In Need of a Good Wife is the RED HOT PICK OF THE WEEK on for the week of October 2, 2012!

“Ms. O’Connor McNees has done it again. With her careful research and exquisite attention to detail, her characters, real and imaginary, leap from the page.”

That’s What She Read 

“As much as I enjoyed McNees’s first novel, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, I loved this book even more.”

Literate Housewife

In Need of a Good Wife is a gentle tale of homesteading in the post-Civil War. I breezed through its pages and enjoyed the large cast of characters of Destination, Nebraska. While O’Connor McNees introduces the harshness of a rural, farm life in the late 1800’s, an aura of hope surrounds the novel, and ultimately, it’s a tale of redemption and love.”

Nomad Reader

“McNees has a knack for wonderful historical fiction readers will not be able to put down until they turn the last page. . . McNees does not glorify the past; she embraces it and elevates the nitty gritty to a better place.”

— RT Book Reviews

“McNees’s strong writing and fascinating plot line makes In Need of a Good Wife a book that is hard to put down, but easy to pick back up.”

— Devourer of Books

“I think fans of historical fiction or stories about the empowerment of women will enjoy In Need of a Good Wife. Highly recommended.”

— Booking Mama

In Need of a Good Wife is so wonderfully readable . . . I found myself continually drawn back into the characters’ world.”

Reading the Past

“This novel was an enjoyable escape into the past and a confirmation of the resilience of the human spirit.”

What Women Write

“Rare is the book these days that captures my undivided attention, but this story enchanted me, reminding me of a time in my life when reading was a comforting adventure, and my hope was to fall in love with a book and its characters. Painting vivid images of the poverty of post-Civil War Manhattan City and the harrows of Destination, Nebraska, McNees weaves a hopeful, compelling story of love and resilience so engaging it is impossible to put down.”

Robin Oliveira, author of My Name Is Mary Sutter

In Need of A Good Wife is a beautifully wrought story, every page bursting with poetry and adventure. McNees sweeps us west with such hope and excitement that we ache and rejoice, celebrate and cry, as Clara Bixby’s band of mail-order brides leaves behind the bustling streets of New York City to search for new beginnings on the flat Nebraska landscape. A simply gorgeous book that will stay with you long after you read the last word!”

Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of Looking for Salvation at
the Dairy Queen
and The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove

“ You will fall in love with the brave, resourceful women in this utterly captivating novel—some beautiful, some worn but not defeated, all amazingly resilient—as they travel across 19th century America to a small dingy town in Nebraska to marry strangers and make better lives for themselves. Kelly O’Connor McNees writes with warmth, drama, humor, and tenderness, of love, loss, and hope and how happiness can be found in the most unlikely situations if you open your heart.”

Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet

“Reading In Need of a Good Wife is like going on a great adventure into the past. As you turn the pages, you’ll find love, imagination, and a kind of charm I didn’t know existed anymore. It’s a wonderful book–sturdy and delicate all at once. ”

Rebecca Rasmussen, author of The Bird Sisters

“The three central, compelling women of In Need of a Good Wife are each, in turn, terribly lost and deeply brave. I adored them and rooted for them in their struggles, worrying about them when life forced me to set the book down to eat, work, and sleep. I found it deliciously satisfying that the redemption I wished for each of them arrived in completely unexpected ways, taking both me and the characters by surprise.”

Katrina Kittle, author of The Blessings of the Animals

“Life kicked ‘Bixby’s Belles’ in the teeth, but they got back up for another round. Their determination inspires as their story captivates. With graceful prose and historical settings that shine with vitality, In Need of a Good Wife is unforgettable.”

Kristina Riggle, author of Real Life and Liars and Things We Didn’t Say

“Anyone who grew up on Little House on the Prairie will instantly fall in love with this book. Kelly O’Connor McNees brilliantly captures the hope and hardships of the American West, and has created a story destined to be a classic.”

Tasha Alexander, author of A Crimson Warning

“ Vivid, generous, funny, and often quite moving, In Need of a Good Wife casts light on a little-known corner of American history—and the women (and men) who struggled to make their way in an unforgiving world.”

Joe Wallace, author of Diamond Ruby

In Need of a Good Wife is as wonderfully candid as it is epic. Kelly O’Connor McNees creates unforgettable heroines (and anti-heroines), and infuses dreams of the American West with fresh spirit, humor, and yearning. I love this novel so much!”

Wendy McClure, author of The Wilder Life

“Kelly O’Connor McNees has written a warm, generous story of women who leave everything behind to take a chance on a better life halfway across the country. She combines vivid historical detail with such emotional accuracy that I was convinced I, too, needed to escape post-Civil War Manhattan and make the long journey by train to Destination, Nebraska, where “even the name of the place suggested plenty: Nebraska sounded like basket.” In Need of a Good Wife is a richly drawn portrait of a uniquely American experience; this novel is an absolute treasure.”

Nancy Woodruff, author of My Wife’s Affair

In Need of a Good Wife is a thoroughly charming novel, written with a gentle, wry humor and an eye for detail I found delicious. Clara, the gutsy heroine, is delightful, as are a number of the other characters, the good and the bad alike. Beautifully imagined, beautifully crafted: I absolutely loved it.”

Sandra Gulland, author of Mistress of the Sun

“McNees gets the period details just right: the crinolines and carriages; the spare, aesthetic plainness of 19th-century New England. And although the love affair with Joseph is invented, she remains faithful to the broad outlines of Alcott’s biography. In fact, The Lost Summer is the kind of romantic tale to which Alcott herself was partial, one in which love is important but not a solution to life’s difficulties. Devotees of Little Women will flock to this story with pleasure.”

The Washington Post

“…a bittersweet, stirring debut novel…”


“… the book is so compelling and well written that I hated to see it end.”

Historical Novels Review

“… It’s a charm­ing nov­el, groun­ded in schol­ar­ship and fact but re­ly­ing on ima­gin­a­tion for the ro­mance and fun. McNees dis­covered in read­ing bio­graph­ies of Al­cott that there was one sum­mer about which very little was known — the sum­mer of 1855, right be­fore Louisa went off to Bo­ston to be­come a writer. Here, McNees gives us that sum­mer, cre­at­ing a bit­ter­sweet love af­fair for Louisa and present­ing her with the choice of mar­riage or ca­reer. We already know which she chose — there are all those lovely books — and so McNees’ chal­lenge was to get us there in a be­liev­able and sat­is­fy­ing way. And so she did…”

Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“… I gladly followed Louisa down McNees’ path, enjoying it so much I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. For those romantics among you, it’s a real keeper.”

Lincoln Journal Star

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott provides a tale of romantic fiction that will have fans of Little Women falling in love with Alcott in much the same way they fell in love with Jo March … a wonderfully creative and innocently sweet story”

Express Milwaukee

“… McNees deftly combines historic figures and documented aspects of Louisa’s life with speculations about what might have been. Fans of Little Women may be first in line to read the novel, but the book will also appeal to others who enjoy historical romance.”

Library Journal

“The line between fiction and biography is tight and well-balanced. This book is a must-read for anyone who grew up with a dog-eared copy of Little Women.”

Fine Living Lancaster

There have also been a number of newspaper, magazine, and radio interviews.

Interview on The Roundtable
— Katie Britton, The Roundtable on WAMC

The Reluctant Historian
— Lara Zielin, LSAmagazine

‘Little Women’ Author Stars in Fictional Tale
— Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

Author Spotlight: Kelly O’Connor McNees
— Crystal Tate, Woman’s Day

Alcott’s Secrets
Boston Magazine

The Many Lives of Louisa May