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Friday, February 14, 2020


HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY EVERYONE! This is a re-run of a previous blog from years past, but I "love" love letters, and I am so proud of Mail Order Brides for Sale: The Remington Sisters I just had to give it another shout out!

Ah, those wonderful love letters! Don’t we love reading them? I must admit I have an affinity for love letters because of the insights they give us into the past, and the people who lived then.

With Valentine’s Day almost here and my 39th wedding anniversary just celebrated on the 10th, love letters are something I’ve been thinking about a lot. Probably because of the time of year, but also because, as authors, we have to use letters and notes in our writing to “get the message” across that perhaps our characters might not be able to speak aloud.

My hubby is, like many men, not sentimental. He wouldn’t care if I never got him another Valentine’s Day or anniversary card, but they mean a lot to me—so we exchange them every year. I suspect that, through the years past right down to the present, most men didn’t and don’t make flowery love speeches from their hearts, or even write their innermost thoughts and feelings in cards and letters.

One of the most poignant love letters I know of is the famous letter written by Union Army Major Sullivan Ballou, just before the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861 where he died at the age of 32. Married only 6 years, he left behind two small sons and his wife, Sarah. The letter he wrote to Sarah days before he was killed is one that speaks poignantly of his guilt at having to choose between his duty to country and duty to family. Ken Burns used a shortened version of the letter in his series, The Civil War—and its contents are unforgettable, and so powerful it brings tears to my eyes every time I read it.

In part, it reads:

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar—that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.

I had to come up with a love letter, of sorts, for my latest novel, Sabrina, part of the 4-book set entitled MAIL ORDER BRIDES FOR SALE: THE REMINGTON SISTERS. Oh, nothing to beautiful as this letter penned by a soldier marching to his inevitable death, but a letter that had to convince Sabrina to leave her wealthy lifestyle in Philadelphia and come West to Indian Territory!

Sabrina and her three older sisters have to have mail-order arrangements in order to get out of the fix they’re in with a step-father who plans to sell them to the highest bidder—and they don’t have much time to do it. When Sabrina receives two proposals on the same day, she counts her lucky stars that she’s able to compare the two letters and has a choice between the two men who have written her—something many women of the day did not have.

She’s safely with the man she’s chosen now, Cameron Fraser, but she’s remembering the day she received the letters and why she made the decision she did. Take a look:

She’d answered ads from both Cameron Fraser and David Mason. Ironically, she’d received offers from both men on the same day. That had been a blessing, as she was able to compare their responses immediately.
Mr. Mason had written one page, in sprawling wide script.

“I have need of a wife to help me raise my four children I was left with after my sainted Amelia passed on last year. Your help will be appreciated. And I will do right by you. I hope you are a willing worker and a good cook. Can you make good cornbread? That is a must in our home…”

She’d opened Mr. Mason’s letter first, and tucked it back into the envelope quickly. She’d hoped she’d managed to keep the revulsion from her face when her oldest sister, Lola, had come hurrying through the door. Lola was five years older, and Sabrina could never manage to keep a secret from her, no matter how she tried.

“Well?” Lola had asked, pinning Sabrina with “the look” that Sabrina dreaded.

“I haven’t read them,” Sabrina said defiantly.

“Bree. You know we have to get out of here—the sooner the better. We don’t have much time.”

Here’s the difference, and why she chose Cam. He wanted her for more than making cornbread!

Lola had turned and left the room, closing the door behind her. That’s how Sabrina knew her oldest sister was angry—or hurt. Maybe both.

She’d sighed, and begun to open the letter from Mr. Cameron Fraser. And before she’d read the entire first page of his two-page missive, she knew her decision was made.

Dear Miss Remington,

Thank you for your very kind response to the ad I placed for a bride. I felt out of place to do such a thing, but your answer made me glad I did so, after all.

I know that Indian Territory may seem uncivilized and wild to a well-bred lady such as yourself, who has grown up in the cultured, genteel society of the East, but I assure you, I will do everything in my power to welcome you. In no time at all, I hope you’ll come to think of the Territory as your home.

My family owns a fairly large cattle ranch in Indian Territory. I wanted to assure you that, although the ranch itself is somewhat isolated, we are close enough to Briartown to travel there frequently for supplies.

You will be safe here, Miss Remington, and cherished. You will be well-treated, and I promise you here and now, I will never raise a hand to you.

If it is your will, and I hope it will be, I am willing to be a good and loving father to any children we may have—and a good and loving husband to you.

The sky here is the bluest you’ve ever seen. The water is the freshest and coldest. And I hope you will come to love the open range as much as we Frasers do.

I await your arrival in Ft. Smith. I will meet you there, where we’ll be legally married in a civil ceremony before we travel together to the ranch. Enclosed, you will find a financial draft for your passage and travel expenses.


Cameron James Fraser

Something about the underlying feeling of the words Cam had written spoke to Sabrina. That he’d taken time to describe—even briefly—how he felt about his ranch made her know that he cared about her feelings—not just about what skills she might bring to the marriage table.

I see it, too, don’t you? He loves the land and his life, and wants her to share it with him. I wonder if women who were forced to take this route looked for these types of things—I know I would. And Sabrina is a bit of an adventurer, so going to Indian Territory would not hold her back. Adventure awaited!

Have you ever received a love letter that meant the world to you? I’ve had a few in my lifetime, and they’re tucked away in my desk and my heart! If you would like to share, we’d love to hear about your love letters—it’s that time of the year—love is in the air!

Here’s the blurb for MAIL ORDER BRIDES FOR SALE: THE REMINGTON SISTERS–buy link below!

Boxed set of four full length mail order bride novels.

Brought up in the wealth and comfort of Eastern “old money” in staid and proper Philadelphia, the Remington sisters are forced to scatter to the four winds and become mail-order brides. In order to gain a fortune, their sinister step-father, Josiah Bloodworth, has made plans to marry them off in loveless marriages. Time is running out, and no matter what lies ahead in their uncertain futures, it has to be better than the evil they’re running from…

LIZZY: Livia J. Washburn

Elizabeth Remington’s world is turned upside down when she is forced to become a mail-order bride. With her cat, Fulton, Lizzy flees to Alaska—only to discover the man she’s to marry is not who she thought he was! Now, she must protect herself from the biggest danger of all—her own heart. Handsome Flint McKinnon has signed his soul away to her step-father, hasn’t he? He’s chased Lizzy across the continent, but can she believe him when he says he loves her?

BELLE: Jacquie Rogers

Belle Remington must marry someone before the dangerous Neville Fenster catches up with her. She hightails it out of Philadelphia to the wilds of Idaho Territory to become a bootmaker’s bride, but when she arrives in Oreana, she discovers her groom has been murdered! Now, handsome, inebriated rancher Cord Callahan insists on fulfilling the marriage contract himself. Belle is beautiful and smart as a whip. But she has a secret. When Fenster shows up, can Cord protect the woman he wants to love forever?

SABRINA: Cheryl Pierson

Impulsive Sabrina Remington, the youngest, weds a man she knows her family would disapprove of. Though Cameron Fraser’s family owns a ranch in lawless Indian Territory, he’s made his way in the world with a gun, living barely on the right side of the law. With everything on the line as Bloodworth and his henchmen close in, will Cam be able to protect Sabrina from the desperate man who means to kidnap her for his own wicked purposes?

LOLA: Celia Yeary

Sensible Lola Remington, the eldest of the four sisters, must be certain the others are on their way to safety before she can think of fleeing Philadelphia herself. With the help of a local bridal agency, Lola finds the perfect husband for herself—in the wild countryside of Texas. Jack Rains owns a ranch and he’s in need of a bride—and children, of course! But just when Lola starts to believe there might be a future for them, she discovers a hidden letter from another woman…Jack’s first wife.

Mail Order Brides for Sale: The Remington Sisters is available in print and for Kindle at Amazon. Here’s the link!

Mail Order Brides for Sale: The Remington Sisters is available in print and for Kindle at Amazon. Here’s the link!


  1. Well, in a choice between the two letters, it's a no-brainer!One wanted a housekeeper, and the other a partner. Isn't it sad that those beautiful letters of the past have been reduced to a texted emoji?

    1. YES, I am really sad about the disappearance of letter-writing in general! I used to write letters from the time I was just little and learned to write. My sisters were much older than I was so both were out of the house by the time I was 8. I wrote letters to them, and was so joyful when I would get one from them. My cousins and I wrote letters back and forth, and when we had to move the summer before my senior year, oh, the letters I wrote to my friends! And what a joyful day when I would get letters from them--such a comfort in my "new home" a thousand miles away.

      Love letters...I'm afraid they are a thing of the past. I still have some of the letters my parents wrote to one another. I treasure them.

  2. I think we all fell in love with Cam right along with Sabrina when we read that letter!

    Participating in this boxed set was a joy.

    1. SIGH...Cam was truly a breath of fresh air for Sabrina and she was for him, too. LOL (AND FOR US, AS WELL!) LOL I loved doing this project. It was so much fun, and we all had some great tales come out of this! Happy Valentine's Day, Jacquie!

  3. Cheryl,

    One of the reasons I'm drawn to writing historical romances is because of letter writing as the means of communication. I like writing, and reading, stories that include letters between the characters. As a writer, letters offer the vehicle for showing insight into personalities, and the slowness of the postal system delivery adds a level of tension and longing to those relationships. Delayed or lost letters are great for ramping-up the tension and suspense.

    1. Hi Kaye, yes you are so right--I love the idea of lost letters--even in our day and time, there are still letters they find from time to time that were misplaced from WWII or from the past at some other point that they'll do a news story on and try to find who it might go to. That is so wonderful. When I was young and Vietnam was going on, they used to publish a list of servicemen in our little newspaper who would like to receive mail or a Christmas card, etc. I think I was probably in 5th or 6th grade and I wrote to some of the guys (they probably thought--OH GOOD GRIEF!) LOL Anyhow, there was one guy that I corresponded with for quite a while. I think he probably had younger brothers and sisters. He was from Oklahoma City. I kept all those letters--I don't know if they're up in the attic with stuff that I got from Mom and Dad's when we cleaned out there or not, but when/if I do find them, I will try to find his family and give them to them if they are interested. He talked about getting promotions, and how important it was to stay in school and get a good education, and so on. Such a nice guy. I'm sure he took a lot of ribbing from his buddies about getting letters from a VERY young girl. But he was always so kind and always wrote back.

  4. I have watched the Ken Burns Civil War documentary several times. I especially love that he used letters and period music in the documentary because it really brought home the deeply moving feelings of the soldiers and their loved ones. They seemed to have spoken more eloquently in those days.
    I read the REMINGTON SISTERS and thoroughly enjoyed each of the stories. I miss Celia Yeary.
    For all the wonderful things my grandfather McNeal saved in the family trunk, he didn't save any love letters. Figures...the McNeals were a stoic bunch determined to not to show emotions. My great-grandfather McNeal served in the Union Cavalry in the Civil War. How wonderful it would have been to have seen his letters to his wife, Mary. But alas, too personal for the trunk I guess.
    Since I haven't written a mail order bride story, I haven't written any love letters between characters. I should give that a try sometime.
    Wonderful blog, Cheryl. It's always a joy to read what you have to say. All the best to you and Happy Valentine's Day!

    1. Sarah, I miss Celia so much. There are so many little things that pop up or come to mind every day that remind me of her. I never met her in person, but I feel like she was such a kindred spirit to me, and I know a lot of other people felt that same way about her!

      I'm so glad you enjoyed the Remington Sisters! The four of us had so much fun working on that boxed set. I love mail-order bride stories, and the big project I'm working on right now is a MOB series. I am having so much fun working on it. It's been a long time since I enjoyed a project this much!

      I think men would not want their feelings displayed for others--probably why your grandfather decided not to put any personal letters in. I'm sure my dad wouldn't have done that either, had he still been living. And the ones that are TOO PERSONAL, I probably will not share with anyone other than my sister Karen. But some of the others are filled with everyday details of life that are (at least to me) so interesting and meant something to my mom and their future.

      I loved that Ken Burns series. It was WONDERFUL. Did you know the theme song, Ashokan Farewell, was written just for that documentary. I love that because it sounds so "old" -- like it truly WAS written during the Civil War. But I love all those old songs they used, too. They just don't write them like that anymore!

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Sarah! XOXO A very HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to you!

  5. I was always a bit off and on with letters, but when I wrote them, I always felt like I was living back in the day. Like most, I miss the writing and receiving of letters.

    I'm glad you reposted this blog. It touches people on so many levels. Thank you. Doris

    1. Thanks so much, Doris--handwriting has always fascinated me, and so many people "back in the day" had such beautiful penmanship--it was like art! My mom had lovely penmanship, and she and my sister took a "genealogy trip" back in the 80's to Tennessee, where they actually found two of my mom's 2nd cousins living. They had never met before that, but I have a letter that one of the cousins wrote to my mom and her handwriting is nearly identical to my mom's--so something in the genes? It has to be! Thanks for stopping by--I'm so glad you enjoyed the blog!

  6. It was enjoyable all over again to read your blog, Cheryl and the lovely letters. I love the Victorian art, so unique for that period. And the letters, oh my, something so graceful and elegant about the writing. Shortly after we were engaged, Doug was posted to Cyprus for six months. We exchanged a lot of letters and I saved everyone. After we were married we burned all the letters in a barrel in the backyard. Can I admit they were a

    1. Elizabeth, I love the Victorian art of that time gone by, too. And yes, back in the day, a person was judged by their penmanship and their vocabulary! It was very important to put your best foot forward in a written document, be it legal or "just" a letter to someone. I always think about scenes in different stories/movies where, when a letter came, it was such a great occasion and they all gathered round to hear it read. It must have been so wonderful to finally hear news of someone you loved, even though it might have been "old" news by the time it arrived.

      Oh, I bet those WERE some hot letters you and Doug wrote back and forth! LOL I probably would have burned those, too...makes me think maybe I better go and look back through some of my own stuff...LOL So glad you stopped by today!