The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – Book Review, Preview

Posted October 5, 2018 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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There is a reason I’m not an author. Other than the fact that I would rather curl up with a book than sit at my computer typing one out. There might even be two or three reasons.

When I was in school, I loved to write stories. The concepts behind them were possibly good, but I knew that the dialog was lacking and the action could have used some work.

My descriptions, however, were lovely, if not perhaps a little too extravagant. I still remember one short story where the first half described the dawning of a new day with the lovely colors and sounds. It went downhill from there. . . Yeah, I like to leave the writing to the experts.

The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – Book Review, Preview

The Cumberland Bride

by Shannon McNear

Series: Daughters of the Mayflower #5
Series Rating:
Published by Barbour Books
Publication Date September 15, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Action/Adventure, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Tennessee, Kentucky Federalist Era - US - 1789 - 1803
Written for: Adults
Pages: 256


Thomas Bledsoe and Kate Gruener are traveling the Wilderness Road when conflicts between natives and settlers reach a peak that will require each of them to tap into a well of courage.A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

Love and Adventure Are Discovered on the Wilderness Road In 1794, when Kate Gruener’s father is ready to move the family farther west into the wilderness to farm untouched land, Kate is eager to live out her own story of adventure like he did during the War for Independence and to see untamed lands. And she sets her sights on learning more about their scout, Thomas Bledsoe. Thomas’s job is to get settlers safely across the Kentucky Wilderness Road to their destination while keeping an ear open for news of Shawnee unrest. But naïve Kate’s inquisitive nature could put them both in the middle of a rising tide of conflict. Is there more to Thomas’s story than he is willing to tell? Is there an untapped courage in Kate that can thwart a coming disaster?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear.

More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)​The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)  

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

Also in this series: The Mayflower Bride, The Pirate Bride, The Captured Bride, The Patriot Bride, The Liberty Bride, The Alamo Bride, The Rebel Bride

Purchase Links

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The language of The Cumberland Bride conveyed me into the late eighteenth century. T’was the careful selection of every word, in the conversation and in the narrative. It struck me that not many historical novels have so consistently carried the speech of the day throughout the entirety of the book quite as well as this one did.

The descriptions were so vivid and colorful. They not only evoked a wonderful mental image of the beauty of the Cumberland Gap, they had me feeling the dampness of the mist, smelling the richness of the spring and hearing the sounds of the forest. My emotions were filled with the strength of Kate’s steadfast faith and Thomas’ concern about the uncomfortable relations between the “Indians” and the settlers.

Author Shannon McNear very obviously cared about presenting the Indians in an honest light. Though there were incidents of violence in the story (not described with detail that would offend the squeamish – like me), there was no sense that the Indians were bad and the settlers were good. She did, in fact, point out that the Shawnee often adopted those they captured and truly made them family. While kidnapping someone to adopt them isn’t exactly a practice encouraged by polite society, it certainly shows a different side than the one most often portrayed. I was very touched by a comment she made in the Historical Notes:

While digging into the history of the Shawnee people, I’ve ended many a research session in tears, begging God’s mercy on those of us who did not know, who cannot change history, but who must find a way to go forward and seek peace “as much as lieth in you,” with those around us.

There is a restless watchfulness in the beginning that follows Kate’s family as they embark on their multi-week journey to their new home in the West. Though there is not much action at the onset, the pace of the story is perfect to create the sense of the weariness of the journey and the frustration over the minor incidents that caused so much inconvenience.

As I mentioned earlier, Kate’s faith was very admirable. Even when things were looking very bleak, she clung to her hope in the Lord in a way that I hope I will always be able to emulate. Thomas had not exactly abandoned his faith, he just didn’t believe that God cared particularly about answering his prayers as a result of tragic experiences he had lived through. I loved reading about his spiritual journey back to the Lord.

This was a fascinating account of an era of history that is not as often portrayed in fiction: the westward migration in the days when Kentucky was far to the West.



Shannon's The Cumberland Bride Pinterest Board

(click here to go directly to the board on Pinterest) [gs_pinterest user="shenandoahdawn" board="the-cumberland-bride"]

About Shannon McNear

After more than two decades in the South, Shannon McNear now makes her home on the windy northern plains with her husband, four of their eight children, two German Shepherds, three cats, several chickens, and a noisy flock of guinea fowl. She serves in worship and youth ministry, and has been writing novel-length fiction since age 15. Her first novella, Defending Truth, from A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® nominee. She’s a member of ACFW and RWA and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the Dakota prairies.

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