I’ve read a lot of inspirational historical romances over the years. I started with Janette Oke’s books when I was in my early teens and have read most other popular authors since then. I’d guess it’s a typical rite of passage for teens raised in conservative Christian families. They’re mostly the same and I’ve enjoyed them for the most part, as a pleasant way to pass the time, if nothing epic. So I really wasn’t expecting much different when I picked up Swept Away by Mary Connealy. But I am pleased to report I was pleasantly surprised!
Blurb: Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn’t all that upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they’ve ever done is work her to the bone. She prayed for a chance to get away, and then came the raging flood. Alive but disoriented, she’s rescued by Luke Stone…so unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.
Luke is heading home to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men who killed his father are working hard to ensure Luke doesn’t make it alive. He has no choice but to keep moving. Still, he can’t just abandon Ruthy, so she’ll have to come along.
His friends–a ragtag group of former Civil War soldiers–take a fast interest in the pretty gal. Luke thinks that’s rather rude–he’s the one who found her. And the more time he spends around the hard-working young woman who is a mighty good cook, the more he finds himself thinking beyond revenge and toward a different future. For the first time in a long time, Luke is tempted to turn from his destructive path and be swept away by love.
Swept Away is cute, funny, witty, nail-biting – and full of references to an aspect of the civil war that I knew little about. I was impressed because the entire book felt essential – no silly extra scenes, no time wasted – it was constant movement. And they kissed – a lot! And implied more! O_O the scandal!! (But not too detailed or excessive and the later was within the bounds of marriage – it is clean inspirational romance after all.) And Mary Connealy’s women have spunk! Something I have a complete abhorrence for, and the reason I no longer read certain authors, is spunkless women. Also, the story quickly becomes about much more than merely getting Luke’s ranch back – it added the tricky dynamic of saving a woman and her children from an abusive situation. I liked that the reasons for the conflict of the story became more external and less selfishly motivated.
I had to research Camp Andersonville afterwards and found it simultaneously fascinating & horrifying. I’m sad Andersonville was halfway between where I attended college and my home as a teen and yet I never knew to stop by there on the commute. While Swept Away is the first in a series, it is a spin-off from a previous series. I’m excited to read more and see what happens with side-characters that I enjoyed.
Do you enjoy books that highlight a unique historical event?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.