About the Book
Title: The Accidental Guardian
Series: High Sierra Sweethearts, Book 1
Author: Mary Connealy
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance / Western
+To Read: Goodreads
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.
PURCHASE A COPY*
The next book in the series, THE RELUCTANT WARRIOR
will be released later this year in October, 2018!
About the Author
Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.
The Accidental Guardian is my first Mary Connealy read, but it will not be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The Accidental Guardian has everything a reader could want: action, danger, tension, romance, inner turmoil, great heroes, and evil villains. There is genuinely no way a reader could be bored by this story.
One thing that struck me as amazing is the following quote by Trace, the hero of The Accidental Guardian:
“Most men in the West treated women with almost reverent respect. There were just too few women. They were rare and precious and to be protected above all.”
WHOA! What?! I actually re-read that quote a few times. I could not believe it. This may be the exact opposite of everything I’ve ever known and been taught. I have always been taught that women are second-class citizens (or worse) in pretty much every aspect of life on nearly every continent. This has been so ingrained in me that it took me about three years of intense Bible study to realize that God truly loves the women He has created. It took a long time for me to accept this because our world does not hold women in general in high regard. So, to have Trace believe that women in his time should be treated with respect because they are rare and precious…I nearly fell out of my seat. What a beautiful way to see women! We are rare and precious. This is exactly how God sees all of His creation including His female creations. This moment in the story made me fall hard for Trace!
This novel was exceptionally cathartic for me. I didn’t realize picking this book up to review that I would face some of my deeply ingrained issues that I have as a woman in a man’s world. Of the characters, I am very much like Deborah. Deborah has worked hard her whole life and has never heard “Thank you” from a single man ever until she meets Trace. Trace comes to her rescue, so she is completely grateful to him, but plans to leave his protection as soon as possible to make a life of her own completely unhindered by any man. But, the more time she spends with Trace, the more she realizes that perhaps not all men are narcissistic, self-absorbed, and lazy. At one point, Deb realizes:
“I’ve spent too much time believing all men are like Pa, just because he was the only one I was really around in a personal way. The only one who was supposed to take care of his family that I knew. But men can work hard and be depended on to keep their word and think to the comfort of others.”
I teared up a bit when Deb came to this conclusion about men. I met my husband when I was almost 29 years old. For the 28 years prior to meeting my husband, men surrounded me. I have a father, a step-father, and four brothers. Plus, my grandfather was integral to my life before he passed away six years ago. None of the men in my life were good role models for what a man should be like and how he should treat a woman. I went through a lot of bad with boyfriends because I accepted bad behaviors thinking they were normal men behaviors. In no way am I trying to bad-mouth the men in my family. I love them very much. In their own ways, and with the best of their abilities, the men in my family have done, and continue to do, the best they can to love me. But, I have an exceptionally difficult time trusting men. Men have always been selfish. In my experience, they always put themselves first. When my husband came into my life, I didn’t know how to be around him because he is the exact opposite of all the men I have ever known. He is nice to me. He treats me like Trace describes above — like I’m precious and rare. Because my husband treats me like this everyday, I know that he is one of those rare and precious men. He is my gift from God, and I will be eternally grateful to him because now I know how to teach my daughter when it comes to how men should treat her.
I had no idea when I picked up this book that I was getting a therapy session. LOL! I was expecting a great Western Romance, but never did I imagine I would confront such issues from my past. What a remarkable novel! If you are looking for a great read filled with adventure, danger, and romance, then this book is for you. If you are looking for a novel that will hold a mirror up and allow you to perhaps confront a personal issue or two, then this is definitely the book for you. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I very much look forward to book 2 in this series, The Reluctant Warrior.
I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author and Just Read Tours via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
(1) Winner will win:
- The Cimarron Legacy by Mary Connealy (all 3 print books)
- The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy (print)
For the full tour schedule for more giveaway entries, head to JustRead’s Launch Page HERE (or click on the Tour Banner below).
*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.