Tried & True

Written by Mary Connealy
Review by Nancy J. Attwell

As is usual with a Connealy novel, this first book in her Wild at Heart series has an engaging plot and plenty of humor, but the most satisfying element is the subplot that addresses the hatred that divided the country after the American Civil War.

In 1866 the three Wilde sisters, Kylie, Shannon and Bailey, are living as men, a subterfuge that began during the war when they fought for the Union. In order to receive the homesteading credits they earned as veterans, the women simply continued the pretense and claimed land near the town of Aspen Ridge in the Idaho Territory. Although Kylie, the youngest, longs to set aside her britches and return to civilized life, she dreads the consequences when the local land agent, Aaron Masterson, discovers her secret. Aaron, who has fled west to escape the devastation wrought to his home in West Virginia, wants nothing of civilization, including a wife.

There are editing problems that mar the excellence of this novel (for example, a character that steps out of a house twice in the same scene). Nevertheless, this is one of Connealy’s most powerful works, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.