Nobody’s Bride

Romance - Historical
345 Pages
Reviewed on 04/22/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Risah Salazar for Readers' Favorite

Set in the late 19th century in Washington Territory, Laura Langdon’s Nobody’s Bride follows the love story of Joseph Abernathy and Nellie Bishop. While Joseph was initially married to Nellie’s cousin, Abigail, that tumultuous marriage only lasted half a year. Nellie, on the other hand, was nowhere near marriage in her twenty-nine years of existence, hence the moniker Nobody’s Bride. This fact made most of her family either mean to or negligent of her. Upon one year of separation, Joseph found his ex-wife’s letters that the latter left in their house. While Abigail and her family spoke ill of Nellie in their correspondence, Joseph found a warm, loving, and well-equipped companion in Nellie. He remembered his and Abigail’s wedding day when Joseph's and Nellie’s eyes first met. It was brief and at that moment really meant nothing to either party. But now, that shared glance through the window is slowly becoming the foundation of a new and hopefully successful marriage.

Nobody’s Bride is nothing short of wonderful. Laura Langdon is a master in the craft of worldbuilding - only a couple of pages in and the reader is sure to be entranced by the rich details. Consistent poetic language and subtle symbolism paint a beautiful picture of the main plot and even the subplots. Each character is compellingly well-written and has their own unique personality. Be prepared for a fast-paced emotional roller-coaster ride, though the romance itself is slow yet sultry - just the right balance of everything. This tale is the type that lingers long after the last word has been read. To say that this story is a rare find is an understatement. Readers will definitely be wildly anticipating more of Langdon’s works in the near future.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Nobody’s Bride is a historical romance by Laura Langdon. After a visit to a historic working farm, Langdon was inspired to write a story about two hardworking people who were brought together by strange circumstances. Joseph Abernathy is intrigued by a woman he sees in a window on his wedding day. After his wife leaves him, Joseph finds a letter about the woman in the things his wife neglected to take with her. He writes to Nellie Bishop, the woman he glimpsed that day, and he asks her to be a helpmate. Nellie responds to his inquiry, but she warns him that he may not want to marry her when he learns her history. As the story concludes, Langdon provides a succinct closing summary of each character we meet in her novel.

Laura Langdon gives us doses of history and old-fashioned homemaking as she reveals her characters’ secrets. Biblical scripture is quoted throughout, and even though Nellie’s family did not embrace religion, she begins to live a life guided by faith. The narrative is medium-paced, and Langdon gives depth to her characters through their thoughts. The plights of the secondary characters could have been separate stories, as their experiences are richly detailed. Langdon has done a beautiful job of projecting Nellie's and Joseph’s voices in her work, and they seem like real people who lived in the 1800s. Nobody’s Bride is an excellent book for mature readers who enjoy historical romance.

K.C. Finn

Nobody’s Bride is a work in the subgenres of historical, romance, and Western drama. It is best suited to the mature adult reading audience owing to scenes of a sexual nature, some scenes of violence, and explicit language appropriate to the period. Penned by Laura Langdon, the plot follows our heroine Nellie Bishop and her arranged marriage to Joseph Abernathy in Washington Territory in 1878. The pair agree on a practical union, never intending for love to be part of the bargain in their new life together, but fate has other plans when different scandals and struggles come to light.

Laura Langdon has crafted a riveting romantic drama with plenty of grit and realism from a time of physical and emotional hardship in American history. However, the most striking feature of the work lies in its character presentation and commitment to exploring the psychological toll of farm life, marriages of convenience, and the difficulties of being a woman in the late nineteenth century. Nellie is a strong figure with a mind of her own. It’s easy to root for her and heart-breaking to feel for her, in parts, as life tries to bend her to its will and she struggles to define her happiness and be what she wants to be. In this respect, Joseph makes for a good foil for her journey, but he’s also very well-drawn, intricate, and emotive in his own right. Overall, Nobody’s Bride is an atmospheric work that captures the spirit of Western drama while also offering a high-quality emotional plot line and excellent character development.

Stephanie Chapman

Nobody’s Bride by Laura Langdon is a story of hope, determination, and love. Joseph Abernathy married the beautiful Abigail Bishop. On his wedding day, he sees a woman looking out of the window of the Bishop house. A year later, Joseph prays to God for a companion to fill the void Abigail left when she ran away with another man. He remembered Nellie and wrote her a letter of proposal. She accepts, and they continue to learn more about each other through letters. After a horrible storm, Mr. Shanks brings Nellie to Joseph. She fled her home after being beaten and spent the night in the storm. Joseph spends several days nursing Nellie back to health and gives her the option to stay or leave. Her answer gave Joseph more than Abigail’s pretty face ever could.

Laura Langdon’s romance provides an excellent look at life for women in the late 1800s. Nellie was 29 years old when Joseph wrote his proposal. Before the romance, her age made her a burden and it required hard work to pay for her keep. I liked the way Joseph didn’t force his wife into the matrimonial bed after they married. It gave Nellie the chance to adjust from a life of servitude to being a proper partner. The vivid depictions of both Joseph and Nellie felt natural and their personalities complemented one another. A myriad of unpredictable events held my attention from start to finish. An intense focus on the true nature of farm life added depth to each page. Nellie possessed the ability to stand her ground while still keeping a gentle heart for those who were less fortunate. The supporting characters were well-developed. I recommend Nobody’s Bride to readers who like historical romances with authentic stories.

Michelle Robertson

Nellie has lived on her family farm all her 29 years of life. Feeling as though she will end up as a spinster and not have a chance of a wedding like her older brothers and sisters, her life becomes mundane and humdrum as she spends her days doing household chores, caring for her younger brothers and sisters, parents, being a farm aid and midwife to neighboring farms. As Nellie does not feel she possesses what other girls would call beauty, she comes to terms with the fact that she may never marry and experience wifely duties. However, her cousin Abigail is about to marry, and as Nellie stands in her bedroom, looking out the window of her shared room, she catches the eye of her cousin’s groom-to-be, and little does she know that a little glimpse will change her life forever.

Nobody’s Bride by Laura Langdon is an intriguing historical romance novel set in 1878, Washington Territory. Langdon vividly describes what life would have been like during this era when hard work, difficulties, betrayal, sickness, injury, loss, weather elements, and a simplistic lifestyle were just part of the norm. The characters and plot are highly developed and beautifully designed, so you can feel the raw emotion lift off the pages. She has also done her research on the territory, customs, and farm life of people of the late 1800s, as the way she describes the scenery, clothing, chores, interests of the characters, and their surroundings, will make you feel as if you are watching a movie instead of reading pages in a book.