Welcome to the fifth month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focuses on the Wild West. The Wild West technically was a short period between the 1870s and 1890s. This is the time period in which we think of cowboys and outlaws. For the reading challenge, I’m opening it up to a broader time frame–as long as it fits with the Wild West. Didn’t get to read that book about the Gold Rush of 1849? Go ahead and read it. Want a praire story? Go for it! My suggestions below will mostly fit the cowboy feel, but feel free to grab whatever Wild West story grabs your attention.
Due to it being my anniversary weekend and needing to prepare to leave for our trip, these are not ALL the books of my collection, or even all I would recommend. I have quite the collection when it comes to this time period.
Add your suggestions in the comments, and/or tell me what you are reading. Have you read any of these below? Which one should I choose for this month? Let me know.
Also, if a title has (read and reviewed), clicking on that takes you to a review I’ve written on that book. Just in case you are interested in learning more.
*If you read a book for April, don’t forget to go to yesterday’s post (RCR: The Sentinels of Andersonville) to comment and get your name entered for your chance to win a print copy. (You’ll also earn your entry for the end of the year giveaway.)
(Honest confession: I love these posts because it almost feels like I’m browsing a book store with lots more CHR selections than brick and mortar stores and easier to find what I look than a general online store… and it makes me realize how many books I own that I still need to read.)
From My Shelf
The Christmas Husband by Lucette Nel (Read and Reviewed)
It was one little lie told only to protect impoverished Naomi Stuart and her daughter. But when Benedict Ramsay — a man she met fleetingly years before who should be in England — arrives in town, all she’d carefully constructed threatens to crumble.
Benedict arrives a stranger in Noelle, hoping to confront the father who’d abandoned him. What he did not expect was to discover he was a married man … to a woman he didn’t even remember meeting. And against his will, Benedict warms to the idea of a ready-made family.
Humorous Romance From a Bestselling Author
When Britisher Lady Sydney Hathwell’s father dies, the American who planned to wed her suddenly reneges. Stranded in America and penniless, Sydney contacts a relative in Texas who, mistaking her male-sounding name, invites his “nephew” to join him on his ranch.
“Big Tim” Creighton, however, is appalled when this mincing fop arrives at Forsaken. He determines he’ll turn Fancy Pants Hathwell into a man before the boss returns home. From the get-go, he has “the kid” mucking stalls, clearing and plowing a field, and assisting with a difficult calving. But when Sydney’s true identity is uncovered, Tim resents being deceived. Yet in time, he also finds that he doesn’t like all the attention Sydney garners now that she’s wearing pretty gowns…
Together Sydney and Tim will discover the importance of family and what it means to be a man–and a woman–of God.
The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham (Read and Reviewed)
Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won’t be able to do it alone.
For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He’s determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn’t expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.
Debut author Rachel Fordham invites historical romance readers to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where the people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.
When six-time mail-order bride Winifred Sattler is stranded in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, she’s grateful to find a temporary position at Mr. Ewan Burke’s business until she can return home. Ewan is handsome, but stuffy and serious—her complete opposite. Unlike her new anonymous correspondent, Mr. Businessman, who appreciates her bubbly optimism.
To keep his mining company afloat, Ewan can’t be distracted by Winifred’s vivacious beauty. He needs a no-nonsense wife. Someone like Miss Thoroughly Disgruntled, the only respondent to his recent ad with whom he truly connected. In person, Winifred and Ewan don’t get along, but in their letters they’re falling in love. Will they discover a perfect match in each other?
Seven brothers must marry within 1874 or lose their inheritance.
Meet the seven Hart brothers of the 7-Heart ranch in central Texas. Each man is content in his independent life, without the responsibilities of a wife and children—until their father decides 1874 will be the year his grown sons finally marry, or they will be cut from his will. How will each man who values his freedom respond to the ultimatum? Can love develop on a timeline, or will it be sacrificed for the sake of an inheritance?
First Comes Love by Gabrielle Meyer
As the youngest Hart, Hays has never been first at anything—so he’s determined to be the first to marry. He sets his sights on the new teacher, Miss Emma Longley, but he soon discovers Emma wants nothing to do with marriage, ranching, or Texas and plans to leave Hartville in two short months. Will Hays’ charm be enough to convince her to stay?
The Heart of Texas by Lorna Seilstad
With Texas awash in outlaws, Ranger Chisholm Hart takes his oath to protect the citizens and their property seriously. When he meets feisty, independent Caro Cardova who can face a band of vigilantes, ride as well as a man, and shoot from the hip, he must decide if he can make room in his heart for both the state he loves and the woman who’s stolen his heart.
The Truest Heart by Amanda Barratt
Despite his father’s edict, Travis Hart is determined never to marry. The one woman he cares for is a distant memory, and he won’t settle for a loveless union with anyone else. Yet when Annie Lawrence re-enters his life, the spark of romance he thought extinguished, bursts into flame anew. But guilt binds Annie to her past, and Travis fears that once again, he will have to watch the woman he loves walk out of his life—this time forever.
A Love Returned by Keli Gwyn
When Coralee Culpepper declined his proposal, Houston Hart left Texas for the gold fields of California. But when his father’s edict brings him home, will Coralee—the only woman to ever claim his heart—accept him for the man he is, or will she cling to the stubborn notion that she must marry a rancher in order to be happy?
For Love or Money by Susan Page Davis
Burned out of their house, Jane and her family move into a cave, where she discovers some hidden money. Crockett Hart comes to help them rebuild, and she asks for his help. When he learns where the money came from, he hopes it won’t keep their two families apart, because he’s falling for Jane.
Mail-Order Mayhem by Vickie McDonough
Austin’s best hope to marry quickly is a mail-order bride. But the bride who arrived seems more interested in one of the ranch hands. Her sister Rebekah, who is chaperoning, keeps apologizing. Austin is ready to send his bride packing. Could God have other ideas for a wife for him?
Love at Last by Erica Vetsch
When her former patient, Confederate officer Bowie Hart, shows up on her doorstep, Elise Rivers agrees to his marriage-of-convenience proposal. But as she gets to know her scarred and taciturn new husband, she realizes she has a chance to turn a marriage-of-convenience into the love of a lifetime, if only she can convince Bowie that he is worthy to be loved.
Seven Brides for Seven Texas Rangers by Erica Vetsch and others (Read and Reviewed)
No One Is Too Tough to be Loved
Join seven Texas Rangers on the hunt for a menacing gang, who run straight into romances with women who foil their plans for both the job and their futures.
The Ranger’s Reward by Gabrielle Meyer
Texas Ranger, Griffin Sommer stops to check on the young widow, Evelyn Prentis minutes before the Markham gang arrives at her farm needing a place to hide. Griff and Evelyn are forced to pretend they’re married to keep Griff’s identity a secret, but will Evelyn’s young son let the truth out before Griff can bring the gang to justice?
More Precious than Rubies by Lorna Seilstad
Fun-loving, charismatic Texas Ranger Whit Murray is restless for an adventure. When bandits attack the train he is on and steal jewels Violet Tatienne is transporting home to her father’s jewelry store, the two of them must work together to find the thieves. Will each one’s individual goals keep them from discovering the real treasure is in each other?
Jesse’s Sparrow by Amanda Barratt
Former soiled dove, Sara Byrne longs for escape. . .and rides straight into danger. Ranger Jesse Rawlings wants only to defend and protect. . .no love involved. But when Sara’s stagecoach is robbed and her possessions stolen, can she find the strength to aid a man she deems anything but trustworthy in bringing justice to the perpetrators?
The Countess and the Cowboy by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Ava Becker is furious that her brother sold her favorite stallion to the irritating Texas Ranger Ezra Creed. When the horse goes missing, Ezra blames Ava, who sets out to find the horse, landing in an outlaw’s camp instead. Can Ezra protect the persistent Ava without falling in love, or will love make for a dangerous chase?
Simple Interest by Susan Page Davis
While making his monthly deposit, Ranger O’Neal Brewster is forced to watch robbers escape with the prim and pretty bank teller as their hostage. Augusta Ferris quickly makes the outlaws regret kidnapping her, but she is determined to get back the bank’s money—whether the Ranger helps her or not.
Partners in Crime by Vickie McDonough
Micah McCullough, a Texas Ranger working undercover in the Markham gang, is tasked with guarding Laurel Underwood, a silversmith, who was kidnapped to create plates for printing counterfeit money. Laurel knows she doesn’t have the expertise. Her only option is to stall and seek escape. What will the outlaws do when they learn her secret?
Guard Your Heart by Erica Vetsch
When Constance Spanner witnesses a murder, Branch Kilborn is tasked with protecting her until she can testify against Cass Markham. This is the Ranger squad’s chance to abolish the Markham gang once and for all, but Branch soon finds that protecting Constance has become about more than just the job.
No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.
Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can’t bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.
Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?
Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!
Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister–and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It’s a risk–they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as “boys”–but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.
Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?
Other titles in the series: Now and Forever, Fire and Ice
The arrival of Michael Bowen’s bride, married sight unseen by proxy, sends the rancher reeling. With her trousers, cowboy hat and rifle, she looks like a female outlaw—not the genteel lady he corresponded with for months. He’s been hoodwinked into marriage with the wrong woman!
Selina Farleigh Bowen loved Michael’s letters, even if she couldn’t read them herself. A friend read them to her, and wrote her replies—but apparently that “friend” left things out, like Michael’s dream of a wife who was nothing like her. Selina won’t change who she is, not even for the man she loves. Yet time might show Michael the true value of his unlikely wife.
Books Recommended to Me:
Can two people set aside presumptions, prejudices, and pain to find love?
When her father dies after a lengthy illness, Madeline Winthrop is horrified to discover his will bequeaths their home to his business partner, a cruel and dishonest man, leaving her destitute. With no job or marriage prospects, she seeks help from her pastor who suggests she considers becoming a mail-order bride. There’s just one catch. She’s to marry the man by proxy before ever meeting him.
After three mail-order brides refuse to stay and marry Seamus Fitzpatrick because of his brother’s mental issues and two rambunctious children, Seamus decides a proxy marriage is the only way he’s going to secure a wife. When the Boston-bred socialite arrives with few practical skills, he wonders if he made the biggest mistake of his life.
This historic home holds the keys to their destiny . . .and their hearts
Abandoned at birth, her family roots a mystery, historical museum curator Sloane Kelley has dedicated her life to making sure others know theirs. When a donor drops off a dusty old satchel, she doesn’t expect much from the common artifact . . .until she finds real treasure inside: a nineteenth-century diary.Now she’s on the hunt to find out more.
Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother’s historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. With her advancing Alzheimer’s, he can’t afford to be sentimental about the family home. But his carefully ordered plan runs up against two formidable obstacles: Sloane, who’s fallen in love with both the diaries and the house, and his own heart, which is irresistibly drawn to Sloane.
A century and a half earlier, motherless Annabelle Collins embarks with her aunt and uncle on the adventure of a lifetime: settling the prairies of Sedgwick County, Kansas. The diaries she left behind paint a portrait of life, loss, and love–and a God who faithfully carries her through it all. Paging through the diaries together takes Sloane and Garrett on a journey they never could have planned, which will change them in ways they never imagined.
This warm, beautifully written split-time novel will resonate with readers looking for stories that reveal the beauty of God’s plan for our lives, and how our actions ripple for generations.
I got this amazing email with all these wonderful suggestions below:
- A Home for the Heart by Katherine St. Clair
- Tamera Alexander Rekindled, Revealed, Redeemed
- Aall of Rachel Fordham’s published books qualify:
- The Hope of Azure Springs
- Yours Truly Thomas
- A Life Once Dreamed (waiting to read when Rachel does a read-a-long)
- The Chisholm Trail Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo
- The Major’s Daughter by Regina Jennings
- A Glimmer of Hope by Julia Ridgmont
Other authors that have penned qualifying books:
- Linda Ford
- Regina Jennings
- Rachel Fordham
- Davalynn Spencer
- Melissa Jagears
- Mary Connealy
- Kim Vogel Sawyer
- Amanda Cabot
- Naomi Rawlings
- Julie Lessman
- Jane Kirkpatrick
- Erica Vetsch
- Sherri Shackleford
- Kerri Kirst
- Penny Richards
- Karen Witemeyer
- Kathleen Y’Barbo
- Lori Copeland
- Debra Ullrick
- Jody Hedlund
- Lena Nelson Dooley
- Robin Lee Hatcher
- Lori Wick
Leave Your Comments:
If you have a favorite book or author who writes in this time, put it in the comments so other readers can know who to go search out for options. Old or new, it doesn’t matter. 🙂