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Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson

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Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson is a delightful story set in the early twentieth century in Kentucky. Small-town girl Mazy Pelfrey struggles through secretarial school in the big city while also struggling to fit in with a group of fellow students and roommates.

Mazy left home to learn a skill that she doesn’t really care to learn, but she is trying to meet her sister’s expectations. While there, she meets a young man that will make her question her feelings and herself. Mazy is a naive, innocent, hopeful young lady who trusts God and learns to rely on Him more as the story progresses.

Chanis Clay is a man on a mission. He knows who he loves and wants to make a home fit for her to live in. As sheriff of a small county, he seems to get himself in a pickle frequently, which can be quite humorous for the reader. Chanis is steadfast and loyal but begins to question his future after an upsetting run-in with some Feds.

Chanis’ story unfolds mostly separately from Mazy’s until their stories collide amidst fireworks. Chanis accepts God’s will for his life even though it wasn’t what he had so carefully planned. Mazy finally realizes what she wants in life and pursues it.

Buttermilk Sky is not a mystery or suspense novel, but it contains a little of both. This historical romance has a few surprises and plays out beautifully. I enjoyed meeting all the characters and look forward to reading future books in this series. Apparently, I missed Jan Watson’s previous books about Mazy’s family, Skip Rock Shallows and Tattler’s Branch. I plan to read those after I get caught up on the stack of books on my nightstand.

I received this book for free from Tyndale House in exchange for an honest review.
Tyndale Blog Network

Tried & True by Mary Connealy

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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.

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The Wildflower Bride by Mary Connealy

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Book three in the Montana Marriages series continues the story of Wade Sawyer and Glowing Sun, a white woman who was raised by a Flathead tribe after her biological family died. Wade helped rescue Glowing Sun from some white men who took her from her Flathead family in The Husband Tree. Tragedy strikes her village just before Wade learns his abusive father needs him back at the ranch. Glowing Sun reluctantly goes with Wade to make sure he honors his father. Her spunk and honesty challenge Wade to stand up to his father in this romantic comedy.

The Husband Tree by Mary Connealy

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The Husband Tree is the second book in the Montana Marriages trilogy, and in it, Mary Connealy takes us on a cattle drive with the Harden family and some hired hands. Over the mountains and through the woods to Helena we go.

Belle Harden has three beautiful, hard-working daughters and a baby girl that she carries with her as she rides. Having had three husbands, who did as little as possible around the ranch before they each died, has taught Belle to rely on her own strength and knowledge for running her ranch. She doesn’t take kindly to a hired hand trying to take the reins from her, and she definitely isn’t looking for another husband, but circumstances put her in an awkward position with a man to whom she is actually attracted.

This is another humorous love story from Mary Connealy.

Montana Rose by Mary Connealy (plus some thoughts on submission)

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Montana Rose is the first book in the Montana Marriages trilogy, and it opens with a bang. Well, it actually opens with a funeral and wedding all in one, witnessed by some rough ranchers in an area where there are almost no single women. Cassie Griffin is pregnant and burying her dead husband when the men begin staking their claims on her. Red Dawson is a decent man and a Christian, who is also the only man not vying for Cassie’s hand in marriage. Cassie’s first husband spoiled her and squandered away their wealth in his arrogance and ignorance while keeping Cassie in the dark about everything. Now a humble rancher must step in to prevent harm from coming to the beautiful and naive “china doll.”

This book addresses Biblical submission in a loving and entertaining way. God does not ask wives to be doormats and let their husbands walk all over them. Husbands are to love their wives as they love themselves and as Christ loved the church–unconditionally and sacrificially–while wives are told to respect their husbands by submitting to their leadership (Ephesians 5:25, 33). As long as the husband is a Christian, Biblical submission should not have the negative connotation that is common today.

Several years ago in small group at church, my husband and I suffered through an uncomfortable lesson on this topic by a man who must have thought his wife was angry at him for discussing submission. If only he had focused on the greater requirement of husbands! I believe most wives want to respect their husbands and allow them to lead, but so many men struggle with leading their families and/or loving their wives as Jesus loved the church. Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is an excellent book that discusses what men and women need most in a relationship. This book helped my own marriage, and we have since given it as a gift to other couples.

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The song “Lead Me” by Sanctus Real sums up the desire of a wife to be led by her husband, children to be led by their father, and a man to be led by God the Father as he strives to lead his family. The link contains an interview with the lead singer and the lyrics.

What are your thoughts on submission in marriage? What resources have you found helpful?

Gingham Mountain by Mary Connealy

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The final book of the Lassoed in Texas trilogy is set in a small town that lies at the end of the “orphan train”, and a single man named Grant adopts all the “leftovers”–the kids who have a disability, appear angry, look troublesome, or are too young or old, and haven’t been chosen by any family at any of the stops along the way. Hannah Cartwright, the new school teacher, fears for the safety of the children entrusted to the care of a single man, since she had been adopted by the same evil man as Grace Calhoun (Calico Canyon). Grant does his best to convince the meddling schoolmarm of his good intentions, but circumstances continually paint him in a poor light. Shirt Lady also complicates Grant’s life and adds to the mystery. Gingham Mountain ties up a few loose ends from the previous book while introducing an interesting cast of new characters.

Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy

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Calico Canyon is the second book in the Lassoed in Texas trilogy and focuses on the new school teacher, Grace Calhoun, who was introduced in Petticoat Ranch as a severely prim and proper young woman. We learn in Calico Canyon about the man who has tormented Grace since adopting her as a child and who has now tracked her down to kill her. What will she have to do in order to escape his clutches?

Daniel Reeves, a widower with five rambunctious boys, accidentally brings home a new “ma” for his boys, and complete mayhem ensues when the local pastor comes calling. The dynamics between Daniel and his boys and their new ma make for a fascinating–and funny–story with a heartfelt ending.