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Bridges, Kate 1959–

Bridges, Kate 1959–

PERSONAL:

Born 1959, in Ontario, Canada; married; children: one. Education: Completed post-graduate studies at Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Toronto, Ontario, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Nurse in neonatal intensive care; researcher and writer for a television design program; author.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Barclay Gold Award for best historical of the year, CataRomance Reviewer's Choice Award.

WRITINGS:

The Doctor's Homecoming, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

Luke's Runaway Bride, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

The Midwife's Secret, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

(With others) Frontier Christmas (anthology), Harlequin (New York, NY), 2003.

The Surgeon, Harlequin Books (New York, NY), 2003.

The Engagement, Harlequin (New York, NY), 2004.

(With others) A Season of Heart (anthology), Harlequin (New York, NY), 2005.

REID TRILOGY

The Proposition, Harlequin Books (New York, NY), 2004.

The Bachelor, Harlequin (New York, NY), 2005.

The Commander, Harlequin Books (New York, NY), 2006.

"KLONDIKE" SERIES

Klondike Doctor, Harlequin Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Klondike Wedding, Harlequin Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Klondike Fever, Harlequin Books (New York, NY), 2008.

(With others) Western Weddings, Harlequin Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Author of two screenplays.

SIDELIGHTS:

Kate Bridges grew up on a fifty-acre farm in Ontario where she learned to appreciate nature. One of her favorite pastimes during her teenage years was to immerse herself in all types of romantic novels. These included historical works by Thomas Hardy, contemporary dramas by Sidney Sheldon, and romantic novels by Anne Mather and Danielle Steel. Her current profession as a full-time novelist combines those early loves of the outdoors and romance to create historic western romances filled with adventures of the men and women who ventured forth into the wild, open frontiers of pre-twentieth-century North America.

Bridges, although praised by a ninth-grade English teacher for her writing, did not always want to be a writer. She first worked for several years as a Toronto hospital nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit, where she tended critically ill newborn babies. Later, after going back to college for a second degree in interior design and architecture, she went to work for a local television station as a researcher and a writer for a home-and-garden program. In an interview posted on the Harlequin Web site, Bridges stated: "When I worked in television, brainstorming was always done as a group effort and creativity got diluted; no one's voice stood out." It was at this time that she decided to take the plunge: leave her job and try her hand as a freelance writer. In the Harlequin interview, Bridges said: "As a novelist I create the characters and conjure the juicy plots. It's risky for this reason, but that's part of the thrill."

Bridges focuses her stories on people living before the 1900s in frontier settings in North America. She is attracted to the locale because of her own background of living in very rural settings such as in the Rocky Mountains. As for the time period, she reported in her Harlequin interview: "I like this era because of the hardworking pioneer spirit of the men and women who tamed the West…. It's fascinating to research because of the handful of people who sparked the changes, and because there was a lot more freedom in the West than in the Eastern cities."

Bridges's early experiences as a nurse provided her with material for her first novel, The Doctor's Homecoming. The story centers on Emma Sinclair, a young woman who falls in love with Wyatt Barlow but is driven away by the history of feuds between their two families. Emma goes away to school after Wyatt lies to her about his feelings for her. She returns home after a sixteen-year absence, planning a short visit before setting up her medical practice somewhere else. Wyatt has, in the meantime, married another woman, believing that Emma would never return. His wife has since died, and now his daughter has fallen in love with Emma's younger brother.

It is through the struggling teenage love of her brother and Wyatt's daughter that Emma and Wyatt renew their relationship. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called Bridges's first novel "a delightful read … that is likely to satisfy most fans of western romances."

Luke's Runaway Bride focuses on two young lovers who run away from high society to a small, rundown town in Wyoming where their romance blossoms. The Midwife's Secret is set in the mountains in Alberta. The protagonist of this 2003 novel moves to a tourist town to start a new life and brings with her a secret past that is soon matched by that of the man she ultimately falls in love with.

In The Surgeon, Bridges's next title for Harlequin, mail-order bride Sarah O'Neill arrives in Calgary where she has been contracted to marry the chief surgeon for the mounted police, John Calloway. Both John and Sarah are in for something of a shock, however, as John never sent away for a wife. It soon comes to light that some of John's colleagues decided he needed a woman in his life and sent away for a wife on his behalf. With John refusing to hold up his side of the contract, Sarah despairs of finding a way to search for her missing brother, which was her true aim in coming to Calgary. John finds himself won over by Sarah's strength as well as her beauty, and gradually, things begin to change between the pair. John Charles, reviewing for Booklist, wrote that Bridges's effort "neatly combines a refreshingly different historical setting with some fascinating details about Canada's mounted police."

Bridges offers readers yet another romance dealing with Canada's Mounties in The Engagement. When Andrew Bullock breaks off his engagement with Virginia Waters after going with her for six years, his brother Zack, an inspector with the Mounties, steps up and offers to marry her in his stead. However, returning home by train, he is caught in an ambush. Due to the injuries onboard, doctor-in-training Virginia is called in to help. Zack, however, has a new dilemma; prior to the train accident caused by the ambush, someone threatened to get to him through his new wife, so to keep her safe, he feels honor-bound to break off their engagement. Harriet Klausner, in a review for Romance Readers Connection Web site, commented that "the action never slows down from the moment the dynamite strikes the train until the final confrontation."

With The Proposition, Bridges begins her new series, "The Reid Trilogy," which once again features members of the Canadian Mounties. Travis Reid, a Police Sergeant Major with the Mounties, is in mourning for his wife Caroline, who perished a year earlier in a horse accident. The last thing he wants is to serve as an escort for spoiled Jessica Haven, the daughter of the mayor, who wishes to travel with him to Devil's Gorge where she claims she will be doing research for an article on doctors. But Jessica is determined to go, as she believes the doctor in question stole her infant while claiming it was born dead. Inevitably, Reid is forced to agree, and the two find themselves drawn to each other over the course of their journey. Harriet Klausner, again writing for Romance Readers Connection Web site, remarked that "the story line is fast-paced and filled with action, but is driven by the heroine who is obsessed with finding her child and exposing the doctor."

The Bachelor is the next in Bridges's series about the Reids. When Diana Campbell wins Mountie Mitch Reid's services for twenty-four hours at the local Harvest Fair, she decides it's a good opportunity for her to get even with him for picking on her brothers. She puts him to work, having him serve a shift at her poultry factory and do chores around her house, assuming he will vanish once his time is over. However, Mitch finds Diana intriguing and sets out to determine the best way to earn her good will. Booklist contributor John Charles dubbed Bridges's effort "another of her refreshingly different western historicals."

Bridges wraps up her Reid brothers books with The Commander. Nine years ago, Ryan Reid made romantic overtures toward Julia O'Shea, but then he left town abruptly, leaving her brokenhearted. Julia long ago gave up on Ryan but still wants a husband, so she advertises for one, specifying that he must be a gentleman, and is somewhat surprised at the number of responses she receives. However, when Ryan comes back to town and indicates he would like to be considered as well, neither Julia nor her family is inclined to give him another chance, and Ryan finds himself struggling to win back her trust. John Charles, writing for Booklist, found this last installment in the series to be "an emotionally intense, wonderfully satisfying tale of love and redemption."

Following The Commander, Bridges begins her new "Klondike" series with Klondike Doctor. Colt Hunter, a Mountie working out of the Northwest, is involved in a case that has him searching out a gang of thieves responsible for the disappearance of supplies on their way to the gold fields in the Yukon. He is also supposed to be taking new doctor Elizabeth Langley along to the Yukon with him, where she is to meet up with her grandfather, but is concerned about her ability to handle the trip and the potential danger of the situation. Elizabeth, however, proves herself tougher than she looks and ends up helping Colt with his case as well. John Charles, again reviewing for Booklist, praised Bridges for successfully combining "a vivid sense of late-nineteenth-century history into a refreshingly different romance."

Bridges's next book, Klondike Wedding, is a misadventure in which Luke Hunter, standing in as a proxy groom for his friend, suddenly finds himself legally married to Genevieve through a combination of clerical error and the untimely death of the cleric in question. Booklist reviewer John Charles called the book "a sexy love story sweetened with a dash of humor."

Bridges lives in Toronto with her husband—her college sweetheart—their child, and a menagerie of pets.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 2003, John Charles, review of The Surgeon, p. 586; February 15, 2005, John Charles, review of The Bachelor, p. 1067; June 1, 2006, John Charles, review of The Commander, p. 46; April 1, 2007, John Charles, review of Klondike Doctor, p. 34; September 15, 2007, John Charles, review of Klondike Wedding, p. 50.

Publishers Weekly, January 28, 2002, review of The Doctor's Homecoming, p. 277.

ONLINE

Harlequin Web site, http://www.eharlequin.com/ (July 6, 2002), "An Interview with Kate Bridges."

Romance Readers Connection, http://www.theromancereadersconnection.com/ (May 3, 2008), Harriet Klausner, reviews of The Engagement and The Proposition.

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