Petticoat Ranch (Lassoed in Texas Series #1)

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Overview

Sophie Edwards is doing just fine alone, until a strange-yet oddly familiar-man rides into her life, insisting on rescuing her and her four daughters. Can she find a way to love a headstrong mountain man? When Clay McClellan discovers his brother has been murdered, he's bent on finding the killers and seeing them properly hung. But first his Christian duty demands that he marry his sister-in-law. After all, Sophie needs someone to protect her - right? Faith and love help unruly wed newlyweds find common ground ...

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Petticoat Ranch (Lassoed in Texas Series #1)

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Overview

Sophie Edwards is doing just fine alone, until a strange-yet oddly familiar-man rides into her life, insisting on rescuing her and her four daughters. Can she find a way to love a headstrong mountain man? When Clay McClellan discovers his brother has been murdered, he's bent on finding the killers and seeing them properly hung. But first his Christian duty demands that he marry his sister-in-law. After all, Sophie needs someone to protect her - right? Faith and love help unruly wed newlyweds find common ground and a chance at love on the Texas frontier.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Sophie Edwards is a Civil War widow with four children. Clay McCellen decides to marry his sister-in-law, but he comes to realize that Sophie and her daughters are more than he can handle. This novelist lives in Nebraska.


—Tamara Butler Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781410418302
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 9/16/2009
  • Series: Lassoed in Texas Series, #1
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 520
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Christy Award finalist and a Carol Award winner. She is the author of the Lassoed in Texas Trilogy, the Montana Marriage Trilogy, and the Sophie's Daughters Series.

Mary lives on a Nebraska ranch with her husband, Ivan, and has four grown daughters: Joslyn (married to Matt), Wendy, Shelly (married to Aaron), and Katy. And she is the grandmother of two beautiful grandchildren.

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Read an Excerpt

Petticoat Ranch


By Mary Connealy

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Mary Connealy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60742-040-8


CHAPTER 1

Mosqueros, Texas, 1867


Sophie heard God in every explosion of thunder as she listened to the awesome power of the approaching storm. But there was more. There was something coming—something more than rain.

Over the distant rumble, Sophie Edwards heard pounding hoof-beats. Her heart sped up, matching the pace. The horse came fast. Something about the way it ran echoed the desperation in the pulsing of Sophie's heart.

Sophie whirled to race inside the cabin. Exhausted after another day of grinding work, she prayed for strength and courage. God would have to provide it; she had none left. She scrambled into her disguise and waited until the last minute to wake the children, hoping the rider would pass on. She stood near the can that held the vile-smelling Hector scarf, hoping she wouldn't need it.

Was this the night someone would come for her and the girls? The night she couldn't talk fast enough or hide well enough to survive this rugged, lonely life?

The back of Sophie's neck prickled in horror as the horse veered from the main trail and came toward her cabin. For a second, she thought the rider meant to come to her place, but there was no letup of the running hooves. Sophie's fear changed. No one could safely ride the narrow, rocky trail down the slopes of the creek bank behind her cabin at that speed.

The horse charged on. Sophie could hear it blowing hard, its wind broken, the saddle leather creaking. She hated the rider for abusing his mount, but inside Sophie knew it wasn't the rider's fault. This pace—this reckless, dark ride—could only mean one thing.

Pursuit!

And pursuit might mean a fleeing criminal with a posse on his trail. But not all pursued men were justly accused. No one knew that better than Sophie.

She almost ran out to wave the rider down. She let fear freeze her for a second. Then, ashamed, she grabbed at the door latch on her ramshackle cabin, praying, "Help me, Lord. Help me, help me, help me." Her prayers, like her life, had been stripped to bare bones.

The horse stormed past the heavy brush that concealed the house.

"No! Stop!" Sophie dashed out the door and down the stoop. "Stop! The cliff!"

She was too late. The rider was past. Within seconds she heard the dreadful screams of the falling animal, the coarse shouts of terror ripped from the throat of the rider.

Rocks dislodged along the top of the bank as Sophie ran in the direction of the accident. There was the rumble of falling rocks and the softer sound of the horse's big body striking stone as it plunged thirty feet to the creek below, neighing its fear and pain into the night. She heard the splash as the avalanche, and its unwilling cause, hit the moving water below.

She skidded to a halt and her long, white nightgown billowed around her. A gust whipped her blond hair across her eyes. Blinded for a moment, a cold, logical part of her mind told her that the best way to handle this was simply to ignore it and go back to bed.

But God asked more of her than cold logic. He even asked more of her than her own survival. It was a relief to admit it, because her strongest survival instincts couldn't stop her from going to someone in need, and she was glad to have God's support in the matter. She whirled away from the embankment and ran back to the house.

"Girls!" Her voice lashed like a whip in the darkness. The girls would be so frightened to be awakened this way, but there was no choice. If ever a family had learned to do what needed to be done, it was the Edwardses. "Girls, someone's fallen on the creek path."

Sophie tore at her disguise, putting everything in its place with lightning speed. She couldn't ever afford to be unprepared. "I need help. I'm going down. Mandy, bring the rope and the lantern and follow me. Beth, catch Hector and bring him. Don't take time to get dressed: just pull on your shoes. Sally, stay with Laura. Get blankets out and heat water. If he's alive he'll need doctoring."

Sophie heard the girls jump out of bed as she headed outside in her nightgown with untied boots on her feet.

She saw where he'd gone over and her stomach lurched. He couldn't have picked a worse drop. She stumbled and skidded toward the bottom of the creek, risking her own neck on the treacherous path.

Hearing Amanda call out from overhead, Sophie yelled, "Down here, Mandy. Quickly." Sophie picked her way over the jumble of dirt and stones edging the swollen waters of the creek. In the starless night, she couldn't make out anything. She glanced behind her and saw, with relief, ten-year-old Mandy coming with a brightly lit kerosene lantern.

Sophie continued to scramble over the debris. She stepped in mud and sank until water overflowed her boot. The thunder came more steadily now, until it was a constant collision of sound. The approaching lightning gained enough strength to light up even the depths of the creek.

Feeling her way, on her hands and knees now, she tried to pierce the utter darkness with her vision. Where is he, Lord?

A wailing wind cried at them that it was bringing disaster in its wake. Suddenly, the thunder and lightning held a worse threat than savage rain. The storm was coming from the north. It was probably already raining upstream. The creek might flood without a single drop of water falling here. And she now stood in the path of that flash flood. Worse still, she'd just ordered her children to come after her.

Sophie listened intently for the roar of oncoming water. She heard nothing. They still had time.

Mandy caught up with her. "Here's the lantern and rope."

Sophie took the lantern. "A rider and horse went over that drop-off. Help me find him, and hurry! It's raining up north!"

Her girls had lived in their little thicket hideaway long enough to know what it meant when rain came in from the north. Sophie saw Mandy glance fearfully over her shoulder into the darkness of the creek. Then, practical girl that Mandy was, she started searching for the rider.

"Oh, Ma. Can he have lived?" Mandy went ahead of Sophie to the very edge of the dimly illuminated area.

"I don't know, honey," Sophie said grimly as she surveyed the area, looking for a glimpse of fabric or a bit of horsehide. "I don't hear him. He might be buried under these rocks. He might have been swept away by the creek. We only have a few minutes to search."

"Here, Ma. I think I found him!" Mandy's voice was sharp with excitement. A bolt of lightning lit up Mandy's frightened face. Sophie saw Mandy's blue eyes, so like her own, glow in the jagged glare. Her blond hair, identical to Sophie's and the other girls', hung bedraggled and muddy to her waist.

Sophie rushed to her daughter's side and saw a single hand, coated with dirt, extending from a pile of mud and rocks. The two of them fell to the ground and began digging away the soil. They ignored the tear of jagged stones on their hands and the damage to their nightgowns, the only ones they owned. Sophie heard soft trudging steps as Hector came down the creek path. She dug faster, knowing that with the mule's help they could move the man as soon as they freed him.

Another rumble of thunder sounded closer. The lightning lanced the sky just as Sophie uncovered the stranger's face and pushed away the mud. The man was utterly still. As limp as in death. She didn't stop to check his condition. If there was life left in him after the fall, the suffocating dirt would snatch it away. She and Mandy uncovered his shoulders as eight-year-old Elizabeth came up.

"Get this rope around his shoulders, Mandy. Beth, hitch it around Hector's neck. We've got to get out of this creek before the water comes!" Even as she said it, Sophie heard the first distant crash of waves against the sides of the creek. Once the sound was audible, there were only minutes before the wall of water would sweep by their cabin.

She kept digging as she shouted commands. She reached deep into the muck to make sure there were no heavy rocks pinning him. Her girls worked silently beside her, following her orders. Sophie felt a surge of pride in them so great, she knew it to be almost sinful.

"Ready, Ma." Mandy turned her attention from fastening the rope under the man's arms and went back to digging.

"Hector's ready anytime, Ma," Beth shouted over the raging wind. A bolt of lightning flashed brightly enough for Sophie to see the man. His legs were still well buried, but there were no rocks on him.

He was so coated in mud that Sophie couldn't have told anyone what he looked like. She remembered the desperate speed at which he'd ridden and thought again the word: pursuit. Yet no one had come along behind him.

The thunder sounded again. The water roared ever nearer. Sophie shouted to be heard over the sound, "Once you start pulling, just take him all the way up! The floodwater is coming!"

Sophie knew Elizabeth, her second born, would handle the stubborn, rawboned old mule better than she could. Hector was a cantankerous beast on the best of days, but he had a soft spot for Beth, as did most animals.

Beth's gentle cajoling urged Hector forward to take up the slack in the rope. Mandy knelt at the man's head, and in the few remaining seconds, pushed more dirt off his arms and chest. Sophie braced herself to support his head and neck as he began to inch free. A bolt of lightning lit up their strange little group, this time with blinding brightness. The thunder sounded almost at the same instant. Sophie prayed for the man and asked God if the floodwater could just hold off another few minutes.

In answer, God sent the first icy drip of rain down the back of her neck. Sophie took it as a heavenly warning to hurry.

The man emerged slowly from the slide. As soon as he was free, with another lightning bolt to assist the lantern, Sophie yelled, "Keep going. All the way to the top of the bank. Mandy, you run ahead with the lantern." Anything to get her girls to safety, even if she didn't make it herself.

She looked at the man, now being battered even further by his ride up the hill. His body was coated in mud. The slime helped him slide along the rough ground. One particularly nasty jolt over the rutted path almost woke him. He took a deep breath and turned his head sideways. He vomited up filthy, muddy water and gasped deeply for breath as he was dragged along. It was the first sign he was alive. Sophie kept to his side to make sure his head didn't encounter a rock.

The rugged upward trail twisted and turned. Just as it faced the north along one of its steeper sections, a bolt of lightning split the sky. Sophie saw a wall of water raging toward her like the wrath of God. "Faster, Beth! The floodwater's coming! Get to the top!"

Elizabeth kicked Hector and yelled. Sophie knew her mule well, and whatever unfortunate qualities Hector had, stupidity wasn't one of them. She knew he headed for the top of that creek to save his own mangy mule hide, and if he saved the lot of them along with himself, well, that had nothing to do with him.

The path snaked back to the south. A few more feet. Twenty at the most. Sophie knew the water would come along right to the top of the bank. It had been cut to its current depth by these raging torrents over thousands of years. Sophie glanced over her shoulder and saw it coming. They weren't going to make it. Lightning lit up the sky just as Hector crested the top of the path. The roaring water changed to a scream. The thunder had become a constant jarring drumroll that only added to the fierce growl of the approaching flood. The rope dragged against the ground, and knowing she was out of time, Sophie reached down and twisted her arms through the rope that bound the man to the only anchor there was for them in the world.

The water hit like a crashing fist. Sophie heard her own cry of fear as she was swept sideways. Her arms wrenched nearly from their sockets as the rope tightened. Her body, literally tied to the man, lifted with the angry waters. The flood caught them as if it were a greedy child not wanting to let go of its toy. Sophie had a second to despair of Hector's strength and prayed Beth wouldn't be swept away with the mule. Flood water filled her mouth. The life her precious babies had to face without her was the image she'd die with.

Then they were up. They landed on the top of the creek bank like a couple of battle-weary trout. Sophie was too battered to move. She lay there, choking on muddy water as the world began to right itself. She tried to catch her breath and was having precious little luck, when Mandy got to her side, followed by Beth. Only when they rolled her off the man did she realize she'd been stretched out fully on top of him.

"Ma! Are you all right?" Mandy's anxious voice reached into her sluggish mind.

Her girls. She felt the scrambling fingers on the ropes that bound her to this stranger, and she heard their fear. She had to be strong for them. She forced the panic from her water-logged head. "Yes, I'm fine. Just got a good soaking. Let's see if our friend here survived it."

Sophie almost staggered when she got to her knees, but she didn't. The girls were watching. She turned her attention to the man and pressed her hand firmly against his chest. Beneath her palm was a strong heartbeat, even though, after his one spell of coughing, the man hadn't stirred again. She felt his chest rise and fall with a steady breath.

Sophie heaved a heartfelt sigh of relief. "He's still alive."

The spitting rain grew steadier, and Sophie wondered what a chest full of dirty water did to a man. A deep chill now might well be the last straw. With a renewed surge of strength, Sophie decided that, after all she'd been through, this man could just think twice before he up and died on her. Thinking aloud, she said, "There's no way we can carry him to the house, and we're not strong enough to get him up on Hector's back."

"If Hector goes slow, maybe we can just drag him," Mandy suggested. "Reckon it'll kill him, though."

Elizabeth said lightly from where she knelt beside her mother, "I don't know how he could get much worse. He appears to be mostly kilt already."

Sophie prayed in her heart, as she had been nonstop since she'd heard the first hoofbeats. But no better suggestions were forthcoming from the Almighty.

"Okay, we drag him. Take it real slow, Beth. Stay by his side, Mandy and ... and ..." Sophie was out of ideas. A sudden gust of wind and a prolonged glare of lightning, with thunder rumbling constantly now, prodded her. "Let's get on with it then."

They hauled him the same way they hauled logs to split for their fire. Hector pulled the unconscious man right up to the front door. When Elizabeth stopped Hector, Mandy asked, with the practicality her life had forced onto her, "Reckon Hector can drag him into the house?"

The house was small—one room, with a loft, no back door, and two front steps that passed for a stoop. Sophie tried to envision the big mule climbing the stairs, ducking through the narrow door, and then turning around in the cramped space. Hector was large and not given to cooperation at the best of times, even with Beth's gentle urging.

"How about we put him in the barn," Mandy suggested.

Barn was a highfalutin word for the Edwards's one and only outbuilding. The building remained standing more out of pure ornery stubbornness than sturdy construction. It was a three-sided shed that stood upright, thanks to the bramble that had wound itself around every inch of the building and practically reclaimed it as part of the vast thicket that hid the Edwards's home. Hector seemed inclined to head for it, though he usually disdained to go under the rickety roof.

The wind began driving the steadily increasing sprinkles straight sideways. The lightning and thunder continued, and the icy drops of rain grew fatter, soaking into their thin, mud-soaked nightclothes. This was all the man needed to finish the work of his fall. Sophie finally said, "The barn it is. Let's go."

They hauled the injured man down a nearly invisible trail that wound away from the cabin. Another small clearing, one of hundreds that appeared inside the twisting maze of the thicket, opened up at the decrepit barn. Mercifully, the rain was coming from the north and the shed opened to the east. The inside was dry except for the multiple leaks in the roof. A stack of the first spring prairie grass Sophie and the girls had cut took up the driest corner. With some quick pitch-forking, they got the man situated on a soft bed of fresh-scented hay. It was a better bed than the one Sophie had.

Hector was released. As if in a huff at the uninvited company, he went to the far corner of the tiny shed. That put about ten feet between him and the intruders in his domain.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Petticoat Ranch by Mary Connealy. Copyright © 2006 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
( 52 )
Rating Distribution

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(36)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2007

    Demeaning Women: Strong Women Taught to Cower to Men, it deserves a Zero

    It has been a long time since I have been so angry and disgusted with a book. I held high hopes throughout the first few chapters, but with each passing comment I became more and more disgusted with its patriarchal comments against women. Unfortunately there are far too many examples to write down here, but I'll name a few. Sophie is about 1 or 2 months pregnant and walks up a hill. Her new husband, Clay, finds her, demeans her in public berating her for her stupidity to walk up a hill calling her a 'disobedient, little wife' and THEN when they arrive back at the house he tells her daughters that he didn't give Sophie's 'backside a tanning' as if she's lucky that he didn't. They argue constantly. Most every time Sophie is in the right and EVERYTIME Sophie backs down. In one instance, she finally confronts him about his frequent use of calling her and the little girls 'stupid' -he defends himself saying that he knows that they're smart and he only calls them stupid WHEN they ACT stupid. There is so solution or compromise on his part, the argument ends literally and unbelievably when he calls Sophie pretty and she lamely says, 'You think I'm pretty?' The women have taken care of themselves for about 7 years, but when Clay comes they PRETEND to be stupid so as not to hurt his feelings. Mandy pretends not to know how to rope cattle, the younger girls pretend they don't know how to saddle horses, etc. It's pathetic. There is no equality in this marriage, no matching of pairs of equal responsibility. I waited and waited for some type of resolution to come out of this marriage, something that allowed Clay to admit that women aren't all 'helpless, little wives' that should ask their husband permission to do the simplest of tasks or be berated infront of the children. His character doesn't change. What is inspirational about a book that leaves this man the way he is? A book that demeans and portrays strong women cowering to men?Women pretending to be weak? DO NOT READ

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2007

    Characters actions seem unlikely

    Let me preface this review with informing you that I am a Christian so my poor review is not based on any hostility, etc towards religion. In my opinion, this shouldn't be classified as a romance. The focus was definitely on morality, religion, and western survival. I just thought the characters acted a little inconsistently. Sophie, a tough as nails rancher who now lives in a thicket, has no urge to marry again after the poor treatment she received from her first husband. She has turned down multiple offers after being widowed. Upon first meeting her brother-in-law who believes they should marry, she agrees. Why? He offered no words of love. She doesn't seem to NEED a man. Why wouldn't the book be about him trying to convince her to marry him after showing he is nothing like his brother? And, just after being married a month, she finds out she's pregnant? She must be very fertile...and has a sixth sense about this because I don't know anyone who can figure it out that quickly without an EPT. This woman who wanted nothing to do with another man not only marries quickly but immediately knows him in the Biblical sense without a fight or even discussion? That's taking wifely obediance a little too seriously. Clay (the hero) has never been around women but immediately offers to marry Sophie because there's something in the Bible about taking care of your brother's widow. I do know the quote but I think that he jumped on that passage pretty quickly. The TWO men who hear Sophie calling through thousands of miles for her help seemed a little farfetched. Sophie complains about how poorly the townspeople treated her but as soon as she's married, suddenly they welcome her back in the fold? Either the author is trying to portray these Christian people as hypocrites, opportunists or completely fickle. And I always hate an ending where the person conveniently has twins. Especially when its not genetically linked on the father's side at all.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    My favorite western, bar none!

    This story starts out with a bang...as in non-stop action. I had to laugh at the girls fighting all the time and poor Clay not knowing how to handle all the woman 'stuff' because he'd never been around them much. Ironically that primitive mentality made him all that more attractive as a hero. He's a real man's man and as such, the very tomboyish girls and his new wife go out of their way to perpetuate that belief...by acting incompetent when they are just as good with a gun and lasso as any man on the frontier. Many of the scenes made me smile. Connealy is very witty and her caveman humor is to-die-for funny! Plus, she has the dialogue down to a science...even had me thinking like a western yokel. :) Hilarious! A lot of times romantic tension in novels feels contrived and the animosity forced. Not so in this one. Sophie had every reason to want to chokehold the man and kiss him senseless all in the same breath. Wow. I loved that. She's fiesty and loveable without feeling forced by the author. Did I mention that I love marriages of convenience stories? The only thing in this one that made me snicker is the hero kisses her breathless a few times and later on she's feeling faint! I had no idea they'd consummated their relationship. Made me go back and search for what I was missing. Must've been that warm snuggling Clay referenced in his thoughts that got her 'in the family way.' I know, you're snickering, too. Maybe it was the publisher's idea to skip that, but it made me smile regardless. :) The most satisfying of all was the culmination at the end. Without giving away the details I'll just say that it reminded me a lot of the Home Alone movies. One exciting event after another. Tough girls who know how to survive and a momma who taught them well. In the end I felt just as proud of them all as if I'd been there myself. I'd totally bought into the plot and my heart was with the couple through to the last page. Tender and sweet, tough and calculating, adventurous and passionate...this story has it all. It's now at the top of my list of favorite historical westerns. It's the best one I've ever read, bar none.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2014

    Amazing book!

    A good story of hardship and romance. Loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013

    Stablehand house

    For breaks and to sleep and eat.

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  • Posted August 8, 2013

    I just finished reading Petticoat Ranch by Mary Connealy. Mary C

    I just finished reading Petticoat Ranch by Mary Connealy.
    Mary Connealy is absolutely one of my favorite authors. Everything she writes is heartfelt, awesome, and HILARIOUS.
    Petticoat Ranch, her first published novel, is no exception.
    Sophie Edwards and her family of four young daughters have a very nice life, living in hiding in a thicket outside town--they even have a disguise Sophie wears whenever they have "visitors" so everybody thinks a crazy old woman lives there.
    Everything changes one night when a mysterious man who is being chased comes riding through their little home. He is thrown from his horse into a flooding river and Sophie and her girls rescue him.
    What shocks the girls is that, once he is cleaned up, he looks exactly like Sophie's dead husband. Exactly.
    Clay McClellan turns out to be Cliff's twin brother, a brother whom Cliff himself did not know about. Clay decides it is his duty to marry his brother's widow to support her, and he does just that.

    Clay buys back his brother's ranch and moves the family back. He finds himself stuck in a world full of females--unlike any other he has seen before. When the bad guys who killed Sophie's first husband returns, a lot of great action ensues.
    I struggled to put this book down. It is a must-read.

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  • Posted August 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable!

    Sophie Edwards has been hiding and living on her own for two years in the thicket. One night a man rides by her home and over a cliff. Seconds before a flash flood threatens to kill her and the mystery rider she and her girls pull the man to safety. As they work to doctor the man up Sophia soon realizes he looks just like her husband. Problem is she buried him herself two years ago!! Clay wakes up and thinks he is surrounded by angels. Soon he finds out that Sophia is his late brothers wife. He plans to look after the family and has Sophia married to him before she can beat him senseless for such an idea! What follows is a hysterical love story filled with laughter, love and petticoats.

    Last year I was lucky enough to read the series Sophie’s Daughters which is the three young girls(Mandy, Beth and Sally) in this book all grown up. I have wanted to go back and read how it all began and finally a few months back the Kindle version of the whole trilogy was released.

    What I liked: Sophie and her girls are great you can’t help but fall in love with them. They are strong Texas ladies and letting a man into their life was quite fun to read. I also enjoyed meeting some of the side characters. Plus the story of Sophia praying to God for help which in turn had people coming from 100’s of miles away to help her was really neat and a cool way to show how God is always their for us.

    What I did not like: The one thing that kind of bothered me was the rule Clay made with the girls about no crying. I know its part of the story line and parts of that carries over to the series about them, I just thought it was kind of stupid. But watching Clay run every time a girl cried was funny!

    Over all this was a great book and I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the other two books in the series. I just love Mary’s writing style and how she tells her stories. I really can not get enough of her and can see myself going back and rereading her books at some point which is not something I do a lot. If you like Historical Fiction and Western Romance this is a great book for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

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    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    Great!

    This book is amazing! I loved how the girls defended the ranch with out a problem while the men where out trying to save them from getting hurt. Mary is such a good author! A definate read!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2008

    One of my favorites!

    Historical fiction is my favorite Christian fiction genre I believe. It is how I got started reading Christian fiction, one problem with it, is that some how I seem to have started with the best and often have a hard time finding anything that really meets the par. Things are great and enjoyable, but not quite as exciting as those first Liz Curtis Higgs or Tracie Peterson and even Francine Rivers' Redeeming Love. Well, boy is that not the case with Mary Connealy! Welcome to my favorites' shelf! (Literally I do have a favorites' shelf, if my mom didn't have half my books from it, I'd post a picture). (Ugh, it was a library book... I'll have to get a copy to put on my favorites' shelf....) Petticoat Ranch is everything that a good historical fiction should be, and I'm glad to have read it. I'm a southern gal through and through, and I'd like to think myself a Southern Belle. I'm really invested in my genealogy, and I have my family tracked for years to the late sixteen century in the Carolinas, and Virginia, and then later Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Texas. I guess one way to put it, is to say that I'm completely biased. I love the bumper sticker that says 'North 1 South 0 Half Time'. Not that I'm saying 'yay to slavery', but I know the stories, and have read journals of my own family members and have seen how cruel some of the North was against them. Not saying the South were angels, but I'm partial to my rebels, as they are my own blood. With that said... It's often hard for me to ever feel much for a story with Norther ties and empathy. Not at all the case with this book. I so feel for the characters, they are completely real to me, and I'm fully on their side! This book was incredible. I cannot count the times that I giggled, or rolled my eyes. I have no recollection of how many times I scoffed or said, 'MEN!'. 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 this novel. That is, when I wasn't scowling and wanting revenge for my own self. The sermons were perfect and powerful, and so true to how God works. The reactions of the characters was real, and the men were not overly flowery, but were such 'men'. (A problem often found with women authors, but not so with this book in my opinion. With that said, usually male authors have problems with their female characters in my mind too.) Sophie is such a strong woman, struggling to keep it all together, and I just love her personality. The girls are fabulous, and I really giggle and evil giggle with Beth loving what she's up to. I really cannot praise this story enough, now that I think about it. So many different personalities are captured within the different characters, and the main two commandments of Love from Jesus Christ reverberate through the pages. Even the most stubborn of a person can see a little insight into themselves through these pages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2008

    Old-Fashioned FUN

    This book reminded me of the style of one of my favorite Regency romance writers, Barbara Metzger. The exagerated characters, their off-th-wall reasoning, and the perfect comedic timing. Mary Connelly captured that same zany humor, developed it in an entirely different setting, and added the God-fearing undergirding with just the right touch to brighten the story and not overwhelm it. Mrs. Connelly, may never have read a Metzger book, but she has the same type of distinctive voice that captures and pleases a reader. Bravo!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2007

    I loved the whole book!!!

    I hope there is a sequal to this book. I loved the story line and the humor. It was awesome!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2007

    A reviewer

    I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book..the first line on the back says 'Outlaws and In-Laws face off on the Texas Frontier.' The line didn't do much to excite me, and I figured I was about to read a romance novel set in Texas. As we all know, I'm not a huge fan of romance novels in general. To my surprise, 'Petticoat Ranch' proved to be a lot more than that. While there is an element of romance, and it is indeed set in Texas, there is a lot more to it than that. The story centers around a young widowed woman raising four girls on her own. After her husband died, Sophie Edwards was forced to leave her home and move her four young girls into the wilderness. Though having always been a tough woman capable of survival, Sophie was forced to expand her skills, and instill the survival instinct in her daughters. One night a stranger is badly injured nearby. Though frightened that her hideaway will be revealed, Sophie cannot sit by and watch someone in pain. As the stranger heals, their interconnected pasts are revealed, and a relationship is formed. Mixed in with the empowered women, the love story and the survival story, are a band of outlaws hell bent on getting Sophie out of the picture forever. These men are reckless and don't bat an eye at the idea of killing a woman. After coming eye to eye with their leader, Sophie realizes she knows this man and understands why her life is truly in danger. 'Petticoat Ranch' is a quick moving story..the intensity of the opening chapters sucked me in quickly and never really released their hold on me. It's nice to find a story that you can lose yourself in, and that's what I did with this one. Two thumbs up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2007

    'Petticoat Ranch' Rocks!!!!

    I loved 'Petticoat Ranch'! It was a funny drama filled book that i have read over and over agian.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2007

    Wonderful!

    What a well-written historical romance! Mary Connealy¿s witty, warm story grabbed my heart from the very first scene. Sophie Edwards is a tough, all-or-nothing kind of woman with four little girls to protect on a falling-down ranch in 1867 Texas. Her husband Clay is dead, and all the responsibilities of running the ranch fall to her and her 2- to 10-year old girls. In comes Clay McClellan, her dead husband¿s twin brother, and bless his heart, he hasn¿t a clue what to do with five females. Mary Connealy¿s easy wit and true-to-life dialogue and characterizations draw the reader into this ¿Mars¿ meets ¿Venus¿ story and true love eventually conquers. This is such a great story, and so different from the historicals I¿ve read. It¿s real, it¿s funny, it¿s heart-warming, it¿s romantic. Read Pettical Ranch. You will absolutely love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2007

    Mary Connealy is a new voice in Christian fiction!

    In PETTICOAT RANCH, Mary Connealy weaves a heartwarming tale set in 1867 Mosqueros, Texas, of widow Sophie Edwards and her four young daughters forced to live in a protective thicket to ward off the advances of lecherous men from the nearby town. When her murdered husbandâ¿¿s twin stumbles into her path, their marriage of convenience changes Sophieâ¿¿s life for the better. But now she must tame her new headstrong husband who has no idea how to handle the gaggle of women threatening to turn his stable world topsy-turvy. In a humorous yet poignant way, Mary explores the tug-of-war struggle between two strong-willed people who eventually fall in love. But be warned, thereâ¿¿s nothing syrupy sweet about this story except for Sophieâ¿¿s darlinâ¿¿ daughters. Ranch life requires constant vigilance as danger abounds, especially when the varmints who murdered Sophieâ¿¿s first husband return to kill her and take over the ranch. Sophieâ¿¿s call for help to a God sheâ¿¿s not sure is listening brings together an eclectic group of cowpokes who apprehend a few of the scalawags while the real scoundrels lie in wait until the womenfolk are unprotected. Of course, Sophie and the girls have prepared for the worst, and in a delightful twist, the bad guys eventually get their comeuppance. Mary Connealy is an accomplished writer whose story brims with grit and determination. Prepare to chuckle one minute and feel a tug at your heartstrings the next. PETTICOAT RANCH is a must read! Buy it now!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2007

    Christian Historical Western Made Fun

    What does a seasoned cowboy, raised by mountain men and toughened by the trail, do when confronted by a feisty vision of femininity? Throw in a passel of cute-as-bug girls with tears that flow a-plenty, and just watch this self-assured cowboy crumble. Clay McClellan has his hands full when he vows to serve and protect Sophie Edwards and her daughters, and regain control of the ranch his brother called home before being lynched by a vigilante. Love and laughter fill the pages of Connealy's debut novel bringing joy back into the old West. A must-read novel, Petticoat Ranch offers a great start to a long, successful future for a most talented author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2007

    Delightfully fun read

    Mary Connealy made her first trip out of the publishing gate a memorable one. Not that I want to equate Mary with a horse, but you get my drift. Petticoat Ranch is a fun, light-hearted inspirational read that allows the reader a humor-filled glimpse into the harsh realities of Western life for women. Sophie and her girls form a close-knit family that becomes better in stages when Sophie marries Clay, a somewhat sexist and clueless-about-women guy. (Are there guys who aren't clueless about women??? Just asking.) If it's cold where you are, put on a pot o' tea or grab a steaming mug of cappuccino or plain old Joe, sit back and read Connealy's first published novel. If it's hot, you're probably reaching for the sweet tea. In any case, read this delightful entry into the published world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2007

    Hilarious Battle-of-the-sexes

    I read Katie's review, below, and had to laugh. Petticoat Ranch's underlying theme is about dealing with anger and it sounds like that struck a little too close to home for Katie. I loved Petticoat Ranch, a light-hearted guys against the girls story where everybody wins and everybody learns, through as many mix-ups and misunderstandings as possible, to respect each other's strength.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2007

    Great Christian Romance

    This wonderful Western Christian Romance is a lesson in a time much rougher than now. Sophie is a gutsy herioine way before her time, who through heartache, dissapointment, and the will to survive is rewarded by God. A great clean, spiritual, funny, loving read!!! I would definitely read more of this author, but can't find anything else by her.

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