I absolutely adored the first two books in Mary Connealy’s Wild at Heart trilogy, and was anxiously looking forward to the third. Fire & Ice, which features the oldest of the Wilde sisters, definitely did not disappoint.
Bailey, like her younger sisters, served as a boy in the Civil War. Unlike her sisters, she was unable to escape the fighting. Her experiences led her to embrace homesteading and cattle ranching, at which she excels, and letting everyone outside her family assume she is a man. Of course, as was the case with Kylie & Shannon, one good look at her reveals the lie.
“They didn’t have a sheepskin diploma fancy enough for the hard schooling she’d earned fighting in the war.” (pg. 75)
Gage Coulter, the cold and arrogant rancher who was after Kylie and Shannon’s properties in the first two books, has discovered that Bailey’s property blocks access to his property in a canyon. He is determined to get his cattle past Kylie and Shannon’s “brother” to the fresh grazing found in the canyon before winter, and he won’t let anything stop him. Not even the discovery that Bailey is a surprisingly attractive woman, despite her closely cut hair and penchant for wearing trousers.
“It was like a squirrel banging around inside his head, trying to claw its way out. Love? Bailey Wilde?” (pg. 276)
I thought I had a good idea of what would happen in this story. I had some minor theories about things such as the trauma that Bailey experienced during the war. I’m happy to say that I was right in some respects, such as Gage being the love interest, but not others. That Bailey and Gage would have an adversarial relationship was a given, based on what I knew of them from the prior books. Also a given was that they would end up married, but the author managed to surprise me with the way in which it comes about. She also surprised me with the way she expanded the characters of Bailey and Gage, both of whom were not always sympathetic characters in the previous stories.
The first two books were heavy on action and quite humorous. While we again have an unknown threat as well as plenty of action and humor in Fire & Ice, it did have a more sedate feel to it. I think of Tried and True (review) as a rom-com, Now & Forever (review) as an action movie with romance, and Fire & Ice as a western drama with humor, though none of these descriptions fully encompass what these novels are. At its heart, Fire & Ice is the story of two people, damaged by war and by family, who rely on God and slowly learn to rely on each other in their difficulties.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romance, inspirational fiction, and a story that is amusing, exciting and heartwarming. I also recommend reading the three books in order for maximum enjoyment. 4/5 stars.
Fire & Ice by Mary Connealy | Bethany House Publishing | October 6, 2015 | 330pgs
I received a free review copy through the Bethany House Blogger Review Program, in exchange for an honest review.