Hear me on this: Nobody writes historical romance with humor like Mary Connealy!! How do I know? Because I read A LOT and few authors are able to set my fingers atingle at the mere touch of their books like Ms. Connealy. Why you may ask? Because this woman is supremely capable of making me laugh, swoon and palpitateâ€”and that's just on the first page! From there it's a high-speed chase with horses and buggies through a plot as wild as a bucking bronc and a love story just as crazy and fun. Which means on a sigh-worthy scale of one to ten, a Connealy love story is usually a twenty.
Who knows, maybe a twenty-five for her latest series entitled "Sophie's Daughters," which captures the romantic pursuits of the grownup McClellen daughters from another Connealy classic, Petticoat Ranch. It's hard to say which of the three books in this series is the bestâ€”Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats or Sharpshooter in Petticoatsâ€” because this is clearly Connealy's pinnacle work so far, in my humble opinion, and trust me on thisâ€”the woman just gets better and better! So if you like lots of laughs, thrills and _ ahem _ gentle passion in your romance, pick up some petticoats and "slip" into a great time!
Beth McClellan's little sister, Sally, has grown up a lot since the debut title in the Sophie's Daughters series and is about to have a romantic adventure of her own. After her party is attacked on their journey to visit Mandy, another McClellan sister, Sally finds herself the sole survivor of the brutal ambush. Sally is fortunate enough to be rescued by Logan McKenzie, an artist who lives in the wild mountains of Montana. She's nursed back to health by Logan and his Indian housekeeper, Wise Sister, and finds herself challenged by the idea of a man who makes his living through art, not hard labour. Wary of unconventional men after Mandy's marriage to gold-miner Sidney brought her nothing but trouble, Sally tries to ignore the feelings she has for kind, considerate Logan. But once they find themselves on the run from the men who killed the rest of Sally's travelling party, Sally can't help but see admirable traits in the man who sets out to protect her. Could she really spend the rest of her life with a sensitive man who prefers painting to hunting? Maybe he's the perfect match for a woman who carries a gun and refuses to ride side-saddle...
Mary Connealy is fast becoming one of my favourite historical novelists. Her romances are full of feisty heroines, excellent one-liners and lots of action. While I didn't warm up to Sally as much as I did Beth, this was still a very enjoyable read.
Sally is probably the most unconventional woman you'll find in a romance set in Montana in 1882: she wears trousers, doesn't ride side-saddle and is a better shot that most of the men in her hometown in Texas. If you thought a female doctor was an unusual character in Doctor in Petticoats, I'm sure you'd admit that a female wrangler is not the norm either. I found Sally to be a bit more stubborn than Beth, but maybe this is because her story wasn't quite as comic as Beth's. With Doctor in Petticoats, I found myself drawn into the story by Beth's sarcasm and wittiness, whereas Sally was quite arrogant and immature in her demands for Logan and Wise Sister to leave her alone and let her make her way to Mandy's. Of course, this can probably be attributed to her youth, as she is a lot younger than Beth. She became a more endearing character as the plot progressed, and I came to realise that her dismissal of Logan stemmed from her fear of ending up in an unhappy marriage like Mandy. Despite her lack of conventionality, Sally worries and frets over the biggest decision any romantic heroine will make - who shall I marry?
Other than Sally's stubbornness, my only other complaint would have to be that the romance is slow to develop. I was more than halfway through the book before I really felt that Sally and Logan became interested in each other, and while I appreciated the time that the author gave the characters to develop independently, I felt that the romance suddenly escalated at this point and felt a bit rushed. Of course, I was very happy with the outcome, but the development of their relationship did feel like it was compressed into the latter half of the novel, which wasn't ideal. For this reason, I'd have to say that I preferred the first novel in the series, although this wouldn't in any way put me off reading the last book, which focuses on Mandy's story.
During the second instalment in the Sophie's Daughters series Sally McClellan comes to learn a lot about herself and her thoughts on love and marriage with the help of the sensitive artist who becomes her rescuer. Fans of Mary Connealy and wild west romances won't be disappointed by this novel, and it's sure to make your heart pound and put a smile on your face. 8/10
Many thanks to NetGalley and Barbour for providing a copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Review: Wrangler in Petticoats - Sophie's Daughters Book #2- Mary Connealy- Oct 2010
In Book #1 we saw Sally's sister Mandy get married to Sidney and move out far into the world of isolation now in Wrangler in Petticoats , Mandy is about to have her third child in three years - that's three children all under the age of three "wow". Sally, being the dutiful sister begs her Ma and Pa to let her ride to see Mandy and stay with her during the birth and help out afterwards. They are not keen for Sally to go alone , so when they hear that a group is heading towards Mandy's way, Sally joins their tour group. All goes well until tragedy strikes and the group is bombarded by outlaws , with a bang,bang, bang- all of the group is left for dead and Sally clinging on her last breath. In comes our hero of the novel , Artist and Cowboy Logan Mackenzie, he finds Sally and takes her back to the American Indian Camp where he is staying to "Wise Woman" who is a doctor of sorts . Here at the camp, Sally and Logan connect though of course Sally's mind is only on one thing to get back on track and hurry to Mandy before it's too late . Will Sally reach Mandy in time for the baby to be born or will she arrive just in time ? As like most Christian Westerns , we start to see romantic sparks fly even stronger between Sally and Logan and when he proposes will Sally accept or will the relationship between her sister Mandy and husband Sidney cloud her judgement and ruin the opportunity for her to be happy?
Find out what happens with Sally and Logan in Mary Connealy's Book #2 Wrangler in Petticoats.