Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!
Kylie Wilde is the youngest sisterand the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It's a riskthey are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as "boys"but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.
Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?
"Another great laugh-out-loud historical romance with memorable characters who have charm, style, grace, and a bit of mischief."
RT Book Reviews on In Too Deep
"Connealy's style is fast-paced and spritely and sure to keep drawing fans."
"With her trademark humor, Connealy weaves a delightful tale that is sure to please her fans and win new readers."
Library Journal on Over the Edge
About the Author
Mary Connealy is an awardwinning, bestselling author known for her fun and lively historical romantic comedies. An author, teacher, and journalist, Mary lives on an eastern Nebraska ranch with her husband and enjoys spending time with her four daughters and two grandchildren. Learn more at www.maryconnealy.com.
Read an Excerpt
Tried and True
By Mary Connealy
Bethany HouseCopyright © 2014 Mary Connealy
All rights reserved.
IDAHO TERRITORY, JULY 1866
Kylie Wilde's right hand tightened on the hammer as she stared at her roof. A shingle flapped in the endless summer wind. A storm was blowing in over the Rocky Mountains, blast it. She was going to have to go up there and nail that board down or sleep under a downpour.
She'd slept in the rain before. Nasty. About as nasty as crawling across a steeply pitched roof. Her hand clenched. The hammer rose, and her attitude fell.
The sky was as sullen as her mood with its scudding gray clouds. Rain was coming. She had to fix that roof.
It was a fight to keep from saddling her gray mustang and riding to Shannon's house. Shannon, a year older and softhearted, would help—probably. Kylie had just coaxed her into building a corral around the barn, and a week earlier she'd built the porch. And that was after Shannon and Bailey, the oldest of the three Wilde sisters, built the whole house.
Carpentry wasn't Kylie's greatest gift.
Truth be told, the roof was about the only thing Kylie had done herself, which explained why it wasn't holding together.
Her sisters had hoped she couldn't get in much trouble just nailing boards in place. Of course, Kylie's nailing was more like trying to scare the nails into the wood than pound them in. Her sisters were just plain better at it, and Kylie didn't mind admitting that.
Since the house and barn were done, and with her own homestead to run, kindhearted Shannon had started showing signs of botheration when Kylie tried to wheedle help out of her.
And Bailey, the oldest of the Wilde women, wasn't a tractable woman on her best day. Kylie shuddered at the thought of going to her for something this simple.
The shingle flapped again, and Kylie could swear it sounded like mockery. Her cabin was laughing at her. The wind was blowing for the very purpose of tormenting her. The branches in the forest around her seemed to clap, jeering at the trouble she faced. The mountains stood in judgment, as if to declare that Kylie Wilde was a miserable failure as a homesteader.
Kylie could hear all of this as she stood, hammer in hand, scowling at her roof. It would be fair to say she wasn't a woman happy with the life that had been shoved like an anvil onto her shoulders.
But whether she was happy or not didn't matter one whit. That flapping board had to be nailed back down. Not only was the wind going to rip it all the way off, but it was right over Kylie's bed. She was in for a miserable soggy night if she didn't act fast.
She could just drag the bed to the side and put a bucket under the leak, but if she didn't go up and fix it now, she'd have it to do tomorrow. Putting it off did no good.
Gritting her teeth, Kylie tried to think of all the ridiculous manly skills her sisters had taught her. Of course, she could only think of how good she'd always been at avoiding their lessons. Now she needed to dredge up a few of them or sleep under a deluge.
Ladder. She needed a ladder. Except, the one they'd used to build the cabin had been borrowed from cranky old Pa. Talk about someone Kylie didn't want to ask for help! Cudgel Wilde would scold and snarl and in the end make Kylie want to jump on her horse and ride off and never come back.
Thunder sounded in the distance. She had to get on with this.
"How do I get up there without a ladder?" she said to herself. Kylie studied the house. The porch roof wasn't real high, but it was steep. Bailey said the Rockies had heavy snow, and the roof needed a steep pitch or it would collapse under the weight.
There was a chimney on the south side, yet it climbed up the outside wall right to the peak of the cabin.
Her gaze slid down to the stovepipe. She'd managed to fetch a real potbellied stove out to her cabin. Her family thought that was foolishness, but Kylie hated cooking in a fireplace.
That stovepipe was fairly solid. It came out of the building through the wall, then curved up through the porch roof. Bailey had done it in that strange way, instead of having it go straight up. She'd said something about retaining heat and preventing sparks and keeping rain out of the stove.
Kylie hadn't really been listening.
Now she was glad it was close to the edge of the roof. Of course, it was close to the south side edge, and the flapping shingle was on the north side. She could pull herself up using the pipe, and then she'd have to crawl the length of the porch roof once she was up there, with nothing much to hang on to. But getting up was harder than staying up.
Since getting up came first, Kylie focused on that.
"Bailey set that pipe. She does everything perfectly. It'll probably hold my weight." And below the stovepipe was her hitching post. "Shannon did a good job with that, too."
She could stand on the hitching post, and if she stretched, she could reach the edge of the roof. But could she get herself up on it?
Kylie gave the hammer a dark glare and shoved it into the large pocket of her skirt. The weight almost pulled her skirt right off.
Shannon and Bailey might wear britches all the time, but Kylie didn't do it unless she absolutely had to — if she was going to see anyone besides her family—which she mostly never did, so she mostly never wore pants. She dropped the handful of nails in another pocket and looked at the rocking chairs on her porch. Shannon had built them both, and she'd called them ladder-back chairs. They even looked a little like ladders, with four nice even slats up their sturdy backs.
The glides on the bottom would rest on the hitching post. Then when the chair tilted, the high back would reach the support pillar on the porch, and she could climb it like the ladder it was named for. Simple.
Wrestling the chair down the steps, Kylie fumed that she had to do this herself. She was a woman, for heaven's sake. She hadn't ought to be stuck doing manly work.
Flicking her hair over her shoulder, she enjoyed that she'd grown it long despite the dire warnings from her sisters and pa. She smiled every time she felt it bounce around her shoulders. Except now, of course. Not much to smile about right now.
They didn't think she should be in skirts, either.
Well, she was sick and tired of pretending to be a man. In the privacy of her own home she'd dress and wear her hair as she pleased.
Propping the rocking chair on the hitching post, it tilted until it rested solidly on the porch pillar. The chair back didn't reach the roof, but it rested against the column so that if she stood up on the back, she'd be shoulder-high to the eaves.
She wedged the rocker firmly in place. Staring at the makeshift ladder, Kylie went into the house and dragged out another chair. She set this chair on the ground. No sense using the second rocker. Common sense said a chair that didn't rock would be better used as the one she'd set on the ground as her step stool to the hitching post.
Kylie liked to think she had common sense, but as she looked at her chair-hitching-post-rocking-chair creation she was forced to admit that there was serious room for debate on that. She was glad no one was here to take the opposing side, because she'd probably lose.
She climbed up onto the chair and stepped to the hitching post, which held her weight nicely, thanks to Bailey. So far things were going well.
Easing herself onto the rocker, she prayed it wouldn't shift or break. It was well constructed, thanks to Shannon.
She stood upright. The rocker felt steady mostly. She leaned forward to grasp the back of the rocker and, an inch at a time, walked her hands up until she reached first the porch pillar, then the edge of the roof. The chair wobbled, and she clawed at the eaves and let her weight, at shoulder level, rest on them to keep from falling. The stovepipe was straight ahead, a long stretch. She wriggled forward, letting go of the edge of the roof and laying her arms on the roof, reaching for that pipe. She wormed her way forward, now with her belly on the roof and her feet off the chair. At last she grabbed the pipe.
Clinging to the pipe while her feet dangled, Kylie wondered just how she was supposed to get down from here.
Well, she'd worry about that later. She scooted forward until her pocket caught on the underside of the eaves. The hammer was snagged. Kylie squirmed and tried to get the hammer loose. She definitely should have worn pants for this job.
When she couldn't get loose, she let go of the pipe with one hand and carefully reached down, felt around for the hammer, found it, and tugged at it.
She slid and clung frantically to the stovepipe. There was fabric twisted around the hammer, and she was a while wresting it free of her pocket. Finally she got the blasted tool out and set it beside her on the roof with trembling hands. Honestly, she was shocked to see the shaking. Good grief, she'd lived through a Civil War battle. How could climbing on a roof bother her so much?
A crack of thunder startled a shriek out of her.
The hammer slid. She grabbed at it, then put it above the stovepipe to keep it on the roof. Having it fall so that she had to climb down and get it and start this whole mess over again was a dreadful thought. She inched forward again, until finally she was all the way up. Her feet no longer dangling. Nothing left to snag.
She looked sideways over the edge and remembered how much she'd hated being up here when she'd shingled the roof. Bailey had come up with her each time and lassoed her to the chimney. Only then could she work without fear of falling.
Well, Kylie wasn't going back for the rope, and that was that.
Her stomach twisted. It took every ounce of her courage just to hang on. The humid July day combined with her fear. Sweat dripped off her forehead, and the breeze told her she'd soaked through the back of her pretty blue blouse.
Finally, just because it was going to be so hard to go back, she forced herself forward. She tried to get to her hands and knees to crawl but was completely unable to do so.
Instead, she used her elbows to crawl forward in a way that reminded her of staying low on the battlefield.
Slowly she worked her way to the flapping board and used about five nails to secure it. Bailey would have needed one.
A gust of wind reminded her again of the strong possibility of rain. Twisting her head, she looked back to the far side of the roof. It wasn't a big cabin, but that stretch she had to cross to get back to her cobbled-together ladder seemed to be a mile long.
Should she turn around? Should she shove herself backward? Sweat dripped into her eyes, and she swiped her sleeve across her forehead. Fighting a growing desire to cry, Kylie started mentally screaming at her family instead.
Why was she up here?
Why had she listened to Pa when he'd come up with this half-witted scheme to use her war service to find fortune out West?
She knew why. She'd come home from the war exhausted. Traumatized. Pa had said he was going west and demanded that she come along. He'd said he would leave her behind if she didn't come. Like a child who needed her papa, she'd agreed.
A homestead took five years to prove up. But a soldier could take his years of service off those five years. Kylie had served two solid years in the Civil War. She'd thought she was being strong when she laid down the law to Pa. She'd come along and stay until she owned this piece of land in three years and then sell it to him, since he wanted it so badly. Then she'd leave and find a civilized life where no one asked a woman to climb up on a roof and wield a hammer.
Three years. She'd be twenty-three then. That was getting old not to be married and have a family of one's own, though not too old. She could wait those three years to earn that money and set herself up for the life she wanted so desperately. And not with some frontiersman. She wanted a settled country. So she'd put in her time, just like she had served her time in the war, and then she'd get out of here.
Three years and she'd been gone.
Three years until civilization.
Three years to the life she wanted.
Thunder sounded in the distance. She had to get down.
Backward. She'd just do everything she'd already done, only backward. With a disgusted toss, she heaved the hammer to the ground. She didn't have to carry that down with her.
With turtle-like slowness, she eased herself toward the ladder. She hadn't gone far when a crack of thunder sounded much closer. Thunder meant lightning, and here she lay in a prime location for a direct hit from a lightning bolt.
She backed up another foot, then another. Thunder cracked louder, closer. A flash of lightning lit up the noonday sky.
"Pa!" she shouted, something she'd never have the nerve to do if he could hear her. "When I get down, I swear I'll never do another man's chore as long as I live!"
Her voice broke, and her first tears fell. Well, there was no one to bother about that either, so she'd just cry her fool head off if she wanted to.
She cried and yelled and crawled another foot, then another. Glad she was alone so no one could see she was acting like a madwoman. So sorry she was alone, because confound it, she was going to have to figure out a way to save herself.
The thunder came even closer and louder and meaner.
Kylie wondered if this would be a part of her dreams now. Maybe this would push back the nightmares of battle and bayonets and a man's crushing, dying weight pinning her to the blood-soaked ground.
It would almost be a relief to have a new nightmare.
A sprinkle hit the back of her neck. Just how slippery did a roof get? Could she survive a fall? What if she broke her leg? Would she have to lie in the yard until help came? Or wolves came?
"Dear Lord," she cried as she glanced at the dark clouds and spoke past them to God, "don't let me be eaten by wolves because I was too stubborn to ride over to Shannon's and wheedle her into fixing my roof."
The sprinkle turned to an icy cold shower, shocking in the summer heat.
Kylie crawled faster and was nearly there when she slipped.
She froze, all except the tears. Those were falling as fast as the rain from the sky. Her sisters would mock her for crying if they saw it, but if they were here she wouldn't be stuck up on this roof, trying to decide between freezing to death or falling, then lying bleeding but fully conscious while wolves ripped apart her broken body.
She'd never been more disgusted with the Rocky Mountains in her life.
"Three years to earn the life I want," she shouted at the sky, or maybe at Pa, or maybe even at God. She slipped again and was afraid to move another inch or yell her anger to the sky.
God, get me down.
Better to pray to God than yell at Him.
She forced herself to move. She'd done that in the war. She'd learned to after the horror of her first battle and that man, dying, pinning her. She'd been frozen with fear and had never forgotten how useless that was. So the next time she'd kept going, even while she was terrified. Who'd have thought fighting in the war would prepare a woman for climbing down from a roof?
"Three years to earn the life I want." She said it prayerfully, repeating it this time like a true conversation with God. "Three years to earn the life I want."
At last she reached the stovepipe, grabbed it, and hugged it as if she'd found her mother's arms. Then it took her a long while to work up the courage to do what came next.
A crashing thunderbolt rolled across the sky overhead. The clouds had darkened the day, and she saw the lightning even while staring straight down at the wooden roof.
She craned her neck and took a hard look at the rocker, which was only partly visible over the roof edge. It was right where she'd left it, but would it hold? Had the rain made it slippery? Could she find it with her feet while hanging on to the pipe? Everything was harder going backward.
"Three years to earn the life I want." Definitely a prayer now. She needed more courage than she alone possessed to get down from here. And God was the only one here with her.
Swallowing hard, she remembered the battlefield, remembered how to keep going, and eased herself around, fighting with her tangled skirts. She had to stop clinging to the pipe with her arms and only grip it with her hands. Moving with care, finally, with her arms fully extended, her hips reached the eaves. She pushed out and let her legs dangle over the edge.
Breathing in and out to calm herself, she searched with her toes, mindful not to kick the chair. Yet she couldn't find any purchase with her feet. She slid down farther, letting her arms stretch to their limit, until her belly was on the roof's edge. Still no chair to stand on.
It hadn't been like this climbing up. She'd grabbed the stovepipe right away while her feet were solidly on the chair, hadn't she? She just couldn't remember now.
Thunder sounded again, shaking the cabin a little. How much farther did she have to go? Had the chair fallen somehow when she had her back to it?
How strong was this stovepipe?
Didn't lightning bolts like stovepipes?
"Three years to earn the life I want."
The wind gusted and drove icy sheets of rain nearly sideways. Her whole body trembled with cold and fear and growing exhaustion.
She had to get down off this roof.
One more inch. Still no toehold. Her weight shifted, and she slipped down yet another inch. A scream ripped from her throat as she clutched the pipe with only her fingertips. The pipe groaned under her weight and began to bend.
Finally her toes touched the chair, but her feet skidded on the wet ladder-back. She flailed with her feet to get her balance and managed to kick the chair. She heard it fall to the ground.
She began losing her grip on the pipe, feeling her fingernails scraping along its length, and then lost her hold completely and fell.
Solid arms closed around her legs. "I've got you, miss!"
She slid over the edge.
Excerpted from Tried and True by Mary Connealy. Copyright © 2014 Mary Connealy. Excerpted by permission of Bethany House.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a classic Mary Connealy western with the humor, adventure and depth she's known for, but the characters and plot are still fresh and unique. Even though Kylie longs to abandon her role as a man and immerse herself in femininity and civilization, she is not a weak character. There are several layers to this tough pioneer woman that unfold as the story progresses. She ultimately learns that by embracing her womanhood she can accept what blessings God has in store for her life. We are also introduced to her sisters which will each have their own novel in the series. Even though they couldn't be more different, you can tell there is a strong sisterly bond between them as they unconditionally support each other. As one of four sisters myself I could totally relate! It was so interesting to learn about women who served as soldiers in the Civil War. I'm really looking forward to reading the experiences of Kylie's sisters. It's always amusing to read the perspectives of the men in Mary's books- it vividly shows the difference in thinking between men and women, with humorous results :) Aaron is a big strong man with integrity and honor... and a total sweetheart inside, even when he's pushing Kylie's buttons. There are several secondary characters with distinct personalities that played a strong role in this book and we'll likely learn more about them in the coming novels... which I can't wait for! (Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House Publishers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
Idaho Territory, 1866, The Civil War has ended, but the charade has not. Kylie Wilde and her sisters Shannon and Bailey lived as men throughout the war. And at their father's command, are now homesteading as men. Tried & True is a gripping journey about forgiveness and finding true identity. Kylie's demanding Pa is sick with grief over the loss of his son and does not know how to take care of, or love his daughters for who they are. Powerful cattleman, Gage Coulter, would like nothing better than to reclaim Kylie's land as his own. Aaron Masterson is captivated by Kylie from the moment they meet. But Aaron wants to live a life in the mountains and Kylie longs for the civilization of the East. Attempts to scare her off her land by persons unknown, opens doors Kylie never dreamed of. Throughout her journey, her faith is tested and tried. But she stands strong and remains true to herself. It was next to impossible for me to put this book down. I was transported to the mountains of Idaho in the height of the land rush every time I began to read. Feeling the fear, the love, the determination that Kylie felt. It was all very captivating. I am especially grateful to Mary Connealy for the way she is able to portray a Historical Fiction "Romance" very tastefully. I am excited to read the rest of the series! I received a complimentary copy of Tried & True from the publishers, Bethany House Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
If your a follow you know what caught my eye about this offer! Tried & True by Mary Connealy is the first in the Wild at Heart Series. (I can't wait for rest of the series) The story is about the Wilde sisters. The back cover synopsis describes Kylie as the 'most civilized' of the sisters. Although Kylie goes along with the family's plans and hides herself behind a pair of jeans and cowboy hats and even homesteads her own property she longs to be back in civilization. Kylies plans to return 'back East' are somewhat thwarted when Aaron Masterson nosing around. His role as local land agent is to investigates the homesteaders. When he realizes Kylie isn't a man he is kind of caught between doing his job and well he does enjoy kissing Kylie. Which puts Aaron in a bit of a dilemma. And of course there a bit suspense when someone tries to force Kylie off her land. Tried & True is fast paced, a little steamy, a little suspenseful and filled with humor and sarcastic banter between Kylie and Aaron. My thoughts: I am interested in the next installment. I caution this choice for younger readers. I give this one 4 out of 5 stars (I personally am not a fan of historical books.) Here are a few endorsements from the publishers website. . . Another great laugh-out-loud historical romance with memorable characters who have charm, style, grace, and a bit of mischief. RT Book Reviews on In Too Deep Connealy's style is fast-paced and spritely and sure to keep drawing fans. Publishers Weekly With her trademark humor, Connealy weaves a delightful tale that is sure to please her fans and win new readers. Library Journal on Over the Edge Tried & True by Mary Connealy can be found at . . . Amazon, Barnes & Noble,Half.Com. Visit Good Reads for more locations to purchase Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
There is no way I can justify paying $14.99 for an eBook when I can get many other books from good authors for much less! Sorry.
Danger and romance in the Old West! I have to start off by saying that I LOVE Mary Connealy's stories! Each successive book just seems to get better and better. Her books are funny and so much fun to read. As anticipated Tried & True was a great story! I loved the characters, well, all except the bad guys. The three Wilde sisters are so different and yet when things get tough they pull together. I loved Kylie's story and I'm definitely looking forward to Shannon's and Bailey's when they come out. Tried & True has one of the neatest covers, bright, colorful, and the neatest raised scrollwork on the corners, completely matching the great story within. Even if I didn't already enjoy Mary Connealy's writing I would probably have picked up this book based on the cover and publisher alone. A great western and a wonderful story! Tried & True is the first book Mary Connealy's latest series and is a must read. Don't miss it! (I received a copy of this book from the publisher via The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.)
Tried and True By Mary Connealy Publ: Bethany House c.2014 Series: Wild at Heart Bk.1 Setting: Aspen Ridge, Idaho Territory, 1866 What happens when a girl who was coerced into fighting in the War Between the States dressed as a man and then homesteading in the Idaho Territory dressed as a man so she can claim her Service Exemption decides that she doesn’t want to dress as a man anymore? Kylie Wilde likes dresses, long wavy hair and not being expected to do hard manual labor. She likes curtains on her windows and flowers in her yard. Her father Cudgel Wilde has forced her and her two older sisters to forget that they were women and take the place of their brother who was killed in the war. Now Kylie is in Idaho Territory and the local land agent Aaron Masterson has discovered that she is obviously not a man. He changes her paperwork to reflect her female status. The hard part of this is that it will now require her to homestead the land for a full 5 years instead of 3 before she can sell the land to her father and move back East to bonnets and tea parties. It seems that Cudgel isn’t the only one with his eye on Kylie’s homestead. The local cattle baron has his eye on it for the water on the place. Someone else is also interested enough in the land to try to drive Kylie off with flaming arrows among other things. Aaron can’t stand that someone is out to harm the lovely Kylie. He and her sisters decide to do what they can to protect her. They even enlist the aid of a local Shoshone woman and a mountain man who looks woolier than a grizzly. How is after Kylie’s land and how far will they go to get it? How far is Aaron willing to go to protect her? What happens when the land mess is straightened out and they find that she is still in danger? This is a lively romp in the Idaho Territory with a group of unusual people set on making a life for themselves after the war that tore the nation apart. Filled with lovely scenery, colorful characters, and an entertaining plot this book will not disappoint those who are Mary Connealy fans already. Nor will those who have never read Mary’s work be satisfied with only this title, they will be sure to search for more of her delightful books. I received this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network for my unbiased review.
Historical Fiction mixed with a dash of Romance... Tried and True Wild at Heart 1 By Mary Connealy Kylie Wilde is tried of pretending to be something she's not. After all she's wants to be a woman, wear dresses, have teas, and be courted. But if Pa has his way she'll be an old maid of 23 before she can even try for that kind of life. But when she is alone at her own homestead Kylie sees no problem with being civilized and wearing a dress. At least there was nothing wrong until the new local land agent started coming around looking for the man who had filed claim to the land. Even worse Kylie has claimed her service exemption to get time off her time requirement - a claim only men can take. But Kylie served and her exemption should be honored even if she isn't a man. And when Kylie's secret comes out she knows it is only a matter of time before her sisters' secret comes to light. But her big sisters are determined to go along with Pa's plan pretending to be the sons he doesn't have. If only Pa could see his daughters as they are and not as a means to create a memorial to his fallen son. But Pa seems unable to accept that Bailey, Shannon, and Kylie are girls and should be treated as such. But Kylie sees this revelation as a blessing and a chance to maybe change Pa's opinion of her. The Wilde women are enough to exasperate any man. And for Aaron Masterson the exasperation is worse because these "men" have filed homesteading claims using their service exemptions. Exemptions the US government won't recognize and Aaron has to uphold the law. But when someone tries to drive Kylie from her land - Aaron is determined to help her protect herself. And Kylie just may let him. But getting to the bottom of these attacks is Aaron's sole focus (or so he keeps telling himself). After all Kylie is determined to return to the East and civilization and Aaron determined to never return to the hate and destruction the war has left behind. But sometimes our hearts betray us, sending our plans awry. Enjoy some fun in 1866 Idaho Territory with Tried and True! Fans of Mary Connealy will enjoy this first book in her newest series. The West will never be the same when the Wilde sisters are through with it. I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher through TBCN/BookFun in exchange for my honest review.
Mary Connealy is one of my go to authors that I know I will get a great story. Tried and True I do believe is my new favorite of hers. Taking place some months after the Civil War, we have three sisters and their Pa taking advantage of the homesteading laws out west, the location of their homesteads being in the Idaho territory. The interesting part is that all three sisters had disguised themselves as men and fought in the war due to their father’s goading them in honor of their late brother. Bailey and Shannon, the two oldest, have taken their roles as men and embraced them. Kylie, the youngest however, wants to be a woman and has let her hair grow and wears skirts. She wants to be taken care of and wants to forget the horrors of the war she fought in. In steps Aaron Masterson, who also fought as a Union soldier, who is now working as a land agent for the US government. Wanting to make sure everything is legal, he finds out that Kylie is not who she says she is and there ensues a legal problem. That is only the icing on the cake as we meet other folks of the territory, those who want Kylie’s land and will stoop pretty low to scare her off and those who want her watering rights. Told with her trademark style infused with humor, Aaron and Kylie seem to fall into one mess after another as they are falling in love. And just when everything seems to be looking up for our characters, we get some unexpected twists and turns. Like I said earlier, I do believe this is my favorite Mary Connealy book to date. I look forward to the next two books in the Wilde sisters’ trilogy, especially after reading the excerpt for book two. I received my review copy from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.
Kylie Wilde is the youngest of 3 sisters all masquerading as men. They served in the civil war as men and their father insists they continue to do so to receive land grants out west. Kylie is not as excited about remaining a man, she likes pretty bonnets, tea parties and SKIRTS! She does not have the flair or ability to be a rancher in the west, she wants to go back east as soon as she stays the 3 years for the land. But she meets Aaron Masterson and all bets are off, Kylie likes being a girl and advises her sisters to do the same. Someone is trying to scare Kylie off her land and Aaron becomes her "cowboy on a white horse. It is a delightful tale of family, romance, faith & suspense. I can't wait to read the next books in the series! Thank you to the author, the publisher and Book Club Network for the opportunity to read and review this book. I received this book free of charge from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
“Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!” I loved this fun story! Mary Connealy is master of humor and western romance! From the delightful characters to the drama, danger, and romance, Tried & True is pure delight. I devoured this book and am eager to get my hands on the next one! I received a complimentary copy of this book from The Book Club Network. All thoughts expressed are my own and no monetary compensation was received.
How can three beautiful sisters continue to pretend to be men by dressing in trousers just to hold a homestead and use the special exemptions they earned by serving as soldiers in the Civil War? How did they fool the military personnel? Why would a father even ask that of his daughters? That is the premise of this story. The two older girls have accepted this lifestyle and excel in “man’s” work, but Kylie, the youngest daughter, inwardly fights against her situation. She does not have the skills to live alone and survive in a cabin in the wilderness. Instead, she loves being a girl with long, flowing hair and dressing in dresses that fit her lovely feminine shape. When Aaron, the local land agent, comes upon Kylie during one of her unfortunate accidents and discovers that she is a girl or to be more exact, a woman, he senses a need to protect her as well as expose her unlawful homestead. When the town folk learn who she really is, it’s the beginning of frightful events to run her off the land or even to kill her. As the threats increase, Aaron finds himself caring more and more for Kylie and decides that marrying her may be the only way to fully protect her. Ms. Connealy has woven several underlying basic human emotions into this story through the many twists and turns of events. Everyone who loves a good romance with a spattering of intrigue will enjoy this book. I received this free book from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
Lovee it. It had it all-- adventure, romance, comedy, and women soldiers who fought in the Civil War (if you can't tell, I'm a huge Civil War buff...) anyway, this was a great start to a new series about the Wilde sisters. Highly recommend it!
Since this was my first book by Mary Connealy, I can honestly say that I was impressed. Of course, not having read her others, I can't say it had any previous competition. The plot was intriguing with a bit of mystery and romance, and somewhat predictable (which was not a problem for me). Consequently, had it not ended as it did, it would have been quite disappointing. I am usually one who loves a "real" fiction, with believable characters, and mostly a sense of being true to life. But I also love a good sense of humor and a book that provides me with a clean read, and something to laugh about is definitely on my "like it" list. These sisters, posing as men to claim homesteads is a interesting and fun take. Of course, a little romance added to the mix, didn't hurt it at all. I also appreciate the incorporating of real life issues that need to be dealt with such as Aaron's deep bitterness and hate that needs to be worked through. Sometimes we can bury a problem but it will usually surface eventually. There are always those nitpickity issues that may stand out to one person or another, but overall, I think this book is worth the read if you are just looking for a fun, relaxing story. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. I was not required to give a positive one.
Tried and True by Mary Connealy is the first book in her new Wild at Heart series. While I didn't do this on purpose this book also centers around women who fought in the Civil War disguised as men. The Wilde sisters (Bailey, Shannon, and Kylie) fought for the Union and after the war headed west to homestead. It was their father's urging that sent them all into battle and then out West. This first book introduces us to the Wilde family but centers around the youngest sister, Kylie. As it turns out Kylie is the most feminine of the three girls and has no desire to cut her hair short and continue to dress like a man. The way she sees it is that no one is going to venture out to her land anyway so why worry about hiding who she really is. That all changes when Aaron Masterson, the local land agent, stumbles upon her cabin just in time to catch her as she's falling off the roof in a dress and not looking at all like a man. This begins a whirlwind romance between two people who couldn't want more different futures. Kylie wants to put in the rest of her time required to homestead, sell her land to her family, and head back east to live in a civilized city where she can wear bonnets, serve tea, and be a lady. Aaron, however, intends to fulfill his commitment as land agent until the land rush settles down and then he plans to find a spot in the mountains where he can live in peace. Not to worry this isn't a cut a dry love story. Things don't seem to go quite as either Aaron or Kylie planned and when danger strikes they both discover the depth of their feelings for one another. In my opinion the depth of all the characters is what makes this book so well-written. This book was a quick, easy read and one that I enjoyed. I can't wait for the next two books in the series so I can read more about Shannon and Bailey! I received this book free of charge from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.
Mary Connealy is one of my all time favorite authors. I love her characters, stories, and spunk! This story was no exception. Written in Mary's signature style, this story is witty, light-hearted and a ton of fun. The dialogue, especially between Kylie and Aaron, is laugh-out-loud funny. I especially loved the danger and twists the story presented. Kylie is an unusual character. Many of the characters Mary Connealy likes to write about are unconventional women in the west. However, Kylie Wilde is unique in that she masqueraded as a man, but longs to dress and be like a woman. I loved that about her, though at times, it could be annoying because it seemed she didn't have a logical thought in her head. Aaron is your typical "hero" male figure. He's strong, handsome, and falls madly in love with Kylie right away. Their story was so much fun to read. The message of the story is deep and woven expertly throughout. I wouldn't have expected such a strong message in such a light-hearted story. Each character, Kylie, Aaron, and Nev, must come to learn this lesson. Aaron says it best here, "So long as you're alive, ... and no matter how bad life is, there's hope. Things can get better. You can still find happiness in this life and prepare for peace in the next." How can we do that, you ask? Trust in God to take care of you and lean on Him in the hard times. Each of these characters faced the brutality of the Civil War, and each of these characters suffered mightily for it. With God's help, though, they each have hope! Overall, this story brought me on a wild ride with the Wilde family, and I look forward to getting to know the rest of this fantastic family! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the Bethany House blogging program in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.*
Saddle up for the latest ride by Mary Connealy through the Wild West. This time, the western adventure involves the three Wilde sisters who, due to pressure from their father, posed as men to join in the fighting during the Civil War. When the war was over, they were pressured to continue posing as men to claim the special veterans’ exemption to homestead in the West. Land agent, Aaron Masterson, immediately recognizes their secret and changes their application to reflect the fact that they are women. That is not the end of their trouble. Someone is trying to get their land and the youngest sister, Kylie, finds her life threatened. Aaron also finds that the bitterness and hatred that he thought he had left behind in Virginia may also be in Idaho Territory. This is a signature Mary Connealy novel: wild west, interesting heroines , brave heroes, and a supporting cast of colorful characters. This is the first novel in the series, so readers can look forward to the further adventures of the Wilde sisters. I received this from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
Synopsis: Tried and True by Mary Connealy is the first book in the Wild at Heart series. It takes place on the 1860s western frontier and follows the adventures of the Wilde sisters. Each of the women have staked a claim and are homesteading. But while the oldest two are thriving, Kylie the youngest just wants to stay until the land is officially hers, so that she can sell it and move back to civilization. This is not the life Kylie wanted and the sooner she can leave, the better. The women are using special exemptions to earn their claims-meaning they only have to wait three years to own the land instead of the usual five. They were given the exemptions for serving in the Civil War while disguised as boys. The exemptions are only for men though, so the sisters must keep up the charade that they are men in order to earn their claims as fast as possible. The problem is, that while they were young enough to get away with the disguises in the heat of battle, anyone who took a close look at them now, would clearly know they are women. And, to make matters worse, Kylie dresses like a woman every chance she gets. Will the local land agent discovers the women’s secret? And, is someone now trying to kill Kylie for her land? Review: I really enjoyed this book. It has an interesting and unique story line, and plenty of action to keep the plot moving. It is also very well-written and a nice, easy read. I am looking forward to the rest of the series, and would definitely recommend this one as a very good book! My thanks to Bethany House for providing me with a complimentary copy for my unbiased review.
Kylie Wilde is the youngest daughter of Cudgel Wilde. When their older brother is killed in the Civil War, Cudgel insists the girls pretend to be men and fight in the war to avenge their brother’s death. The sisters survive the war and their father then talks them into filing for homesteads in the west, again pretending to be men. Kylie doesn’t like wearing britches all of the time and lets her hair grow long. Land agent Aaron Masterson goes to check the homestead and discovers Kylie is a female! (Only males were allowed the Civil War homesteads.) Kylie’s dream is to go back east where she can shop for hats and attend tea parties. Aaron wants to go farther west and live in the mountains. But there is a definite attraction between the two. When someone tries to force Kylie off her land, can he protect her? I enjoyed this historical story which is the first in the Wild at Heart series.
This is book one in a new series by Mary Connealy. The series will follow three sisters who fought as men in the civil war. With the war now over they head west to homestead. Soldiers can use years of service to shorten the time it will take to homestead and own the land free and clear. Of course since women were not allowed to fight in the war the Wilde sisters must continue dressing as men to use their soldier credit. Book one starts with the youngest sister Kylie. Of the three sisters she does not enjoy dressing as a man and wants to put her dresses back on and start living as women should. But her father will not allow it and she is counting down the days until she can leave the west and head back east. What she did not plan on was land agent Aaron Masterson finding out she was a women. When Kylie finds herself being threatened she turns to Aaron to help her figure out who wants her off her land. Can they find the culprit and true love along the way? What I liked: This was a very enjoyable book. In some of the authors past series the first book was challenging due to learning all the new characters and I sometimes had trouble keeping everyone straight. Not with this book. I liked that the main character Kylie and Aaron were introduced and then the sisters and her father. The possible love interests for the other sisters were also introduced but it was much slower and easier for me to keep them straight. The story itself is classic romance and humor. There is a darker side as well. The fact that the sisters fought in the war gave them more of a level playing field with the men in the book and I liked how that dynamic worked and I’m excited to see where this series goes in the books to come. What I did not like: Not much to not like. The girl’s father is a jerk but its part of the storyline and I enjoyed him getting put in his place. Overall this is a great book. I can’t wait for the next book in the series. I highly recommend this if you love western historical romances.
Go West Young Man--Uh, Woman Kylie Wilde and her two sisters were forced by their father to dress like men, and join the Civil War to get revenge for their brother's death. Now that the war is over, their father has bullied them to come to the Idaho Territory and claim homesteads. He convinces them to continue living and dressing like men, that way they can take the soldier exemption. The exemption allows them to subtract time served in the war from the normal five years needed to claim the land. Their father plans on combining all of the homesteads into one large ranch after they own them. Kylie hates everything about the West. She wants to get back to "civilization" as soon as possible, and get away from homesteading. Kylie resents her father pressuring her into claiming land, pretending to be a man, and living in the middle of nowhere. She longs to dress and look like a woman, and live where fancy bonnets and tea parties are a part of daily life. Suddenly lots of things happen to Kyle. She meets Aaron Masterson the handsome land agent, whom she must fool into believing she is a man. Next, Gage Coulter drives a massive herd of cattle across Kylie's front yard and porch, tearing everything up. He is none too happy to find she has staked a claim on land he has used to water his cattle on for years. Then Kylie is attacked by people posing as Indians that shoot flaming arrows at her cabin. Alone at night, she can feel someone watching her from the woods that surround her home. Later, she finds her cabin filled with hissing snakes. Obviously someone is trying to scare her off her land, but who? Romance, mystery, suspense and comedy all follow Kylie as she lives out her adventures. This very entertaining book is written from a Christian point of view. It is the first in a series called, Wild at Heart, but this volume stands on its own. I have read many of this author's books, and this one is as enjoyable as her other works. I recommend this 5-star book to anyone who wants a fast-paced, well-written story. The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through Bethany House Publishing 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.
What a fun book and a great story. I am just discovering Mary’s writing and I like it. She has well developed characters with a bit of humor involved. And how could you not have humor when you have women dressed up as men? Kylie is one spunky gal and she doesn’t want to be seen as a man anymore and Aaron Masterson sure doesn’t see her that way. Their first meeting is enough to cause a giggle and a sigh. Kylie has one goal: get back to civilization (as she calls it). She hates being out in the country where no one else is. Aaron has one goal: move into the mountains. So what happens when attraction pulls these two together? Who will compromise, will either compromise? You’ll just have to read the book to find out. Mary does a great job of adding humor but also dealing with deep issues, like not being enough for your dad. How many of us have dealt with that same issue? Too many, I’m guessing. If you are looking for a wild west story with some romance and humor look no further than this book. Can’t wait to see what the Wilde sisters are up to in the next book :) A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
1866, Idaho Territory Kylie Wilde is a character I adore. She posed as a man to fight in the Civil War so when it came right down to it she had grit, but she was also a lady at heart. While her two sisters, Shannon and Bailey, liked wearing trousers and knew how to do the work of a man, Kylie was completely out of her element. When it came to a hammer and nails it was said "she had to scare nails into place" and she often called on her sisters for help. She often repeated the same phrase to herself, "Three years to earn the life I want." because she hated working the land she was trying to claim for her father. She wanted to live in a big city and nothing was going to stop her, that is until land agent Aaron Masterson saved her life on more than one occasion. Kylie's character really drew me into this book. From the very first page I was in awe once again by Mary Connealy's natural ability to captivate her readers. Like a worm on a hook draws fish, I was caught and reeled in. This book has the perfect blend of humor, drama and sweet romance which is a Connealy trademark. She never disappoints her readers. Her attention to detail and the way she describes each scene in this book made it so enjoyable. I rather liked the opening scene where Kylie was trying to repair the roof. It was funny with a touch of drama and the hero came to the rescue. A perfect scene in my opinion and the plot is truly unique as far as I'm concerned. Tried &True is a brilliant opener to what I feel will be an amazing series. I can't wait to read Bailey's and Shannon's story! If you're a fan of Mary Connealy you already expect a great book, and it is, but if you have never read one of her books this is a great place to start. I think you'll love Kylie's story as much as I do. Very highly recommended to anyone that loves great, historical romance! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review and no monetary compensation was received.
It's never a chore to read a Mary Connealy book. Without a doubt, she has a gift. True to form, Ms. Connealy has brought us a new series that promises to keep us enchanted with great characters, laughs, and interesting story lines that keep you invested until the end. In the first of this new series, we're quick to meet spunky and very girly Kylie Wilde. How she ever managed to make it through the Civil War as a male spy, is a mystery - or so land agent Aaron Masterson thinks the first time he meets the beautiful girl. Determined not to let her get away with defrauding the government, he's more than a little chagrined to find she's firmly planted underneath his skin - making things next to impossible. Should he do what's right according to the government - even though she served her country in the war - or do what his heart screams almost from the very beginning? Protect her from all costs, including the attentions of wealthy land baron Gage Coulter? This book was a fun, quick read and I can't wait to delve into the second in the series. The only problem? I have to wait for it to come out...
I fell in love with Kylie and Aaron right off the bat. I immediately felt sympathy for Kylie who wants to be a woman but is pressured by her father and sisters to pretend to be a man in order to establish a homestead. After her experiences in the Civil War dressed as a man, she wants desperately to be a woman again, living in a civilized area, not a homestead on the frontier. When Aaron, the local land agent, recognizes her as a woman, she is pleased to be able to act like one again. But when she is attacked and made afraid in her own home, she wonders if pleasing her father is worth it. And while she likes Aaron she isn't sure it's wise to get attached when he plans to settle on a ranch further back in the mountains. But events take on a life of their own and Kylie and Aaron are forced to make decisions quickly that may or may not work out as expected. I really enjoyed this book. The characters are great, each with their strengths and weaknesses. It's also an interesting look at the roles of men and women at the time and the different perspectives that Kylie and her sisters (who are also pretending to be men) have about their roles in their society. Kylie and her sister provide an fascinating contrast in their attitudes about being women and the limitations that their society tried to put on them because of it. I look forward to reading Shannon's and Bailey's stories (Kylie's sisters) because I have a feeling their will be plenty of fireworks, especially Bailey who is bound and determined to maintain her freedom and independence.
Mary Connealy in her new book, “Tried & True” Book One in the Wild At Heart series published by Bethany House Publishers takes us into the life of Kylie Wilde. From the back cover: Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters! Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister–and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It’s a risk–they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as “boys”–but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East. Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future? The Civil War is over and the Wilde sisters are trying to get their special exemptions they are entitled to for fighting in the war, however disguised as boys. Everything would have worked out, despite the face that it was built on a lie, except they are discovered. The rancher next door wants the land they are homesteading and they will not sell so the next thing he tries is to marry Kylie. That doesn’t fly to well with Aaron as he is in love with her for real. This is quite a remarkable story as there is a lot of events going on. The sisters are a lot of fun and so is the romance. Ms. Connealy is a very talented writer who gives us wonderful characters that we really come to care about. “Tried & True” is filled with excitement and humor and Wild West action. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”