This tale takes place in 1869, shortly after the Civil War has ended, in the small town of Broken Wheel, Texas. Stuck Together is the story of Vince Yates and Tina Cahill. Tina was orphaned at an early age, and raised by a maiden aunt, Iphigenia, who made it clear she didn't want the responsibility of caring for a child. Iphigenia was stiff, set in her ways, and never showed Tina any affection or love. Because of her aunt's cold treatment, beautiful Tina believes she is unlovable. Suddenly, Iphigenia marries, and Tina finds the new uncle uncomfortable to live with. Impulsively, she sets out to find her older brother, Jonas, and live with him instead. The day Tina arrives in Broken Wheel, Vince is immediately smitten with her.
Vince Yates was raised with little love. His mother, Virginia Belle, came from a rich southern family, and, although kind, was distant. His mother's riches have been multiplied many times by his father, Julius, whose only love is money. Julius raised Vince with a heavy hand, and was cruel and intolerant.
Virginia Belle suffers from an early form of dementia, and most of the time, is confused about who she is, where she is, or the identity of those around her. Because of that, she must be watched constantly. Julius has no compassion for his wife, and his only feelings about her condition is that it is an embarrassment for him in society. Vince is concerned he will either inherit the dementia his mother suffers from, or become cruel like his father, so he vows never to marry. This becomes a difficult resolution to keep the longer he is around Tina.
Vince is a Civil War veteran who had survived the infamous Confederate Prisoner-of-War Camp, Andersonville Prison. Vince forged life-time friendships with Jonas Cahill, Dare Riker and Luke Stone while incarcerated there together. The four had become known as "The Regulators" as they worked with each other inside the prison to bring order to the miserable disease ridden Andersonville. After that ordeal, the men consider each other family. They all had settled in the Broken Wheel area after coming there to help Luke get back a ranch that was rightfully his.
The author uses humor while telling a story that includes the serious subjects of indifferent and hard-hearted parenting, and the difficulty an adult child experiences with the long-term caretaking of a sick parent. The story also includes kidnapping, a jail break, erratic and dangerous behavior as a result of alcohol, and conflict between American Indians and white settlers. In the midst of all this, romance blossoms.
This is the third book in the series, Trouble in Texas, and the story can stand on its own. I have read a number of the author's works, and have enjoyed all of them. She is an expert at interweaving many character's stories, and including humorous situations, too. Ms. Connealy's tales are always entertaining, interesting, and written from a Christian perspective. This book is no exception, and I recommend this 5-star book to anyone who enjoys tales of the Old West, romance, or clean fiction.
The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through Bethany House Publishing for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner. Despite my receiving the book free, it has not influenced my judgment, and I have given an honest opinion.
In Stuck Together by Mary Connealy, Tina Cahill is determined to get the town saloon to close, and though she spend much of her free time picketing the establishment, no one in the town seems to pay any attention to her. But Vince Yates notices Tina, and has for a long time. Then Vince's rathe shows up and leaves his mentally deteriorating mother and his sister, and Vince has more on his plate than he can handle. If he could just get past his fear that he might turn out like his parents, he might propose to Tina!
This book was just a fun, slightly humorous read! I liked Tina's character, and I thought her stubbornness was amusing. I thought the development of the romance between Tina and Vince was sweet, even though the characters were mostly confused about or trying to avoid their feelings through most of the book.
The story line flashes back and forth between Vince and Tina and Vince's friend, Luke. Since this is the third book in this series, I think I would understand and appreciate that part of the plot better if I had read the other two books first. Connealy makes several references to events that I assume occurred in the other two books, so if you were interested in reading this book, I might suggest picking up the first two books to fill in the gaps.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, especially the quirky, colorful characters. The plot was interesting enough, even though I hadn't read the other books before picking up this one. If you like light-hearted western romances, I'd say this might be one to check out.
Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for this review. This is my honest opinion.
Although this book is the third one of a series, it reads independently very well. By the time I finished Stuck Together, I knew enough about the back story of the supporting characters to realize I wanted to read their stories too. This author is new to me, but I enjoy her writing style enough that I look forward to finding the first two books in this series to catch up.
The reader opens up chapter one and jumps in with both feet into a hilarious account of a skirmish outside the town's saloon. The account may just make you reminisce about a Laurel and Hardy comedy routine. And to think it was all started by the diminutive Tina as she picketed outside the bar in protest of the liquor sold there. From that point on, the pace does not slacken as we read about the little town of Broken Wheel, Texas.
When circumstances kept throwing Vince Yates and Tina Cahill together, both silently fought their demons to keep an emotional distance. But it seemed God had other plans for them.
I thoroughly enjoyed the humorous undertones all throughout the book. The author used it to bring balance to some of the serious issues Vince and Tina had to deal with. One moment we are laughing over some witty conversation, while the next Vince is feeling the pain of a mother who had forgotten who he was.
Besides the humor, there are other things I liked about this
story. First, I enjoy a good historical fiction that's set in the old west. It affords the reader a good adventure tale, with plenty of action, conflict and resolution. The author uses these conflicts to demonstrate character traits that the reader can appreciate, such as courage, initiative, intelligence, problem solving, kindness, and determination. And the circumstances also serve to improve a person's inner character as they work their way through their problems. This is true in Vince's case, since he needed to resolve within himself just who he was in God's eyes.
In addition to adventure and action, this is a good clean
romance without the foul language we sometimes see in
romances today. The men are rugged but decent. The women are hard working individuals who are not shy about pitching in, yet refined enough to be feminine. The few children in the story were not holy terrors. As unrealistic as some may think this is, it is written well and feels just right. I highly recommend this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House Publisher's review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Stuck Together is the third book in the Trouble in Texas series. I have enjoyed all three books in this series, and particularly like that all of the characters from each previous book are present in the later books. That being said, I believe that this book is best read as part of the trilogy. These books really build on one another and make much more sense if you know the full story.
Stuck Together was probably the slowest going of the three books for me - at first. I had trouble getting into the story for awhile. And, honestly, for the first third of the book, I did not like the heroine, Tina Cahill. I think that is what slowed my reading down. Because when I don't care for the character, it doesn't matter much to me what happens to them. But, knowing that I usually really enjoy this author's writing, I kept reading, and I am very glad I did.
I am pleased to say that the author was able to turn around my opinion of Tina Cahill. Now, she won't ever be my favorite character, but my opinion of her was dramatically improved as I continued reading. I think part of that was getting to see her through Vince's eyes, and I really liked Vince! What a heart that guy has! He had some major trials in his life and didn't hold much hope for his future. Seeing him learn to accept the past and find hope in his future was great.
Once I accepted Tina for who she was and really dived into the story, the book just took off for me and became a very enjoyable and fast read. There is a lot of sweet romance in this story, a gentle and thought-provoking issue with Vince's mother, and plenty of western-style shootin'! I loved the epilogue at the end of the book. It tied everything up with a pretty little bow.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
This was a fantastic book! I absolutely love Mary Connealy. Her stories are always entertaining and the dialogue is always hilarious. This story is no exception. There were several laugh out loud moments that I truly appreciated.
I also enjoyed getting to keep up with the other characters from Swept Away and Fired Up. Luke, Ruthie, Glynna, Dare, and Jonas make excellent secondary characters that keep the story flowing swiftly. Vince and Tina are my favorite couple because it took them the longest to realize their love for each other! Their characters had to go through some pretty difficult obstacles, that I also appreciated.
The message of the story is clear: put your trust in the Lord and let go of your fear. He will not lead you where His grace won't keep you. I loved that Vince had to learn to let go of the fear of his past and future because he realized it was defining his life and his relationships. I loved that Tina had to realize that her fear of being unlovable made her who she was and it was great to see her let it go.
Overall, this was satisfying conclusion to the Trouble in Texas series and I look forward to reading more by this incredible author!
*Thank you, Bethany House, for providing me with a free copy of this book via the Bethany House Blogger program in exchange for my honest review.*