Several months ago, I read Hearts Entwined, a collection of novellas by several esteemed Christian authors. Within that book, I was first introduced to Mary Connealy’s work, which was humorous and a delight to read.
In The Accidental Guardian, Ms. Connealy begins her High Sierra Sweethearts series. Deborah Harkness and her sister, Gwen, have traveled from the East to the area near Lake Tahoe under an agreement to serve as nannies for two children on their journey. When their entire wagon train is killed, Deborah, Gwen, and their two charges are left alone in the wilderness. Fortunately, Trace Riley stumbles upon them and brings them to his home for the winter. Having made a home in the area after surviving a similar attack years ago, Trace has barely encountered women and children at any point in his life. However, he soon finds himself drawn to Deborah while they both search for the men who killed the children’s family. While he once thought to leave behind his self-appointed role as guardian of the trail, Trace will return once more to ensure that Deborah and those he has come to care about will remain safe.
Ms. Connealy presents a fascinating story of survival and faith in The Accidental Guardian. With a high-stakes storyline and a heartwarming cast of characters, this novel offers a compelling start to her High Sierra Sweethearts series.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Accidental Guardian. While I’m not entirely familiar with all of Ms. Connealy’s other works, this novel shows enormous growth from her earliest books. Her story retains some humorous moments and nice characters, but it has gained a tighter and more developed writing style that makes the entire novel an absolute delight to read! I also enjoyed reading the characters’ own description of the Lake Tahoe landscape, as it offers a memorable setting for the events of the novel.
The cast of characters and the back end of this story also present an interesting opportunity to build out the series further in a natural way. Fortunately, readers will not have overly long to wait for the next book. Ms. Connealy will be releasing The Reluctant Warrior, as the second book in the series, in October 2018!
Fans of Ms. Connealy’s previous works will definitely enjoy reading The Accidental Guardian. Additionally, readers who enjoy books set in the American West with an accessible style will definitely want to try this story.
Special thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for the complimentary copy of The Accidental Guardian! Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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