Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mary Connealy's "Stuck Together" - a fun western

Stuck TogetherWith a scene fit to rival Support Your Local Sheriff, Mary Connealy opens the final novel of her Trouble in Texas series with a good old fashioned free-for-all, and the story keeps on swinging from there.  Vince Yates, lawyer and sheriff, prefers to deal with the usual sorts of trouble - keeping Lana the crazy woman penned up in jail so folks will be safe, sorting out the occasional brawl, and getting his friend's pretty sister Tina out of trouble from her saloon picketing.  However, family trouble lands at his doorstep, and suddenly he's stuck with a sister he never knew about and his dementia-suffering mother.  His plate is overflowing with a potential Indian war on his hands, an escaped prisoner, and his mother who keeps wandering off.  Tina proves quite a help, which is a good thing since she and Vince are constantly ending up stuck together while trying to solve the world's problems. 

Connealy's characteristic humor and turn of phrase again makes for a fun western.  Her narration is what really makes the novels, turning what should be just a boring phrase into a punchline that drips with humor.  I am always entertained, and Stuck Together is no exception.  I liked Vince and Tina's interactions in Fired Up, so I was glad to finally read their story!  Sparks flying all over, tender moments, and a good dose of danger to spice things up - makes for a worthwhile, lighthearted read. 

Vince has trouble trusting God with his future; he is sure he will either turn into his father - a violent jerk - or his mother - a crazy person, losing her memory long before her time.  So used to being "the invincible" Vince, he fears anything that could take away that strength.  Vince's friend Luke hits the nail on the head: "You can't worry about what may happen when you're fifty, Vince.  That makes now a nightmare for you.  It makes every day of your life something to dread, and that's a terrible way to live.  You have to trust God to take care of you.  And for a man who's the master at taking care of himself and everyone else, that might be the hardest thing you've ever done." (265)  It's hard enough to admit we have problems, let alone give them up to God for Him to handle, but think how much more freely we can live without those burdens!

The author finishes up the series with a bang.  I am glad that Jonas, Tina's brother, is not neglected.  When I found out there were only to be three books about a group of four men, I feared something terrible might happen to eliminate Jonas, but it was an irrational fear, thank goodness.  He might not get his own book, but his tale is still communicated!  A great conclusion to the series!

Thank you Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free e-copy for an honest review; I was not required to make it positive, and all opinions are my own. 

Trouble in Texas
Prequel: "Closer than Brothers: Surviving Andersonville" (novella)
1. Swept Away
2. Fired Up
3. Stuck Together

"Runaway Bride" (follows Trouble in Texas and Kincaid Brides series; from the novella collection With This Ring?)

"The Tangled Ties that Bind" (mentions Troubled in Texas characters, follows the Kincaid Brides series; from the novella collection Hearts Entwined)

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