Wednesday, September 24, 2014

CHRISTIAN FICTION REVIEW: Tried & True by Mary Connealy


Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister—and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It’s a risk—they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as “boys”—but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

Mary ConnealyABOUT THE AUTHOR (see Bethany House website)

Mary Connealy is an award-winning, bestselling author known for her fun and lively historical romances. An author, teacher, and journalist, Mary lives on an eastern Nebraska ranch with her cowboy husband and has four daughters and two grandchildren. Learn more at


I fell in love with Kylie and Aaron right off the bat.  I immediately felt sympathy for Kylie who wants to be a woman but is pressured by her father and sisters to pretend to be a man in order to establish a homestead.  After her experiences in the Civil War dressed as a man, she wants desperately to be a woman again, living in a civilized area, not a homestead on the frontier.  When Aaron, the local land agent, recognizes her as a woman, she is pleased to be able to act like one again.  But when she is attacked and made afraid in her own home, she wonders if pleasing her father is worth it.  And while she likes Aaron she isn't sure it's wise to get attached when he plans to settle on a ranch further back in the mountains.  But events take on a life of their own and Kylie and Aaron are forced to make decisions quickly that may or may not work out as expected.

I really enjoyed this book.  The characters are great, each with their strengths and weaknesses.  It's also an interesting look at the roles of men and women at the time and the different perspectives that Kylie and her sisters (who are also pretending to be men) have about their roles in their society. Kylie and her sister provide an fascinating contrast in their attitudes about being women and the limitations that their society tried to put on them because of it.  I look forward to reading Shannon's and Bailey's stories (Kylie's sisters) because I have a feeling their will be plenty of fireworks, especially Bailey who is bound and determined to maintain her freedom and independence.

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