• The Element of Love

  • Lumber Baron's Daughters, Book 1
  • By: Mary Connealy
  • Narrated by: Libby McKnight
  • Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

She mixed danger, desperation, and deception together. Love was not the expected outcome.  

With their sharp engineering minds, Laura Stiles and her two sisters have been able to deal with their mother’s unfortunate choice in husband until they discovered his plans to marry each of them off to his lecherous friends. Now they must run away - far and fast - to find better matches to legally claim their portion of their father's lumber dynasty and seize control from their stepfather.   

During their escape, Laura befriends a mission group heading to serve the poor in California. She quickly volunteers herself and her sisters to join their efforts.   

Despite the settlement being in miserable condition, the sisters are excited by the opportunity to put their skills to good use. Laura also sees potential in Caleb, the mission’s parson, to help with gaining her inheritance. But when secrets buried in Caleb’s past and in the land around them come to light, it’ll take all the smarts the sisters have to keep trouble at bay.

©2022 Mary Connealy (P)2022 Recorded Books

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Sweet Historical Romance

*Trigger Warning*

Descriptions of physical abuse and thoughts of retribution may trigger women with abusive pasts and empathetic readers/listeners.

This was an emotional roller coaster of a story! I loved so much of this book, but I did have issues with some of the detailed and descriptive scenes. Not so much because they were graphic, but because they were enough to imagine being in that situation, and I was concerned I might have nightmares. I didn't.

The forgiveness and missionary aspects lend to a Christian feel without being preachy. We hear of the Parson's conversion, but I would have enjoyed someone else come to faith, too! The love story was building but with the exuberance of youth and the regret that comes with maturity.
A bit of a cliff hanger!

Excellent narration, but a few of the women had more masculine voices than the men.
I wish the rest of the series was already available! I would prefer to listen to them back to back!

Sorry, if this review sounds more negative than positive. I truly loved the book and the narration. I was up till 6:00 am listening to this, but still had to wait to listen to the last 2 hours till the next evening!