Fire & Ice

Fire & IceFire & Ice by Mary Connealy
Series: Wild at Heart
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Bethany House on October 6, 2015
Pages: 330

 

About Fire & Ice (from the back cover):
“Bailey Wilde is the oldest sister – and the one who takes care of everyone else in her family. But after her sisters marry and move away, her little homestead becomes bleak and lonely, especially during the long winter months. In a moment of weakness, Bailey agrees to a wild plan concocted by her neighbor, Gage Coulter.

“Gage is an honest man, but he didn’t make his fortune by being weak. He won’t break the law, but he’ll push as hard as he can within it. Five thousand acres of excellent grazing land is lost to him because Bailey’s homestead is located right across the entrance to a canyon full of lush grass. Gage has to regain access to this land – and he’s got to go through Bailey to do it. So he makes a proposal…

“Can these two independent, life-toughened homesteaders finally loosen up enough to earn each other’s respect – and maybe find love in the process?”

Mary Connealy’s biography describes her as an author who “writes romantic comedies about cowboys.” Fire and Ice certainly fits the bill. Set in the untamed Rocky Mountains just after the Civil War, this novel spends plenty of time detailing the rugged terrain, the unpredictable and often deadly weather, and the pristine beauty of the region. Having been a resident of Colorado for over 20 years, I found her descriptions accurate and clear. And they made me homesick for those Rocky Mountains!

The depth of the story was surprising, yet it was balanced with humor to keep it light and enjoyable to the very end.

The plot line seemed fun and light to me when I chose the book for review. And it is that. However, as I began reading, I seriously doubted whether Ms. Connealy would be able to pull it off believably. But to my wonder, she did! And she did it well. I was thoroughly convinced of its plausibility, and I was pulling for each participant to follow through with their commitment. The depth of the story was surprising, yet it was balanced with humor to keep it light and enjoyable to the very end.

The character development was good, especially for Bailey. Her secrets and past history (which had an unpredictable quality of their own) were dealt with, and she matured and grew through them. Bailey’s transformation from masculine to feminine was of particular value in this sexless culture we live in today. Gage, too, changed his outlook on life and the need for others to help him. My only regret was that Gage did not ever deal with his coddling mother, but rather allowed and even enjoyed her pampering. Then again, who of us in real life has the courage to stand up to our mothers? As this is the third in a series, I believe many of the other minor characters were developed in earlier books.

If you’re looking for a book to cheer your spirit and restore you confidence in man (without an overt Pollyanna persona), then you would enjoy Fire & Ice. Give it a try!

I especially appreciated the author’s attention throughout the story to several Christian values. Among these were included respect for parents, the sanctity of marriage, the vice of pride and greed, the seriousness of lying, and even the implications of murder and suicide. While the Gospel was not given directly, its effects were seen on the cast of this book.

My favorite part of the whole book was Ms. Connealy’s constant return to her theme, fire and ice. Her point cannot be missed: opening our hearts to love brings balance, purpose, and joy to our lives.

If you’re looking for a book to cheer your spirit and restore you confidence in man (without an overt Pollyanna persona), then you would enjoy Fire & Ice. Give it a try!

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