“Marshaling Her Heart” by Mary Connealy was the first book I read by this author, and it was quite an adventure. The story is set in the Wild West, filled with romance, excitement, and some nail-biting moments.
The main characters are Becky, a strong-willed ranch owner, and Nate, a former U.S. Marshal. When Nate suggests that Becky’s ranch could be a good hideout for a group of marshals who are chasing a dangerous gang, it kicks off a captivating romance.
What I loved most about this book were the characters. Becky is a determined and independent woman who’s had a tough life, and Nate is a classic hero. Their growing attraction and the challenges they face make for a heartwarming love story.
There’s also a looming threat from the Deadeye Gang, which adds a thrilling element to the story. As the danger gets closer, Becky and Nate have to make tough choices that test their relationship.
Mary Connealy’s writing is vivid and descriptive. She paints a clear picture of the tough timeframe and the characters’ emotions. It’s easy to get lost in the story because of her skillful storytelling.
While the plot is predictable at times, the charm of the characters and the setting more than make up for it.
“Marshaling Her Heart” is a well-written historical romance. I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author and was not required to write a positive review.
Marshaling Her Heart is on Tour with Celebrate Lit.
Author: Mary Connealy
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: October 17, 2023
Will their lives and romance survive the trouble coming their way?
Becky Pruitt has always prided herself on knowing everything that’s happening on her successful ranch, so an unexpected admission from her foreman, Nate Paxton, comes as quite a surprise. With the notorious Deadeye Gang on the loose, Nate–a former U.S. Marshal–believes Becky’s ranch is the best spot for a group of Marshals to use as a base to hunt them down.
The timing couldn’t be more crucial for the town of Pine Valley, and Becky feels obligated to help. But after escaping the grasp of her harsh father, she’s never liked giving up control, of her life or her ranch. If there’s anyone she can trust with her ranch, and her heart, it might be Nate. But the outlaws won’t go away quietly, and as danger draws ever nearer, Becky and Nate are faced with impossible choices that will test their growing bond.
Mary Connealy (maryconnealy.com) writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has sold more than 1.5 million books and is the author of the popular series Wyoming Sunrise, The Lumber Baron’s Daughters, Brothers in Arms, Brides of Hope Mountain, High Sierra Sweethearts, The Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.
More from Mary
Becky Pruitt has a problem. Her ranch is being invaded by good guys.
Becky wants the Deadeye Gang caught and thrown in jail as much as anyone, but the lawmen asking her to hire them on at her ranch aim to do their investigating while working undercover as cowhands. She runs a good ranch, however, and doesn’t like the idea of a bunch of low-skilled men making her look like she’s hired them foolishly.
Yet she goes along with it, suspicious and annoyed, because her foreman, Nate Paxton, a man she trusts, convinces her that these men are honorable. Then the three lawmen she hires, all of them U.S. Marshals, urge her to send every single one of her regular cowhands—except Nate, a former Marshal himself—off on a cattle drive.
Now she’s got Marshals cropping up everywhere. Her ranch isn’t being run in a way that suits her. She’s got trouble with her father, and an important speaker is coming to town to talk about women’s suffrage. So much is distracting her when all she really wants to do is make sure her herd is being tended properly.
Before long, Nate starts to question the behavior of the U.S. Marshals Service. They’re secretive to the point that they put him in jeopardy a few times before he decides to quit. Here he’d found a decent job on a top ranch, and he even shared a few special moments with his pretty, feisty boss that gave him ideas of how he’d like to change things around a little just so he could be with her. And then his brother, who’s still a U.S. Marshal, invades the ranch with a few fellow lawmen. Quite a few.
Meanwhile, the Deadeye Gang is more dangerous than ever. The woman coming to Pine Valley to speak is now at risk, which makes Becky frantic to protect her. The cattle aren’t being looked after like they ought to be. And yet Nate finds himself being drawn closer to Becky with each passing day. He’s determined to stand firmly between her and danger, but he’s got to keep up with her to do that. He soon discovers that nothing is easy when it comes to the hard-charging Becky Pruitt.
Wyoming Sunrise is a series I wrote in which I cast women as having nontraditional jobs: Forged in Love has a woman blacksmith, Laws of Attraction a woman justice of the peace, and Marshaling Her Heart a woman rancher. Those are all nontraditional for sure, but not really in my case personally. I must force myself not to make all my heroines feisty lady ranchers. It’s almost a reflex at this point. I fought that reflex as hard as I could, but I decided it would be okay to sneak one lady rancher into this series, and that’s Becky Pruitt. I slipped her into the western vernacular, the tough attitude, the riding skirts and boots and Stetsons—and I loved it.
Marshaling Her Heart is my first true lady rancher, and so I let loose and had fun with Becky. The foreman Nate recognizes intelligence and competence in his boss, and he’s smart enough to take orders from her because he knows those orders are the right way to run the ranch.
Add in the backdrops of the other books in the series, the vicious, stagecoach-robbing Deadeye Gang, the coming of the lady suffragist speaker to town, and you’ve got a story full of trouble, action, adventure, romance, and fun.
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