The Accidental Guardian is the first book in the new High Sierra Sweethearts series by Mary Connealy. The story takes place near Lake Tahoe, Nevada in 1867. This story combines my favorite topics, building America, men who take responsibility for those they love, all with suspense and a touch of romance.
Trace Riley was away on a hunt when his wagon train was attacked. At the age of 15 he was left all alone to survive. Years later he is on his way home from his first cattle drive when he comes upon a small wagon train that was hit the same way his was. What he does not expect to find is Deborah Harkness and her younger sister with 2 small children who survived. With no place for the new survivors to go, until they can travel in the spring, he takes them to his ranch. He gives them the less than perfect house to sleep in and the men sleep in the barn. With a lot of quick, hard work, his ranch hands put up a proper home as well as a bunk house. The women take on the responsibility of meals, laundry, and mending for the men.
Trace watches over the wagon trains for disaster. When he goes to talk with settlements to find those responsible, Deborah insists on going along. She is the only one who saw who the attackers were. One of the attackers is in the town and overhears the conversation with the sheriff and now Deborah and Trace are being hunted.
I loved this story! I look forward to the rest of this series to see who the next two sweethearts are. The things that stand out in this story to me are the way men treat the women, “Most men in the West treated women with almost reverent respect. There were just too few women. They were rare and precious and to be protected above all.” We also see how Deborah’s father has shaped her life and her thoughts of men. And we see how dedicated the ranch hands are to Trace and build up his ranch. This is a must read for anyone who likes historical fiction based in the United States.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House, this is my honest review.
Series: High Sierra Sweethearts (Book 1)
To learn more about the author and the other books she has written go to: http://maryconnealy.com/
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