Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson follows the saga of sixteen widows from St. Louis to Plum Grove, Nebraska. Some of them are running from a haunting past, some are running to hunt for husbands, and still a few others are just looking for a fresh start. The ladies have been promised the opportunity to homestead in Nebraska and though they are not quite sure what that entails, for most of them it is better than any prospect they had in St. Louis.
After they arrive in Plum Grove they discover their group leader had an ulterior motive and has promised a cargo of war wives. When several of the women find this out they part company with the Ladies' Emigration Society and decide to strike it on their own, no matter what befalls them. The ladies who stay behind end up falling in love with each other and becoming fast and forever friends. Ella, the strong, sturdy one of the bunch comes up with the idea to homestead on the intersection of four plots of land, with a main living area smack in the middle and four bedrooms that jut out, so that each lady would legally be sleeping on their own land, part of the land contract requirement. As we witness the ladies build their house, "Four Corners", we also witness them rebuild their lives. With lots of surprises, laughter and even a few tears, we rejoice as the ladies of Four Corners and several of the residents of Plum Grove find hope.
"Was this how it worked? A man carried the burden of grief, and for a while it obscured everything else around him, until slowly, the burden started to shrink until it could fit inside his heart instead of blocking out everything else in the world. And finally, it folded in on itself. And while it still remained a part of you, and you knew it always would, it made room in your heart for hope. You woke up one morning and there was no pain behind the enjoyment of sunshine. Memories stopped slashing their way into your consciousness. Instead, they floated in, welcome and comforting." Stephanie Grace Whitson, Sixteen Brides