This book is actually the first in a series but I had read #2 (The Husband Tree) first. Silly me. It's best to go in order, right? Like cutting in line at a store check out, it can lead to upsets. Well, I found this to not be much of a issue in this case. The only person who can get upset is me and I loved it anyway.
As with anything that is Mary Connealy related that I've read so far, Montana Rose can stand on it's own. Poor 'china doll' Cassandra. Through the first half of the book, she's widowed, accosted by a bunch of tobacco chewing, dirty, miners who want a wife and sex toy, then married to the guy who dug her husband's grave--while standing on her husband's grave!! Now she has to figure out how not to get punished by him for every little wrong. Oh yeah, she's pregant, too. There's where it got really good.
Red, a minister-in-training/rancher, had protected her from the miners but, now had a wife. This little 'china doll' wants to be helpful but she's completely inept. Red realizes that his little 'china doll' has been neglected, her spirit beaten down, lied to about how women are expected to behave, and deliberately uninformed about life-brainwashed into being an ornament, not a wife. How's he going to end up with a God fearing helpmate? You'll just have to read it and see. I laughed out loud all the way through Chapters 22 and 23 when she's having the baby.
4 Stars for Story Depth- I feel like I know all those characters as if they live nearby. The subplot of Belle and Anthony is full of conflict too.
3 Stars for Heat- This story didn't call for heat as much as tenderness, patience, and perserverance and Montana Rose is full of it all.
4 Stars for the God factor-I love how God is portrayed by Red all through this book and eventually Cassie sees God for who He is too.