The Accidental Guardian (High Sierra Sweethearts, #1)
She's the only witness to a wagon train attack. Keeping her safe, though, means his world is about to be turned upside down.When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes an attack by the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he's finally carved out a home and started a herd--while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail. He'd hoped the days of driving off dangerous men were over, but the latest attack shows otherwise.Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace becomes an accidental guardian when he offers the only shelter for miles around and agrees to take them in until they can safely continue their journey. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling--yet enticing.Trace and Deborah find themselves drawing ever closer as they work together to bring justice to the trail and help the group survive the winter--but every day closer to spring means a day closer to leaving the mountains forever.

The Accidental Guardian (High Sierra Sweethearts, #1) Details

TitleThe Accidental Guardian (High Sierra Sweethearts, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 3rd, 2018
PublisherBethany House Publishers
ISBN-139780764219290
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Romance, Christian Fiction, Christian, Westerns, Fiction, Historical Romance

The Accidental Guardian (High Sierra Sweethearts, #1) Review

  • Terrie's Just Another Book B*tch
    January 1, 1970
    Just Another Book Bitch's ALWAYS SPOILER FREE REVIEW My first novel by this author and I found it to be a sweet and easy read. It carries an innocence about it that would make any grandmother smile. Not by first Christian romance. But it has been years since I’ve read one... I found The Accidental Guardian to be a simple and uplifting read perfect if you're coming off of a heavy book and need some sweet simplicity in your life. Trace is our brave western hero with morals and a gentleness about h Just Another Book Bitch's ALWAYS SPOILER FREE REVIEW My first novel by this author and I found it to be a sweet and easy read. It carries an innocence about it that would make any grandmother smile. Not by first Christian romance. But it has been years since I’ve read one... I found The Accidental Guardian to be a simple and uplifting read perfect if you're coming off of a heavy book and need some sweet simplicity in your life. Trace is our brave western hero with morals and a gentleness about him that I think many should find appealing. Though he’s not used to being around women and I think he did come off a bit “oafish” but I suppose that’s what the author wanted you to see... Deb (or spunky and independent heroine) survives a horrible ordeal and while very thankful for everything and everyone’s help she’s determined to stand on her own and not be a bother.. I did enjoy Deb’s character, however, I feel like for someone who was so independent she fell short and would appear to bend a bit too easily at times. I believe a little more inner turmoil would have strengthened my enjoyment of this book and her character. It’s a solid three star from me. It’s the first book in this series and I have to say that if the next in the series deals with Cam and Gwen I wouldn’t mind continuing on with the High Sierra Sweethearts. (Sorry for any typos. I’m writing this on my phone w/o my glasses) Thanks to Bethany House Publishing for a final copy/ARC and Mary Connealy for the opportunity to review.Find/follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & My Blog Page
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  • Kellyn Roth
    January 1, 1970
    The best way to describe this novel: Whoa, that was fast!I'm still not 100% sure about the rating. Here are my general thoughts:-I don't like to hear about married folks' bedroom habits. Not a bit. But if you make a point to say that both groom and bride are nervous about the wedding night and then just stop talking about it ... you kinda make a reader curious? Two problems with this. 1: Made me think about it more than I wanted to and search the text trying to figure it out. 2: DID THEY OR DIDN The best way to describe this novel: Whoa, that was fast!I'm still not 100% sure about the rating. Here are my general thoughts:-I don't like to hear about married folks' bedroom habits. Not a bit. But if you make a point to say that both groom and bride are nervous about the wedding night and then just stop talking about it ... you kinda make a reader curious? Two problems with this. 1: Made me think about it more than I wanted to and search the text trying to figure it out. 2: DID THEY OR DIDN'T THEY IT'S DRIVING ME CRAZY BUT I FEEL TERRIBLE EVEN THINKING ABOUT IT HELP HELP!!2 - WILL SOMEONE PLEASE SPANK THE SNOT OUT OF THESE TWO KIDS?!? I know they're only 2 and like eighteen months, but they are super badly behaved and no one is dealing with it.3 - Things were not wrapped up. I'm sensing they will be in the next book(s) of the series, so that's all right.4 - The pacing - perhaps inspired by the brief writing style - was kinda hectic. I worried for one thing that the hero and heroine barely knew each other and their relationship moved too fast. On the other hand, I was super excited to see a romance without hate, lust, or unnecessary complications involved.5 - I don't believe that Trace would have survived for several years in the Sierra Nevadas by himself. Sorry ... I just don't. xP Especially since he wasn't used to the terrain or weather. Or the animals. Or anything about the area at all. Even the plants would have been different.And ... that's it! It was pretty cute and it had some fun adventure, but it wasn't super deep. I don't know that the themes ever got fully resolved, but they were cool.Further review to come!~Kellyn Roth
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  • Sarah Grace
    January 1, 1970
    What on earth did I just read? Rtc
  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsWhile this story is a bit different from a normal Mary Connealy book—less humor, more reflective hero—I really enjoyed it. Trace's hesitation with women was endearing and it was cute to see him decide pretty fast that being around Deb was something he needed to keep in his future. There are a number of threads left hanging for the next book in the series, so I'm now eagerly awaiting book two!
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  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    Really liked it. Except for that part. 😬I loved how this was a fun interesting book and gave the first 1/2 five stars. The last half though, got 2-3ish. Yuck. I do not need those details, it made me way too uncomfortable. Dislikes: -Ending was too rushed and Deb and Trace hit hard really fast and it all went by in a blur-Some sexual content I didn’t feel necessary. ;)So overall. 3 stars.
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  • Kav
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes nothing else will do but a Mary Connealy Western. Her subtle humour crops up in the most unexpected places and I love that! It can be in the midst of dangerous action or a quiet reflective moment or even a tender romantic one and suddenly I find myself laughing out loud. Makes reading a Connealy a real adventure...as if there isn't enough of that in her stories already!From the heart-in-throat opening scene to the domestic chaos of the last chapter, The Accidental Guardian kept me turn Sometimes nothing else will do but a Mary Connealy Western. Her subtle humour crops up in the most unexpected places and I love that! It can be in the midst of dangerous action or a quiet reflective moment or even a tender romantic one and suddenly I find myself laughing out loud. Makes reading a Connealy a real adventure...as if there isn't enough of that in her stories already!From the heart-in-throat opening scene to the domestic chaos of the last chapter, The Accidental Guardian kept me turning pages faster than the quick draw of a wild west villain! And there are some bad 'uns in this story. And when they find out Deb is a witness to their dastardly deeds...shudder.Luckily she has Trace on her side. The self-appointed guardian of the trail suddenly finds himself in charge of women and children -- both foreign entities to him! Love Trace -- a bear of a mountain man who is decent and kind and totally out of his element when it comes to interacting with his unexpected charges. The romance that develops is tender and sweet -- and totally awkward. I'm grinning just thinking about Trace and Deb.The author has managed to leave some story threads dangling -- not enough to cause severe cliff-hanging reader anxiety but enough to make me anxious for the next book in the series which is coming out in October (and has the most awesome cover!)Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.
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  • Dawn
    January 1, 1970
    This was good. It didn't have me giggling like some of her others. And I didn't quite connect with the characters the way that I did in some of her previous books, but I still enjoyed it. It was a pretty quick read overall.
  • Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
    January 1, 1970
    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 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)
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.You can read this review on my blog:https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.c...
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  • RebekahAshleigh
    January 1, 1970
    “The Accidental Guardian” is the first book in Mary Connealy’s newest series, High Sierra Sweethearts. This was the first book I have read by this author so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. It sounded like a really good book though. I ended up enjoying it quite a bit! The romance moved a little faster then I would’ve thought, but it was still a good book. It was a sweet story and it also had some funny parts as well as some suspenseful parts. Everything wasn’t all wrapped up in the end of t “The Accidental Guardian” is the first book in Mary Connealy’s newest series, High Sierra Sweethearts. This was the first book I have read by this author so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. It sounded like a really good book though. I ended up enjoying it quite a bit! The romance moved a little faster then I would’ve thought, but it was still a good book. It was a sweet story and it also had some funny parts as well as some suspenseful parts. Everything wasn’t all wrapped up in the end of the story, but book 2 does come out this fall so the story will continue on and probably wrap up the loose ends from book 1.
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  • Alysha (For The Love of Christian Fiction)
    January 1, 1970
    When I found out this book was releasing this year I got so excited! I have enjoyed Mary's work for years and was anxiously waiting to get my hands on this. That being said this was not my favorite by her. I loved the idea for this book. Wagon train attacks, cowboys on noble steeds, and ruthless outlaws. What could be better?! Sadly the execution fell short for me. The story felt like it could've been a novella instead of full length. There was quite a bit of repetition and it all kind of felt u When I found out this book was releasing this year I got so excited! I have enjoyed Mary's work for years and was anxiously waiting to get my hands on this. That being said this was not my favorite by her. I loved the idea for this book. Wagon train attacks, cowboys on noble steeds, and ruthless outlaws. What could be better?! Sadly the execution fell short for me. The story felt like it could've been a novella instead of full length. There was quite a bit of repetition and it all kind of felt unnecessary. The romance was not my favorite and it felt a touch strange to me. They ended up together out of pure loneliness than anything else.Now don't get me wrong, Mary knows how to write diverse characters and they all have some unique trait that helps keep the back and forth easy.Trace was not what one would consider book smart, but he was wilderness savvy. His reliance on God and the wilderness was what kept him strong through all the years of being alone. It helped him strive. I absolutely loved his connection with his horse Black and his dog Wolf, it was real and true! Deb had a good head on her shoulders and was able to take charge in situations that most would shrink at. She had past hurts that kept her from seeing there were good men in the world, but every interaction with Trace slowly healed those wounds and tore down the walls.I really enjoyed the secondary characters as well. Trace's men were great and I hope we might see more of them in the rest of the series.I think Gwen was my favorite out the whole book and I'm excited to read her story next.No this might not have been my favorite book, but I am curious and intrigued to read the rest of the series. If this had been a novella introducing me to the series I think I might have enjoyed it a touch more.I rated this book a 3.25/5 stars. I will continue with the series and I will continue to pick up Mary's work.*I received this book in exchange for my honest review**I was not required to give a positive review**All opinions are my own*
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  • Denise Hershberger
    January 1, 1970
    This book reminded me a little bit more of some of Connealy's older books as far as the storyline went but it also was very fresh and I loved it.One thing I've always loved about Connealy's books - and this one in particular - is that she doesn't waste any time getting into her story. I loved the action just a few pages in and even more that the action didn't stop! It didn't take me long to admire both Deb and Gwen. I found myself relating to Gwen as it came to the children in the book, but more This book reminded me a little bit more of some of Connealy's older books as far as the storyline went but it also was very fresh and I loved it.One thing I've always loved about Connealy's books - and this one in particular - is that she doesn't waste any time getting into her story. I loved the action just a few pages in and even more that the action didn't stop! It didn't take me long to admire both Deb and Gwen. I found myself relating to Gwen as it came to the children in the book, but more to Deb's stubborn nature. I loved their relationship. It was nice to see sisters complement each other rather than bicker as is found in some novels. I also loved Trace! He is an excellent and swoon-worthy hero. I was quite impressed with him from his first scene because he showed a kind-hearted and empathetic side and wasn't embarrassed by it. But I also loved his strength and protective side and especially his skills in almost everything.Deb spent most of this book with a chip on her shoulder from her growing up years. It was really neat to see that chip wear off throughout the book as she realized that her adult life didn't have to mirror her childhood and youth. Trace had his own faults too and it was amazing to see him work through some of his intrinsic nature to become an even better man. I especially loved that Trace was willing to admit his faults and also how many times he'd read the Bible.I loved the setting for this story. I don't recall having ever read a western novel set near Lake Tahoe and it was a lovely change of pace. I also loved reading descriptions of the Grand Canyon. These days we can google both and see quality pictures and it was neat to have them described the way ranchers and settlers would.I'm always amazed by the work ethic of the cowboys and farmers that settled the west. And for that matter also the women, because they worked just as hard but in different ways. I loved reading about characters who found value in the work they did and were happy to do it.I'm very excited to continue this new series from Connealy!I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. This is my honest review
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  • Juli
    January 1, 1970
    Deborah Harkness and her younger sister, Gwen join a wagon train going west. They are caregivers for two small children whose family is travelling to California to join relatives. Unfortunately, the wagon train is attacked by ruthless criminals. Deborah, Gwen and the children are the only survivors. Rancher Trace Riley happens upon the burning wagons and takes the women and children to his ranch. He's determined to find the men who murdered all those people and protect the survivors. Little does Deborah Harkness and her younger sister, Gwen join a wagon train going west. They are caregivers for two small children whose family is travelling to California to join relatives. Unfortunately, the wagon train is attacked by ruthless criminals. Deborah, Gwen and the children are the only survivors. Rancher Trace Riley happens upon the burning wagons and takes the women and children to his ranch. He's determined to find the men who murdered all those people and protect the survivors. Little does he know that he will also find love along the way.I love stories about the old west and those who braved the trail to head west, so I knew I would like this book. I don't usually read romance novels, but this story has more than enough action in it to make it more of an adventure than a romance story. Trace is conflicted. He has done some violent things to keep innocent travelers safe and is afraid that it makes him a bad man. Deborah knows that he saved their lives and many others....and does everything she can to make him realize that. The criminals who have been murdering many along the trail for years are dangerous, and Trace knows they have to be stopped. Plenty of action, suspense and danger along with love and faith in this story!I enjoyed this story. The characters all grow and learn much about relationships, faith and love along the way. There is violence, but it's not graphic or overdone. This is Christian fiction...so there is no bad language or graphic sex. There are murders, violence and other criminal actions, but no graphic descriptions of bodies, gore, etc. Some of the events central to the story would lead me to say this is a PG-13 sort of story -- multiple murders, dangerous criminals, etc....not really a story for kids under 13. Very enjoyable western without the racist, sexual or more gritty themes you might find in non-Christian stories. The Christian theme is not over-done.....the characters are Christian and there is talk about God, prayer and their beliefs, but it isn't so strong that it detracts from the main story.This isn't the usual sort of western that I normally read. It's a bit more simple and light, given the fact that the violence and description are somewhat downplayed to fit the Christian theme. That was sort of a refreshing change. This book focuses on the characters and events, rather than the violent aspects of the "bad guys'' and the romance portion was not just centered on sex. Nice change from what I usually read. I enjoyed the story, and will definitely be reading more of the same from Bethany House. The front cover is perfect....adorable, and fits the story.The Accidental Guardian is the first book in a series, High Sierra Sweethearts. A second book, The Reluctant Warrior, will be released in October 2018. I normally avoid romance stories, but the western background theme will be enough to keep me reading. Sometimes a break from the thrillers and more gritty stories I usually read is nice.....a bit of Christian romance as a palate cleanser. :) This story was well-written and enjoyable. I will definitely be reading more from Mary Connealy.**I voluntarily read an advance readers copy of this book from Bethany House via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    Deborah saved her younger sister and two toddlers from an attack on their wagon train. Trace becomes their accidental guardian when he finds them and offers them shelter. He had a bachelor life and never expected women and children to be in it. Deborah and Trace grow closer as they try to bring justice to the men attacking wagon trains realizing that as it gets closer to spring when Deborah can leave.
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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    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 balan 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 fingersThis 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. This review originally posted on A Simply Enchanted Life
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  • Tiffany Jones
    January 1, 1970
    **FTC DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED AN E-ARC FROM NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. RECEIPT OF THIS BOOK IN THIS MANNER DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION OF THE BOOK OR THE CONTENT OF MY REVIEW**When Trace Riley finds the smoldering remains of a small wagon train, he quickly recognizes the signs that show that the group responsible for the attack is the same group that left him the sole survivor of a similar attack years ago. Fueled by his anger towards the attackers and a strong desire to see them **FTC DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED AN E-ARC FROM NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. RECEIPT OF THIS BOOK IN THIS MANNER DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION OF THE BOOK OR THE CONTENT OF MY REVIEW**When Trace Riley finds the smoldering remains of a small wagon train, he quickly recognizes the signs that show that the group responsible for the attack is the same group that left him the sole survivor of a similar attack years ago. Fueled by his anger towards the attackers and a strong desire to see them brought to justice, served as a self appointed guardian of the trail and thought that he had driven these dangerous men off. He’s lived off of the wilderness since then and has finally managed to create a home and started a herd of cattle. He’d hoped his days of guarding the trail and chasing down dangerous criminals was over but the attack on the wagon train shows that he was sadly mistaken. Deborah Harkness, her younger sister, and two small children managed to survive the attack and now find themselves at the mercy of their rescuer. Trace has the only shelter for miles and offers to take them in through the winter, until they can continue to their destination in spring. It’s obvious from his simple bachelor life and rustic homestead that he never anticipated women and small children being in the picture, but it doesn’t take long before he starts adjusting to having them around. As they work together to survive the winter and to find the men who attacked the wagon train so they can be brought to justice, Trace and Deb find themselves drawn to each other even as each day brings them closer to the day she leaves for good.I really enjoyed reading this sweet story. I thought it was sweet the way Trace was so uncomfortable around Deb and her sister and the kids because he’d never really been around women or children but he was still so dedicated to making sure that they were completely comfortable. I liked that Deb and Trace weren’t instantly comfortable with each other because it’s more realistic. They actually had to put effort into getting to know each other and because they did were able to understand each other’s insecurities. In future books, I’d really like to get to know more of Utah’s and Adam’s backstories because they seemed to be interesting. I am looking forward to reading book 2 and seeing Gwen’s character be more developed as I genuinely liked her, she just wasn’t as well developed as Deb was since it wasn’t really her story. Mary Connealy really has a knack of playing out the story so well that you can picture the way things happen. I love when a book is descriptive enough that you can see it perfectly. And, this is definitely the case here. And I also enjoyed that the author took the time to research the area and time period she was writing about. All of this added together made an excellent beginning to the series.
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  • Susan Snodgrass
    January 1, 1970
    'When the good Lord put a burden on his heart, he listened.'I have been a Mary Connealy fan for many years. Her cowboy comedies have had me rolling in laughter. This time, she still had her wit, but it's not a huge part of the book. The story is wonderful. I was invested since the first page, in fact.Trace Riley has been the self appointed guardian of the trail in the High Sierras, watching out for families beset upon by dangerous sidewinders intent on stealing everything they brought east with 'When the good Lord put a burden on his heart, he listened.'I have been a Mary Connealy fan for many years. Her cowboy comedies have had me rolling in laughter. This time, she still had her wit, but it's not a huge part of the book. The story is wonderful. I was invested since the first page, in fact.Trace Riley has been the self appointed guardian of the trail in the High Sierras, watching out for families beset upon by dangerous sidewinders intent on stealing everything they brought east with them to build a new home with. Very early one morning he comes upon Deborah Harkness, her sister and two little ones. Their wagon train had been massacred by such evil men as Trace sought to protect folks from. No one survived except the four of them. Trace has the only shelter for many miles and they settle in to stay with him as he continues to try to bring the lawbreakers to justice. I love disappearing into a Mary Connealy novel. She just plain knows how to tell a story and tell it well. Her characters are well thought out and good people. Well, except for the nasty sidewinders. Trace and Deb both have some hard things in their past, but they are beginning to learn that God has a plan for them. Here in the High Sierras. Don't miss this one. *Thanks to the author for a copy of this book. My opinions stated here are entirely my own.
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  • Trisha
    January 1, 1970
    What do you get when you have two children, two women, and three men? The Accidental Guaradian! Deborah and her sister join a wagon train headed West, which experiences trouble and only four survive. Trace, headed home from a cattle drive on his favorite horse, comes along at the right time to help the two women and two children. The closest shelter is Trace's home, also known as a one room cabin, where two other men work alongside him. How will Trace get them out of the cold and save them? Wher What do you get when you have two children, two women, and three men? The Accidental Guaradian! Deborah and her sister join a wagon train headed West, which experiences trouble and only four survive. Trace, headed home from a cattle drive on his favorite horse, comes along at the right time to help the two women and two children. The closest shelter is Trace's home, also known as a one room cabin, where two other men work alongside him. How will Trace get them out of the cold and save them? Where will they all stay once he gets them to his home? Will he be able to catch the bad men and warn other wagon trains before it is too late? Read the book "The Accidental Guardian" for a great story about Deborah and Trace. This is a really good story by Mary Connealy! I received a complimentary review copy by the publisher. This review is my honest opinion.
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  • Read it or Leave it Blog
    January 1, 1970
    First off, can we talk about how amazing this cover is? It has to be one of my favorite historical book covers. The little girl, sunset, mountains, and lake made me fall in LOVE with this cover!!Now that I got that out, lets move on to the review. I was so excited to read this story when I found out it was about a wagon train. I find the whole wagon train topic interesting. I know it’s just a bunch of wagons traveling across the country, but it’s interesting… to me at least. While wagon trains a First off, can we talk about how amazing this cover is? It has to be one of my favorite historical book covers. The little girl, sunset, mountains, and lake made me fall in LOVE with this cover!!Now that I got that out, lets move on to the review. I was so excited to read this story when I found out it was about a wagon train. I find the whole wagon train topic interesting. I know it’s just a bunch of wagons traveling across the country, but it’s interesting… to me at least. While wagon trains are a big topic in the book, a lot of the story takes place on the main guy character’s ranch. Some traveling to other towns and settlements also happens. I really enjoyed how the author described the setting. I loved the description about the mountains and could really envision how everything looked. It seemed like a peaceful setting. Basically, how you feel when you look at the book cover is how you’ll feel when you read about the setting. The pace of the story was done really well. I found it wasn’t too fast but not too slow either. It was perfect for how the storyline was set up. Okay, this part of my review is going to be a bit different than how my normal reviews go. I usually talk about the characters, faith content, and negative content separately. However, for this book I am going to mix it all together. This book was going really well when I first started reading it. I laughed a few times with some of the thoughts that the characters had. Side note: This story is told in a few different point of views, but mainly it is told in Trace’s (the main guy) and Deb’s (the main girl).I thought the backstory on Trace’s character was interesting. Deb’s backstory was also interesting and I liked how she wanted to start up her own newspaper. I was really enjoying reading the story and was anticipating what was going to happen with the whole wagon train situation. The faith content was really great. There were a couple of things I didn’t like. There was a mention of how Trace heard stories about witches and goblins as a kid. Trace says he doesn’t believe in things such as ghosts, but if there was a place haunted then it’d be the site of the murdered souls from the wagon train. Also, there were a few books mentioned that Trace had read. Two of those books were by Shakespeare and Plato. So, that was the only negative content… then something happened that I didn’t see coming in the storyline. This part is a potential spoiler so don’t read ahead if you don’t want to get spoiled. This is the reason for my low rating, though. Two characters get married and this is where the sexual content picked up significantly. It didn’t happen until close to the ending of the book. The characters each have thoughts on what happens on a wedding night and lets just say it turns awkward from there. You obviously know what the characters are referring to with their thoughts and I just see no point in bringing that into a story. While it skipped the night scene, you knew what took place because of the characters thoughts. It was just unneeded and honestly didn’t need to be in the story. I lost interest in the book once those thoughts happened. It just became awkward and that is what effected my rating the most. Due to all of that, I sadly have to rate this book as leave it. If none of the marriage talk would have been discussed, then this book could have easily been a read it. The faith content was strong and the characters stories were interesting. The kids weren’t in the book as much as I thought they’d be, but while they were in the story I enjoyed their characters as well. The sexual content was just too high in my opinion, causing my rating to be what it is. My Rating: Leave it**I received this book for free from the Publisher (Bethany House) for this honest review.Review link: http://readitorleaveitblog.blogspot.c...
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    Mary is at her best in this series! There is some humor in the book but just at the right places!I love reading about wagon trains and wishing that I could travel back in time to experience that.When I took a trip out West, I stopped by the Kansas Historical museum and I spent hours there! They had a covered wagon and I got to sit in it. They also had me start a fire with Flint but I couldn't get that right. The guide had to finish it for me lol! I wouldn't make a good pioneerI enjoyed the trip Mary is at her best in this series! There is some humor in the book but just at the right places!I love reading about wagon trains and wishing that I could travel back in time to experience that.When I took a trip out West, I stopped by the Kansas Historical museum and I spent hours there! They had a covered wagon and I got to sit in it. They also had me start a fire with Flint but I couldn't get that right. The guide had to finish it for me lol! I wouldn't make a good pioneerI enjoyed the trip West and I could actually imagine myself there bc I took that trip. The Rockies are just gorgeous! Isn't it weird how a family can come together in the weirdest places and time? God sure does have a way of working things out when we least expect it! I love Mary's books!! I would recommend them to anyone!!I received this complementary copy from Netgalley! Thank u! All opinions are my own
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  • Bree
    January 1, 1970
    Confession: I totally didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this book. I hadn’t read anything by this author before, I was really unsure how I would feel about a book with a western style hero. I was riveted, enthralled and captured by this book. I was there in the wagon train, racing to save the children with Deborah. I was riding along side of Trace coming upon a present moment that mirrored his past. And I was there when healing and love began to take place.This book is one of tho Confession: I totally didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this book. I hadn’t read anything by this author before, I was really unsure how I would feel about a book with a western style hero. I was riveted, enthralled and captured by this book. I was there in the wagon train, racing to save the children with Deborah. I was riding along side of Trace coming upon a present moment that mirrored his past. And I was there when healing and love began to take place.This book is one of those that no matter what words I choose to use to express the enjoyment they won’t be enough. It left me in a stupor of awe and wonder. I was taken to this book and placed into the pages, I became the characters and with that was able to feel more than just the pages between my fingers, I felt the story on my heart.Needless to say I recommend this book to all readers, and their cats. Cats won’t even be able to judge this book poorly.
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  • Yvette
    January 1, 1970
    What a great start to what promises to be another enjoyable series from Mary Connealy! Within the first pages, we are knee deep in danger as the heroine of the story, Deborah Harkness, is introduced. As she and her sister Gwen hide out with two young children, the only survivors of an attack on their small group of wagons that had splintered off from the main wagon train, the former Guardian of the trail is not far off.Deb is a strong, independent woman whose father took all of the credit, and p What a great start to what promises to be another enjoyable series from Mary Connealy! Within the first pages, we are knee deep in danger as the heroine of the story, Deborah Harkness, is introduced. As she and her sister Gwen hide out with two young children, the only survivors of an attack on their small group of wagons that had splintered off from the main wagon train, the former Guardian of the trail is not far off.Deb is a strong, independent woman whose father took all of the credit, and profit, from her hard work on the family newspaper, but is now determined that she and her sister will make it on their own. After delivering the children to their nearest relative, she intends to find work on a newspaper in San Francisco, putting to good use the skills she was forced to hone. But when Trace Riley comes to their rescue, and is determined to bring the attackers to justice, her heart is slowly helping her see another possible future.Having spent most of the last ten years alone with his horse, his wolf-dog, and a Bible and other books he salvaged from the wreckage of his father's wagon train, Trace is a bit at a loss when it comes to dealing with these women and children. Even with the help of his two ranch hands. And it is his innocence and sincerity, along with the way he often puts his foot in his mouth around Deb, that make him such an unwittingly charming character. That, and his instinctive abhorrence of diapers. As for Deb, it is her strength of will and also her willingness to change that endear her to the reader.But it isn't all barn-raisings and romance as the subjects of Trace's tracking efforts learn that Deb was a witness and turn their malice towards her while plotting to attack another group of travelers.Recommended if you enjoy Western historicals with action, adventure, romance, heroic cowboys and women with gumption, with a good bit of faith and humor mixed in…or if you just like the pretty cover because, if you haven't tried Mary Connealy yet, this is a fine novel to start with.This review refers to a finished copy I received through Bethany House's Blogger program. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Trisha Robertson (Joy of Reading)
    January 1, 1970
    Like a moth to the flame, I was drawn into this book from the cover. The adorable little girl, the rays of sunlight, and the cowboy, all work together along with the title to pull you and leave you wanting more. I had to know the story the lived within the pages of Mary Connealy's latest novel!Trace Riley has been guarding the wagon trail in the high Sierra's for many years. He's no stranger to the rugged wilderness. He knows what it takes to survive the harsh elements because he's more than jus Like a moth to the flame, I was drawn into this book from the cover. The adorable little girl, the rays of sunlight, and the cowboy, all work together along with the title to pull you and leave you wanting more. I had to know the story the lived within the pages of Mary Connealy's latest novel!Trace Riley has been guarding the wagon trail in the high Sierra's for many years. He's no stranger to the rugged wilderness. He knows what it takes to survive the harsh elements because he's more than just survived, he's flourished in these mountains.  If there was ever someone you wanted in your corner, it would be Trace Riley!Deborah, her sister, and two toddlers are the only survivors of a vicious wagon train attack. Rescued and offered shelter for the winter, will they still wish to leave when spring arrives? Will the criminals from the attack continue on their rampage, or will they be caught in time to prevent others from being harmed?I have long been a fan of Mary Connealy's writing, and this newest story didn't disappoint. The characters are realistic and engaging. You won't want to put this story down once you start reading it!  (I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)
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  • Jen.
    January 1, 1970
    The Accidental Guardian is the first book in Mary Connealy’s new series, High Sierra Sweethearts.I didn’t like this book as much as I was hoping I would.LIKES:* Trace, Adam and Utah – rancher/cowboy/mountain men that treat women with respect and appreciation and bend over backwards to see to their comfort* Trace’s social awkwardness* There’s a scene where everyone is searching for paper and a pencil that I found especially interesting* Deb and Gwen’s enthusiasm when they discover the provisions The Accidental Guardian is the first book in Mary Connealy’s new series, High Sierra Sweethearts.I didn’t like this book as much as I was hoping I would.LIKES:* Trace, Adam and Utah – rancher/cowboy/mountain men that treat women with respect and appreciation and bend over backwards to see to their comfort* Trace’s social awkwardness* There’s a scene where everyone is searching for paper and a pencil that I found especially interesting* Deb and Gwen’s enthusiasm when they discover the provisions at Trace’s compound* The setting and time period* The absolutely stunning coverDISLIKES:* While the violence is described in a factual manner and not a graphic manner, the thoughts and actions are still present and I did not enjoy them.* I did not care for many aspects of the romance.IN SUMMARY:Some of this story was good. Some of it was not. This book ends with a mild cliffhanger as the perfect lead in to the next story, The Reluctant Warrior, due out October 2, 2018.I received a complimentary copy of The Accidental Guardian from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions stated are all my own.
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  • Andi
    January 1, 1970
    My Thoughts:This is a great first book to a new series. There aren't as many laugh out loud moments that I have come to know in a Mary Connealy novel. I love books with kids in them and there is an adorable little girl in the book who assists in creating some cute moments. Trace Riley is a perfect hero, and the cast of characters that Ms. Connealy adds to the story round it out well.My Bottom Line:This latest book by Mary Connealy is a sweet and lighthearted read. It sets up the next book in the My Thoughts:This is a great first book to a new series. There aren't as many laugh out loud moments that I have come to know in a Mary Connealy novel. I love books with kids in them and there is an adorable little girl in the book who assists in creating some cute moments. Trace Riley is a perfect hero, and the cast of characters that Ms. Connealy adds to the story round it out well.My Bottom Line:This latest book by Mary Connealy is a sweet and lighthearted read. It sets up the next book in the series perfectly. The characters are real and engaging. I found myself thinking about them long after I closed the book.
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  • Joelle
    January 1, 1970
    So I got a third of the way through this and was bored. The characters were not engaging at all. I caught myself in a few eye rolls at how lame their feelings were. I think with better writing it would have been more interesting, but as it is I skipped to the predictable end to satisfy my curiosity and decided it was a waste of time to continue.
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  • Trixi
    January 1, 1970
    Take a man who survived to make his living on the Sierra Nevada range, two women & two small children who escaped a wagon train massacre, mix them up and you have an adventurous tale of epic proportions! Connealy’s imagination runs as wild as the mountainous terrain that Trace has made his home in this story. “I’m going to change, Gwen. I am. The West is different than where we came from. It’s a land that demands strength of people. A land that tests courage. One would think after the many Take a man who survived to make his living on the Sierra Nevada range, two women & two small children who escaped a wagon train massacre, mix them up and you have an adventurous tale of epic proportions! Connealy’s imagination runs as wild as the mountainous terrain that Trace has made his home in this story. “I’m going to change, Gwen. I am. The West is different than where we came from. It’s a land that demands strength of people. A land that tests courage. One would think after the many years Trace lived here that he was a rugged, rough mountain man with ill manners, but just the opposite is true. Once he encounters Deb and her sister Gwen and the two children after the massacre, he sets out to do what’s right by them. Pushing for home and shelter, he’s made it a lifelong vow to bring the men responsible to justice. A true hero in every sense of the word. Protective, defender of the weak, tender when needed but just as tough when situation calls for it, and he don’t take no guff. Deb was one character that surprised me! She was tough and had what it takes to survive with plenty of backbone and hard-working attitude to get by; she bucked up and did what had doing. These two definitely had plenty of sparks and banter between them! Fun to watch from the sidelines. “And…well, I can’t be kissing a man. That’s a good way to get tangled up….in forever.” Deb: “But men and women not understanding each other is a mighty common thing I’d say.” Trace: “It’s a wonder they don’t do a better job of avoiding each other.” One word description: Un-putdownable (if only real life didn’t interrupt)! I can’t say I’ve never met a book I didn’t like, nor a hero I didn’t fall in love with written by this author. Western adventure stories are her specialty! I know I’ll find a laugh or three, strong characters, a little faith mixed in, and romance brewing. This one also had a few heart-in-my-throat scenes when danger edged a little too close for comfort, and plenty of action to keep it going. She had me wanting more; but that’s just a common thing with a Connealy tale! I’m already anticipating the next novel, it can't come soon enough for me.*I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House via Netgalley and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *
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  • Hallie Szott
    January 1, 1970
    This review is also posted on Book by Book.3.5Mary Connealy’s new series, High Sierra Sweethearts, starts with a bang when Deborah Harkness, her sister, and two charges end up stranded in the middle of nowhere, the rest of their wagon train massacred and burned. Trace Riley comes to the rescue, thankfully, and the story that follows is full of entertaining, sweet, and dangerous moments as they all figure out what to do next. From Trace and his men to Deb, Gwen, and the children, the main charact This review is also posted on Book by Book.3.5Mary Connealy’s new series, High Sierra Sweethearts, starts with a bang when Deborah Harkness, her sister, and two charges end up stranded in the middle of nowhere, the rest of their wagon train massacred and burned. Trace Riley comes to the rescue, thankfully, and the story that follows is full of entertaining, sweet, and dangerous moments as they all figure out what to do next. From Trace and his men to Deb, Gwen, and the children, the main characters are all likeable (and the bad guys equally hateable). The more I discovered the struggles that Trace and Deb have, as well as their reliance on faith through it all, the more relatable they, especially, became. Though they do have a few conversations that feel repetitive and express a few worries that only get vague closure, I enjoyed reading through the ups and downs of their story. The Accidental Guardian is a fun Western adventure and romance. Readers looking for an inspirational and entertaining read, add this book to your TBR list. Thanks to JustRead Tours, I received a complimentary copy of The Accidental Guardian and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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  • Stacey
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars...This book has all the things I love about a Mary Connealy western. Well, it may not have as much female sass that I love in some of her older books, but I am still in love with these new characters and storyline. But let me mention this cover. So different from Connealy's previous covers...and I love it! A great capture of this story and hopefully of what's to come. I'm going to get a little giddy for a moment. I basically read this book in less than 24 hours. I couldn't put it down! 4.5 stars...This book has all the things I love about a Mary Connealy western. Well, it may not have as much female sass that I love in some of her older books, but I am still in love with these new characters and storyline. But let me mention this cover. So different from Connealy's previous covers...and I love it! A great capture of this story and hopefully of what's to come. I'm going to get a little giddy for a moment. I basically read this book in less than 24 hours. I couldn't put it down! I have been reading this author's books for so long now, some of which I've reread because I loved them so much. Connealy knows how to amp up the romantic tension in a way that keeps it clean but fun. In The Accidental Guardian, the character I loved most was Trace. His vulnerability just leapt off the page, yet he had a complexity that gave him room to grow through the story. The story begins when Trace picked up Deb, her sister, and the children they were protecting and took them in after their wagon train was attacked. Deb was the heroine in this story, showing courage in the midst of hardship and heartache. She wasn't the gun slinging, sassy female that I tend to lean towards, but her perseverance, and quiet strength really complemented Trace's character. This novel is obviously the beginning of a new series, so don't be too disappointed if it leaves you wanting more at the end. I can't wait to read what is going to happen next! I would definitely recommend this book. Personal takeaway...God can redeem any person or situation. If we put it all in His hands, He is the true Guardian of our hearts and lives.**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley so that I could share my personal opinions. I was not required to give a positive review.**
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  • Molly Cafinated Reads Jaber
    January 1, 1970
    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 siste 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.*
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