If you’ve read my book reviews, you’ll know I’m a fan of Mary Connealy. In a recent interview, I was asked who my favorite authors were. No brainer: Mary Connealy was one of them. I’ve read nearly everything she’s published.
The Accidental Guardian is her most recent, the first in the High Sierra Sweethearts series. In this story, Trace Riley has been on his own since he was a boy, the lone survivor of a wagon train massacre…but not by Indians. He’s become an unofficial “guardian” of the trails, keeping watch over the trains. But he doesn’t always get there in time. He comes upon another massacre that “looks” like the work of Indians, but he sees it’s the same bunch that attacked the train he was on when he was a boy.
Deborah Harkness is traveling with her sister out to California when her wagon train is viciously attacked. By “chance,” she, her sister Gwen, and two small children survive the attack because they were a short distance away when the attack occurred.
It’s a good story. I’m not sure it’s one of her absolute best. I wasn’t moved by the story as much as I have been by others. I see small similarities between this story and others she’s written. Trace is a bit “wild” because he’s been alone so much. That reminded me of Seth Kincade. Deborah is a strong woman—like most of Mary’s women are. She didn’t remind me of any one particular character, but she is likeable.
There is a grizzly bear, a kidnapping, and romance (a touch) as the two main characters find their way to each other.
This story is the first part of a three-part serial. I would define a “series” like a television series. Stand alone stories with the same characters. Whereas serials are like soap operas, the next one picks up where the other left off. Hence the serial. Because, you’re left hanging. Two characters are introduced at the end of the book that will affect the children we met at the beginning of the book.
Where it will go from here, only Mary knows. I received this book from the publisher in expectation of a review. I give this story four stars. It’s good, but it didn’t blow me away like others have.