Blacksmith Brides is anthology of four novellas revolving around blacksmiths from various times in history and the women with whom they fall in love. Authors Pegg Thomas, Amanda Barratt, Angela K. Couch, and Jennifer Uhlarik combine to bring us this wonderful collection of romantic stories.
While I love history and novellas, the concept of blacksmiths is what drew me to this book. I was curious how the authors would create the relationships around that particular profession. We can jump to the stereotype of muscled men swinging their hammer beside a glowing forge. However, that stereotype is accurate because that’s precisely what it takes to do what they do and the authors of Blacksmith Brides breathed freshness into it.
Over the hundred or so years covered in Blacksmith Brides, blacksmithing didn’t seem to change much. All four men were hard working, willing to bare the heat and dirt to craft beautiful and necessary items from common metal. But individually they saw the world very differently. Perhaps hardened because of their circumstances, or fiercely protective of the vulnerable, or wishing for a new life, to be more than just a blacksmith.
The women who fell in love with these men were all strong, capable women. Well matched to the blacksmiths’ strengths. They came from a variety of stations and responsibilities. But much rested on their shoulders. As they came to see the heart behind their blacksmith, each woman had to decide whether to accept a partner to share their load. But what was equally true is how each held a key to unlocking their blacksmith’s best self.
I admired how the authors did not shy away from difficult topics, even in such short stories. Abuse, slavery, and war were all common themes. Throughout the stories, the characters’ relationship – or lack of relationship – with God is woven in without being obnoxious. What struck me most, however, was how lasting the stories felt. After I finished reading each one, I found myself thinking about it long afterward.
On that note alone I would recommend reading these stories. But if you also love history, romance, and a fascinating profession, then definitely pick up a copy of Blacksmith Brides.
I received this book free from NetGalley and Barbour Books in order to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”