This reporter has gotten quite agitated by sitting around all day, waiting for a story to happen, so I have boarded a train headed out West, intent on sniffing one out myself. And it’s lucky that I did, for seated beside me is one Dianna Brittler; and boy does she have a story to tell.
It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance Ms. Brittler. Can you tell all of our lovely readers a little about yourself?
Oh Dear, aren’t you sweet, but I am afraid there isn’t much to tell at all! I have lived a quite… shall we say, placid? existence since birth, and I am afraid I have been right and properly shelved amongst Manhattan society over the last few seasons. They are now turning their interest to my younger sister.
Miss Brittler leans in and whispers to me here.
It seems that I am bit too outspoken for the gentleman back home. Most seem in search of… a wife with a more amiable nature.
She laughs then, and casts me a wink.
And what about your family? I ask next, curiosity piqued.
My mother was from England. She married my father, Thomas Brittler, in a bit of a raging scandal during her season in London, and promptly settled down in Manhattan. She then gave birth to four daughters, the eldest of which was myself.”
Speaking of your family, what do they think about you heading out West like this?
Miss Brittler avoids my eye at this. I watch as she tugs at her neckline. They… well in all honesty, they do not think much of the idea at all. My father actually… forbade it, at first. This journey was hard won.
Where is it you’re headed, anyway? And why the devil are you going? Where we’re headed, well, it’s not exactly for people like you and yours.
She laughs again and knocks her knuckles affectionately against mine. Meaning no offense, what-so-ever, my dear, but perhaps if more people like ourselves had a bit more adventure in their souls, the world might not seem so small a place. I travel West in search of a change. I can hardly see myself crocheting in my father’s library until I’ve gone old and gray. And let me tell you, there is not a single gentleman in all of Manhattan that would have me doing anything but!! If I were to become the wife of one of those stuffy… she clears her throat. I beg your pardon, but it twas not the life for me. This… and she lifts a photograph from her carpet bag, smiling as though she is revealing some great secret. She lays it on my lap, and this reporter glances down to see the image of a burly individual posing against a backdrop of vast mountains. This is the life for me. It is everything I’ve ever dreamed of. A life of substance, and meaning.
A mail-order bride!? You’re a mite braver than I am. What do you know about this fiancé of yours?
Miss Brittler tucks the photograph away again. I know that he is capable, kind, and hard-working. What more could a woman want in a husband?
Do you think it’ll be, what do they call it? Love at first sight?
With a wave of her hand, Miss Brittler dismisses the idea with a sniff. If I had not seen the love my parents share for one another, I must admit I would think of love as myth equal to that of unicorns. As such, I believe it is only on rare occasions a connection such as that makes itself known, and oft at inconvenient times. I am not in the habit of indulging in such fantasies.
I don’t mean to alarm you, now, but are you prepared to stick it out if it’s not at all what you thought you’d signed up for? And if not, what are you going to do? Go back home?
This question seems to give her pause. Miss Brittler frowns. My father made me promise that I would if things do not go… according to plan. But I am desperate to make it work. Ridiculously determined, as a matter of fact.
Okay then, answer me this: Are you scared? Even a little bit? I’m not going to lie to you. My brow’s a little damp. Cheyenne… I did not think this thing through.
I would have to be a fool to not be… wary. But I do find that I am more excited than anything. One thing is for certain, I do not believe that the life I am heading to will manage to be dull in any way at all.
You heard it here, folks, Miss Dianna Brittler is one tough cookie and I’m going to need to keep her by my side until I catch my return ticket at the next stop. I dare say her bravery is contagious, and would inspire someone with a bit stronger countenance than my own to leave everything behind and choose adventure. But for now, I just have one more question for Miss Brittler: will you accompany me to the dining car? I think I need some toast to settle my stomach. I’ll get you something sweet. What’ll it be?
Oh yes, please. Anything with chocolate.
Want to find out what’s next for Dianna in her grand journey? Curious about her family and everyone back home? You’re in luck! You can not only get Dianna’s story right now, the ENTIRE Brittler Sisters series (FIVE whole novels) is available in one collection as of yesterday (10/25). So, no looking around, trying to figure out what book comes next. You’ll be able to dive right back into the story with one swipe of your finger.
Josephine Blake enjoys a quiet life on the outskirts of Portland, OR. Her debut Historical Romance novel, Dianna, hit the shelves in August of 2016 and became a bestseller two years later. Her Gothic Historical Romance novel, A Brush with Death, followed suit later that year in 2018.
In June of 2019, she and her loving husband celebrated the birth of their daughter, Florence Jane. After a brief hiatus from writing, Yours at Yuletide became her very first Contemporary Romance release.
When she’s not writing, Josephine spends her daughter’s naptimes on graphic design projects, designing award-winning, top-selling book covers for authors all over the world.
You can find her at her website or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Oh, and don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter! You’ll get a FREE copy of the Brittler Sisters’ prequel: The Heart of Hope: A Companion Tale