School is out. The pool is calling. And it’s time to break out your summer reading material! Add to that pile The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy–her first book in the High Sierra Sweethearts series.
Connealy takes her readers back to the Wild West, a time when most of America was still untamed, and the law of the land depended on whoever happened to come along at the time. For Trace Riley, the West has been a cruel and lonely place, one that needs his protection from the men who would slaughter innocent families set to make their way to a new land. In fact, Trace has become known as the Guardian, with many people believing that he is actually a ghost instead of a man.
When Deborah Harkness and her sister, Gwen, wander away from their wagon train to help the two children they are helping to care for, they suddenly hear shots from their camp. Deb sneaks back to witness the horror of the entire camp being slaughtered. As the only witness left alive, Deb now finds herself in danger and in need of finding shelter for her sister and the children. When Trace stumbles upon them on the trail, he suddenly finds himself as “the accidental guardian.”
As Trace allows this crew to take over his living quarters, he begins to realize how lonely it is out in the Wild West, even with the rough group of men he has working for him. Predictably, he falls in love with one of the women and sets about marrying her.
But Trace won’t be able to rest until he finds the men who are set to slaughter all the wagon trains that roll through the area. With Deb’s help, Trace seeks justice on the murderers and learns to find love in the wilderness.
While this is a very predictable story, I think it is well-written and a good summer read. The characters are well-developed and enjoyable, and Connealy does a great job of portraying the loneliness, wildness, and desperation of untamed America.
*I was given this book in exchange for my honest review by Bethany House Publishers.