Book Reviews,  Inspirational Books

Review: A Bride Sews With Love in Needles, California

Back Cover Copy:

Will both Caleb and Meghan find a way to kill their pride before their chance of love rips apart at the seams?

With her brother already on the front lines in France, Meghan Thorson becomes a Harvey Girl in Needles, California. Ready and willing to wait on the hundreds of doughboys heading for Europe, Meghan deems this service her way of contributing to the war effort. When a Red Cross representative breezes through town, Meghan embraces the challenge to do even more, committing to completing a Red Cross signature quilt and canvassing the town for donations to the cause.

Horseman Caleb McBride makes his living by training stock for the U. S. Cavalry and keeps his pride by remaining a loner. When Meghan meets Caleb, she senses something mysterious and wounded about him, piquing her curiosity. But after the townsfolk scorn him as a coward and a profiteer, Caleb feels her pity and becomes even more guarded.

When Needles is hit by an influenza epidemic and the Harvey hotel is made into a temporary hospital, Meghan discovers Caleb’s shameful secret.

This is the second of Erica Vetsch’s A Bride… novels I’ve read. It’s the fourth I’ve read in this line of romances from Barbour Publishing. As much as I enjoyed the last one, I believe this one to be the better of the two. I found the characters to be deeper and the story more compelling.

Meaghan Thorson is an independent go-getter who tends to bite off more than she can chew. She has great intentions, but lets her enthusiasm get ahead of her common sense. It’s 1918 and the “War to End All Wars” is raging in Europe. Much to her father’s misgivings, Meaghan leaves her parents’ home in Minnesota to seek adventure and service. She plans to accomplish this as a Harvey Girl in California. When an unforgettable, handsome man comes to her rescue, she finds herself confused by his unpatriotic ways and the townspeople’s scorn for him. In time, Meaghan must decide whether to believe the ridicule of others or depend upon her own instincts.

Caleb McBride is a proud man who prefers solitude and physical pain to subjecting himself to rejection due to his weakness. But when he saves Meaghan from a sure death, despite his better judgement, he chances trips into Needles to see her. The harsh comments by others who believe he should be serving in Europe like their young, male loved ones threaten to derail the tentative relationship he forms with Meaghan.

This novel exposes the hurt caused by gossip and the expectations of people who jump to the wrong conclusions when they don’t have the full story. It’s a great lesson in remembering that we don’t always know another person’s motivations and troubles. So before we make judgements, we need to know the whole story. The point is also made that we should never be too proud to let others know we have a weakness, or cause rejection to affect our relationships. A Brides Sews with Love in Needles, California, entertains first, yet the reader comes away with an important message.

The Harvey Girls. World War I. The 1918 influenza epidemic. The history of nearly one hundred years ago plays a large part in an enjoyable romance with appealing characters. 

What stands out most in your mind when you think of the first two decades of the last century? Have you read any other stories about the Harvey Girls?

Find a review of A Bride’s Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas here; A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee here; and A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California here.



Disclosure of Material Connection: This story came to me free from Barbour with the hope that I would mention it on this blog. There was no requirement for me to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trail Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

As an author of heartwarming historical and contemporary romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

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  • Keli Gwyn

    I loved A Bride Sews with Love in Needles, California for many reasons. The characters are great. I felt for both Meghan and Caleb. He’s an awesome hero! Living in California and having been to the arid desert area where the story takes place, I can vouch for the great job Erica did conveying the harsh setting. And talk about historical details sure to please. Erica is a master at weaving them into her stories so seamlessly. I think this is her best book yet!

    • Sandra Ardoin

      Thanks for commenting, Keli! I’ve only read two by Erica (and enjoyed them both), but I agree this one seems to go deeper than the other. And, yes, when describing the toll the weather took, she made me want to reach for the sunscreen and scimpy clothing at times. 🙂

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