I know plenty of readers, myself included, that love sequels. Some of my all-time favorite books are Mary Balogh’s Slighty series in which she devotes a stand-alone to each sibling in the Bedwyn family. I’ve reread them so many times I know the dialogue! There are a few other real classic series out there like Galbadon’s Outlander, Quinn’s Bridgerton’s, and Lauren’s Cynster novels. There are some authors here at Embracing Romance writing terrific romance series that are destined to be readers’ new favorites.
Every time I release a book, I hear from a reader of two wondering if I’m writing a sequel for a secondary character or if the book is the beginning of a series. I’ve always thanked the reader for taking the time to contact me, and told them I haven’t any plans for a sequel. With my romance, Train Station Bride, however, I’ve had LOTS and LOTS of requests for a sequel. The main character in Train Station Bride is Julia Crawford, who travels west to marry an aging shopkeeper, hoping to escape a lifetime of ridicule as the plump, silly daughter of a wealthy Boston family. And while the secondary characters and family are critical to Julia’s story, I never felt compelled by any of them to continue the story line.
That has changed. I’ve done it. I’ve started to write the sequel to Train Station Bride, because, frankly, Julia’s sister Jolene got in my head and won’t leave. She’s the oldest and not so pleasant sister, and is a challenge to write. Jolene will have her own arranged marriage story when she travels to Texas to marry Maximilian Shelby, a wealthy widower with one child. Here’s a little taste of Train Station Bride as Julia arrives at her new hometown.
The train began to slow down, and Julia could see from the window a huge crowd of people milling about. Banners were hung, and she thought she could hear the blare of an Oompah band. It looked as though the train tracks ran right through the middle of a town that sprawled out in all directions and was larger than she had expected. Her mouth was dry and her nerves shakier with each slowing chug of the train and each passing street sign. Finally the locomotive stopped with a loud steamed belch, and other passengers stood up in the aisle. Julia rose, took a deep breath and wondered what had ever prompted her to reply to Mr. Snelling’s ad.
Julia stood on the step of the train and looked at the vast crowd of people. Her departure from her lifetime home was the least of her problems at this moment. How would she ever find Mr. Snelling in this crush?
The conductor shouted in her ear that her trunks and bags were being deposited on the boardwalk, one car down. Julia thanked him and hurried to find her things. It was difficult, working her way through the throng especially being at best shoulder height with some of the shorter men and women. She found her leather strapped trunk and her other bags and planted herself beside them, looking through the mob for a fiftyish, balding, thin man. It was impossible. She couldn’t see further than a lapel. She stood on tiptoe with no better results. Julia had to get a better view but didn’t want to leave her luggage to find a higher vantage point.
Julia stared down at her trunk. Glory hallelujah. Her trunk. She would stand on it and have a clear view of all the faces milling about. Her mother and Jolene would have a fit if they knew what she was thinking of doing. Better though to imagine their censure than find herself east bound if she couldn’t find Mr. Snelling. She had no doubt her father would be sending someone to escort her home. Julia had to be married when that day arrived.
* * * *
Jake inched his way through the crowd, Pastor Phillips in tow. He had forgotten completely about the Founder’s Day Celebration. Town was packed with every farmer, rancher and their families for miles around. He wondered if Flossie was keeping her family home because of his new bride coming to town. If so, Danny and Millie would have a thing or two to say to their Uncle Jake about missing the biggest party of the year. He didn’t need to crane his neck much to look for his bride-to-be. He towered over most of the crowd. And he figured Miss Crawper would be easy to spot. A woman near six foot tall. He guessed she’d be blonde. Hadn’t he read somewhere that most folks from those Norwegian countries were blonde? Jake straightened when he saw upswept blonde hair under a yellow hat. He grabbed the Pastor’s arm and yanked him through the crowd.