The Accidental Guardian (High Sierra Sweethearts Series #1)

The Accidental Guardian (High Sierra Sweethearts Series #1)

by Mary Connealy

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When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes the hand behind the attack as the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he'd finally carved out a home and started a herd--while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail, driving off dangerous men. He'd
hoped those days were over, but the latest attack shows he was wrong.

Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace offers the only shelter for miles around, and agrees to take them in until she can safely continue. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling--yet enticing.

Working to survive the winter and finally bring justice to the trail, Trace and Deborah find themselves drawn together--yet every day approaches the moment she'll leave forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493413669
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/03/2018
Series: High Sierra Sweethearts Series , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 18,562
File size: 9 MB

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. Learn more at

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The Accidental Guardian 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First time reading this author. Nice story. Good plot.
blueyz1962 More than 1 year ago
I really don't understand the negativity of some of the reviews on this book. Maybe I'm not as intelligent as these nay-sayers, but I enjoyed this book and found it to be very good. I liked the characters and found them to be well rounded and the story well written. I have never been disappointed with Mary Connealy's books and can't wait to read the next one. Though this story seemed to leave you hanging about the children's fate, you can bet Ms. Connealy has their story well in hand. Trace Riley is a true hero. He saved Deb, Gwen and the children for certain. Being the only ones left after their wagon train was attacked, they had no way of knowing where to go and how to survive out on the plains alone. Trace was in their shoes when he was a little boy and therefore had no interaction between himself and women. I understand his being a little awkward when talking to Deb as well as being a bit immature. You try bringing yourself up to adulthood without an example to show you the way. I do not feel like this story was written for middle school age children. You have to remember that the women were very young and Trace didn't have the upbringing the women had. Thinking about all that was done for Deb, Gwen and the children, all three men were heroes in my book and that is why I truly like this story. If you enjoy clean, Christian, historical romance, you will enjoy this story as much as I did. Pick up a copy and see for yourself. Enjoy!!
annelr More than 1 year ago
The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy is the beginning of her High Sierra Sweethearts series and it looks to be a good series. Connealy has a nice style of writing and kept my interest throughout the entire book. I was hooked from the beginning as the action starts right up and continues through the story, always keeping the reader wondering how in the world will things work out now. The characters are realistic and relatable and there's lots of edge of the seat action with thieving, murdering outlaws, merciless kidnappers, hungry bears, and of course, there is romance too. Deborah is bent on heading West to start up and run her own newspaper but there might be some surprises along the way to delay her dream. As Deborah and Trace begin to know each other more, would she learn that not all men are mean and selfish like her father? And perhaps Trace's heart would begin to heal too. The Accidental Guardian is a captivating tale of family and faith, courage and love. I am looking forward to reading more books from this author and lovers of Western romance will not want to miss this series. I won a copy of the book in a contest and was not required to write a review. The opinions are my own.
rkfall More than 1 year ago
The Accidental Guardian was a delightful read of a new series by this author and I found myself ready for a new series by her. She did a great job on this one. She engaged my heart from the start and, as is her way, she kept me reading to find out what happens to each character. I felt that she did well in bringing me into the drama of wagon trains back in the days of Early American History. The amounts of snow that had to be traveled through in one part of the book was crazy and the hospitality to put people up for long visits was inspirational. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SBMC More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars if I could do increments of 0.5. I’ve read some novellas written by Mary Connealy and have enjoyed them but this is the first full-length novel I have read by the author. The premise of the book is interesting and probably something that happened often during this historical time period. The characters Trace and Deb are lovable. Trace is a man hardened by the harsh weather of the west but with a tender and thoughtful side to him. He needs to learn the difference between justice and vengeance to move ahead in the emotional tangle he finds himself. Deb is capable and work-oriented but also loving and compassionate. She needs to learn to let go of her carefully laid-out plans and her insecurity to find peace and joy in her current circumstances. Their relationship is innocent, inexperienced, and sweet as they navigate uncharted waters. The thread of faith is strong throughout the book. There is also a thread of suspense which adds action to the plot. The story is easy to read and fun. It seems to have a different vibe and pace from the author’s novellas though. Anyone who enjoys a western romance set during mid-1800s would enjoy this novel. I received a copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group though Interviews and Reviews and was under no obligation to post a review. All comments and opinions are solely my own and subjective.
Pooke More than 1 year ago
A Western Superhero Trace Riley couldn't believe it. He had just found two young women along with a couple of children. They had been wandering alone in the Wild West. Sisters Deb and Gwen Harkness along with their small charges, amazingly had escaped the attack on their covered wagon train. Because they were away from the camp during the raid, their lives were spared while everyone else was massacred. Since their story is so much like his, Trace is immediately overwhelmed with memories. When Trace was a young teenager, he was horrified to return to his wagon train and find everyone had been killed, including his dad. Orphaned and alone, he had been left to fend for himself in the wilderness. It was because of God’s mercy he survived the harsh winter that soon hit. However, being alone for months at a time was almost more than he could handle. He had vowed that he would make sure no other travelers were put through the horror he barely lived through. In the years that follow, a mysterious person had appeared on the trails helping wagon trains that were under attack. He disappears as inexplicably as he had arrived, with some saying that he vanished. No one had stepped forward and admitted to doing these good deeds. Because of that, a legend had sprang up and he was referred to as The Guardian. Trace, The Guardian, realizes that the survivors are still in danger. He thus decides to take them to his ramshackle home to protect them, without revealing his alter ego. He plans for them to leave in the spring. This tale will make you laugh at the uncomfortable situations Trace and his ranch hands face having women and children suddenly intrude into their lives. The cat and mouse game that Trace and the desperadoes play will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Many can identify with Deb who was mistreated by her irresponsible father. Now she has trouble believing any men could be trusted or nice. Add to the mix a bit of romance along with life in the old west, and this 5-star book is a real page turner—and a clean one, too. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys well-written fiction. Bethany House Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of The Accidental Guardian, for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
CandiceSuePatterson More than 1 year ago
Mary Connealy brings readers another sweet, action-filled romance! As always, Ms. Connealy opens the novel right in the middle of the action. Readers are instantly grounded in the plot, rooting for the hero's and heroine's escape. Trace Riley's unique backstory makes him LOVABLE, and his journey intertwines perfectly with the novel's theme. Deborah Harkness's past makes her hesitance toward Trace understandable and makes her character journey all the more sweet. The ending is satisfying and had me looking forward to the next book in this series. This story holds a more serious undertone than most of Ms. Connealy's stories, but I found this refreshing after her last spunky, fast-paced series (The Cimarron Legacy). I give this book four stars.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
The Accidental Guardian takes us to a time and place when our country was being settled and the main transport was the wagon trains. However not all trains made it safely to their destination especially when they were being stalked for their goods and the bad guys had no morals and killed just to kill. This is the world that Deborah finds herself in along with her sister Gwen and the two children in their care. To their rescue comes Trace Riley who knows exactly what they are going through. This story takes us into the majestic mountains with rugged cowboys but cowboys who protect women and children. I liked the balance that the author took between vengeance and justice. I enjoyed the characteristics of the men and the women and how thankful they each were for what the other did for them. I liked seeing people working together at what they did best for the benefit of all involved. The romance was a treat and I am glad that Trace finally had someone. The ending sets up the second in the series nicely, and I agree with Utah when he says it will be a long winter! Looking forward to the rest of this series. I received a complimentary copy of this novel. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
TheReadersCove More than 1 year ago
Struggles, Heartache and Joy Lifes experiences mold who we become, but how we face them makes all the difference... The mid 1800's were pioneer times. Wagon trains, one after another, took individuals and families westward. Dreams were plenty and the lure of a better life pulled thousands to take a chance. The rigors of the journey required a strength many did not possess. What once seemed a grand adventure could quickly turn into a living nightmare. Death frequently stole dreams and left broken hearts. Trace Riley was a survivor, but it hadn't come easy. Some might say he was lucky but that's a matter of perspective. Left the only survivor of a massacred and burned out wagon train he didn't have any options. His mentors were gone, including his father. What he had learned was helpful but incomplete. He was mostly self-taught and his knowledge and skills grew over the years. Gwen and Deb were sisters who left the discriminating, civilized world behind. They hooked up with a family that had small youngins that needed tending to on the long journey and became their companions. The wagon train had made good progress and hoped to cross the mountains before the blizzards of winter began. Evil was lurking and all were unaware. When Gwen and Deb arise early and take the children into the tall grass for a nature call it was a blessing they never expected. Tragedy was about to alter their lives forever. Gunshots, burning wagons, people dying! It happened so fast their only choice was to run! I really enjoyed The Accidental Guardian. It gives a close up look into pioneer reality with suspense, action and a bit of sweet romance, tucked nicely between the pages. I look forward to the next book in the High Sierra Sweethearts series.
krobey More than 1 year ago
Honestly, The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy was not my favorite book nor did it even come close. The idea for the story line was a good one and had quite a bit of potential of being a great book that I couldn't put down. However, I just didn't enjoy a couple things. First, I found the character development to be quite lacking. It seemed like the characters had endured some huge life situations with little effect on their personality. It also seemed like some characters would be thinking one way and suddenly they were thinking another without enough explanation or story as to why they were now making a different decision that they so strongly felt about just a few pages earlier. Second, the story just felt clunky to me. Some aspects of the story seemed to flow quite smoothly, but other parts just seemed unlikely or out of character. The climax was even hard for me. It felt like we just missed out on the action and were told what had happened. I wanted to like this book, but I will see if I read the remainder of the books in the High Sierra Sweethearts Series. Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a review copy. A review was not required, and all opinions are my own.
ChatWithVera More than 1 year ago
Author Mary Connealy writes easy to read, often fun and light hearted, western historical romances. Even if I didn't know she is a delightfully "fun read," after seeing the cover of The Accidental Guardian with a big, strong cowboy holding the hand of an ethereal small girl, I was hooked. Who doesn't love a good story of a man being a savior of ladies and small children? What's not to love? The story opens with a bang up scene of two ladies and two little ones slipping from a wagon train to take care of "necessities" and whilst in the woods, hidden by the foliage, the wagon train is attacked and burned! Horrors! Now they are abandoned in a wilderness with no food, no help, no transportation and scared out of their wits. And then..... along comes a stranger on a horse with a tag-along wolf-dog. He takes them under his wing and back to his "ranch." Now we all know that you simply don't go off with strange men. We all know you don't even talk to them. And we all know they couldn't survive in the situation in which they found themselves. So, the two ladies and the two small children and the strange man with his one horse and dog leave. What follows is a story of gallant men of the west during the raw pioneer days and their care and respect for these two ladies. A story of adventure also follows as the band of mean men who attacked their wagon train haunt the trails and the dreams of the "guardian" and the ladies left bereft. And of course, a sweet romance springs forth. But it isn't all despair, adventure, and romance. There is a liberal sprinkling of faith. And I believe the stage is set for a couple other books in this series with the introduction of characters about whom we'd love to know. Another good to read book from author, Mary Connealy. DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.
NDowning More than 1 year ago
Mary Connealy does it again with this fairy-tale-like story, with a real life feel. With a mixture of tragedy and joy, this story keeps your attention from the first chapter. I enjoyed the story very much. It was interesting to read and learn about life in the Sierra Mountains of Nevada in 1860s. The struggles that the main characters had to deal with were entertaining without being ridiculous. As usual, I enjoyed Mary Connealy's story and can see where the next book might possibly flow right out of this one. Looking forward to it! I give this book a five out of five stars. Bethany House Publishers provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
grammy57 More than 1 year ago
This is a Christian story set in the old west. It is full of wagon trains and cowboys. The story is very interesting. I do not like to give a synopsis, you can read that elsewhere. I want to tell you if you should or should not read this book. The story is well written. It draws you in from the very beginning and keeps your interest throughout. The characters seem real and feel like someone you might meet or know. They are well developed and believable. The story itself is believable also.  The editing of this book was very well done.  I requested to review this book and was given a copy through the publisher so I could read and review it. The review is my own and of my own free will. Do I recommend this book? Yes, I do.
ASimplyEnchantedLife More than 1 year ago
The thing I like about Mary Connealy is how easy her books are to read. The characters are very realistic and relatable. They feel authentic. That’s something I often struggle with in books. Sometimes I read and I think that the situation could never happen in real life. That doesn’t happen in The Accidental Guardian. Deborah and Trace feel like real people who I had the pleasure of being introduced to. This book is humorous at times, sad at others. I feel like this author found the perfect balance between the character’s triumphs and losses. There were plenty of things to smile about but also times for fear or sadness. I suppose like the Bible says, there’s a time to cry and a time to dance…or something to that effect. Readability aside, there were a few things I can’t help but mention. Once again I hit the snag of an insta-attraction situation—which surprisingly would have bothered me much less had there been less resistance from Deborah. I found her downright stubborn up until a certain point. Which is all good and fine until she goes from one extreme to the other. From much resistance to an instant willingness to accept a proposal felt very out of character. I mean, the author sold it. The characters still felt authentic, but I felt cheated of a knock-your-socks-off romance. Let’s talk the next snag. Wedding night awkwardness. Vulgar? No. Inappropriate? No. Awkward? Yes. I mean, I get it. Two people with no idea what to do on their wedding night are going to be awkward. But, I’m not sure that it really lent anything to the story for me. Overall, the characters are what sell this story to me. Trace is just perfect and swoonworthy. Deborah is, well, if I weren’t married, I would wish I were Deborah. Did I mention that Trace is perfect? This book wasn’t perfect. It had a few flaws but honestly, I’m really interested to see where the story picks up at with The Reluctant Warrior. Perhaps it will continue with Deborah’s sister, Gwen? /crosses fingers This book was provided to me by JustRead Publicity. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. All opinions are my own.
Blooming-with-Books More than 1 year ago
Fans of the author's previous work will enjoy this series debut... The Accidental Guardian High Sierra Sweethearts #1 By Mary Connealy This book launches a new series by author Mary Connealy and if you're wondering where this new series will be taking you, let me tell you. You'll be taking a wagon train west but when an attack strands you along with Deb and Gwen Harkness and their two young charges on a little-used trail near the High Sierras your very future is in doubt. With little hope of surviving in this vast and empty wilderness, almost anyone would be a welcome sight. When Trace Riley comes upon the scene of a wagon train attack he is reminded of his own experience years before. Expecting another total massacre he is shocked to find not one survivor but four and one of them is a witness to the evilness wrought by these men. With winter soon to be upon them, Trace has no choice but to offer these survivors the shelter of his cabin for the foreseeable future. And with the help of his men make his home into a refuge to them all through the long winter months before them. But providing refuge is just the beginning. Trace is determined to bring these brutal cowards to justice and the sooner the better... This is a well-developed story that takes several people who couldn't be more different and yet were broken in a similar way through their experiences. I'm interested to see where this series will go from here - one can tell from the series name that it will take place again in the Sierras and hopefully feature one of the other characters. Trace and Deb are both very focused on their own goals and often can't or won't see another point of view so this book is a growing opportunity for both of them. For those who enjoy historical romance with the rugged living of the Westward expansion, this is one you'll want to read. I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher via JustRead Book Tours with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Phyllis_H More than 1 year ago
The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy My rating is 4.5 Stars 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 . . . This review was originally posted at You can read a brief exerpt at I would like to thank Celebrate Lit, Netgalley for giving me this copy of The Accidental Guardian. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Laundry_Whispers More than 1 year ago
I just need to vent. Really, really need to vent. I have literally just finished a, in my opinion, pretty interesting review of this book. It was gold people, gold! I did my custom message to go out to Facebook and Twitter, I did all the little scheduling stuffs, and I hit the big schedule button. And it takes me to the login screen. No biggies right? WRONG! I come back to NO review. Nothing. Zero, zip, all those interesting words out the window. Words hard people. Words hard. I'll never recapture the feel of that amazing review. I'm a once in a lifetime kinda girl and as an emotional reviewer (and writer) there is no well thought out plot points and paragraph outlines, it's just words everywhere as I pray they become cohesive to a reader. That once-in-a-lifetime most excellent review will never be experienced. Why? Because Word Press, the Old Folks Home (sorry Ma :D) internet, or my computer are not feeling the love tonight. Perhaps all three but I ain't feeling the love. Let's see what thoughts we can salvage and make into a less-than review of this book that I have already struggled to review. The first thing you have to keep in mind is that I am an emotional reviewer. I'm a finish the book and turn around to immediately write the review while I'm still steeped in those feels. Postponing a review for me is like letting those emotions drift away and I lose that connection to what I've read. I've sat on this review for days (and now an extra hour thanks WP) because I just couldn't find the words. Hindsight being amazing and all I realized that while I really enjoyed the story I just couldn't connect with it. Let me explain. I have a couple of writing tricks/elements/traps/whathaveyou that drive me over the edge. Insta-love and wishy-washy characters. Let me spoiler this book for a moment with you. Follow along please! Trace rescues Deb, Gwen and the children after a wagon train massacre and takes them to his semi-functional ranch. It's fall which means that snow is a thing that will happen in copious quantities. Deb is absolutely certain that she is going on to the city come spring and will own her own newspaper and will never work for/answer to another man as long as she lives. Done! Trace convinces her to give it the winter to see if they 'suit' as a potential couple. Now then they are off running around looking for bad guys and whatnot and he proposes and she says yes. First, she says she thought about what he said regarding owning a newspaper and changed her mind in a matter of days. Yes, they have met, changed mindsets, fallen in love and gotten married in a matter of days! Her turnabout is really a big deal and I feel like it was a cheater cop-out to not share that inner turmoil with me. I also feel like, while circumstances frequently necessitated quickie marriages of convince in this time-period and in these situations you don't do insta-marriage on top of insta-love. Couple that with the fact that I almost feel like Lassie was channeled all over the place in this book. Wolf (the dog), the horse all shades of Lassie. Heck every single farmhand could track at any time, any where, any conditions, any everything. They were like tracking machines, nothing could hold them back. Deb in this little tracker community of insta-love-marriage but I settled into a story that I just held me captive. Connealy has this something (sorry, remember words hard) that takes ordinary words and just makes t
MollyzReviewz More than 1 year ago
Holy cow! This book was fantastic! I have been a forever fan of Mrs. Connealy's since I read Petticoat Ranch. She is absolutely one of the best Christian Western Romance writers out there and I will forever sing her praises. When I saw she had another series releasing, I was all for jumping on that band wagon (no pun intended!)! Sitting down to read this, I had it read it less than two days, it was just that captivating. Opening the pages to Deborah's story, watching her try to protect her sister and the young ones was amazing. I could feel myself becoming Deborah, telling her younger sister just what to do to keep them safe. When Ms. Connealy enters Trace into the picture.....well, whew! Not only was I instantly pulled to him, his protective side in a man like him, really made me swoon through out the book! I loved that! Seeing him with Deborah, his caring way toward her, was undeniably God-filled and romantic. Mrs. Connealy has created yet another keeper for my shelf! She has taken a story of intriguing suspense, wrapped it up with her trade mark swoon-worthy cowboys and sassy heroines, and dished her readers an unforgettable laugh out loud, love story. This book is perfect for that rainy day, or long drive for a summer trip. Don't wait to get this one. Go grab it up now! It's 5 star worthy and so much more! Well done, Mrs. Connealy! Well done!!! I am highly anticipating the release of book 2, The Reluctant Warrior. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review, positive or negative.*
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
I love Mary Connealy's writing style! I was immediately drawn into the story and it was nonstop from there. I loved the characters- strong Deb with her determination to take the burdens from others, motherly Gwen who nurtured everyone around her, Trace's protective nature and curiosity, and the cowhands at his ranch who would do anything for the ladies and children. The pace of the book was steady, with plenty of action and adventure as Trace and Deb race against a swiftly approaching winter to track down the killers while preparing the ranch before getting snowed in. I loved their sincerity and gratitude for each other, and the way they so perfectly brought light and joy to each other's life. Their innocence with romance was endearing and made their special moments together sweeter. I'm so excited for this new series from one of my favorite authors! (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
BlueJeansAndTeacups More than 1 year ago
I quite enjoyed The Accidental Guardian – High Sierra Sweethearts Book 1 - by Mary Connealy SW of Lake Tahoe, NV – Oct. 1867 Sisters, Deborah and Gwen Harkness have agreed to watch three-year-old Maddie Sue Scott and toddler cousin Ronnie in exchange for joining a small wagon train heading west so they can start a newspaper of their own. When an unthinkable tragedy occurs, they find themselves stranded with no idea how to get help. Trace Riley (I love that name!) is headed to his home in the High Sierra’s on his horse Black with his dog Wolf when he happens upon the odd group. The ladies are certain God brought him to them and he agrees they certainly need help if they are to survive. Trace is a Bible-believing wilderness man in his prime who has no real experience with ladies or family other than the early years spent with his Pa, but he can track like nobody’s business and when danger returns to his mountains he is determined to guard all who need safe passage. I quite enjoyed this story where carving out a life is hard, but joyful in the camaraderie and pride of helping others and honest work. Copy provided by Bethany House Publishing with no other compensation. I am not required to provide a favorable review and my opinion is my own. High Sierra Sweethearts 1 – The Accidental Guardian – April 2018 2 – The Reluctant Warrior – October 2018 3 – The Unexpected Champion – coming in 2019
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this first novel in the beginning of a new series. The characters were likable and I appreciated their honesty toward each other. Deb and Trace opened up about themselves and their backgrounds as they got to know each other. I enjoyed their interactions and the sweet nature of their growing attraction and relationship. This book very definitely sets the reader up to jump right into the next book in the series by the events that occur at the end of the book. It was not a cliffhanger. It simply made me look forward to seeing how future relationships could develop. I am definitely anticipating the next story! I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
connywithay More than 1 year ago
“Had the outlaws come for the women? Had they found out someone from the wagon train survived?” Trace ponders in Mary Connealy’s novel, The Accidental Guardian. ~ What ~ The first in the High Sierra Sweetheart series, this three-hundred-and-four-page paperback targets those who like historical fiction with suspense and romance in the Sierra Nevadas in 1867. Its topics of torture, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The author’s biography and advertisements for other books are included. When Deb and her sister travel West on a wagon train, their world is drastically altered when it is brutally attacked, leaving the two of them in charge of two young orphaned children. Coming to their rescue, Trace, who has witnessed the same savaged experience in his past, willingly takes them to his rural ranch twenty miles away, not knowing how to handle both the women and children. As Deb and Trace work through the horror of their memories, not only do they want to find the murderers but also unexpectedly find each other. ~ Why ~ The author does a decent job explaining the Lake Tahoe area and the hardships homesteaders faced year round. The story is easy to read while building the romantic relationship between the two protagonists. I like that it includes a spiritual aspect of dealing with vengeance and Trace’s conviction to guard and protect others. ~ Why Not ~ Some may wish the book was not so romantically predictable. Those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the spiritual references. I found the writing a little stifled and told without emotion with little plot development that felt rushed. ~ Wish ~ Due to the book’s quick ending, it may leave many wondering what happens next to its characters, which hopefully will be mentioned in the second book. ~ Want ~ If you like historical Christian fiction of the West, wagon trains, and living with a gun at your side, this may be a good read, but it did not hold my attention as well as I anticipated. Thanks to Bethany House for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.
KatsCorner More than 1 year ago
ometimes, I wish I could use emojis in my reviews. If so, this one would start out something like Trace heart heart heart heart, because I loved him. He just might make the book boyfriend list for this year. Trace is awkwardly wonderful. He's a powerful man, doesn't know what to do with diapers, and thinks women are strange, but he's endearing while doing it. Some of his thought processes definitely made me laugh. My favorite thing about Deb is her smarts. She's not one of those helpless damsels in distress who runs into situations where you as a reader are yelling "Don't do that!!!!!!!!!!!" But, while being strong and able to take care of herself, she also acknowledges her limits and knows when to depend on Trace and the other men. I think she's a great balance of independence and dependence. She's also very practical. She knows what she wants and isn't one to hold out to wait for just the right circumstance of sweet words to happen to give into that. (Which might not make a lot of sense, but I'm trying not to give away spoilers!) Sometimes we ladies, myself included, want the menfolk to break into sweet nothings but forget to look at all of their actions and how those tell us they care for us. Deb reminds us of that. (But I can always use more sweet whispers.) I also really liked all of the sub-characters; Adam, Utah, Gwen. I am very much looking forward to Gwen's story next and I'm hoping we'll get Adam's as well. Utah appears to be an older character, but I sense love and loss in his past and would like to see him with a happily ever after as well.  I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to post a positive review and all opinions are my own!
CrystalCaudill More than 1 year ago
What I loved: I enjoyed the humor of a situation where a man who'd been on his own in the wilderness since he was fifteen is thrown into caring for two women and two young children. He seems adept at is while still bumbling and suffering through several funny challenges of early morning potty screams and how to talk to women.  Favorite Character: I enjoyed all the characters, but to be honest, Wolf was my favorite. Half wolf, half domesticated dog, he is quite the companion for Trace and his wards. He can go from determined defender to puddle of goo begging for a belly rub at any moment. I love how he had his own personality. Who would like this:  Anyone who enjoys stories of survival in harsh conditions, stories of justice, light romance, light danger, and adventure.  Rating and Why: I gave this a four-star rating because for me the pacing felt slow compared to her other stories. It was an enjoyable read, but it took until the last quarter of the book before the danger became evident and built up the tension. The romantic tension was light, and the motivations for the characters were okay, but it just didn't pull me in like some of her other stories. This is still a story I would recommend to others to read and I will enjoy reading the rest of this series.  Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher/author. I was in no way required to leave a review, and the above review is my honest opinion.