Living in London’s poorest slum, Mercy Wilkins has little hope of a better life. When she’s offered an opportunity to join a bride ship sailing to British Columbia, she agrees. After witnessing so much painful heartache and loss in the slums, the bride ship is her only prospect to escape a bleak future, not only for herself but, she hopes, someday for her sister.

Wealthy and titled Joseph Colville leaves home and takes to the sea in order to escape the pain of losing his family. As ship’s surgeon, he’s in charge of the passengers’ welfare aboard the Tynemouth, including sixty brides-to-be. He has no immediate intention of settling down, but when Mercy becomes his assistant, the two must fight against a forbidden love. 

With hundreds of single men congregating on the shore eager to claim a bride from the Tynemouth, will Mercy and Joseph lose their chance at true love, or will they be able to overcome the obstacles that threaten to keep them apart?

I had a hard time putting this book down. Her descriptions of the slums in London, then the voyage on a ship—which led the characters into steerage, was vivid. It’s heartbreaking to read about the kind of lives these women lived that would make them go through such hardships for a new beginning. 

The love story was brilliant. I loved both characters so much. I honestly had no idea how this story was going to wrap up until the very end. I kept turning pages, immersed into the story, on pins and needles, waiting to see what would happened. Our insight into the minds and heartache of these characters worked in their favor and I loved learning about their stories as they grew closer to one another. I was rooting for them until the end.

The story is based on real historic records-although the romance is entirely fictional. I have the following three books on my list of books to read this year. You should as well.


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