Gingham Mountain (Lassoed in Texas Series #3) [NOOK Book]

Overview

All aboard for a delightful, suspense-filled romance, where a Texan is torn between his attraction to a meddlesome schoolmarm and the charms of a designing dressmaker. When Hannah Cartwright meets Grant, she's determined to keep him from committing her orphans to hard labor on his ranch. How far will she go to ensure their welfare? Grant is determined to provide a home for the two kids brought in by the orphan train. Can he keep his ragtag family together while steering clear of...

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Gingham Mountain (Lassoed in Texas Series #3)

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Overview

All aboard for a delightful, suspense-filled romance, where a Texan is torn between his attraction to a meddlesome schoolmarm and the charms of a designing dressmaker. When Hannah Cartwright meets Grant, she's determined to keep him from committing her orphans to hard labor on his ranch. How far will she go to ensure their welfare? Grant is determined to provide a home for the two kids brought in by the orphan train. Can he keep his ragtag family together while steering clear of love and marriage?

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Editorial Reviews

Romantic Times
4 AND 1/2 STARS! The next installment in Connealy's Lassoed in Texas series is a delight. It's filled with joy, love, tenderness, a lot of laughter and characters who grow in their faith. Readers will be happily reunited with some of the characters from Petticoat Ranch, the first book in the series.
Patsy Glans
HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW

Set in 1870, this is a fast-paced, heartwarming story filled with humor and romance. There’s even a bit a mystery woven in, for Shirt Lady isn’t who or what she pretends to be. The only drawback is the occasional intrusion of characters from an earlier story in the “Lassoed in Texas” series, but Connealy eventually ties them into the main story. A delightful, entertaining book you’ll want to read again and again.

— CINDY VALLAR

ROMANTIC TIMES

4 AND 1/2 STARS! The next installment in Connealy's Lassoed in Texas series is a delight. It's filled with joy, love, tenderness, a lot of laughter and characters who grow in their faith. Readers will be happily reunited with some of the characters from Petticoat Ranch, the first book in the series.

— PATSY GLANS

Historical Novels Review
Set in 1870, this is a fast-paced, heartwarming story filled with humor and romance. There’s even a bit a mystery woven in, for Shirt Lady isn’t who or what she pretends to be. The only drawback is the occasional intrusion of characters from an earlier story in the “Lassoed in Texas” series, but Connealy eventually ties them into the main story. A delightful, entertaining book you’ll want to read again and again.

— CINDY VALLAR

HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW - CINDY VALLAR

Set in 1870, this is a fast-paced, heartwarming story filled with humor and romance. There’s even a bit a mystery woven in, for Shirt Lady isn’t who or what she pretends to be. The only drawback is the occasional intrusion of characters from an earlier story in the “Lassoed in Texas” series, but Connealy eventually ties them into the main story. A delightful, entertaining book you’ll want to read again and again.

ROMANTIC TIMES - PATSY GLANS

4 AND 1/2 STARS! The next installment in Connealy's Lassoed in Texas series is a delight. It's filled with joy, love, tenderness, a lot of laughter and characters who grow in their faith. Readers will be happily reunited with some of the characters from Petticoat Ranch, the first book in the series.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781607420545
  • Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/15/2009
  • Series: Lassoed in Texas Series, #3
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 52,044
  • File size: 738 KB

Meet the Author

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Carol Award winner, and a Rita, Christy, and Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist. She is the bestselling author of the Wild at Heart series, which recently began with book 1, Tried & True. She is also the author of the Trouble in Texas series, Kincaid Bride series, Lassoed in Texas trilogy, Montana Marriages trilogy, Sophie’s Daughters trilogy, and many other books. Mary is married to a Nebraska rancher and has four grown daughters and a little bevy of spectacular grandchildren. Find Mary online at www.maryconnealy.com.
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Read an Excerpt

Gingham Mountain


By Mary Connealy

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 2009 Mary Connealy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60742-054-5


CHAPTER 1

Sour Springs, Texas, 1870


Martha had an iron rod where most people had a backbone.

Grant smiled as he pulled his team to a stop in front of the train station in Sour Springs, Texas.

She also had a heart of gold—even if the old bat wouldn't admit it. She was going to be thrilled to see him and scold him the whole time.

"It's time to get back on the train." Martha Norris, ever the disciplinarian, had a voice that could back down a starving Texas wildcat, let alone a bunch of orphaned kids. It carried all the way across the street as Grant jumped from his wagon and trotted toward the depot. He'd almost missed them. He could see the worry on Martha's face.

Wound up tight from rushing to town, Grant knew he was late. But now that he was here, he relaxed. It took all of his willpower not to laugh at Martha, the old softy.

He hurried toward them. If it had only been Martha he would have laughed, but there was nothing funny about the two children with her. They were leftovers.

A little girl, shivering in the biting cold, her thin shoulders hunched against the wind, turned back toward the train. Martha, her shoulders slumped with sadness at what lay ahead for these children, rested one of her competent hands on the child's back.

Grant noticed the girl limping. That explained why she hadn't been adopted. No one wanted a handicapped child. As if limping put a child so far outside of normal she didn't need love and a home. Controlling the slow burn in his gut, Grant saw the engineer top off the train's water tank. They'd be pulling out of the station in a matter of minutes.

"Isn't this the last stop, Mrs. Norris?" A blond-headed boy stood, stony-faced, angry, scared.

"Yes, Charlie, it is."

His new son's name was Charlie. Grant picked up his pace.

Martha sighed. "We don't have any more meetings planned."

"So, we have to go back to New York?" Charlie, shivering and thin but hardy compared to the girl, scowled as he stood on the snow-covered platform, six feet of wood separating the train from the station house.

Grant had never heard such a defeated question.

The little girl's chin dropped and her shoulders trembled.

What was he thinking? He heard defeat from unwanted children all the time.

Charlie slipped his threadbare coat off his shoulders even though the wind cut like a knife through Grant's worn-out buckskin jacket.

Grant's throat threatened to swell shut with tears as he watched that boy sacrifice the bit of warmth he got from that old coat.

Stepping behind Martha, Charlie wrapped his coat around the girl. She shuddered and practically burrowed into the coat as if it held the heat of a fireplace, even as she shook her head and frowned at Charlie.

"Just take the stupid thing." Charlie glared at the girl.

After studying him a long moment, the little girl, her eyes wide and sad, kept the coat.

Mrs. Norris stayed his hands. "That's very generous, Charlie, but you can't go without a coat."

"I don't want it. I'm gonna throw it under the train if she don't keep it." The boy's voice was sharp and combative. A bad attitude. That could keep a boy from finding a home.

Grant hurried faster across the frozen ruts of Sour Springs Main Street toward the train platform and almost made it. A tight grip on his arm stopped him. Surprised, he turned and saw that irksome woman who'd been hounding him ever since she'd moved to town. What was her name? Grant'd made a point of not paying attention to her. She usually yammered about having his shirts sewn in her shop.

"Grant, it's so nice to see you."

It took all his considerable patience to not jerk free. Shirt Lady was unusually tall, slender, and no one could deny she was pretty, but she had a grip like a mule skinner, and Grant was afraid he'd have a fight on his hands to get his arm back.

Grant touched the brim of his battered Stetson with his free hand. "Howdy, Miss. I'm afraid I'm in a hurry today."

A movement caught his eye, and he turned to look at his wagon across the street. Through the whipping wind he could see little, but Grant was sure someone had come alongside his wagon. He wished it were true so he could palm this persistent pest off on an unsuspecting neighbor.

Shirt Lady's grip tightened until it almost hurt through his coat. She leaned close, far closer than was proper to Grant's way of thinking.

"Why don't you come over to my place and warm yourself before you head back to the ranch. I've made pie, and it's a lonely kind of day." She fluttered her lashes until Grant worried she'd gotten dirt in her eye. He considered sending her to Doc Morgan for medical care.

The train chugged and reminded Grant he was almost out of time. "Can't stop now, miss." What was her name? How many times had she spoken to him? A dozen if it was three. "There are some orphans left on the platform, and they need a home. I've got to see to 'em."

Something flashed in her eyes for a second before she controlled it. He knew that look. She didn't like orphans. Well, then what was she doing talking to him? He came with a passel of 'em. Grant shook himself free.

"We'll talk another time then."

Sorely afraid they would, Grant tugged on his hat brim again and ran. His boots echoed on the depot stairs. He reached the top step just as Martha turned to the sound of his clomping. She was listening for him even when she shouldn't be.

Grant couldn't stand the sight of the boy's thin shoulders covered only by the coarse fabric of his dirty brown shirt. Grant pulled his gloves off, noticing as he did that the tips of his fingers showed through holes in all ten fingers.

"I'll take 'em, Martha." How was he supposed to live with himself if he didn't? Grant's spurs clinked as he came forward. He realized in his dash to get to town he'd worn his spurs even though he brought the buckboard. Filthy from working the cattle all morning, most of his hair had fallen loose from the thong he used to tie it back. More than likely he smelled like his horse. A razor hadn't touched his face since last Sunday morning.

Never one to spend money on himself when his young'uns had needs—or might at any time—his coat hung in tatters, and his woolen union suit showed through a rip in his knee.

Martha ran her eyes up and down him and shook her head, suppressing a smile. "Grant, you look a fright."

A slender young woman rose to her feet from where she sat at the depot. Her movements drew Grant's eyes away from the forlorn children. From the look of the snow piling up on the young woman's head, she'd been sitting here in the cold ever since the train had pulled in, which would have been the better part of an hour ago. She must have expected someone to meet her, but no one had.

When she stepped toward him, Grant spared her a longer glance because she was a pretty little thing, even though her dark brown hair hung in bedraggled strings from beneath her black bonnet and twisted into tangled curls around her chin. Her face was so dirty the blue of her eyes shined almost like the heart of a flame in a sooty lantern.

Grant stared at her for a moment. He recognized something in her eyes. If she'd been a child and looked at him with those eyes, he'd have taken her home and raised her.

Then the children drew his attention away from the tired, young lady.

Martha Norris shook her head. "You can't handle any more, Grant. We'll find someone, I promise. I won't quit until I do."

"I know that's the honest truth." Grant knew Martha had to protest; good sense dictated it. But she'd hand the young'uns over. "And God bless you for it. But this is the end of the line for the orphan train. You can't do anything until you get back to New York. I'm not going to let these children take that ride."

"Actually, Libby joined us after we'd left New York. It was a little irregular, but it's obvious the child needs a home." Martha kept looking at him, shaking her head.

"Irregular how?" He tucked his tattered gloves behind his belt buckle.

"She stowed away." Martha glanced at Libby. "It was the strangest thing. I never go back to the baggage car, but one of the children tore a hole in his pants. My sewing kit is always in the satchel I carry with me. I was sure I had it, but it was nowhere to be found. So I knew I'd most likely left it with my baggage. I went back to fetch it so I could mend the seam and found her hiding in amongst the trunks."

Grant was reaching for the buttons on his coat, but he froze. "Are you sure she isn't running away from home?" His stomach twisted when he thought of a couple of his children who had run off over the years. He'd been in a panic until he'd found them. "She might have parents somewhere, worried to death about her."

"She had a note in her pocket explaining everything. I feel certain she's an orphan. And I don't know how long she was back there. She could have been riding with us across several states. I sent telegraphs to every station immediately, and I'm planning on leaving a note at each stop on my way back, but I hold out no hope that a family is searching for her." Martha sighed as if she wanted to fall asleep on her feet.

Grant realized it wasn't just the children who had a long ride ahead of them. One corner of Grant's lips turned up. "Quit looking at me like that, Martha, or I'll be thinking I have to adopt you so you don't have to face the trip."

Martha, fifty if she was a day, laughed. "I ought to take you up on that. You need someone to come out there and take your ranch in hand. Without a wife, who's going to cook for all these children?"

"You've been out. You know how we run things. Everybody chips in." The snow was getting heavier, and the wind blew a large helping of it down Grant's neck. Grant ignored the cold in the manner of men who fought the elements for their living and won. He went back to unbuttoning his coat, then shrugged it off and dropped it on the boy's shoulders. It hung most of the way to the ground.

Charlie tried to give the coat back. "I don't want your coat, mister."

Taking a long look at Charlie's defiant expression, Grant fairly growled. "Keep it."

Charlie held his gaze for a moment before he looked away. "Thank you."

Grant gave his Stetson a quick dip to salute the boy's manners. Snow sprang into the air as the brim of his hat snapped down and up. He watched it be swept up and around by the whipping wind then filter down around his face, becoming part of the blizzard that was getting stronger and meaner every moment.

Martha nodded. "If they limited the number of children one man could take, you'd be over it for sure."

Grant controlled a shudder of cold as he pulled on his gloves. "Well, thank heavens there's no limit. The oldest boy and the two older girls are just a year or so away from being out on their own. One of them's even got a beau. I really need three more to take their places, but I'll settle for two."

Martha looked from one exhausted, filthy child to the other then looked back at Grant. "The ride back would be terribly hard on them."

Grant crouched down in front of the children, sorry for the clink of his spurs that had a harsh sound and might frighten the little girl. Hoping his smile softened his grizzled appearance enough to keep the little girl from running scared, he said, "Well, what kind of man would I be if I stood by watching while something was terribly hard on you two? How'd you like to come out and live on my ranch? I've got other kids there, and you'll fit right in to our family."

"They're not going to fit, Grant," Martha pointed out through chattering teeth. "Your house is overflowing now."

Grant had to admit she was right. "What difference does it make if we're a little crowded, Martha? We'll find room."

The engineer swung out on the top step of the nearest car, hanging onto a handle in the open door of the huffing locomotive. "All aboard!"

The little girl looked fearfully between the train and Grant.

Looking at the way the little girl clung to Martha's hand, Grant knew she didn't want to go off with a strange man almost as much as she didn't want to get back on that train.

"I'll go with you." The little boy narrowed his eyes as he moved to stand like a cranky guardian angel beside the girl.

Grant saw no hesitation in the scowling little boy, only concern for the girl. No fear. No second thoughts. He didn't even look tired compared to the girl and Martha. He had intelligent blue eyes with the slyness a lot of orphans had. Not every child he'd adopted had made the adjustment without trouble. A lot of them took all of Grant's prayers and patience. Grant smiled to himself. He had an unlimited supply of prayers, and the prayers helped him hang onto the patience.

Grant shivered under the lash of the blowing snow.

The boy shrugged out of the coat. "Take your coat back. The cold don't bother me none."

Grant stood upright and gently tugged the huge garment back around the boy's neck and began buttoning it. "The cold don't bother me none, neither. You'll make a good cowboy, son. We learn to keep going no matter what the weather." He wished he had another coat because the girl still looked miserable. Truth be told, he wouldn't have minded one for himself.

Martha leaned close to Grant's ear on the side away from the children. "Grant, you need to know that Libby hasn't spoken a word since we found her. There was a note in her pocket that said she's mute. She's got a limp, too. It looks to me like she had a badly broken ankle some years ago that didn't heal right. I'll understand if you—"

Grant pulled away from Martha's whispers as his eyebrows slammed together. Martha fell silent and gave him a faintly alarmed look. He tried to calm down before he spoke, matching her whisper. "You're not going to insult me by suggesting I'd leave a child behind because she has a few problems, are you?"

Martha studied him, and then her expression relaxed. Once more she whispered, "No, Grant. But you did need to be told. The only reason I know her name is because it was on the note. Libby pulled it out of her coat pocket as if she'd done it a thousand times, so chances are this isn't a new problem, which probably means it's permanent."

Grant nodded his head with one taut jerk. "Obliged for the information then. Sorry I got testy." Grant did his best to make it sound sincere, but it hurt, cut him right to the quick, for Martha to say such a thing to him after all these years.

"No, I'm sorry I doubted you." Martha rested one hand on his upper arm. "I shouldn't have, not even for a second."

Martha eased back and spoke normally again. "We think Libby's around six." She swung Libby's little hand back and forth, giving the girl an encouraging smile.

All Grant's temper melted away as he looked at the child. "Hello, Libby." Crouching back down to the little girl's eye level, he gave the shivering tyke all of his attention.

Too tiny for six and too thin for any age, she had long dark hair caught in a single bedraggled braid and blue eyes awash in fear and wishes. Her nose and cheeks were chapped and red. Her lips trembled. Grant hoped it was from the cold and not from looking at the nasty man who wanted to take her away.

"I think you'll like living on my ranch. I've got the biggest backyard to play in you ever saw. Why, the Rocking C has a mountain rising right up out of the back door. You can collect eggs from the chickens. I've got some other kids and they'll be your brothers and sisters, and we've got horses you can ride."

Libby's eyes widened with interest, but she never spoke. Well, he'd had 'em shy before.

"I can see you'll like that. I'll start giving you riding lessons as soon as the snow lets up." Grant ran his hand over his grizzled face. "I should have shaved and made myself more presentable for you young'uns. I reckon I'm a scary sight. But the cattle were acting up this morning. There's a storm coming, and it makes 'em skittish. By the time I could get away, I was afraid I'd miss the train."

Grant took Libby's little hand, careful not to move suddenly and frighten her, and rubbed her fingers on his whiskery face.

She snatched her hand away, but she grinned.

The smile transformed Libby's face. She had eyes that had seen too much and square shoulders that had borne a lifetime of trouble. Grant vowed to himself that he'd devote himself to making her smile.

"I'll shave it off before I give you your first good night kiss."

The smile faded, and Libby looked at him with such longing Grant's heart turned over with a father's love for his new daughter. She'd gotten to him even faster than they usually did.

Martha reached past Libby to rest her hand on the boy's shoulder. "And Charlie is eleven."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Gingham Mountain by Mary Connealy. Copyright © 2009 Mary Connealy. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

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(20)

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(5)

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(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    More rollicking fun in Texas

    Again, Mary Connealy delights us with rollicking fun in Texas-a handsome, endearing hero, a feisty heroine and a passel of fun-loving, heartwarming children-trademarks of Mary's Lassoed in Texas series. Along with the romance, Mary delights us with a splash of little known history-the orphan trains bringing young orphans from New York City out west to hopefully be adopted by loving families-an ideal that didn't always pan out. She also throws in suspense to keep you rooting for the hero and heroine and then delights you with the total romantic mix. We are treated to a glimpse of how Grace and Daniel from Calico Canyon are doing which brings a smile. Like Petticoat Ranch and Calico Canyon, Gingham Mountain is a book you can't put down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Even better than all the rest!

    Wow! This is the best from Mary Connealy yet, and quite possibly the best book I have ever read (under 300 pages). You have to understand... This is one of those books that you read when you have some time by yourself. First off is the matter of time, because once you start I promise it is impossible if not painful to put it down. Then, secondly, by yourself because otherwise you are going to be quite embarrassed by the looks that you will earn. I read it with only my two cats nearby and they still looked at me as if I were crazed. *snicker*<BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/>Upon starting the story there are a couple little giggles, but shortly there after they turn in to little chuckles, and then every once in a while a snicker. Once, finally it is under hand, then comes the shaking silent laughs that turn to out right snorts. Once you are sure that nothing could make you laugh anymore and you are fully in control of your senses, well then she goes and causes laugh out loud gasping and crying from laughter tears. Covering your mouth and slapping the desk as a reader you are stuck with the amount of pure glee and humor that your body has endured.<BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/>With that said, I guess I should not be surprised. Not at all really.<BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/>Petticoat Ranch (Book #1) was everything that a good historical fiction should be, and I'm glad to have read it. I so feel for the characters, they are completely real to me, and I'm fully on their side! When I first read it, I said this book was incredible. I cannot count the times that I giggled, or rolled my eyes. I am quite unsure of how many times I snickered and had a little evil laugh, feeling I'm sure the emotions of Sophie and her girls. In all cases, it was plenty, and I definitely was smiling through out the novel. As much as I enjoyed book #1, Calico Canyon (Book #2) was ever so much better! It started with a character that I was not found of from book one, and by chapter three I was swearing loyalty to her and wishing her well.<BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/>So far, everything that I have read by Mary has been a complete success in my mind, and I cannot wait to read more! Not only are her stories a good laugh, but they contain such heart beating romance that you blush and giggle with the emotions going through the characters as they trip over themselves in pure beginning steps of love. The bad guys are horrors, and you are almost screaming aloud for justice to be seen. Hardships of real life are touched on in the stories and lessons and the heart of Christ come through in the characters.<BR/><BR/><BR/><BR/>Earnestly, I cannot recommend the books and their stories strongly enough!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2012

    Another wonderful book!

    Love Mary Connely and her books! This book was a great finish to the lassoed in texas series! Amazing writer who ties in past charcters, cant wait to read the next series!

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    Great!!

    I loved how Grant and Hannah were fighting for the same cause, but didn't know it. Great read from beginning to end!

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  • Posted May 5, 2009

    he dedicated his life to providing homes for other orphans.

    Grant was once an orphan. Then, he finally found a home. As an adult, he dedicated his life to providing homes for other orphans. The orphan train went through their town every two years. He would wait for the train and bring home any children that needed homes. He never planned to marry. His purpose in life was to take care of as many orphans that he could. He found satisfaction in knowing he was doing a good job.
    Libby and Charlie were on the train. Their older sister, Hannah, was also on the train. No one knew that Hannah was Libby's sister. Hannah wanted to find a way to protect Libby. When she met all of the other children in Grant's care, she wanted to take care of them, too. Hannah agreed to be the school teacher in Sour Springs. She and Grant changed the lives of many.

    Mary Connealy is a talented author. I really enjoyed this story and eagerly turned pages. I will be watching for more books by this author. This book clearly demonstrates faith and love. Even the town bully changed after Hannah hit town. This is a must read for fans of Christian Romance.

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  • Posted February 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Love and laughter in 1870 Texas

    If you have not discovered the Lassoed in Texas series by Mary Connealy yet then you have been missing out. First off lets examine the titles in the series... Petticoat Ranch (Can a widow and 4 girls run a ranch? With some mystery...), Calico Canyon (Grace gets much more than she bargained for when she is forced to marry Daniel Reeves and becomes an instant mom to the 5 Horsemen of the Apocalypse) and now Gingham Mountain (Hannah doesn't take kindly to anyone mistreating orphans and Grant doesn't take kindly to anyone saying he does). Aren't the titles just wonderful?!?<BR/><BR/> Now add in adventure, romance, a little mystery and loads of humor and you have Mary's books. Great characters that continue throughout the series and a wonderful setting in 1870 Texas makes Gingham Mountain a real treat! <BR/><BR/> We met Hannah briefly in Calico Canyon when her "sister" Grace ends up marrying Daniel Reeves. Hannah is on her way to meet up with Grace when plans change and she is forced to stay in Sour Springs and she becomes the local schoolteacher. Of course she has never attended school, and she owns one worn out dress and she doesn't like the way Grant takes to "adopting" orphans to become slave labor on his ranch...<BR/><BR/> I just hope we have not seen the end of the Lassoed in Texas series because few authors make me laugh out loud while I'm reading, but Mary sure does!

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  • Posted February 3, 2009

    Delightful romp through Texas

    I adore her Petticoat Ranch and Calico Canyon, and had high hopes for Gingham Mountain. These sassy westerns are filled with romance, heart, and characters that leave you in stitches. Gingham Mountain is a wonderful addition to the series.<BR/><BR/>A young woman's need to protect<BR/>A cowboy's need to provide<BR/>A galloping ride headed for a love-hate relationship.<BR/><BR/>Hannah Cartwright lands in a small Texas town desperate to save orphans from the dastardly Grant. Grant has dedicated his adult life to adopting the orphans nobody wants off the orphan train. When two are left in the opening chapter, he naturally accepts them into his family. Hannah has fears that the children will only be used and abused by him. And thus begins this wonderful romp.<BR/><BR/>Mary is back with her delightful humor, but also with a wonderful dose of warmth and emotion. She doesn't swing to the extreme of humor or romance, but instead blends the two in a delightful concoction that keeps the pages turning. There's also the dash of suspense that builds at the end of the book. And I love the surprise for readers who adored Calico Canyon.

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  • Posted January 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Mary Connealy Succeeds Again!

    The tension cackles and sparkles as Grant and Hannah come together to save the orphans (and themselves) in Sour Springs, Texas. The natural attraction between these two is undeniable despite their constant bickering and constant mis-understandings. <BR/><BR/>Connealy excels at pulling the reading inter her stories - with sharp-witted, sensitive characters, endearing plot-lines, and addictive dialog. She has created genuinely scary, vengeful villains in Prudence and Horace, slowly building fear while they plot to get rich and rid themselves of Grant and his children. And most notable about Connealy's writing is the way she can capture the nature around these characters - snow storms so raw and real that they will make you pull the blanket up a little tighter to stay warm, cliffs so high they will make your palms get sweaty, woods so thick that you will have no choice but to keep reading and find your way out. <BR/><BR/>I look forward to the next series!

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  • Posted December 7, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a wonderful tale

    In 1870 in Sour Springs, Texas Martha Norris leaves two more orphans with cattle rancher Grant Cooper. The boy Charlie has an attitude as he understands being a rejected leftover and the frightened little girl Libby has a noticeable limp. Still he will give them a home at the Rocking C Ranch and ask them like his other wards to pitch in at the spread.<BR/><BR/>New schoolmarm Hanna Cartwright meets Grant as he picks up the two orphans and concludes he is a slave-owner who will over work these children; part of her conclusion is his failure to shave and his smell as he raced from working cattle to meeting the orphan train. She plans to limit Grant¿s exploitation of Charlie and Libby by keeping them in school as often as she can. As meddling Hannah gets in his way, Grant falls in love with her; to her chagrin she reciprocates though she also reconsiders her initial opinion that he is a child labor abuser. However, he has other problems as two swindlers learn of black gold on his land; they arrange with Prudence the seamstress ¿Shirt Lady¿ with a grip that could bring a grown man to his knees to steal his land. Only Charlie stands in their way. <BR/><BR/>The latest Lassoed in Texas hisotircal romance (see PETTICOAT RANCH and CALICO CANYON) is a wonderful tale in which the cast stands out as fully developed; not just the lead couple. Readers as much as Grant will be hooked by precious Libby whose champion is courageous out of control Charlie. The story line is fast-paced once Hannah makes it clear she thinks Grant is an amoral child abuser and never slows down. However, it is Charlie who brings the freshness with his escapdes that will have the audicne agreeing with Libby he is our hero too.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klaunser

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