Saturday, September 5, 2009

Book Review & Giveaway: MONTANA ROSE by Mary Connealy

From Jen AlLee


When surrounded by a mob of ill-bred, foul-smelling, women-hungry men, the newly widowed and seemingly spoiled Cassie “China Doll” Griffin has no choice. Marrying handyman Red Dawson seems the only alternative to Cassie’s being hitched to a brutal rancher. But can this “China doll” bear exchanging smooth silk for coarse calico?

Red was reluctant to be yoked to an unbeliever, but sometimes a man has no choice. Will Red change Cassie’s heart by changing her name?

Wade Sawyer is obsessed with saving Cassie from a marriage of convenience. How far will he go make her his own?


I always get excited when a new Mary Connealy book comes out. And the first book in a new series is particularly exciting, because I know I'm going to meet characters I'll get to enjoy for awhile. As series starters go, Montana Rose is a fabulous one.

In Cassie Griffin, Connealy has created a woman who's been mistreated for so long, she doesn't even know it's happening. Forced to marry at fifteen, she believed her husband Griff, being much older and wiser, must know how things were supposed to work. It's not until she's eighteen and pregnant, after Griff dies and she must quickly marry Red Dawson, that Cassie realizes how oppressive her life had been.

Writing about an abused wife is tricky. Writing about an abused wife and still keeping the light-hearted, comedic tone she's known for is even trickier. But Connealy handles it masterfully. There are laughs aplenty in this book, but there's also a ton of heartfelt emotion. The honest love that grows between Red and Cassie as they work together to build a home and a family can't help but touch readers.

Montana Rose gets five stars from me and is on my list of highly recommended books. I suggest you get in on the beginning of this very awesome new series. Enjoy!


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Montana Rose, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on September 8th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!


  1. Morning, Jen. Thank you for the post on Mary's book. I think I've only ever read one thing of Mary's that didn't put a smile on my face. And she wasn't trying to be funny then, anyway.

    Well, I can't throw my name into the hat to win Mary's book so someone else is going to get very lucky.

    Have a great day!

  2. I'm thinking of posting under an assumed name so I can get in the drawing myself.

    How does Mary pull off humor in a story involving marital abuse? I'm guessing it's because she's a genius with her characterization AND she knows that even in the worst of situations the human heart yearns to find joy in the smallest of things.

    Thanks Jen (she said sarcastically) for addiing another book to my must have list.

  3. This in on my to buy list. I love the blend Mary has managed to create of humor, action and romance.

  4. don't enter me, as i've already had the pleasure of reading mary's book. but what a great read it was! i thought she portrayed her villain with just the right about of meanness and pity-factor. you really come to understand how he gets where he is, which is great!

    Where Romance Meets Therapy

  5. I have read the book and it's great!!! Mary is superb at creating fun and yet deeply moving characters, dealing with tough subjects with a deft touch of humor. YOU ROCK, MARY!

  6. Good morning, ladies.
    I will go drink a pot of coffee then come back and try to be interesting.

    Not sure if the coffee wakes me up enough I can try to be interesting, or if for some reason the coffee makes it so I THINK I'm interesting.

    One of life's mysteries.

  7. I just HAD to stop in and congratulate you all on the new blog! I see LOTS of familiar names in the line-up! Frequent visitors to Seekerville -- and my long-time e-friend, Jill N! Wishing you and your new blog all the best!

  8. Western romances are my all time favorites. So true to my heart. I'd love to win. I am a new google follower. gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  9. We welcome our friends from Seekerville to the big city -Inktropolis!
    Lisa has established a huge graphic design business here. Don't you love her work?
    Like any urban setting, we have a wide variety of 'characters' from queens to presidential wives and even an old hippie. Come back often. The coffee shops and markets are great. No more coconut and rice diet!

    Hi Jeannie- always great to see your smiling face!

    Welcome Virginia, thanks for stopping in. Best wishes on the book drawing!

  10. Congratulations on the new blog! Very attractive and full of information.

    Montana Rose IS a wonderful book, full of humorous, deep emotion -- is there such a thing? Obviously...
    Gotta nab Mary and see how she does it : )

  11. Good morning, ladies! I'm getting a late start today, which is all my hubbies fault... but you don't want those details :+}

    Deb, you asked how Mary pulls off humor when dealing with marital abuse. Let me stress that she doesn't make the abuse funny. But Cassie's road to recovery and the long-suffering patience of Red, are filled with funny moments. Mary also gives a very good illustration of that verse in the Bible that says, "Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church." Excellent!

  12. I've had several poeple talk about me mixing very serious issues with comedy.

    I don't really mean to. I want to discuss serious issues, as for the comedy, that's just a lack of self-control on my part.

    I just can't resist.

  13. Mary Connealy wrote it.
    I wanna read it.
    Nuff said. :)

  14. I love your new updated blog. I would also love to win your book, Montana Rose. Please enter me. Thank you.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  15. Hello Jen. Nice blog.

    I'd love to win "Montana Rose" so I can review it on my new reader's blog at

    I love that Mary understands abused women. Often they don't know their own abuse until they get the chance for perspective. Well done.


  16. Great new site! I would like to win the book, Montana Rose.

  17. Hi, Jen:

    Mary's book is sitting on my shelf among others 'to be read.' Now it's going up to the top of the pile. Great review!

    How come our pics aren't showing up on the posts anymore? Did my mug shot break the connection?


  18. I've read it too and loved it.

    Mary is way too humble. She is an awesome writer.

    I routinely save her emails for when she is HUGELY famouser. I am going to write a book about knowing her. I'll make a fortune.

    Well a girl has to be proactive in this economy, right?

  19. Great post, Jen! I've got to get my hands on this book. The blend of humor, heartache and victory in Christ sounds perfect. Mary has many fans, and I bet I'm about to become one of them.

    I'm so glad to see old friends visiting the site and new ones popping by!

    Connie, I haven't seen pics alongside the comments in a long time either. Curiously, I think this phenomenon occured around the time we started Inkwell... No, I have no clue why. I thought it was just me and my crash-happy Internet Explorer.

    Hope everyone is having a great Saturday. I am so happy...Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks. Mmmm.

  20. I've never had the pleasure of reading any of Mary's books. I recently ordered "Cowboy Christmas" and am looking forward to it! I'm so glad I've joined ACFW and am coming in contact with such wonderful writers! xxx

    Sandi Rog

  21. I've never had the pleasure of reading any of Mary's books. I recently ordered "Cowboy Christmas" and am looking forward to it! I'm so glad I've joined ACFW and am coming in contact with such wonderful writers! xxx

    Sandi Rog

  22. FIRST OF ALL, your pictures aren't showing up because, I think, the link I gave you is coming directly to my post rather than to the general blog.

    So the comments are visible when you first open the site.
    If you go click on POST A COMMENT, the smaller white box to add comments opens and THEN you can see faces.

    Either that or MY picture crashed the site. that's been happening a little too often lately. Like Blogger is just fed up with my round head.

  23. Oops, no pictures.

    Hmmmmmmmm ignore that last comment

  24. TINA!!!!!!!!!!

    You are NOT saving my emails.

    Horrors. That's the kind of thing that knocks someone out of contention for like...a presidential election.



  25. I'd like to tell a story about an abused woman I knew personally but I hesitate to give details, this is....universal and eternal this internet, so I don't think I will give them.

    But bottom line she left her husband repeatedly and always went back and, well, there was a sexual component to their co-dependency.

    All I'll say is, I used to think, "Do not every underestimate a person's ability to lie to themselves."

    So Cassie just convinced herself that she was the problem, it was part of her own co-dependency.

    And Wade, what I really tried to do with Wade was show how he twisted his thinking. When his anger should have been toward his father, instead, because he just couldn't find the strength to stand up to someone who had such control over him, instead he hated Red and he hated himself.

    And when he wanted to rebell he chose ways that hurt himself. This is so often the way with co-dependency.

    Again, excuse me people, romantic comedy. Ignore all that child abuse, spousal abuse stuff. I swear it's pretty fun.

  26. Just a disclaimer here. I have no plans to run for anything, least of all president.

    Anything I'm ever in charge of....closes. A softball program, and extension club, I almost closed a church once but I was removed from office in the nick of time.

    I don't really think it's my fault. I think that if they've allowed me to be president it's a sign that they are in desperate straits to begin with.

    I hope that's it.

  27. LOL, Mary!

    Don't enter me. I already have the book and am looking so forward to reading it!!

    Thanks for the review, Jenn.


  28. Jen, great review. I can't wait to read the book. Mary, I'm so glad you stopped by to offer your insight on abuse and codependency. I'm looking forward to seeing how you took such a serious subject and lightened it up with some humor.


  29. Well for one thing, Suzie the book begins with the burial of her abusive husband. So she's no in an abusive relationship. But that past haunts her. So for Cassie things are pretty nice now, except she doesn't know how to handle it. So there's comedy in Red trying to get her to stand up to him, and when she finally does, he finds he doesn't like it all that much.

    I had a lot of fun with those two. And Belle, well her marriage is so messed up there's not much to do but endure it. She realizes she's not even trying and watching Red and Cassie convicts her of that fact. So she tries.

    And poor Wade. Poor, old Wade. :)

  30. Just for the record. I can see the pictures. Everytime I click on the comments it asks if it can open "unsecure" something or another. I have to say "yes" if I want the pictures to show.

  31. Yes, Mary, poor Wade... I loved what you did with his character. Things didn't end up for him how I thought they would, which pleased me greatly. You've really filled this book with examples of how we, as Christians, should strive to be an extension of the love of Christ. Imagine if the Body of Believers were to reach out to the unloveable with true love, even when it's the last thing we want to do. Wow, what a world it would be.

    Oh yeah, and the book is lots of fun, too!

    BTW, I can see all the pictures in all the comments. I guess that makes Dina and I special :+}

  32. I love the sounds of this book. It reminds me of something Tracie Peterson might write. Please enter me in the drawing. By the way, I love your new blog!


  33. JENNIFER ... Great review and dead on!!! I absolutely LOVED Montana Rose, but then like you, I absolutely LOVE anything Mary Connealy writes ... and Mary, too, for that matter! :)


  34. I have more things to say about Wade. Pithy, fascinating, humorous, deeply faithful and wise.

    'cept it might wreck the book.


  35. Please don't compare me to Tracie Peterson.

    That happened once before and Poor Tracie, the tears of despair she could NOT stop. Well it's just embarrassing for everybody.

  36. I get the same reaction from my daughters when someone says they look like me.

  37. I am fascinated with the cover of the book and really want to read it. It is one on my wish list.


  38. I would love to read the book! Please enter me.

    dancealert at aol dot com

  39. Hi Mary!
    I've been following you around again :) Trying to get Lucky here to win your book!
    Love the cover, enjoyed the interview.
    The very best for you.

  40. Pssst Missy... didn't you get my hint at the top...

    I can't enter...

    but I'll be seeing you in less than 2 wks and if you win... and just happen to have an extra copy... well, you know...

    blink, blink,


    whoops... sorry about my name. I'm working on the church blog and it's late and I'm not ready to log out yet.

  41. This book sounds really interesting. I love the look of your new blog. Please enter me in the drawing for this book.


  42. LOL, Anita! I wish I could fit one in my suitcase for you if I were to win. But I had to take out two pairs of shoes last time I went to a conference just to get the thing closed. Sorry, Mary, but I'd rather take one more pair of cute, dressy shoes. [grin]

    Missy :)

  43. I'm glad to see this new blog because I've discovered so many great Christian books from blogs like this that I would not have noticed otherwise. As for Mary Connealy's new book - bring it on! I look forward to each book she writes. Thank you so much for the giveaway.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  44. Love the new blog - The colors are great and the style is awesome! I'm looking forward to reading "Montana Rose", because it sounds like my type of book! Also, I love the links to other blogs - thanks for adding that feature!

  45. Cool new blog! I have learned about some great books through the blogs. I will definitely be back. I appreciate the chance to win Mary's book. I don't have this one yet. She does a wonderful job of developing her characters.


  46. I love her books. Please enter me. Blessings. AprilR tarenn98[at]yahoo[dot]com

  47. I am also a lover of western romance stories. When I was a young girl I read westerns, my favourite movies were westerns, and my sister, brother and I made up western action plays all the time. As a teenager, I began to read romance. It was just natural to gravitate to reading western romances. Some day I'd love to write one, too!

    If I'm not too late, I'd love to be entered in the draw. If I am too late, I'll be looking to buy Montana Rose

    hekhmk at sasktel dot net

  48. If I'm not too late, I'd love to be included in the drawing for Mary's Montana Rose. I've loved her Lassoed series and am looking forward to her latest!

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

  49. Thanks to everyone who visited, chatted, and entered the giveaway. The winner of Montana Rose is... Helena!

    Be blessed, and hope to see you all around the Inkwell!


  50. I loved your blog. Thank you.


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How Our Giveaways Work: The Official Rules

We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.