Another great new Christian Fiction writer (at least new to me) is Mary Connealy. I recently read her new(er) release Montana Rose the first book in her Montana Marriages series. It is the story of Cassie and Red. Cassie is a young woman who has always been sheltered, but when her husband, a man not well liked in the small Montana town where they live, dies, she finds herself in the middle of a mob, about to be married off to a complete stranger. Red has always admired Cassie from afar, held back by the fact that she was married, but when he sees that she needs his help, he comes to her rescue, marrying her so she doesn’t have to marry any of the rougher men in town, despite the fact that she is pregnant.
As Cassie and Red grow used to one another they begin to fall in love, but things don’t always run smooth for them as other men try to get in the way of their happiness. Can they survive the harshness of the land and the people that inhabit it?
One thing I found really interesting about this book was that it included aspects of life that we almost take for granted today that you don’t frequently find in books with a historical setting.
The first of these is the aspect of the stalker. Cassie has a stalker in the character of Wade.
Wade scuffed his foot against the bedding of pine needles as he waited impatiently for [Red] to go into the house. He was learning their schedule.
Morning chores. Ride out to check the cattle. Noon break. Ride out for slightly longer to check the cattle. Evening chores. Supper. [Red] always stayed inside after supper. Always hurrying, always working. (164,5)
Wade follows Cassie like this on multiple occasions during the book and there are some even scarier moments involving the two of them. It was interesting to see how someone we are so familiar with in contemporary fiction would work in a historical fiction setting.
The second thing is the way women in labor react. We are all familiar with the woman who while in labor screams at her husband, “You’ll never touch me again!” and other such amusing things.
“Don’t touch me,” Cassie snarled.
Red jumped back as surely as if a rattler had attacked him.
Then her voice deepened almost to a growl. “Get your filthy hands off me.”
It was a voice he’d never heard come out of his submissive little wife before.
The minute he backed away, Cassie turned to him and grabbed him around the waist. She buried her face against his chest. “Hold me, please, Red.”
[…]Since she seemed to like her shoulders rubbed, he slid one hand down her back and around to massage her taut belly.
“What are you doing?” She shrieked like he’d tried to push her off a cliff. “Get your hands off me.” She shoved hard at his arm.
Pulling away from her, he stammered, “I’m… I’m sorry. I won’t touch you if you…”
A loud wail broke off at his wretched apology. “You think I’m fat and ugly.” (248,9)
Even in historical novels that include scenes where there is a birth you don’t frequently find this sort of amusing and, from what I understand, realistic demonstration of what birth is like. What makes his even more amusing is that the child is not even Red’s baby, but Cassie’s baby by her first husband.
This book is a great read for other reasons as well. It’s very well written, really amusing, and the characters are ones that you will remember for a long time.
Connealy, Mary. Montana Rose. Uhrichsville: Barbour Publishing, Inc, 2009.