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.
When I pick up a Mary Connealy book, I know what I’m going to get even before I crack the cover: a quirky western romantic comedy with a predictable character and plot arc. But I get lassoed in every time by her spunky heroines and stubborn heroes, even if there isn’t a great distinction between the new and old characters. Mary uses the same tried and true ingredients with a different presentation, which is a guarantee for a consistently entertaining reading experience.
Like all good westerns, the plot of Swept Away runs he breakneck speed of a galloping horse outrunning shotgun fire. Luke is seeking revenge to reclaim his life whereas Ruthy is fleeing to restore her freedom. Instead of bidding “Thank you and gidday” to her rescuer, Ruthy decides to aid him and his Civil War veteran friends on their vendetta to wrestle Luke’s inheritance from the vile and abusive man who seized it. What starts as a partnership of circumstance swiftly becomes a battle of restrained passion and gentle affection. With plenty of Mary’s trademark bickering and wisecracks the obvios themes and plot trajectory can be forgiven because you will not be able to hold back a few unladylike snorts as you read.