The Cumberland Bride

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

I adore, I breath, I ravish, I live history.  I'm a major history buff.  I'm a history nerd/geek and proud of it!
 With that being said, I truly enjoyed this 5th book in Mayflower Brides series. The author took her time researching the territory and the trail in late 1700's.  With her words, I can actually visualize everything she penned down.  This had to be hard for her to write this because of the time period with the slaves and the indians.  I know for a fact in that time period, life was hard especially after the Revolutionary War where there were bitterness among the traitors and the Tories.
This is a light contemporary Christian romance novel.  It can be a stand-alone alone novel which I had no problem reading.  I normally don't care for romance but in this book, it was more realistic.  
The traveling from Shenandoah Valley to Cumberland Gap to find a place to find a home was a breathtaking, mesmerizing, daring, and daunting task to travel by foot/horses in those days.  There was hardly any wagon in those days yet.  Covered wagons came later.  This is the period of time I would have so loved to live in that fresh clean wilderness.  I wouldn't mind the hardship because I would be embracing life.

I truly embraced living in the book for several hours.

The only problem I have with this book is at the beginning of the book where a genealogy tree was revealed.  Bear with me, I love family trees.  But I'must not comprehending how that tree and the family in the story match up.  Am I missing g something here?
I'm going to give this book a low four stars because of the political correctness of the indians and the slavery.  I know the author held back because she wanted to focus more on other aspects of the book, rightfully so and the family tree which threw me off.  I applaud the author for doing her research on history, genealogy, and geography for this book.
I would not mind picking up earlier books and am looking forward to the next installments.  Cannot wait!

I received this adventurous ARC from Barbour Books through Net Galley in an exchange for my unbiased and honest review.  Thank you!
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The Daughters of the Mayflower series follows the descendants from that famous journey. 

Book 1: The Mayflower Bride: Kimberley Woodhouse: pub Feb 1, 2018
Book 2: The Pirate Bride: Kathleen Y’Barbo: pub April 1, 2018
Book 3: The Captured Bride: Michelle Griep: pub May 15, 2018
Book 4: The Patriot Bride: Kimberley Woodhouse: expected pub July 15, 2018
Book 5: The Cumberland Bride: Shannon McNear: expected pub Oct 1, 2018
Book 6: The Liberty Bride: MaryLu Tyndall: expected pub Dec 1, 2018

Book Blurb: “Thomas Bledsoe and Kate Gruener are traveling the Wilderness Road when conflicts between natives and settlers reach a peak that will require each of them to tap into a well of courage.” 

“Thus we behold Kentucky, lately an howling wilderness, the habitation of savages and wild beasts, become a fruitful field; this region, so favorable distinguished by nature, now become the habitation of civilization, at a period unparalleled in history, in the midst of a raging war, and under all the disadvantages of emigration to a country so remote from the inhabited parts of the continent.” –Daniel Boone, The Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boon[e] (1784)

This is a clean, faith-based story and our characters reflect their understanding of God through prayer, the quoting and reading of scripture and the gathering together for worship and was not done in a preachy manner. Many times, it was the simple thoughts of someone reaching the end of themselves and seeking a higher power.  During times of self-doubt, trials, and danger, our characters reached for that strength beyond their understanding. That part was well done. I was amazed at the stamina and courage in the face of danger that our characters needed for the journey.

The Cumberland Gap: “Carved by wind and water, Cumberland Gap forms a major break in the Appalachian Mountain chain. First used by large game animals in their migratory journeys, followed by Native Americans, the Cumberland Gap was the first and best route for the settlement of the interior of the nation.” [u-s-history (dot) com]

I mainly wanted to read this next book in the series because my great-grandfather’s people came through the Cumberland Gap [considered the first great gateway to the west] and settled in KY just as the characters did in this fictional account. Travelers maneuvering the Cumberland Mountains [part of the Appalachian Mountains], journeyed through parts of Virginia and Tennessee before they reached the growing settlements being established in Kentucky. 

What I didn’t like: Just a niggling point. I think the story bogged a bit due to the sheer volume of research the author had to wade through and decide what to use. It read more like a checklist of a map. We stopped Here, spent time There, camped Everywhere, skirted ravines, waded streams, crossed River-X, climbed Mountain-Y and traversed Ridge-Z. 

What I did like: The characters and the budding love story between Bledsoe and Kate. Thank goodness this wasn’t an instant fall in love story. These guys fought hard in resisting a relationship. It was a lovely attraction and then the admiration and then falling in love. The dangers on this journey were genuine and several times it was made abundantly clear just how dangerous it was for travelers. 

The time was 1794, a budding nation made up of men and women, from both sides in America’s quest for independence, who were tired of war. These hardy souls were willing to embrace the Western Expansion for a new life for their growing families. I could just see my relations among those walking and riding the trails with their pack horses. The trail, at that time, could not accommodate wagons or carts and many were forced to walk the distance, while a lucky few could ride. If you have ever seen the movie ‘Last of the Mohicans’ with Daniel Day-Lewis you will have an idea of what the terrain and the trail looked like. The movie was filmed in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina which is a segment of the Appalachian Mountain chain. 

The interactions with the Indians was fascinating as well as heartbreaking. The author was most excellent in explaining how and why the Cherokee took captives and adopted them. Our story gave us a glimpse of a Cherokee father, Flying Clouds, and his adopted son Thomas Bledsoe [Eyes-of-Sky]. Some parts of this story were a bit heart wrenching, mainly because I knew what would happen within less than 50 years. The Trail of Tears 1839-1839, Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal policy, where the Cherokee Nation would be forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi and migrate to an area that is present-day Oklahoma. I could not bear the thought of it. I just adored that old man. 

At the end of the story, there was a section with the author’s notes that provided definitions for those archaic words used in the story. I was especially interested in the locations of points of interest along the trail. I enjoyed reading about the author’s research of the time. 


After reading several of the previous books in this series, I requested and received a copy of this story from the publisher Barbour Books via NetGalley. The views expressed are my own. I am not commenting on the editing errors or the formatting as I received an uncorrected digital galley.
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The historical setting for this book was very well done.  The author brought to life the mountains and the time period.  Although, I thought the story lacked the uniqueness needed to keep me interested.  It seemed a bit 'regular' to me, for lack of a different word.
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I love this series! Mostly because it can e difficult to find good books set during the colonial period.  This is the first book I've read of Shannon McNear's and I thought her writing style, plotting and characters were wonderful.  In particular, the relationship between Kate and Thomas was wonderfully written   and she writes the historical details very well.
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A perilous journey

My rating is 4.5 stars

The language of The Cumberland Bride conveyed me into the late eighteenth century. T’was the careful selection of every word, in the conversation and in the narrative. It struck me that not many historical novels have so consistently carried the speech of the day throughout the entirety of the book quite as well as this one did.

The descriptions were so vivid and colorful. They not only evoked a wonderful mental image of the beauty of the Cumberland Gap, they had me feeling the dampness of the mist, smelling the richness of the spring and hearing the sounds of the forest. My emotions were filled with the strength of Kate’s steadfast faith and Thomas’ concern about the uncomfortable relations between the “Indians” and the settlers.

Author Shannon McNear very obviously cared about presenting the Indians in an honest light. Though there were incidents of violence in the story (not described with detail that would offend the squeamish – like me), there was no sense that the Indians were bad and the settlers were good. She did, in fact, point out that the Shawnee often adopted those they captured and truly made them family. While kidnapping someone to adopt them isn’t exactly a practice encouraged by polite society, it certainly shows a different side than the one most often portrayed. I was very touched by a comment she made in the Historical Notes:

While digging into the history of the Shawnee people, I’ve ended many a research session in tears, begging God’s mercy on those of us who did not know, who cannot change history, but who must find a way to go forward and seek peace “as much as lieth in you,” with those around us.

There is a restless watchfulness in the beginning that follows Kate’s family as they embark on their multi-week journey to their new home in the West. Though there is not much action at the onset, the pace of the story is perfect to create the sense of the weariness of the journey and the frustration over the minor incidents that caused so much inconvenience.

As I mentioned earlier, Kate’s faith was very admirable. Even when things were looking very bleak, she clung to her hope in the Lord in a way that I hope I will always be able to emulate. Thomas had not exactly abandoned his faith, he just didn’t believe that God cared particularly about answering his prayers as a result of tragic experiences he had lived through. I loved reading about his spiritual journey back to the Lord.

This was a fascinating account of an era of history that is not as often portrayed in fiction: the westward migration in the days when Kentucky was far to the West.


This review was originally posted on Among the Reads


I was given a free copy of this item. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
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Yay! Another Daughters of the Mayflower installment! (# 5) If you haven’t read the previous books in the series, no worries, each story stands on its own. 

The Cumberland Bride takes place post Revolutionary War, with a group of settlers moving west from Tennessee to Kentucky. With no wagons, the journey is difficult, with the threat of potential Native American attacks along the way.

It is easy to connect with Kate, a woman of courage and an inquisitive storyteller. Thomas is a frontiersman with an interesting backstory. His knowledge and involvement with the Shawnee provides what he needs to guide the settlers to their destination. The last thing on Kate or Tom’s mind is romance, but you never know—lightning sometimes strikes in a storm. 

The historical details give this story richness and depth, and the descriptions make the scenes come alive. This story encompasses  courage, love, and adventure.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and NetGalley and was under no obligation to post a review.
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This was the first book I read in this series and I will be looking for the others to read. Such a wonderful book. It was hard to put down. Fantastic characters and great story. I’ll be recommending this one as a book club read!
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I have read all of the Brides of the Mayflower series and have enjoyed them all. I love to read Christian Historical fiction.......This book opens in 1794 in Tennessee and ends in Kentucky as the group travels along the newly expanded Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap. The characters are well formed and very believable and so interesting. If you enjoy reading of the perils that a wagon train encounters with Indians and sickness and other dangers along the trail, then you will surely love this one. Of course with romance added and a happy ending, then this book is definitely one you will want to read.......  An e-book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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Several years ago, Thomas lived with the Shawnee for two years following his capture. When he was traded and returned to his sisters who had been grieving him, leaving a Shawnee woman grieving him instead, he declared that he would never again put himself in a position where a woman might be left grieving his loss. But he finds that he no longer quite fits into the 'white man's world', and works as a post-rider and scout in the wilderness. Kate and her family are moving west with a group of others to take up new land, and her father employs Thomas to scout for them on the dangerous journey. Kate is intrigued by the mysterious scout from the start, but finds him fairly prickly and often taciturn, though willing enough to get her out of scrapes. Then circumstances throw them together in a way that means Thomas is forced to decide how he really feels about Kate, and each must dig deep for the courage to face danger - together or apart...

I know very little about this sort of time period, and have read very little about Indians, but I was intrigued by the presentation of the Shawnee in this book - and interested to discover the basis for it in the historical note at the back. All in all, I think this might actually be my favourite of the series so far. This is the first book I've read by this particular author, but I hope it won't be the last, because I found her writing to draw me in and keep me involved in the story. My main quibbles would be that it felt like she was the only one in the party that ever had anything go wrong, which didn't seem quite fair, and his doubts about God seemed to just vanish for no reason. Nevertheless, well worth reading.

Characters: I cared about them, and felt for them in what they had to deal with.
Storyline: Held together well, and I appreciated the historical note at the back with further background information.
Content and language: Clean, some violence but nothing graphic, language good.
Message: A background message to rely on God, a bit of a discussion of God and suffering, but nothing very extensive, and problems not really solved, just moved past.
Rating: 4.5 stars.

Note that I received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review and this is my considered opinion of the book.
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Let me start off by saying that I absolutely love how all of the “Daughters of the Mayflower” are related to each other and it is shown as a timeline through each of their own unique stories.

"You just haven’t found the right girl. One of these days, you’re going to meet one, get so attached that you won’t want to be without her."

I could already see where the story was going and which man she was going to choose in the first half of the novel and let’s just say that I wasn’t the happiest. “Why can’t the good guy ever get picked?!”, was my initial impression.

"He lifted her hand from his waist and brought it to his mouth. How was it this girl could seem such a complete match for him, after such a short time? And that he felt such a deep connection with her already? As if…his heart had found its home, at last."

Honestly, while predictable and a little cheesy, I did enjoy the story. I wanted to keep on reading and there was just enough conflict to keep the reader interested, but not overtake the idea of love present in the novel. One day, maybe, the guy will be able to change one of the daughters instead of the guy changing 🙂 (Sons of the Mayflower?)
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Another great novel in the Mayflower Brides collection!  Well written and it fit in with all the others very well. This is my first Shannon McNear book, so I wasn't sure what to expect, and I was quite pleased.  

The Cumberland Bride follows a family that's traveling west and must cross the Cumberland Gap.  Kate is the eldest daughter of the Gruener family and she loves recording peoples stories, which gets her into trouble more than once.  The family has hired a scout, Thomas Bledsoe, to help keep them safe on their journey and Kate believes he has quite a story to tell.

Thomas likes to keep to himself, preferring quiet to the noise of the group.  He's lived a difficult life and it's led him to be angry with God. But the difficulties of the journey find him taking care of Miss Gruener more than once and she tends to turn his head continually!  

Their story is a beautiful one, with the love of family (both blood and adopted), the love of God, and their growing romance.  I enjoyed The Cumberland Bride from beginning to end and find myself anxiously awaiting the next book in this fantastic series!
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The Cumberland Bride is the latest installment in The Daughters of the Mayflower series. Each book in the series works well as a stand-alone read. While several authors have been part of this project, they do well speaking with one voice. The styles of writing employed do not vary hugely. This book, like the others is very well researched, and surely places the reader in the characters' shoes. This book in particular especially evokes empathy for both sides involved in the conflict.

     Thomas Bledsoe was hired by Karl Gruener to scout for his family as they made their way through the Cumberland Gap on their way to Severns Valley where Elizabethtown, Kentucky now stands. This having been my home for many years now, added to my interest in this story. Thomas had encountered many hardships in life, and held a bitterness in his heart toward God. While he loved his sisters and their families, Thomas had developed a preference for making his way alone. That is until he met Gruener's daughter, Kate. Strive as he may to keep his distance, circumstances or God worked against his purposes in this matter. Historical fiction fans are sure to love Thomas and Kate's story.

     I thank NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for providing me with a copy of The Cumberland Bride in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review and received no monetary compensation.
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I enjoyed this book and it’s portrait of early America. I have read a couple of the books in this series and so far they have all been very different so don’t feel you have to read them in order. You can easily jump into any of them that appeal to you. Kate is a dreamy young girl who is moving west with her family. She is a very sweet good girl. Thomas has been hired by her father as the scout to help lead her family in their journey. Neither character is interested in anything romantic but fate has other ideas. Their relationship builds very understandably as the story moves forward.

I really enjoyed the portrait of the family’s journey. Most accounts I have read linger on the hardships but Kate sees the beauty around her. Her appreciation of the journey, in spite of the difficulties, was refreshing. She relies on her faith to see her through as Thomas finds himself turning to faith for the same reason. This book does not make light of dangers a family like her faced. We see the danger in both nature and in the form of Indians. The author does an even handed job of describing the Indians as both brutal and kind in their own ways. This was a quick enjoyable read. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Travel the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap with Kate Gruener, her parents and her younger siblings!  Kate loves to keep a journal and record interesting life stories of others but her father forbids her to do so.  Kate is curious about their scout, Thomas Bledsoe, as she feels he has a story in his past.  When Kate's horse slips off the trail into a river,  Kate and her youngest brother are rescued by Thomas which makes Kate's parents look at him more kindly!  Thomas does not want a woman crying for him so fights his attraction for Kate until they are captured by Shawnees!  The Cumberland Bride is book #5 in the Daughters of the Mayflower series and one of the best so far!  This was my first book by Shannon McNear but she did an excellent job.  I highly recommend The Cumberland Bride to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.  I received a complimentary copy of The Cumberland Bride through NetGalley and Barbour Books.  This is my honest opinion.
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Great read liked the characters and how they interacted and the storyline kept me up reading long into the night. Can’t wait to read more books from this author.
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Romance on the Wilderness Road in the Late 1700s

Kate Gruener and her family are waiting for a group of settlers to travel west across Kentucky where her father wants to settle on the new rich land. Traveling in groups was necessary because of the ever present danger of a Shawnee uprising in addition to accidents and the natural dangers along the trail. 

The first time Kate sees Thomas Bledsoe he is a rider carrying post west. When the family is finally ready to move on with a group of settlers, she’s surprised and pleased to see that Thomas has been hired as their guide. She is fascinated by him, and as they travel west tries to learn his story. Accidents and danger bring them close, but a confrontation with the Shawnee calls for all the faith and skill they can muster to survive. 

If you enjoy tales of settlers heading west with a good dollop of romance, you will enjoy this book. The history is accurate and the description of the Kentucky wilderness is well done. Kate is a courageous heroine. You can’t help but like her and sympathize with her desire to learn more about Thomas. He is the prototypical frontier man. He enjoys being alone in the wilderness and fears that any woman who loved him would end up in tears. 

This is the fifth book in the Daughters of the Mayflower series. Each book illustrates a time period in US history with heroes and heroines appropriate for the time. This book can be read as a standalone. There is no essential background contained in the previous books. 

I recommend this book. It’s a captivating look at settlers moving west in the late 1700s. 

I received this book from Barbour Publishing for this review.
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The author writes in such a descriptive way that it makes the reader feel included. I could picture the travelers and the places they traveled. I loved Kate and her personality. Thomas' struggle with God was very believable after all he had been through. This book is part of a series but can be read as a stand a lone. The author's note gives a full picture of the historical time period and what we happening in Kentucky during this time period. Highly recommended!
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This is another wonderful book in the Mayflower Bride series. I love how the books in this series are written by a variety of authors because it gives me a chance to complete a series and still experience different writing styles by reading new-to-me authors. Shannon McNear was one such author and I'm now looking forward to reading more of her books.  Her contribution to the Mayflower Bride series is book #5, The Cumberland Bride, and it follows in line with the historical path these books take.

Kate and her family, along with others, take a chance on a new life. They pack onley their necessary belongings and begin a journey from Tennessee to Kentucky. They travel the newer Wilderness Road. They know travelling through the Cumberland Gap won't be easy, but they're determined and rely on the knowledge of their guide, Thomas Bledsoe.

The journey is treacherous and often unsettling. As the unexpected happens, Thomas clings to his faith while Kate grows in hers. The journey is not only a physical relocating, but for Thomas, he wonders what to do with his life and his heart. Thomas is not always on the up and up about his past; yet, it's his past that comes in handy as a guide.

If you've followed The Mayflower Bride series, this book is just another wonderful addition.  You can read any of these books out of order and still read a great book, but I recommend that you read them in order for the historical timeline.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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So I read this book quickly!  Not because it was short, but because it was quite riveting and kept me wanting to know what happened next.  I really enjoyed it and also have enjoyed the previous books of this series.  It's a great historical series and each book makes me hope the next one will be coming soon.

Kate Gruener, daughter of a Mayflower mom and a Hessian Mercenary soldier is heading through the Cumberland Gap.  Not an easy journey for a proper gal.  As she meets and comes to know their guide, Thomas Bledsoe, adventure and danger seems around each corner. 

I know that if you are a reader of historical fiction, this will be a book you will love.

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 so heartily enjoyed the adventures (and misadventures) of The Cumberland Bride! The plot and characters all made for a fully-immersive trip back in time that captivated me & just made for the perfect autumnal read. I felt Kate Gruener and Thomas Bledsoe’s characters had the perfect amount of clashing and driving each other mad, but opposites attract thing going for them. 

*I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
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