Tried & True is the first book in Connealy’s new Wild at Heart series, and it is set in Idaho Territory during the summer of 1866. Kylie Wilde is a young, single woman who is trying to homestead after serving in the Civil War (pretending to be a young man). Her father has practically made men out of his three daughters, and the older two embrace manly ways as necessary and beneficial to life on the frontier, but Kylie refuses to learn how to do men’s work. She wants tea parties and frilly dresses, but she let her father bully her into homesteading 160 acres.
Aaron Masterson is the local land agent and figures out Kylie is a woman who is claiming a military service exemption, which is only available to men because women weren’t allowed to serve in the war. Kylie wants that exemption in order to shorten her required time to live on the frontier from five years to three. She can’t imagine living so far from civilization any longer than that.
Complicating things further, there is someone who wants Kylie’s land, and they aren’t asking nicely. While trying to protect Kylie, Aaron comes to terms with his unresolved anger and hatred toward those who killed his family. The dramatic ending expresses the love and forgiveness that we are only able to offer through Christ.
Tried & True is an engaging beginning to the Wild at Heart series. I enjoyed the humor, romance, and suspense while learning more about life on the frontier and how the Civil War affected individual lives in that era. I am looking forward to reading the future books in this series.