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The Accidental Guardian

(High Sierra Sweethearts #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  3,286 ratings  ·  320 reviews
She's the only witness to a wagon train attack. Keeping her safe, though, means his world is about to be turned upside down.

When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes an attack by the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he's finally carved out a home and started a herd--while servi
Paperback, 293 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Bethany House Publishers
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Terrie's Just Another Book B*tch

My first novel by this author and I found it to be a sweet and easy read. It carries an innocence about it that would make any grandmother smile. Not by first Christian romance. But it has been years since I’ve read one...

I found The Accidental Guardian to be a simple and uplifting read perfect if you're coming off of a heavy book and need some sweet simplicity in your life.

Trace is our brave western hero with morals and a gentleness about h
Kellyn Roth
FTC Disclosure: I received this book from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to provide a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

Title: The Accidental Guardian

Author: Mary Connealy

Series: High Sierra Sweethearts, #1

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Era: 1800s

Setting: American West

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Source: received from Bethany House Publishers

Overall Rating: 3/5 stars

The best way to describe this novel: Whoa, that was fast!

I’m still not 100% sure about the rating, e
Sarah Grace Grzy
Jun 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
What on earth did I just read? Rtc
4.5 stars
While this story is a bit different from a normal Mary Connealy book—less humor, more reflective hero—I really enjoyed it. Trace's hesitation with women was endearing and it was cute to see him decide pretty fast that being around Deb was something he needed to keep in his future. There are a number of threads left hanging for the next book in the series, so I'm now eagerly awaiting book two!
Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
I love Mary Connealy's writing style! I was immediately drawn into the story and it was nonstop from there. I loved the characters- strong Deb with her determination to take the burdens from others, motherly Gwen who nurtured everyone around her, Trace's protective nature and curiosity, and the cowhands at his ranch who would do anything for the ladies and children. The pace of the book was steady, with plenty of action and adventure as Trace and Deb race against a swiftly approaching winter to ...more
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes nothing else will do but a Mary Connealy Western. Her subtle humour crops up in the most unexpected places and I love that! It can be in the midst of dangerous action or a quiet reflective moment or even a tender romantic one and suddenly I find myself laughing out loud. Makes reading a Connealy a real if there isn't enough of that in her stories already!

From the heart-in-throat opening scene to the domestic chaos of the last chapter, The Accidental Guardian kept me turn
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5 stars, apparently.

I'm back-reviewing.

This book was pretty "meh" for me. I really thought about not finishing it, actually, but I was close enough to the end that I went ahead. The ending actually turned out to be the best part of the book, so that's what tacked on enough to make 2.5 and get it that third star ticked.

I just couldn't connect with these characters whatsoever! I just never learned much about them, I guess. I felt like Deb & Gwen's backstory just didn't really match up or "place"
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Really liked it. Except for that part. 😬
I loved how this was a fun interesting book and gave the first 1/2 five stars. The last half though, got 2-3ish. Yuck. I do not need those details, it made me way too uncomfortable.
-Ending was too rushed and Deb and Trace hit hard really fast and it all went by in a blur
-Some sexual content I didn’t feel necessary. ;)

So overall. 3 stars.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was good. It didn't have me giggling like some of her others. And I didn't quite connect with the characters the way that I did in some of her previous books, but I still enjoyed it. It was a pretty quick read overall.

May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this first novel in the beginning of a new series. The characters were likable and I appreciated their honesty toward each other. Deb and Trace opened up about themselves and their backgrounds as they got to know each other. I enjoyed their interactions and the sweet nature of their growing attraction and relationship.

This book very definitely sets the reader up to jump right into the next book in the series by the events that occur at the end of the book. It was not a cliffhanger. It
“The Accidental Guardian” is the first book in Mary Connealy’s newest series, High Sierra Sweethearts. This was the first book I have read by this author so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. It sounded like a really good book though. I ended up enjoying it quite a bit! The romance moved a little faster then I would’ve thought, but it was still a good book. It was a sweet story and it also had some funny parts as well as some suspenseful parts. Everything wasn’t all wrapped up in the end of t ...more
Alysha (For The Love of Christian Fiction)
When I found out this book was releasing this year I got so excited! I have enjoyed Mary's work for years and was anxiously waiting to get my hands on this. That being said this was not my favorite by her.

I loved the idea for this book. Wagon train attacks, cowboys on noble steeds, and ruthless outlaws. What could be better?!

Sadly the execution fell short for me. The story felt like it could've been a novella instead of full length. There was quite a bit of repetition and it all kind of felt u
100 Pages per Hour
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book reminded me a little bit more of some of Connealy's older books as far as the storyline went but it also was very fresh and I loved it.

One thing I've always loved about Connealy's books - and this one in particular - is that she doesn't waste any time getting into her story. I loved the action just a few pages in and even more that the action didn't stop! It didn't take me long to admire both Deb and Gwen. I found myself relating to Gwen as it came to the children in the book, but more
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Deborah Harkness and her younger sister, Gwen join a wagon train going west. They are caregivers for two small children whose family is travelling to California to join relatives. Unfortunately, the wagon train is attacked by ruthless criminals. Deborah, Gwen and the children are the only survivors. Rancher Trace Riley happens upon the burning wagons and takes the women and children to his ranch. He's determined to find the men who murdered all those people and protect the survivors. Little does ...more
Anna's Herding Cats
4 stars, 1 heat

I could not resist the cover for The Accidental Guardian. It drew me right in and the story did just the same.

The Gist: Our hunky loner hero has suddenly found himself caring for two young women and two little kids after rescuing them from a wagon train ambush that killed the rest of their party. Now to get them safe and secure then hunt down the "men" responsible.

Trace and Deb were good people. He's spent most of his life alone in the woods fighting for survival after surviving
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Deborah saved her younger sister and two toddlers from an attack on their wagon train. Trace becomes their accidental guardian when he finds them and offers them shelter. He had a bachelor life and never expected women and children to be in it. Deborah and Trace grow closer as they try to bring justice to the men attacking wagon trains realizing that as it gets closer to spring when Deborah can leave.
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it
The thing I like about Mary Connealy is how easy her books are to read. The characters are very realistic and relatable. They feel authentic. That’s something I often struggle with in books. Sometimes I read and I think that the situation could never happen in real life. That doesn’t happen in The Accidental Guardian. Deborah and Trace feel like real people who I had the pleasure of being introduced to.

This book is humorous at times, sad at others. I feel like this author found the perfect balan
Tiffany Marin

When Trace Riley finds the smoldering remains of a small wagon train, he quickly recognizes the signs that show that the group responsible for the attack is the same group that left him the sole survivor of a similar attack years ago. Fueled by his anger towards the attackers and a strong desire to see them
Hallie Szott
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-for-review
This review is also posted on Book by Book.


Mary Connealy’s new series, High Sierra Sweethearts, starts with a bang when Deborah Harkness, her sister, and two charges end up stranded in the middle of nowhere, the rest of their wagon train massacred and burned. Trace Riley comes to the rescue, thankfully, and the story that follows is full of entertaining, sweet, and dangerous moments as they all figure out what to do next.

From Trace and his men to Deb, Gwen, and the children, the main charact
Susan Snodgrass
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
'When the good Lord put a burden on his heart, he listened.'

I have been a Mary Connealy fan for many years. Her cowboy comedies have had me rolling in laughter. This time, she still had her wit, but it's not a huge part of the book. The story is wonderful. I was invested since the first page, in fact.

Trace Riley has been the self appointed guardian of the trail in the High Sierras, watching out for families beset upon by dangerous sidewinders intent on stealing everything they brought east with
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What do you get when you have two children, two women, and three men? The Accidental Guaradian!

Deborah and her sister join a wagon train headed West, which experiences trouble and only four survive. Trace, headed home from a cattle drive on his favorite horse, comes along at the right time to help the two women and two children. The closest shelter is Trace's home, also known as a one room cabin, where two other men work alongside him.

How will Trace get them out of the cold and save them? Wher
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
So I got a third of the way through this and was bored. The characters were not engaging at all. I caught myself in a few eye rolls at how lame their feelings were. I think with better writing it would have been more interesting, but as it is I skipped to the predictable end to satisfy my curiosity and decided it was a waste of time to continue.
Amber Delaina
May 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical
First off, can we talk about how amazing this cover is? It has to be one of my favorite historical book covers. The little girl, sunset, mountains, and lake made me fall in LOVE with this cover!!

Now that I got that out, lets move on to the review.

I was so excited to read this story when I found out it was about a wagon train. I find the whole wagon train topic interesting. I know it’s just a bunch of wagons traveling across the country, but it’s interesting… to me at least. While wagon trains a
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mary is at her best in this series! There is some humor in the book but just at the right places!
I love reading about wagon trains and wishing that I could travel back in time to experience that.
When I took a trip out West, I stopped by the Kansas Historical museum and I spent hours there!
They had a covered wagon and I got to sit in it. They also had me start a fire with Flint but I couldn't get that right. The guide had to finish it for me lol! I wouldn't make a good pioneer
I enjoyed the trip
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Confession: I totally didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this book. I hadn’t read anything by this author before, I was really unsure how I would feel about a book with a western style hero. I was riveted, enthralled and captured by this book. I was there in the wagon train, racing to save the children with Deborah. I was riding along side of Trace coming upon a present moment that mirrored his past. And I was there when healing and love began to take place.
This book is one of tho
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a great start to what promises to be another enjoyable series from Mary Connealy! Within the first pages, we are knee deep in danger as the heroine of the story, Deborah Harkness, is introduced. As she and her sister Gwen hide out with two young children, the only survivors of an attack on their small group of wagons that had splintered off from the main wagon train, the former Guardian of the trail is not far off.

Deb is a strong, independent woman whose father took all of the credit, and p
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like a moth to the flame, I was drawn into this book from the cover. The adorable little girl, the rays of sunlight, and the cowboy, all work together along with the title to pull you and leave you wanting more. I had to know the story the lived within the pages of Mary Connealy's latest novel!

Trace Riley has been guarding the wagon trail in the high Sierra's for many years. He's no stranger to the rugged wilderness. He knows what it takes to survive the harsh elements because he's more than jus
Elizabeth "Liza"
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The romance was really sweet and I love how honest they were with each other. All the characters are well crafted and feel real. The setting is like another character and it's majestic. Really loved this one ...more
Carrie Daws
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
While this includes a couple of intense and heart-breaking segments, overall it is a sweet read of two lonely people recognizing the value in each other. I enjoyed the cast of characters, particularly Wolf, and I look forward to spending more time with everyone in the second book in this series.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Take a man who survived to make his living on the Sierra Nevada range, two women & two small children who escaped a wagon train massacre, mix them up and you have an adventurous tale of epic proportions! Connealy’s imagination runs as wild as the mountainous terrain that Trace has made his home in this story.

“I’m going to change, Gwen. I am. The West is different than where we came from. It’s a land that demands strength of people. A land that tests courage.

One would think after the many yea
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Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys always with a strong suspense thread. She is a two time Carol Award winner, and a Rita, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist.
She is the bestselling author of 48 books and novellas.
Her most recent three book series are: Cimarron Legacy, Wild at Heart, Trouble in Texas, Kincaid Bride for Bethany House Publishing. She’s also written fo

Other books in the series

High Sierra Sweethearts (3 books)
  • The Reluctant Warrior (High Sierra Sweethearts, #2)
  • The Unexpected Champion (High Sierra Sweethearts, #3)

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