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The Bride Fair by Cheryl Reavis
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The Bride Fair (2002)

by Cheryl Reavis

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This story takes place in a Southern town shortly after the Civil War...a town under Union occupation still. The hostilities between the Union army soldiers and the residents is high. That doesn't keep the mothers from trying to marry their daughters off to the ranking officers. With too few men, and too many women, the city is often referred to as a bride fair.

One young lady of marriage age is Maria Markham. Maria's two brothers and her fiance were killed in the war, and her father is quite ill. To help keep the house running they board the highest ranking Union officer in their house, a Colonel Max Woodard. Max has no nice feelings for the town. This is the town where he was kept as a prisoner of war, watching hundreds of his fellow soldiers die, nearly dieing himself. While Max is a fair leader, not allowing his men to take advantage of their situations, he holds no love for the town at all.

I loved the characters in this book. Max and Maria were both so hard headed about things, it reminded me of so many I know today. The prejudices on both sides were fascinating and added an element of danger to the story that was always lingering in the background. Reavis did a fantastic job of setting the stage for Max and Maria.

There were numerous twists and unexpected turns throughout that led up to a perfect ending. Not only must Max and Maria fight to find their own happiness, they are both fighting the strict customs and codes of the times. This would have to be one of my favorite romances so far.

4/5 ( )
  jasmyn9 | Apr 26, 2010 |
Surviving a prison camp during the Civil War, Max Woodard knew coming back to that same North Carolina town would bring it all back. He was sure that as the new Colonel of the occupying army he could be fair, but he still wanted to know them for some reason. Maria Rose Markham had suffered the loss of two brothers, and a fiancé because of the war and having to house them was insult to injury for her and her father. The new Colonel showed and she knew what would happen, she also knew her situation had changed. The need to protect and care for her father and her friend was was still the main reason for her actions, but now she needed to plan for a future that was different than she expected it to be. If she could help Max know what he wanted to know about the town, could he really help her in return.

Funny, I didn’t realize that The Prisoner by Cheryl Reavis was related - character wise - to the Bride Fair. The main male character of Bride Fair is talked about a lot in Prisoner, while the male and female characters of Prisoner are talked about in Bride Fair. I don’t think it is a series, but knowing the Prisoner story first did make the Bride Fair just a bit better. I liked this story, I liked the characters for the most part. I really enjoyed Max and Perkins (wouldn’t mind finding a story for him). Not sure why I was not as fond of Maria, maybe she just hid her feelings too much even from the readers. I didn’t really feel for her and if I cant’ get that connection with a characters I don’t usually like them as much. Had a connection with Max and Sergeant Major Perkins. ( )
  onyx95 | Mar 29, 2010 |
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"To the red-shod one - with humble thanks."
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Nothing Would Ever Be The Same

Maria Markham had survived the War only to tolerate the Occupation—barely, while daily facing haunting memories of loss. But then Max Woodard, an enigmatic Army colonel with a gentle heart, offered her passion and a loving partnership in a brave new world...!

Though a former prisoner of war, Colonel Max Woodard vowed to deal fairly with the Southerners under his governance. He yearned to understand them, most particularly Maria Markham, a womanly mix of true grit and glory. But could she ever love a man who wore the face of an enemy?
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