in with the dangers surrounding Kate Gruener, her family, and the others in their traveling party. Even something as inconsequential as crossing a river can become deadly in the blink of an eye.

As if the land and weather isn’t enough, the group must also contend with rising tensions between the Indians and the white man. McNear doesn’t skirt the issue of what travelers faced when attacked.

As Kate digs for their guide’s story, he is determined to put distance between them while at the same time desiring to protect and care for the young woman with golden hair like the sunshine.

Another winner in the Daughters of the Mayflower series, and a solid novel from McNear (who is now an author I’ll be watching for more from).

Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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My Thoughts: The Cumberland Bride is a strong historical novel with a strong plot twist. The depth of research and attention to detail struck me almost immediately. McNear weaves in such an authentic feel to the everyday lifestyle as well as the scenery. I did feel like it took me longer to get into, but once I was hooked, I was WAY in. I don’t want to ruin anything but wow! The plot twist was remarkable and it completely changed the course of the story. I was enthralled by the new tidbits of Shawnee culture that I had never heard of before. And McNear brings all of this together with a strong Christian message of saving faith and living out your faith in Christ. I appreciated all the Scripture she weaved in for the reader.

Rating and Recommendation: I’d recommend this one to Christian Historical fans, especially those interested in Native American stories. I’m giving it 4.5 stars.

~ I received a copy from the publisher. I was not compensated for my review and all thoughts are my own.
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What a beautiful story that is rich in history which captures the essence of a time period that I love reading about. I loved how the author described the terrain that Kate and her family were traveling on. There was threat of Indians around them. Traveling by horses to Kentucky would take courage, stamina and hope.

I enjoyed Thomas and his commitment to Kate's family. It was interesting to read about his connection to the Indians. His ties to them will become very important as danger surrounds the travelers.  Kate finds herself in a treacherous situation and her life is threatened when the Shawnee find her in the wilderness.

I loved how the story depicted a true account of how families were willing to travel long distances to find a better life. Thomas takes his job serious and is willing to keep Kate and her family safe. There is an interesting account about Thomas's past that really brought out the historical aspect in the story. Don't miss this captivating story of survival and hope.

I received a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing . The review is my own opinion.
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The Cumberland Bride is the fifth book in the Daughters of the Mayflower series.  I’ve liked that I’ve been introduced to new to me authors in this series as is the case with this one by Shannon McNear.  I enjoyed the authors writing and her characters quite a lot, making her book a pleasure to read.

I love the spirit of Katie Gruener, her family and Thomas, who had the job of leading them and other families across the Wilderness Road to their destination.  Not as cut and dried as it sounds because he had to keep his ears open for news of a Shawnee unrest.

The dangers travelers faced in 1794 were definitely not for the faint of heart.  No, not at all and I’ll just admit that I am not a person who does outdoor type things, so my family would have left me behind.  Luckily Katie and her family were much more brave and set  out with pack mules and very little of their personal possessions.

The Cumberland bride is a great addition to this historical fiction series and as with the other books, I learned things during this time in history.  Full of adventure, danger and a little bit of romance this was one of my favorite books in the Daughters of the Mayflower series.
I received a complimentary book from Barbour Publishing  through Netgalleyand was under no obligation to write a review.  All opinions are my own.
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Set in Tennessee in the spring of 1794, The Cumberland Bride, by Shannon McNear, follows Kate Gruener, and her family as they and other families follow the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap, and into the frontier land of Kentucky. This is the fifth, and latest book in The Mayflower Brides series, a historically accurate series that follows fictitious descendants of the Mayflower through American history. I have read three of them, and thoroughly enjoyed each one.

McNear weaves an engrossing tale of what it must have been like to live during those dangerous years when the new government signed treaties with the Native American tribes only to “forget” about them. It didn’t help that the British roused the tribes to fight against new settlers.

The story opens with Kate taking her mother’s letter to the post rider, where she is immediately smitten with him. Her father hires Thomas Bledsoe as a scout/guide to take their family along the Wilderness Road. Imagine Kate’s surprise and delight when it turns out to be Thomas, the post rider. Alas, he is a confirmed bachelor. Well, he thinks he is.

As the two sneak sly glances at each other, everyone else notices the attraction. Finally, at a time of extreme danger, they can no longer deny their love for each other.

The descriptions of the wild beauty of the Appalachians, the Shenandoah Valley, and the Blue Ridge lead the reader to feel as if he or she is right there on the trail with Thomas and the Gruener family.

Prayers are said, and scripture is quoted periodically through the story, particularly in life and death, or otherwise dangerous situations. The scripture passages chosen by the author fits the scenes perfectly.

The author’s notes at the end of the book are especially interesting – almost as interesting to this history buff as the book itself. She shares some of her research, and how her views changed as she increased her knowledge base.

What Makes This Book Reviewer Grumpy?
•	Incorrect use of the phrase, “begs the question”. This is a phrase from philosophy and philosophers. It has to do with arguing a point, but in no way relates to the phrase, “raises the question”. The misuse of “begs the question” began in the very late 20th century, and was not in common use in the 18th century setting of this book. Additionally, an uneducated man such as Mr. Hughes would not likely have known the phrase.

•	A large number of split infinitives;
•	Beginning sentences with conjunctions;
•	Mistaking “further” for “farther” (the two words are not interchangeable);
•	Misplacement of the word “only” within sentences.
Follow me online as The Grumpy Book Reviewer
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Books Publishing, Inc. through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Shannon McNear”s “The Cumberland Bride” has it all! It is packed full of adventure, danger and romance. “ The Cumberland Bride” is the fifth installment in “The Daughter’s of the Mayflower” series. It is 1794, when settlers  are eager to claim their piece of new untouched land in the west. A land that has been hunting grounds for indian tribes for centuries. The Gruener Family is excited to make this adventure to this new land. They have hired Thomas Bledloe to take them saftly across the wilderness and into Kentucky, keeping watch for known dangers and indian attacks. What they are unaware of is their scouts past connection to the Shawnee tribe, which have grown increasingly restless with the white men settling their sacred lands. 

Kate Gruener, the eldest daughter is brave and ready for adventure. In her quest to discover more about their handsome and mysterious scout, she finds herself falling for him, however he seems to want nothing to do with her. It’s not until they both find themselves in dangerous territory that they need to rely on each other and their faith to get them though. 

Review posted on Goodreads and Amazon.
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Even before I finished this I knew it would be my favorite book of the Daughter's of the Mayflower series! Wow, and I'm gonna say it again, WOW! Absolutely loved this book! 
This book was so rich in historical detail and I just gobbled it up. You want to tell me about the Wilderness Road in great detail, the terrain,weather conditions,native vegetation along the way? You want to tell me about the natives,their habitat,foods,customs, oh yes please I am all ears. I could visualize the story taking place as I read. I need a bit more time to digest this as I am still visualizing it. I am the person who reads a nonfiction historical book for enjoyment like a novel. As far as historical recommendations the author mentions Laura Frantz and Lori Benton, now I have another recommendation if I may, Jocelyn Green. Like the two previous author's her books are well steeped in historical detail. I loved the author sharing about more history of the area and historical filled facts in the back of her book. It's a shame only about one percent of author's research is able to be used in books but I can see how that's possible. Eagerly await what the author puts out next.
Pub Date 01 Oct 2018 
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing, Inc. through NetGalley, thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.
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The Cumberland Bride may be my favorite book so far in this series. Kate and her family travel through the Cumberland Gap to settle in Kentucky. Her father hires scout, Thomas Bledsoe, for added protection from Indian attacks. Kate is a brave and strong heroine but manages to fall (quite literally a times) into several predicaments. Thomas is there, reluctantly at first, to help her up. I enjoyed watching their relationship grow from just tolerating each other to something more. There is plenty of adventure in this book to keep one's interest.. In fact, I was quite sad when the book ended.
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The setting of the latest Daughters of the Mayflower starts out at Bean's Station, Tennessee in the year 1794. Thomas Bledsoe hires on with the Gruener family to move them across the Wilderness Road to Kentucky where they have purchased land. What follows is a tale of adventure, mishaps, Indian threats, secrets kept & revealed, family ties, and two hearts falling in love! 

I really enjoyed this story! McNear wrote in it such a way as to engage the reader with all five senses. I felt like I followed along with the traveling party who set out to make a new life in a new land. Seeing for the first time through their eyes how the terrain changed, the emotions they felt, the camaraderie between scout leaders & family units. You could feel the excitement crackle in the air as they make their way in anticipation and also trepidation as the threat of Indian attack ever increases. As for the characters, the author creates each one with flaws like ourselves and inner struggles. Thomas carries a secret past while Kate grapples with negative feelings that can overwhelm her at times. They also fight growing feelings between them for reasons the reader will learn as details unfold. I really loved the rest of the Gruener family and you can see their devotion, strong ties and love between each member. I also enjoyed seeing history come to life. I think that's my favorite thing about the books in this series! Watching how our great nation was formed and getting to know the people who made it happen. Each author has done a fantastic job in the retelling and I am impressed with McNear's contribution. Well-written, engaging, wonderfully detailed, fleshed out characters, rich historic details and love found in hardship make for an adventure the reader doesn't want to miss! 

*I received a complimentary copy from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. *
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A wonderful romance!! When Kate's father decides to move the family west, she sees it as another grand adventure! As they travel the Kentucky Wilderness Road, Kate finds herself drawn to their guide, Thomas Bledsoe. He is supposed to be leading them all safely to their destination, but the curious Kate proves a dangerous distraction. There is an ever present threat of danger from the native Shawnee. Thomas tries to stay aware of the way things are going and feels a conflict is eminent. Just how close is Thomas to the Shawnee? Just how strong is Kate? You'll have to read it to find out...
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The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear is a fabulous Christian historical novel and the fifth book in The Daughters Of The Mayflower series. It can be read as a stand-alone. 
History comes alive for the reader as we journey with those early pioneers determined to conquer and settle in new territories. Along the way we encounter Native Americans, mishaps and we catch that pioneering spirit.
The novel shows the bravery and determination of those early settlers in 1794 as they pack up their lives and families, and travel on horseback into unchartered territory. Scouts were hired for their protection and knowledge of the land.
Family is important. They stick together and pull together.
In times of crisis characters turn to God in prayer. They receive internal peace despite external circumstances.
 Life has dealt blows. "If God was so great and so merciful, why had He taken Mama?" God does not 'take' anybody out of spite. Illness and disaster happen. God does then receive souls. The school of hard knocks means people move away from God but He never moves away from us. When we cannot see or feel God, we need others to intercede for us. "Help him... know You are with him. Even if he thinks You are not."
The novel shows how God can take bad circumstances and turn them round for good. The reader is reminded that that is exactly what God did for Joseph in Genesis 49. God loves us and wants good things for us but sometimes free will interferes.
Within the story the reader witnesses the delicate relationship between the white and Native Americans. Both are wary of the other as the whites journey into the Native American lands.
The Cumberland Bride is a fabulous read. It is a tale of love, loyalty and a search to belong and be loved. It is a journey of discovery both literally and figuratively. 
Absolutely marvellous.
I received this book for free from Barbour publishing on net Galley. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
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If I had to choose a favorite series, it would be Daughters of the Mayflower.  Cumberland Bride is book 5.  This series follows a family generation by generation through American history.  It is filled with adventure and history.  As the title implies this book in the series is written about a family who traveled thru the Cumberland Gap, the gateway to the West. 
	Cumberland Bride is not for the faint hearted.  The author does a great job revealing the difficulties of the journey.  This is a very realistic story.  Shannon McNear  also shares some interesting facts about the  Cherokee Indians.   I found this fascinating.  It was an interesting balance to learn about the massacres but also the kindness the Cherokee’s showed to those who they kidnapped and then adopted.  
  Cumberland Bride was well written. It captured my attention from the first page to the last.  I am not a big romance fan. But I do love history and Cumberland Bride had a good balance of history and romance.  I can’t speak for those who enjoy romance. But I can say those who like historical fiction will enjoy Cumberland Bride.  
	 Each and every book in the Daughters of the Mayflower has been enjoyable.  I can’t wait for the next in the series.  Just a note that each book in the series  can be read as standalone.   The characters are not the same in any of the books.  But I would suggest reading them all.  I received a complimentary copy from NetGalley

I posted this on Goodreads, Amazon, CBD, and Books a million and are waiting for the confirmed links.
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