Sunday, February 25, 2024

Sophia Rose Reviews- Chasing the Horizon by Mary Connealy an AustenProse blog tour

For AustenProse PR

Today Sophia Rose returns with her review of Chasing the Horizon, by Mary Connealy as part of an AustenProse blog tour. Read on to see what she thought.

Chasing the Horizon by Mary Connealy

#1 Western Light

Inspirational Historical Romance

Publisher:  Bethany House

Published:  2.13.24

Pages:  304

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Format: eARC

Source:  NetGalley

Sellers:  Amazon

ADD TO: GoodReads

GoodReads Synopsis:

Upon uncovering her tyrannical father's plot to commit her to an asylum, Beth Rutledge fabricates a plan of her own--she will rescue her mother, who had already been sent to the asylum by her father, and escape together on a wagon train heading west. Posing as sisters, Beth and her mother join forces with other travelers and hope they can make it to Idaho before the others start asking too many questions.

Wagon train scout Jake Holt senses that the mysterious women in his caravan are running from something. When rumors begin to spread of Pinkerton agents searching relentlessly for wanted criminals who match the description of those on his wagon train, including Beth, she begins to open up to him and he learns something much more sinister is at hand. Can they risk trusting each other with their lives--and their hearts--with danger threatening their every step?

From bestselling author Mary Connealy comes a gripping and adventurous historical novel of survival, sacrifice, and romance on the Oregon Trail.


Sophia Rose's Review:

A daring rescue from an insane asylum and that is just the beginning of an epic adventure on the Oregon Trail with evil men dogging their path.  Mary Connealy’s Inspirational Western Romances have long been on my radar to try, but the new Western Lights series opener, Chasing the Horizon, was my first opportunity.  Imagine my chagrin when I started reading and didn’t want to stop.  Oh yes, dear friends, I’d waited too long to discover a gem of a writer.


Chasing the Horizon is told mostly from Beth Rutledge’s point of view as this intrepid young woman schemes for three years to rescue her hapless mother from the insane asylum where her evil, ruthless father placed his wife when she wouldn’t knuckle under and meekly hand over the inheritance meant for their daughter.  With the help of dear friends, Beth and Ginny- along with a couple of extra surprises- join a wagon train headed west.


Beth shares the narration with tough and capable wagon train scout, Jake Holt.  Jake is on his last wagon train.  The era of the wagon trains over the trail is over now that the transcontinental railroad has gone through and he’s ready to finally settle.  He is attracted to the beautiful, intriguing Beth who has a secret mysterious past and a willing spirit to take up western pioneer life and ranching. 


And, the third narrator is Beth’s villain of a father who is determined to punish both the women for escaping him and once for all get his filthy hands on their inheritance.  His wife’s family might have been fooled when he turned on the charm to win a wealthy wife of good family to give him a leg up, but they saw through him in time to tie up the family money so he couldn’t touch it- unless he forces the women to give it up voluntarily.


The chilling insane asylum situation of Ginny and the even more secretive Kat who came with her, the hard journey along the trail, and the fear of what was coming behind them made this a riveting read.  The author displayed her work in researching the historical elements involved and showed a gift for writing it all organically into the story. 


The characters were well crafted, particularly Ginny who was working through her nightmares and learning to be a useful woman on the trail.  Beth was so capable and, because of growing up the way she did, learned to be strong and independent quite young even if she came from wealth.  The mother-daughter dynamics were different for this pair.  I appreciated the ‘found family’ camaraderie they formed with the Collins brothers and the O’Toole family on the trail.  The bad guys were not even shades of gray and truly vile, but I appreciated that their characters and motives were colored in so that their threat to Beth and Ginny felt even more real.


Beth and Jake’s romance grew along the way and felt like one element of several rather than the main event.  I enjoyed seeing their respect and work together on the trail lead to the trust and love that became a solid, foundation right when it needed to.


This is an inspirational fiction and prayers, trust in God, and the assumption that several are Christians is part of the story, but, like the romance, its molded into the fabric with the rest.


Chasing the Horizon is a series opener and carries the story so far with a couple dangling threads and the hint that others in the group will have their story take the forefront next.  I loved this beginning and will wait for the next book with great anticipation.  Those who love sweet romance set against a historical western backdrop should pencil this one onto the wish list.


More books by Mary Connealy


Author Bio:

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys always with a strong suspense thread. She is a two time Carol Award winner, and a Rita, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist.
She is the bestselling author of 65 books and novellas.
Her most recent three book series are: Braced for Love, A Man with a Past and Love on the Range for Bethany House Publishing. She’s also written four other series for Barbour Publishing and many novellas and several stand-alone books for multiple publishers.
Mary will be a published author for ten years in 2017 with nearly a million books in print. She has a degree in broadcast communications with an emphasis in journalism and has worked at her local newspaper.

Sophia’s Bio:

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, piano-playing, and gardening. Road trips and campouts, museums and monuments, restaurants and theaters are her jam. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

As a lifelong reader, it was inevitable that Sophia would discover book blogs and the joy of blog reviewing. Sophia is a prolific reader and audiobook listener which allows her to experience so many wonderful books, authors, and narrators. Few genres are outside her reading tastes, but her true love is fiction particularly history, mystery, sci-fi, and romance. Though, sorry, no horror or she will run like Shaggy and Scooby.






  1. I enjoyed the "found friends" aspect as well. I agree, the romance wasn't the main focus, just one of the elements that made up this wonderful story! I hated the father. I hope that's the last we see of him. Wonderful review, Sophia!

    1. Yes, this was good stuff on so many levels. Can't wait for more. :)

    2. Yay, so glad you could stop by, Mary! Can't wait for Cat's story.

  2. Insane asylums in this era are downright scary.

  3. It's a strange little corner of history that was fascinating to research, Kimberly

  4. As soon as I saw what this was about I thought of you. I should have known you wrote the review right away. lol