Book Review: Tried and True by Mary Connealy

In September 2014, Bethany House published Tried and True, the first of Mary Connealy’s new series “Wild at Heart.”  I read and loved it, and pinned it on my “” Pinterest board, where it has become my most repinned book pin. I was so anxious to get my hands on the second book, Now and Forever, that I could not wait for it to be published and requested a review e-book copy as soon as it was listed on Net Galley.  I’m happily in the midst of reading it and will be posting a review shortly.  Meanwhile, the following is my review of book #1, as previously posted on GoodReads and Booklikes:

Bethany House: Tried & True by Mary Connealy

Kylie Wilde is reluctantly homesteading and needs to keep up the ruse that she is male, after serving two years as a soldier in the Civil War. If she can make it through three years in the West, she’ll be able to return to “civilization,” wear pretty dresses and go to tea. Though her sisters continue to dress as men to work their homesteads, Kylie wears dresses whenever she is alone. Aaron Masterson also served as a Union soldier, and is now working as a land agent, verifying claims and dreaming of moving farther west where he can be free of so-called civilization. One look into Kylie’s eyes and he is smitten, but can he help her keep her claim honestly?

Kylie is an endearing character, she isn’t as competent as her sisters and really doesn’t enjoy the masquerade of being male, or the male chores that a solo homestead requires of her. Aaron makes her feel feminine, stepping in to take care of any danger. But can she give up her dream of returning east, and can he let himself pursue a woman who has no interest in moving further west? And why is there a voice Kylie hears whispering her name?

Tried & True is a light Christian romance with believable tensions and dangerous situations. The romance is understated and sweet, with a touch of passion. Having Aaron stop his mind from wandering into areas he felt inappropriate was a wonderful touch, and made me like him more and more. I enjoyed the sympathetic portrayal of a wide variety of characters, including a wonderful Shoshone character, Sunrise. As each of the Wilde sisters and other pivotal characters were introduced, so was the desire for the sequels to be out as quickly as possible. Before even reading the preview of the 2nd Wild at Heart Book, Now and Forever, I had paired Shannon and Bailey off. I hate having to wait for sequels, but if Tried & True is an indication of what to expect from Mary Connealy, they will be worth the wait.

Definitely a recommended book for those who enjoy a clean, amusing and charming western romance. 3.5 stars, partially for shear enjoyment.

This review refers to a free copy received courtesy of Bethany House Publishers through the GoodReads First Reads program.