Sweet Briar Rose
by Lena Goldfinch
Publication Date March 5, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Clean Romance, Western
Setting: Colorado Gilded Age – US – 1875 – 1900
Main Character Ages: 18-24
Written for: Adults
A delightful historical western romance from the author of The Unexpected Bride.
Once upon a time, Rose was a barefoot dreamer, carving whimsical creatures from the driftwood she found on the beach. However, after the death of her father, Rose finds herself cut adrift. So she answers an advertisement to become the bride of a blacksmith in Sweet Briar, Colorado, bravely leaving behind the coast of Maine and her beloved sandy beaches.
Living in the shadow of the Rockies, Emmett Southerland is a bit of a hopeless romantic. He’s been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the dark-haired beauty in the photograph he keeps over his heart. However, soon he and Rose find themselves snowed-in during the worst storm Colorado has seen in twenty-five years.
This sweet mail-order bride romance very loosely reimagines the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty, complete with a satisfying happily-ever-after. Sweet Briar Rose is a short novel of approximately 42,000 words.
Note for fans of The Brides Series: Sweet Briar Rose is not Christian Fiction, but falls into the Clean and Wholesome category, with no graphic content or swearing.
The bio for Lena Goldfinch describes her books as having a taste of “sigh-worthy romance”. Sweet Briar Rose most certainly fits this description. Who doesn’t love the thought of a helplessly romantic man? Certainly not me! Emmett was such a fun contradiction, being a blacksmith and a tender-hearted gentleman.
A big conflict in the story was a lack of communication, which was rather ironic because both Rose and Emmett thought they were sharing their thoughts. Nevertheless, as with all relationships, communication goes so much beyond just answering questions and saying what is currently on your mind, and Rose and Emmett needed some lessons in this area.
The story was very touching and sweet. I strongly recommend it (and all of the other books by this author!)
And so, from the first, Emmett had looked at Rose and fallen instantly in love. Perhaps it wasn’t the wisest thing, to give his heart so completely to a woman he’d only seen once, and that just an image of her. A single moment in time captured on glossy paper. But there was something about her. Some immediate and instinctual connection to her. To her spirit and heart. There was a sweetness of expression, a goodness about her that surely couldn’t be faked. From the demure way she folded her hands on back of the wing chair the photographer had used as a prop. To the graceful curve of her cheek and neck.
In all honesty, she wouldn’t have come at all if her decision had been based solely on that single blurred photograph. She had no reason to suspect Emmett was anything other than a “decent, hardworking man of means,” as his ad had claimed he was. He looked…clean. He’d had good posture. That much she could discern. But it was his letters that had convinced her. He’d won her over with words. His intelligence plain in every stroke of his boldly formed script. He was obviously a man of faith, of sensitivity and honor. Traits that hadn’t quite shone through in his photograph. But then, what did his appearance matter? Their union would be one of practical necessity, not any finer emotions such as love.
As I corresponded with the author for her Songs of Salvation post, we discussed this story and she gave me this additional insight into the writing of the book:
I’m so glad you enjoyed Sweet Briar Rose! The title actually came later in the process (I often work with a boring vanilla placeholder title like “Rose and Emmett” until the final title crystallizes), but Rose’s name was in there from early on. Her name didn’t tip me off about the Sleeping Beauty theme until well into the book. I later made the name of the town Sweet Briar, Colorado, once I realized, and changed the title.
Funny about the kiss. ? I had a little voice in my head while I was writing that kept saying “It’s all about the kiss.” And I wasn’t entirely sure what that was about either! I love the scene where Emmett <hiding spoiler material> Sigh. I am such a hopeless romantic! ???
I would love to tell you what she said before that last sentence, but it would mean giving you a spoiler, and we all know that spoilers are bad! You’ll just have to read the book to know.