The Accidental Guardian (High Sierra Sweethearts)

Written by Mary Connealy
Review by Ray Thompson

Deb and Gwen Harkness, and the two children they have been caring for, are the sole survivors of a wagon train massacre, but without wilderness survival skills, they risk appealing for help from a strange rider. Fortunately, their prayers are answered, for Trace Riley is a good and caring man who escorts them to his ranch. He and his two ranch hands are grateful for having their clothes mended and the tasty cooking, and he soon falls in love with Deb. She, however, plans to move on and establish a newspaper in San Francisco. Can he change her mind?

It is no accident that the two books mentioned most often are Robinson Crusoe and the Bible. The former reflects the struggle to survive and build a comfortable home in the wilderness; the latter provides a moral compass.

Since this is inspirational fiction, the main characters are idealized, but readers looking for an involving story that features strong heroines who endure danger and harsh conditions with fortitude, noble heroes who protect and care for their womenfolk, and black-hearted villains who are brought to justice will find much to enjoy in this tale set in the American frontier of the 1860s. Recommended.