Ruth: The Rescued Bride, is book one of “A West Texas Frontier Trilogy”, and was published in April 12, 2018 by Estrella Publishing.
Hebby came up with the title by wanting to name the books after the cavalry officer heroes. “But somehow, that didn’t seem right for a romance,” she said. “Instead, I decided to go with their brides’ names, and I used alliteration, too, to make the titles more compelling.”
The inspiration for Ruth: The Rescued Bride came from Hebby watching iconic John Wayne movies about the U.S. Cavalry engaging with Native Americans to settle the frontier.
The theme of Ruth: The Rescued Bride is about forgiveness in the face of tragedy and sorrow.
Based in Fort Concho, which is located in San Angelo, Texas, you’ll find the setting in three forks of the Concho River converge at where the fort was built in the 1860’s. In the river bottoms, there are thick stands of live oaks, pecan trees, pin oaks, mulberry trees, and willows. The area around the rivers is rolling plains with tall grass and buffalo herds. “In the historical era when this book is set, the land around Fort Concho was prime grazing land for ranchers,” Hebby said. “Some farmers also lived in the area, as the soil is rich. It was also a centrally located for stagecoaches and wagon trains moving further into west Texas or continuing to California.”
In Ruth: The Rescued Bride you’ll meet the hero, Jacob Wells. He’s a half-breed, his mother was Comanche and his father, a cavalry soldier. “As a half-breed, he’s employed as a scout for the U.S. Cavalry,” Hebby explained. “He has a dream to follow in his father’s footsteps and be a regular soldier, but during the “Indian” Wars, half-breeds were discriminated against and their loyalty is considered doubtful. Jacob loved both his parents (they’re deceased), and he is torn when he fights against his mother’s people. But he’s an honorable and brave man and fulfills his duty to the best of his ability. He’s fluent in both English and Comanche. His mother’s people taught him how to handle horses, and he’s an expert horse trainer, making extra money to supplement his scout salary, by capturing, taming, and training wild mustangs. He’s a devout Christian and a chaste man.”
You’ll also meet, the heroine, Ruth MacDonald. “Ruth was taken by the Comanche at age sixteen. All of her family: mother, father, and two brothers were killed in the raid, and their ranch buildings were burnt. The leading warrior of the band of Comanche, didn’t take part in the raid, as he was wounded from a skirmish with the Kiowa. Ruth nurses the warrior, Buffalo Heart, and he marries her, Comanche fashion. Almost two years later, she’s pregnant with Buffalo Heart’s child. During a cavalry raid from Fort Concho, she has her child in the open prairie and losses consciousness. Jacob rescues her and takes her back to the fort with her son. Ruth is strong, caring, hard-working, resourceful, and a devout Christian.”
“Ruth would like to put her past behind her, come to terms with her grief, and start a new life with her own people,” Hebby said. “However, having been married to a Comanche brave, she is seen as degraded by some of her race. She also believes she has to overcome the loss of her son who died (spoiler—he didn’t die—was taken while she was unconscious). She wants to heal and find her place and the meaning of her life, now that her family is gone. She owns her family’s ranch, but her memories of the raid make the place undesirable. She contacts her mother’s sister in Arkansas and intends to put the harsh land of the frontier behind her, as soon as possible, hoping that in a new place, among relatives who love her, she will be able to heal and make a new life.”
“Jacob would like to become a soldier like his father. He proves himself with extreme bravery and is commended by the fort commander to become a regular private in the cavalry. With the dream in his grasp, he has second thoughts, partially because he’s in love with Ruth, and secondarily, because he has conflicted emotions about hunting down and killing his mother’s people. As an accomplished horse trainer, he decides to start his own ranch, instead.”
You’ll also meet...
Nellie O’Connor, who is the captain’s wife at Fort Concho who takes care of Ruth when she’s brought to the fort after giving birth on the prairie, unconscious, and weak from the loss of blood. Nellie has a newborn son, as well, she wet-nurses Ruth’s son, and grows fond of the boy. When her child dies, the fifth child she and her husband have lost, and the last child she’s capable of bearing, she begs her husband to agree to a “switch” (spoiler) the newborns. Nellie and her husband take Ruth’s son as their own and claim that Ruth’s baby died. The resolution of this “switch” of children is pivotal to the plot.
Major William Gregor, who is the commander of Fort Concho and, as such, he makes all the important decisions at the fort, including helping Ruth get back on her feet and commending Jacob to become a part of the regular army. He also pursues the Comanche who abducted Ruth and punishes the villain (see below). Major Gregor is a kind and upright man, and a good Christian, having attended seminary school before enlisting to serve in the Civil War and becoming a professional soldier. He is a continuing character in this trilogy of stories, serving as the commander at all three forts, and as the hero in the final story.
This historical romance wouldn’t be complete without a villain. Lieutenant (no first name given) Schultz is Jacob’s direct commanding officer. He’s arrogant and cruel, hating the Comanche, and especially despising half-breeds. He goes out of his way to make Jacob’s life miserable and to disparage his heritage and abilities. During a particular raid, he sends Jacob into what appears to be certain death. Schultz also believes Ruth is a “fallen woman” for sleeping with her Comanche husband, and he wants to take her as his mistress, even if it means forcing his attentions upon her.
Hebby explained three key elements of the story are 1. Discrimination, on any basis, is not the Christian way of treating our fellow human beings. 2. People grieve in different ways and all those ways should be respected. 3. Forgiveness is a Christian virtue and it frees the soul to move forward with one’s life.
In Ruth: The Rescued Bride there is a triumphant, warm feeling from a romance between two strong people who have suffered grave losses, only to overcome their sorrow, forgive others, and make a new life together.
Hebby added, Ruth: The Rescued Bride is one of three books of A West Texas Frontier Trilogy. “The second book, entitled, Cristabelle: The Christmas Bride will take place at Fort Clark, Texas near the Texas-Mexican border and will show the cavalry fighting against border raiders,” Hebby said. “The third book, entitled, Mallory: The Mail Order Bride will take place at Fort Davis, Texas in the west Texas mountains and will show the cavalry fighting against the Apache.”
You can find more about the series here: https://www.amazon.com/Ruth-Rescued-Bride-Frontier-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B07C9CLLR7/
And to learn more about Hebby and her books, visit: http://www.hebbyroman.com
Let’s get a closer look at Ruth: The Rescued Bride.
Rescued from the Comanche while giving birth, Ruth MacDonald’s relief soon turns to sorrow when she loses her child. The handsome scout who rescued her, Jacob Wells, is half Comanche and half white. And he’s the only person at Fort Concho who understands the burden Ruth carries. But when he asks her to marry, her sorrow is too fresh and she’s incapable of forgiving all the wrongs done to her. Can Ruth learn forgiveness and open her heart to Jacob and a forever-after kind of love?
Hebby wanted to add, “Ruth: The Rescued Bride was a labor of love. She is the first book of "A West Texas Frontier Trilogy," three sweet historical romances set in three different forts in west Texas. These books are rich with details, and I enjoyed researching them. I have tried to show the important "challenges" facing west Texas forts after the Civil War: the Comanche, Mexican bandits, and the Apache. All of these factors were real threats in Texas, and most times, it took soldiers to stop them. I've learned how difficult life on the frontier was, most of the forts had no walls, relying on their soldiers and superior fire power. Housing for the men was scarce, and for families, especially difficult to find. Often, officers and their families, lived for long periods in tents or in Texas, what is known as a "jacale," which is a Spanish word. Roughly, it translates to a wooden hut, and they were made by driving posts into the ground, next to each other, leaving chinks between the wooden posts, and being covered with a tarp, like a tent. I learned that many of the marching commands we associate with the infantry are used for the cavalry. Simple commands, of course, like: attention, forward, left, etc. I was amazed at how similar the commands are for soldiers on foot or on horseback. In short, I learned a lot about life at forts, how the divisions, companies, and patrols are formed and garrisoned. What they did for fun, and what were their greatest fears on the frontier.”