Cover image for Riddle of the prairie bride
Riddle of the prairie bride
Reiss, Kathryn.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Middleton, WI : Pleasant Company Publications, [2001]

Physical Description:
161 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 21 cm.
In 1878, twelve-year-old Ida Kate and her widowed father welcome a mail-order bride and her baby to their Kansas homestead, but Ida Kate soon suspects that the bride is not the woman with whom Papa has corresponded.
General Note:
"American girl."
Reading Level:
800 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.5 5.0 52604.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.4 9 Quiz: 24774.
Geographic Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Series
X Juvenile Fiction Series
X Juvenile Fiction On Display
X Juvenile Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



In 1878, twelve-year-old Ida Kate Deming and her widowed father welcome a mail-order bride to their Kansas homestead -- but Ida Kate soon suspects that the bride is not the woman that Papa had been corresponding with!

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-7. Ida Kate is excited by the arrival her father's mail-order bride. If everything works out, Ida Kate can be relieved of the many chores she's had to take on since her mother's death. When Caroline Fairchild arrives she's good tempered, a good cook, and a good mother to her own little son. But then Ida Kate notices some odd things. Where is the auburn hair Caroline's letters mentioned? Why is she not tall or allergic to the family's cat? After some snooping, the girl realizes that the woman is an imposter. Could she be a murderess, too? Answers come in a turbulent finish during which Ida Kate braves a prairie blizzard to save Mrs. Fairchild and finally learns the truth about this newcomer. The story is formulaic but engrossing. Readers will enjoy the mystery aspect as they are immersed in an era when strength and hard work were necessities for survival. An afterward discusses the historical context of the story, making this addition to the History Mysteries series especially useful where curriculums call for literature tie-ins to history topics. --Denise Wilms

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Katheryn Reiss's historical mystery (American Girl, 2001) is set in Kansas in 1878. The story begins with the arrival of a mail-order bride to the Deming household. Twelve-year-old Ida Kate Deming begins to find discrepancies in the background of the bride to be, who is supposed to be Caroline Fairchild. Ida Kate's best friend, Martha, soon becomes involved in solving the mystery. The girls uncover their guest's real identity after searching her belongings and when she is confronted, the truth is revealed. Narrator Stina Nielson changes her voice very slightly to differentiate between the characters-Martha's voice is a bit whiny, Caroline's voice has a faint hint of southern drawl, and the father's is a bit more gruff. These slight intonations are barely detectable, and add little to the characterizations. Though light on historical information, the development of the mysterious plot will hold the interest of fans of the series. Little House on the Prairie (Harper Children's Audio, 2003) provides a more in-depth depiction of life during the pioneer period.-Cynthia Grabke, Thayer Public Library, Braintree, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.