The Reluctant Warrior – Mary Connealy – High Sierra Sweethearts #2 – Bethany House Publishers – Published 2 October 2018
Union army officer Cameron Scott is used to being obeyed, but nothing about this journey to Lake Tahoe has gone as expected. He’s come to fetch his daughter and nephew, and seek revenge on the people who killed his brother. Instead he finds himself trapped by a blizzard with two children who are terrified of him and stubborn but beautiful Gwen Harkness, who he worries may be trying to keep the children.
When danger descends on the cabin where they’re huddled, Cam is hurt trying to protect everyone and now finds Gwen caring for him too. He soon realizes why the kids love her so much and wonders if it might be best for him to move on without them. When she sees his broken heart, Gwen decides to help him win back their affection–and in the process he might just win her heart as well.
The Reluctant Warrior returns readers to the story and characters first discovered in The Accidental Guardian. The Reluctant Warrior is the second book in the High Sierra Sweethearts series and it is a series I have come to really enjoy. With the harsh but glorious surrounds of the Sierra Nevada Mountains as backdrop, these stories combine sweet romance that develops out of the toughest situations and tense thrills and heart-pounding suspense as the characters fight for their lives and for justice.
Cameron Scott, now retired from the Union army, only wishes to retrieve his daughter and nephew and take them to his new home – a parcel of land marked to become a thriving ranch. But the children are terrified of him and instead cling to the woman who has cared for them in the past months. When a determined killer once again trains his sights on the small group huddled together in the wild winter, Cam must extend his time with the annoying Gwen Harkness. Yet the threat of danger and the chance to get to know and love his children give him an opportunity to learn more about Gwen, and Cam finds she just might be the answer to his troubles.
While I’ve never been a huge fan of Mary Connealy’s writing, (sorry, I think that’s totally on me and nothing wrong with the author herself), I love these stories of romance in the face of survival in harsh landscapes and troubled circumstances. While the writing is a little stilted – repetitive and simplistic – in places, it suits the ruggedness of the story and characters. In The Reluctant Warrior there is fabulous character development as Cameron – with Gwen’s help – learns to become softer, kinder and more considerate.
While their story might start from feelings of dislike and irritation, Gwen and Cam share an undeniable spark, which helps as they turn an arrangement of sort-of convenience into one of mutual respect and love.
Along with the romance and story of Gwen and Cam learning to get along, care for the children and starting their own family unit, which was my favourite sections of the book, there is plenty of tension and action as the killer from book one returns with revenge on his mind.
I look forward to reading the third book in the series.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Genre: Christian historical.
Themes: Family, Sierra Nevada, romance, children, character, fatherhood, justice, criminals, survival.
Advisory: Vague references to physical and sexual abuse.
Published: 2 October 2018 by Bethany House Publishers.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook. 304 pages.