Mercer Girls by Libbie Hawker

Mercer Girls

It’s 1864 in downtrodden Lowell, Massachusetts. The Civil War has taken its toll on the town—leaving the economy in ruin and its women in dire straits. That is, until Asa Mercer arrives on a peculiar, but providential, errand: he seeks high-minded women who can exert an elevating influence in Seattle, where there are ten men for every woman. Mail-order brides, yes, but of a certain caliber.Schoolmarmish Josephine, tough-as-nails Dovey, and pi...

Details Mercer Girls

TitleMercer Girls
Release DateMay 10th, 2016
PublisherLake Union Publishing
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Audiobook

Reviews Mercer Girls

  • Erin
    This was an excellent historical fiction novel that I just couldn't put down. "Mercer Girls" refers to the groups of women that left their New England homes and went to live in Washington territory in the 1860's. Although they were primarily enticed for their education and refinement, it was actually their role as potential brides that was the real intention. But this isn't your typical "mail-order bride" scenario. Libbie Hawker takes readers thr...
  • Cynthia Corral
    This book might rate 4 stars to a different reader, but for my own enjoyment I'm giving it 3. It just wasn't quite meaty enough for me.Although it's titled Mercer Girls, that history isn't too important to this story, it's just a reason to bring these three women together. The East Coast's male population was ravaged by the Civil War, but the West Coast was suffering from a lack of females for the men to marry. So Asa Mercer traveled East to brin...
  • Dorie - Traveling Sister :)
    This novel is an interesting piece of historical fiction. I find the settling of Seattle to be a very unique story and the tale of the Mercer girls is a part of it.The story, as the blurb explains, is that of Asa Mercer, a Seattle businessman of influence and the founder of the University of Washington, who travels to the east coast to recruit women to come to Seattle. He is counting on the fact that the East has lost many men to the Civil War an...
  • RoseMary Achey
    Hawker has done her research, bringing three women together from the East who travel to Seattle where there are 10 men for every woman during the Civil War. The three women were extremely stereotypical, almost cartoonish in their overdrawn characters. Chalk this one up to a good premise but poorly executed.
  • Carrie
    I usually love historical fiction but this one felt a bit flat to me. I thought the beginning had potential but then it fizzled out and I found myself getting bored. Also the ending felt like the author just slapped a bright pink bow on everything and said done. Wait…what? I’m not sure if the Mercer Girls is considered Christian Fiction or not but it definitely felt that way to me. I had no idea there was going to be so much God talk and mora...
  • Heather
    So Mercer Girls…I have a lot to say about this book and it’s a real mixed bag of feelings. This book came extraordinarily close to being a second DNF this year, but with this one after setting it aside for months I came back and finished reading through it. And I think that was absolutely necessary as it divided the book into virtually two books in my brain (which is what I felt needed to be done here anyway).Let’s start with what I loved a...
  • Sarah
    Nothing, pages and pages of nothing; interesting historical experience boiled down to flat characters and nothing. How could traveling around the country in 1860's be so yawn-inducing. The only character of any teeth was 16...but then her major rebellion was to own a brothel?!? Seriously
  • Peggy
    NOTE: Received as an ARC from Netgalley. This was a period in history I thought I knew nothing about, until I realized the Mercer Girls left the Lowell Mills for Seattle. That's when the theme song to the old TV show "Here Come the Brides " started going through my head. But there's more than wedding bells in store for three particular Mercer Girls. I always look forward to a new historical novel by Libbie Hawker—her meticulous research means I...
  • Maureen
    The best part of this book was the author's afterword where she wrote of actual history. Other reviewers have used the phrase extreme stereotypes very accurately. Unfortunately, I listened to the audio edition which only made it worse because not even the voice in my head could tone them down. Improbable does not begin to describe the story lines of the three main characters. Don't think you are getting historical fiction, it is a romance through...
  • Marybeth
    I loved this book! This is one of those books that you miss after it ends. It makes me want to learn more about the Mercer Girls. Seattle history never ceases to amaze me.
  • Kim
    In the 1860s Seattle was starting a boom. Logging mills and fishing were growing industries, with the Puget Sound making a wonderful harbor. What the city lacked was women. A few married women had moved out with husbands. It was also a very profitable town for "night flowers". With a population of 10 men for every woman, most of them prostitutes, they seldom lacked for customers. In 1864 Asa Mercer headed to Lowell, Massachusetts, on a mission f...
  • Brenda
    I received this book through in exchange for a fair and honest review. I loved this book. I have always loved reading about mail order brides, of which Mercer Girls were similar. A man by the name of Mercer wanted to improve the city so he decided he was going to find brides for these men who were drinking and fighing and gambling, because there were no women to marry and have family's with, so he was going to bring back 200 brides....
  • Deb
    1.5 stars. I was going on a trip to Seattle and thought that this might be a fun accompaniment. Even though I love history, especially women's history, and the city of Seattle, I was disappointed. Mercer Girls is basically a shallow, predictable, historical romance without a lot meat. Not my kind of book. It did have a pretty cover though! I skimmed the last third of the book. Writing was mediocre, plot held no surprises - I knew the bad husband ...
  • Sandy
    During the Civil War there were very few "marriageable" men in the Northeast as most single men were fighting for the Union. This is the jumping off point for Libbie Hawker's Mercer Girls, a very unusual "mail order bride" story. Three very different women of very different backgrounds, social class and secrets all sign on to travel from Lawrence, Massachusetts to Seattle, Washington in the 1860's to marry and bring culture, education and domesti...
  • Kelly
    My review can be summed up as "Meh." The potential of this book was incredible, inspired as it was by the real-life women who decided to take on the daring trek to Seattle as mail-order bride in the later part of the 19th century. Unfortunately, what was presented in this book were characters at the extreme ends of stereotypes who we were given no basis for their motivation, a yawn-worthy "secret" that was evident from page 2 and, again, as the t...
  • Ramona
    I've been fascinated by the Mercer girls since the television show "Here Comes the Brides." So when I saw Libbie Hawker's historical fiction, Mercer Girls, I knew I wanted to read it.Although this book has seen mixed reviews, I loved it. I liked connecting the historical names to current street names in Seattle. I liked the perspective of the three women who came from Lowell, MA in 1864 to change their lives in a somewhat uncivilized Seattle. I l...
  • Ruth Chatlien
    This is a thoroughly enjoyable story based on the history of the New England women who traveled to Seattle to marry and help civilize the town. (At the time, the city had ten men for every woman, and many of those women were prostitutes.) As in all good stories, things don't go as planned, and all three of the main characters go through struggles and unexpected changes. The three are fictional characters but based on facts the author gleaned from...
  • Lis Carey
    In 1864, in the midst of the Civil War, Asa Mercer traveled from Seattle in the Washington Territory to the mill city of Lowell, Massachusetts. His project is to recruit single women of good character to return to Seattle with him, to become wives to the loggers and and other hardworking men there. He hoped to recruit 200 potential brides. He returns to Seattle with just thirteen. Among them are Dovey Mason, just sixteen, and fleeing her father's...
  • Deborah
    Interesting storyThis book had the potential to connect the reader to both the nature of women and historical US life. Greater depth and less clichè in the characters would have made the story more memorable.
  • Megalion
    A charming bit of historical fiction. Covering a piece of history I hadn't heard of before.The Mercer girls are a group of women in Lowell, Massachusetts that answered Mercer's call for ladies of character to go west with him to Seattle for the purpose of helping to bring proper society. Hundreds upon hundreds of unmarried men. And only a few forthright ladies who were already wedded before arriving. Equals a huge business in prostitution. Mercer...
  • mary
    I will fully admit that the cover drew me to this book – I took one look at it and knew I had to read it.  I instantly knew this was a historical novel about young women and I wanted in! I found the characters fascinating. We have three very different women fleeing from one end of the country to the other, each for unique, personal reasons. Their ideals conflict and they have their secrets, yet they become close friends. This first part of the...
  • Anita Elder
    I selected this book since it has to do with my hometown of Seattle and its early beginnings. I love historical fiction books that make me race to the internet to look up facts and more information and this one that just that! While the main characters were fictional, Asa Mercer was a real person. We have a street named Mercer and we have Mercer Island, but they are actually named for his brother, Thomas Mercer. Yesler is another character in the...
  • Irene
    A group of women seeking a better life make the arduous trip from Lowell to Seattle. Among them are Dovey, only 16 years old and running away from her father's intention to force her into marriage. Sophronia, who feels strongly that a woman's only hope in life is to marry and raise children, though she has never been able to find a man who can meet her strict and stringent expectations, and Josephine, who has no intention of marrying and has a se...
  • Wendy
    It was alright...I'm not sure what I expected but this book wasn't it. I was really hoping there'd be a little more substance to it than what it was. It seems like they never stayed on one topic long enough and the ending came from out of nowhere. Suddenly everyone is happy and lives happily ever after even though moments before their world had been rocked. Dovey's ending especially made no sense. It was just a quick 180 with no reasoning.
  • Marie Z. Johansen
    Fascinating!As a Washingtonian for the past 25 years, and also as a New England native, I was eager to learn more about the Mercer Girls. As always for me, I found that reading reading more of the true history enhanced my enjoyment out this excellent read!
  • Lulu Bruns
    I liked the book, however there is just too much detail and I found myself wanting to skip through sections to get to the meat of the book.
  • Jool
    Entertaining read that focuses on the fight for women's vote. Based primarily on 3 women's lives who were ''recruited" to move from the east coast to help settle the wilderness town of Seattle.
  • Erin
    Interview with author: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs...
  • Shari Alvarez
    Ho-Hum3 main characters none of them were true Mercer girls. Also none were interesting enough to keep your attention or make you root for them.
  • Laura
    2.5 stars, rounded up.I wanted to love this book, but there were a number of things that just did not work for me. The biggest problem was the character development--there wasn't enough of it to understand why the two of the three main characters (Sophronia and Dovey) acted the way they did. Both of those characters represent extremes: Sophronia is prudish, arrogant, judgmental and motivated by a particularly nasty and punitive Christianity, whil...