The Accidental Guardian (High Sierra Sweethearts, #1)
by Mary Connealy
Series: High Sierra Sweethearts #1
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date April 3, 2018
Genres: Western, Action/Adventure, Historical Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Nevada Reconstruction Era – US – 1863 – 1877
Main Character Ages: 18-24
Written for: Adults
She's the only witness to a wagon train attack. Keeping her safe, though, means his world is about to be turned upside down.
When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes an attack by the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he's finally carved out a home and started a herd--while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail. He'd hoped the days of driving off dangerous men were over, but the latest attack shows otherwise.
Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace becomes an accidental guardian when he offers the only shelter for miles around and agrees to take them in until they can safely continue their journey. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling--yet enticing.
Trace and Deborah find themselves drawing ever closer as they work together to bring justice to the trail and help the group survive the winter--but every day closer to spring means a day closer to leaving the mountains forever.
I would like to thank Celebrate Lit, Netgalley for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
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Giving enough details to expose the evil nature of the men who attacked the wagon trains, the women’s escape and then the pursuit of the outlaws, yet not so many as to give me nightmares, author Mary Connealy weaves a riveting Western adventure in The Accidental Guardian.
Trace is a fascinating character. Orphaned as a young teen in the massacre of a wagon train, he had to learn how to survive in the wilderness alone. He rescued a colt from wolves and adopted an orphaned half-dog, half-wolf shortly after he himself was left alone in the wilderness. The way he taught himself to do some things was slightly surreal but described so it did not seem unrealistic. He ended up having skills mostly attributed to Native Americans.
He knew that his anger towards those who had killed his father and his desire for justice was wrong and he struggled with a terrible image of himself because of it. He knew that “vengeance is mine, says the Lord”, but his flesh cried out to right the wrongs that had been done.
Wolf was probably my favorite character. He hardly tame, or so Trace thought. Then Deb, Gwen and the children showed up and all of a sudden, Wolf was docile and protective of them. In some ways, he was the real hero of the story, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why I say that.
This appears to be a series in which each book tells a complete story, yet leaves hints of future stories to be told of secondary characters. I have a hunch that the next book will be about Gwen and . . .
“I’ll miss the noon meal today.” Trace headed for the cabin door after breakfast. “I should be back in time for supper. But don’t worry if I don’t make it. I might be out overnight.”
Utah said, “The weather’s holding, Trace. I’ll push hard and get the second cabin done, then ride to catch up with you. It’s safer with a saddle partner.”
Trace nodded but didn’t speak.
Miss the meal . . . why? Out overnight . . . where? Safer from . . . whom? Deb struggled to follow the conversation.
Utah and Adam headed for the door right after him. They either knew where he was going or they just didn’t care.
“Wait!” Surprise made Deb’s voice louder than she’d planned.
All three men wheeled around as if she’d cried out for help.
“Why won’t you be here?” Honest to goodness, she shouldn’t have to ask that question. And yet it appeared she did have to. “Where will you be? When should we start worrying?”
Trace tilted his head a little as if the world was lopsided – or rather as if her questions made no sense. “You shouldn’t ever start worrying. The Bible says clear as can be that we’re not supposed to worry. In Matthew, Jesus says, ‘Don’t be anxious about tomorrow, for-‘”
(1) Winner will win:
- The Cimarron Legacy by Mary Connealy (all 3 print books)
- The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy (print)
Giveaway ends May 20, 2018
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