Lori Copeland & Virginia Smith’s
A Bride for Noah
It’s 1851, and Evie Lawrence is penniless and heartbroken after a failed romance. When a kind elderly man announces his plan to move west and make his fortune, Evie jumps at the chance to go with him and start a new life. She says goodbye to the only home she’s ever known and sets out for the Northwest.
There she meets Noah Hughes, a handsome young man who has gambled everything he owns on the chance to make a fresh start. Living the rugged life of a lumberjack, he too is determined to one day make his fortune. The last thing he’s looking for is a bride…so why can’t he get Evie out of his mind?
Enjoy meeting Evie and Noah
Brief physical description
At twenty-five years old, Evangeline Lawrence (Evie to her friends) has blossomed into an attractive woman with a high, clear forehead and brown eyes that flash hot enough to blister a man’s skin when she’s riled. She is tall with a trim figure and narrow waist, perfect for the fancy dresses and petticoats of an 1850’s lady. But most of her clothing is plain and modest, appropriate for a woman who works for a living.
Noah Hughes is in his mid-thirties. A tall man with the strength of a lumberjack, he towers almost a full head over Evie. With high cheekbones, eyes the color of the sky, and a thatch of dark hair that he wears long enough to curl around his collar, his is ruggedly handsome enough to attract a woman’s attention, but his single-minded focus on his work announces wordlessly to everyone—especially Evie—that he is not interested in distracting entanglements.
From the beginning we had a very clear idea of Evie’s physical characteristics. She’s an attractive woman, but not a beauty in the classic sense. When the publisher’s art department asked us to describe Evie, we scoured the Internet for someone who looked like the Evie that loomed so lifelike in our minds. No actress that we’re aware of fit the bill. We finally found her. We’re not sure who this model is, but this is our Evie.
Noah was always Robert Brown in our minds. Brown played the oldest Bolton brother on the television show Here Come the Brides, and Virginia was in love with him as a girl. Noah is a little younger than Brown in this picture, but he’s got the same outdoorsy, wholesome good looks.
Strengths and weaknesses
Evie is a determined woman who is not afraid of hard work. That’s definitely a strength in the time period in which she lives. She was raised to expect a life of ease back in Tennessee, but circumstances forced her to earn her living as a maid. She leaps at the opportunity to go west, where she is certain a hard-working woman can make a decent living for herself. Of course, determination taken to the extreme becomes inflexibility. If you ask Noah, Evie is about as flexible as one of the giant logs his team of lumberjacks is felling in the Seattle forest.
Noah is a man of many talents, which make him a perfect addition to the settlement of fledgling lumberjacks who are trying to carve their livelihood out of Seattle’s wilderness. He’s as capable with a pen as he is with an ax, and he’s as honest as they come, so he quickly earns the trust of the settlement’s leaders. He does have a weakness, though. The wounds inflicted by a disastrous romantic relationship have scarred over, and left him hard-hearted where women are concerned. Though the men know him as a fair and just man, to Evie he seems about as cold and uncaring as they come.
Quirk (if any)
Names are important to Evie. She introduces herself using her formal name, Evangeline. Not until she feels comfortable with someone does she let her guard down and allow them to call her Evie. To Noah Hughes, she is definitely Evangeline. He notices, and the snub rankles.
Your inspiration for the character
There was a secondary character in A Plain and Simple Heart (the second book in the Amish of Apple Grove series we co-authored) whose history fascinated us. Grace Evans was an elderly war widow who moved to Kansas after husband’s death and opened a millinery. In the mid-1800’s that was an impressive accomplishment for a single lady, but of course the story wasn’t about her. We decided we’d like to show what kind of spunk and determination a young woman of that time needed to survive against the odds. That young woman became Evie.
Noah was actually a combination of several historical figures who traveled with the Denny family to the Puget Sound area to establish what would later become the city of Seattle. The more we read about those early settlers, the clearer his character became in our minds.
Background to the story
The idea for the Seattle Brides series came from the television show, Here Come the Brides, which was one of Virginia’s favorites back in the 60’s. The show was loosely based on an historical event involving a man who decided to escort a boatload of marriageable women from the east to the male-dominated Oregon Territory. The Mercer Girls (named after the man who brought them west) didn’t arrive until 1864, and when we started researching the fascinating history of Seattle, we decided we wanted to tell the story of the original settlers who arrived in the Puget Sound 13 years earlier.
Though we created the fictional characters of Evie and Noah, many of the characters in A Bride for Noah were real people. We fell in love with the truly romantic tale of David and Louisa Denny. We chose to include them, along with Arthur and Mary, under their actual names. Others we combined into a single fictional character for various reasons. Louisa actually had several family members who traveled with the Denny party to Seattle, and there was a fascinating man named Doc Maynard who played a huge role in establishing the city. (The story about the pickled salmon really happened to Maynard!) We created the fictitious Miles Coffinger to include features from several of those men, because we didn’t want to dilute the fictional part of the story by asking the reader to keep up with too many characters. Well, that, and we poked fun at Miles quite a bit. We wouldn’t want to offend any descendants who might still be living!
One historical figure who took us by surprise was Chief Seattle. The more we researched that amazing man, the more impressed we became by his role in welcoming those early white settlers to the Puget Sound area. Of course we did have to make up some conversations between him and our characters, since there aren’t many historical accounts of private conversations. We hope we’ve relayed a glimpse of his integrity and quiet strength in our story.
Thanks Lori & Virginia