The Mayflower Bride

By: Kimberley Woodhouse

This book is lovingly dedicated to my fellow “super-pants” wearer: Tracie Peterson.

For two decades you have taught, mentored, loved, and cheered me on. Now, umpteen published books later, I hope you know how much you are appreciated.

Without you, I wouldn’t be where I am, and I know it’s to God that the glory be given—not only for this gift of story and publication, but for the gift of you. You are my dearest friend other than my precious husband—and sometimes I wonder how or why you ever put up with me. But you do. Through thick and thin. And I’m so very grateful.

Precious lady—my prayer and Bible study partner, accountability partner, and listening ear. I love all the opportunities to learn from you, teach with you, write with you, and laugh with you. What a privilege it is to have you in my life.

Thank you for telling me I was a storyteller all those years ago and encouraging me to keep working at it. I also need to thank Jim. Without his encouragement, consistent help, and prayers—and let’s not forget all the bunny stories—I would be lost. Give him a hug for me.

This dedication could never encompass my heart of gratitude for you, Tracie. So I will leave you with these simple words: Thank you. For everything.


What an awesome joy and privilege to write the first book in the Daughters of the Mayflower series. It has been a delight to research such a monumental moment and to present to you this work of fiction based on the real events.

Writing historical novels is a passion of mine, and I must admit I got caught up in the research. But this is a first for me—most of the time as an author I get to make up the majority of my characters and then sprinkle in real people from the time period. This time was different. With historical events surrounding the Mayflower and her passengers, I had to research each person on the ship and then bring aboard only a few fictional people.

But just so you are aware, the main characters—William, Mary Elizabeth (along with her father and brother), and Dorothy’s family—weren’t real people on the Mayflower. Nor was the character Peter. I did that for a reason. I didn’t want to take anything away from the ones who lived the true story and live on in history. Rest assured the remaining characters were true Mayflower travelers. I pray I’ve done them justice in this story.

To keep this book enjoyable for today’s reader, I have written The Mayflower Bride with both modern English and spellings (i.e., I didn’t use thee and thou in the characters’ speech. After I trudged through all the historical documents and journals, my eyes and brain were exhausted just from trying to figure out what they were saying, so this decision was for your benefit. You can thank me later). English of the day didn’t have common spelling, so a lot of it was phonetic, with spelling changing from person to person. A sample of the way things were written in 1620 is the handwritten copy of the Mayflower Compact from William Bradford’s book. Here is a small sample of it so you can experience the spelling and language:

Haueing vndertaken, for ye glorie of God, and aduancemente of ye christian faith and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia· doe by these presents solemnly & mutualy in ye presence of God, and one of another, couenant, & combine our selues togeather into a ciuill body politick; for ye our better ordering, & preseruation & furtherance of ye ends aforesaid; and by vertue hearof, to enacte, constitute, and frame shuch just & equall lawes, ordinances, Acts, constitutions, & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete & conuenient for ye generall good of ye colonie: vnto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

Notice the various uses of u and v. If you try to read an original copy of the Geneva Bible, which the Separatists used, in addition to the interesting spellings and language of the day, you’ll see the s that looks like an f without the cross bar.

I used scans of an original Geneva Bible (1560) for the Biblical quotations throughout this novel, but again, because spelling wasn’t modernized yet, I modernized some of the spelling to make it easier to read. It’s a beautiful piece of work—the original Geneva Bible—and there are two copies believed to have come over on the Mayflower in the Pilgrim Hall Museum. And while the King James Version would have come out by the time the Separatists journeyed to the New World, they would not have had anything to do with it because it was authorized by the Church of England and their persecution for many years had come directly from the King whose name the new version held.

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