Thursday, March 18, 2021

BRACED FOR LOVE by Mary Connealy, Reviewed by Paula and Winnie


“When he was in a tight spot and pouring out prayers of God’s protection, Kevin had learned to listen to the whisper of an idea.”

Welcome to a new western series by Mary Connealy. Braced For Love sets us up for an unusual story with lots of excitement and clashing temperaments between three brothers who did not know about each other until their no-account Pa died. Now Falcon, Kevin and Wyatt Hunt are joint inheritors of a huge ranch in Wyoming. These three stubborn men must abide by the will their father left.

It took me a minute to get the connections to the female characters but that just made it more interesting. Cheyenne is half sister to Wyatt by their mother. Her best friend, Winona, lives on the adjoining ranch. They are strong, capable women. A description of Cheyenne: “Not a stitch she wore was feminine, but she had a womanly shape, and no one with one working eyeball would have mistaken her for a man.”

Needless to say sparks fly when all parties are thrown together to sort out the terms of the will. And a different kind of sparks fly between Winona and Kevin. What fun to see them pitted against each other.

The descriptions of the majestic scenery was mesmerizing. The family dynamics change from antagonist to standing together against a common enemy, while counting on God to lead them. The most interesting character to me was Falcon. He is stealthy and mysterious and his background is waiting to be uncovered.

This was a solid start to a fun new series. It will be hard to wait for the rest of the stories and new match-ups.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*4 stars and a solid faith thread.


Mary Connealy’s new book, Braced for Love, was just what I needed after reading a tense, heart-pounding suspense novel. I can always count on her for a rollicking, laugh-out-loud, entertaining story. I’m not saying there weren’t any suspenseful, riveting moments, because there were quite a few of those, too.

The premise of the tale is creative and original with Kevin Hunt inheriting his father’s ranch—his father, who supposedly had died long ago. There’s a catch, however. He has to share it with a half-brother he never knew existed. When Kevin and his siblings arrive at the ranch in Wyoming, more surprises await him, including an attack on their lives.

Connealy’s characters are always colorful, well-drawn, and engaging. The main characters, Winona Hawkins and Kevin are wonderful, and I enjoyed their camaraderie as their relationship progressed. A stellar secondary cast of characters perfectly complemented the storyline and added spice to it. I’m looking forward to seeing some of them as major characters in coming books in the series. I was fascinated with trying to work out the family history/genealogy angle with all the half-siblings involved.

With plenty of humor, intrigue, suspense, and a dash of romance, this story is pure Mary Connealy magic and sure to please those who enjoy historical fiction with plenty of wit.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
Left with little back in Missouri, Kevin Hunt takes his younger siblings on a journey to Wyoming when he receives news that he's inheriting part of a ranch. The catch is that the ranch is also being given to a half brother he never knew existed. Turns out, Kevin's supposedly dead father led a secret and scandalous life.

But danger seems to track Kevin along the way, and he wonders if his half brother, Wyatt, is behind the attacks. Finally arriving at the ranch, everyone is at each other's throats and the only one willing to stand in between is Winona Hawkins, a nearby schoolmarm.

Despite being a long-time friend to Wyatt, Winona can't help but be drawn to the earnest, kind Kevin--and that puts her in the cross hairs of somebody's dangerous plot. Will they all be able to put aside their differences long enough to keep anyone from getting truly hurt?
Bethany House Publishers, March, 2021
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