"The Accidental Guardian" by Mary Connealy

Description (from Goodreads): 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 serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail. He'd hoped the days of driving off dangerous men were over, but the latest attack shows otherwise.

Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace becomes an accidental guardian when he offers the only shelter for miles around and agrees to take them in until they can safely continue their journey. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling--yet enticing.

Trace and Deborah find themselves drawing ever closer as they work together to bring justice to the trail and help the group survive the winter--but every day closer to spring means a day closer to leaving the mountains forever.

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 are a big topic in the book, a lot of the story takes place on the main guy character’s ranch. Some traveling to other towns and settlements also happens. I really enjoyed how the author described the setting. I loved the description about the mountains and could really envision how everything looked. It seemed like a peaceful setting. Basically, how you feel when you look at the book cover is how you’ll feel when you read about the setting.

The pace of the story was done really well. I found it wasn’t too fast but not too slow either. It was perfect for how the storyline was set up.

Okay, this part of my review is going to be a bit different than how my normal reviews go. I usually talk about the characters, faith content, and negative content separately. However, for this book I am going to mix it all together.

This book was going really well when I first started reading it. I laughed a few times with some of the thoughts that the characters had.

Side note: This story is told in a few different point of views, but mainly it is told in Trace’s (the main guy) and Deb’s (the main girl).

I thought the backstory on Trace’s character was interesting. Deb’s backstory was also interesting and I liked how she wanted to start up her own newspaper. I was really enjoying reading the story and was anticipating what was going to happen with the whole wagon train situation. The faith content was really great. There were a couple of things I didn’t like. There was a mention of how Trace heard stories about witches and goblins as a kid. Trace says he doesn’t believe in things such as ghosts, but if there was a place haunted then it’d be the site of the murdered souls from the wagon train. Also, there were a few books mentioned that Trace had read. Two of those books were by Shakespeare and Plato.

So, that was the only negative content… then something happened that I didn’t see coming in the storyline. This part is a potential spoiler so don’t read ahead if you don’t want to get spoiled. This is the reason for my low rating, though. Two characters get married and this is where the sexual content picked up significantly. It didn’t happen until close to the ending of the book. The characters each have thoughts on what happens on a wedding night and lets just say it turns awkward from there. You obviously know what the characters are referring to with their thoughts and I just see no point in bringing that into a story. While it skipped the night scene, you knew what took place because of the characters thoughts. It was just unneeded and honestly didn’t need to be in the story. I lost interest in the book once those thoughts happened. It just became awkward and that is what effected my rating the most.

Due to all of that, I sadly have to rate this book as leave it. If none of the marriage talk would have been discussed, then this book could have easily been a read it. The faith content was strong and the characters stories were interesting. The kids weren’t in the book as much as I thought they’d be, but while they were in the story I enjoyed their characters as well. The sexual content was just too high in my opinion, causing my rating to be what it is.

My Rating: Leave it

**I received this book for free from the Publisher (Bethany House) for this honest review. 


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