A wagon journey to freedom... Chasing the Horizon by Mary Connealy (Review) #chasingthehorizon #maryconnealy #bhpfiction #romancebooks #historicalromance #newbooks #booktwitter @Bethany_House @austenprose

Welcome to my tour stop! Read my review of this author's newest western below...

Chasing the Horizon
(A Western Light #1)
By Mary Connealy
Christian Historical Romance, Western & Frontier Romance
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, & Audiobook, 304 Pages
February 13, 2024 by Bethany House Publishers 


Her only chance at freedom waits across the horizon

Upon uncovering her tyrannical father's malevolent plot to commit her to an asylum, Beth Rutledge fabricates a plan of her own. She will rescue her mother, who had already been sent to the asylum, and escape together on a wagon train heading west. Posing as sisters, Beth and her mother travel with the pioneers in hopes of making it to Idaho before the others start asking too many questions.

Wagon-train scout Jake Holt senses that the mysterious women in his caravan are running from something. When rumors begin to spread of Pinkerton agents searching relentlessly for wanted criminals who match the description of those on his wagon train, including Beth, she begins to open up to him, and he learns something more sinister is at hand. Can they risk trusting each other with their lives--and their hearts--when danger threatens their every step?

Praise for the Book

"Mary Connealy’s Inspirational Western Romances have long been on my radar to try, but the new Western Lights series opener, Chasing the Horizon, was my first opportunity. Imagine my chagrin when I started reading and didn’t want to stop. Oh yes, dear friends, I’d waited too long to discover a gem of a writer."— Sophia Rose, The Reading Frenzy

5 STARS "What an incredible book! It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I read it.” — Camille Dayton, Fostering Literacy

“Loved this story! I was intrigued right from the beginning.”— Melissa Goss, Christian Books and Coffee

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My Review

CHASING THE HORIZON is a story about a daughter and mother and their desperate escape from Chicago in a wagon train. It's about family, both by blood and found, about loss, freedom, friendship, faith and love. Set towards the end of wagon journeys when trains are taking over in the US and when laws are slowly changing to prohibit people being sent to asylums against their will and when they're sane. Readers will fall in love with these characters and cheer them on as they journey.

I came to really like these characters. I completely adored Beth and Jake. They were both solid, hard-working, goodhearted people. I loved how Beth learned all sorts of skills and gained as much knowledge as she could for what she thought she might need to support herself and her mom out west. She was both street smart and intelligent with a fierce heart. Jake was your epitome of a cowboy. Rugged, handsome, strong, a crack-shot, full of wisdom and good intuition. I also liked the other characters: Ginny (Beth's mom), Kat, Sebastian and the Collins brothers. There was also the O'Toole family that were a bit more on the sideline. 

I also enjoyed the plot. It moved at a fairly steady pace with a few places that were more climatic. There was a sense of suspense and danger during several parts, countered by other moments of peace, friendship and romance. There were also a few sad spots where the group faced loss. So, plenty of emotions in this story. The inspirational elements weren't overly prominent and felt like what you'd most likely have in most historical western romances with God fearing people. The romance slowly built over lots of interaction and conversations between the two love interests, which is the best way for it to happen. I'll definitely be reading the next book to find out what happens next with these characters.

I don't have much to criticize about this story. I missed this author's usual humor that wasn't present, but that was more of a disappointed expectation. I think the only major criticism I have is that the story just ends. It doesn't feel like a cliffhanger, but more like the book isn't finished. I was reading an ebook version and I actual checked a print version to be sure I wasn't missing pages or something. I think there could have been a page or two more or another chapter to tie things up until book two. There is a teaser for the second book that literally continues the scene that was cut off at this end of this book, but that felt off to me too. It was very uncharacteristic for a book from this author and publisher to end like this.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was a consistently enjoyable story. There were some difficult topics brought up and all handled well. The characters were all likable, with some inspiring moments, some suspense, and sweet romance. Definitely a recommended read for fans of the author and genre.

Content: Some violence, but clean.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Austenprose PR, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

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About the Author

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedies with cowboys. She is independently publishing a contemporary romantic suspense series called Garrison’s Law, book one is Loving the Texas Lawman. Her new historical series, High Sierra Sweethearts begins with The Accidental Guardian. She is also the author of these series: Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Wild at Heart, Cimarron Legacy, Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's daughters, and has many other books.

She is a two-time Carol Award winner and has been a finalist for the Rita and Christy Awards. She’s a lifelong Nebraskan and lives with her very own romantic cowboy hero. She’s got four grown daughters and four spectacular grandchildren.

Are you a fan of this author or westerns? Did you have ancestors who traveled across the US in a wagon train?

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