The Husband Tree by Mary Connealy

by | Dec 20, 2009 | Pepper Basham | 9 comments

The perfect way to cause conflict:
A single man and woman from very different backgrounds
Who are attracted to each other
And don’t want to be…


Three independent daughters and an infant
A rugged wilderness
And an impossible task

Then you have Mary Connealy’s newest novel, The Husband Tree.

Belle Tanner’s never been good at picking husbands…and she’s had her fair share of opportunities. The only good thing they ever gave her was her four tough-as-nails daughters.

After she buries her third good-for-nothin’ husband, she promises her daughters that she’s finished with men. No more scoundrels in the Tanner house. Ever.
Unfortunately, as much as she hates to admit it, she still needs a few men to help her push her cattle across the rugged mountains of Montana before winter sets in. Actually, one man volunteers. Silas Harden, and despite her best attempts at dodging her attraction for him, she can’t seem to get the thought of kissing him out of her mind.

New in town, and running from a shotgun wedding, Silas needs the work that Belle Tanner provides – but he doesn’t need to babysit four girls and a sassy mom as they steer stubborn cattle across the Rockies. The last thing he’s looking for is the noose of a marriage.

Unfortunately, before he can run away, his heart is snagged by this unusual family and his protective instincts go into overtime. Truth be told, Silas and Belle just might kill each other if they can ever stop kissing long enough.

Can Belle learn to trust her heart with true love? Will Silas be willing to take a chance with his hard-nosed boss-lady and her suspicious daughters? Will they survive the hurts of the past and challenges of the present to make a future for themselves?

To find out – check out this book and learn more about Mary Connealy at:

Mary excels at male-female banter, adventure, romance, and especially humor. The Husband Tree is no exception. With two strong characters leading the way, and a herd of great supporting characters, you’ll get caught up in this story just to see if Belle and Silas will end up killing each other, or falling in love. 🙂

I appreciate how Mary takes this hard-shell of a woman, and moves the reader past Belle’s façade, to a wounded heart that is now as callous as her hands. Watching her grow, break, and trust herself again is a beautiful process. And even more beautiful is how surprised Belle is when she meets a good man – who truly wants to care for her.

It’s so similiar to the constant care God shows his children to woo them to him. His faithfulness weedling away at our defenses until we realize He IS as good as He says He is.

If there’s one thing Mary can write (of course she can write more than one thing) – it’s heroes. I’m always drawn to her heroes, even though I liked Belle too – I especially enjoyed reading about Silas. His struggles, his internal (and external) arguments, his desire to do the right thing, all make him such a believable and likable character. I rooted, laughed and hurt with him as I read. He’s one of those people you refer to as ‘a good soul’…and when he comes up with the ruse to pretend to be married to Belle (oops – gotta read to find out), it’s hilarious! Love it!

This book is about second-chances…or in Belle’s case a fourth chance 🙂 It’s also about trusting your heart. There’s something powerful about a wounded person making the choice to trust again, and both Belle and Silas must do that.

The Husband Tree is certainly a worthy addition to my shelf of Connealy classics and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the Montana Brides series – Wildflower Bride.


  1. David A. Bedford

    The ingredients to drive a story along are certainly there. I have a question though? How do we reconcile the time-honored concept of character growth through a story and the even more time-honored idea that character never changes and it is your destiny? Are there people capable of growing as adults and those who aren't?People who like The Husband Tree may like my new release, Angela 1: Starting Over, but the characters and plot are totally different. To learn more, just click on my name and follow the link to my website. I also invite you to read my blog at Thanks!

  2. Mary Connealy

    Hi, David. I have a firmly held belief that people really DON'T change who they are, at their most basic. You are born with a certain personality, certain talents and longings. A love of music, a spirit of humility, strong tendencies to be a leader.Yes these are all influenced by life, but the basic personality is something you're born with.BUT, every gift, every talent, can be used for good or evil. It can be developed or ignored. It can be warped if you go through enough hardship. But it never really changes.In my books, if a strong willed woman with natural leadership, take charge gifts is suddenly trying to be a submission wife, well, it's going to be a tough job for her. But that same strong woman can respect a man enough to let him lead, to obey him out of respect.Belle was just a driven woman and as the men in her life wilted under her take charge attitude, she more and more assumed a leadership role in the family. And she ends up marrying men she can push around…and then not respecting them.Along comes Silas. She pushes and he pushes back. He's NOT going to back down and let her be in charge. So the clash begins, but also the respect grows.Someone said, when they read Montana Rose, that they hoped I'd find a husband for Belle who would be kind and gentle with her. I said, "No way." I've got to give Belle a man so strong he can handle her, he won't be the husband she wants, he'll be the husband she needs. And in the end, she'll want him all the more because of it. But it won't be an easy row to hoe.

  3. sherrinda

    Ooooo, I cannot wait to get my hands on this one! Pepper, you write a beautiful review! And Mary, I absolutely love, love, love the fiesty women you write! You are definitely right that Belle needs a man to stand up and be a real man. 🙂 Hhhhmmmm, so there's a lot of kissing going on in this one, huh? You should sooo post one of Belle's kissing scenes as part of the Kissing Day Blogfest tomorrow (in honor of Mistletoe)! There are 31 people signed up so far to post their kissing scenes from thier WIPS! (Think "marketing opportunity"!!!!)lolol

  4. Michelle Gregory

    i've wanted to read this ever since i put down Montana Rose. i have to know how in the world Belle ends up getting married when she's sworn off men. i'm also hoping there's a little bit about Red and Cassie in here, too, but if not, i'll still be happy because the book has Mary's name on the cover. along with Debbie Macomber and Siri Mitchell, Mary's books are the some that i read over and over.

  5. Mary Connealy

    Cassie and Red have cameo appearances in The Husband Tree, Wade Sawyer is much bigger, then in book three, Wildflower Bride, Wade finally gets his happy ending….after a long struggle and Cassie and Red and Belle and Silas have a bigger role, along with Tom Linscott, then guy who had a fist fight with Wade in Montana Rose.Here's a question…Pepper…did you like Wade? He was the biggest challenge I think I've ever taken on because he was so slimy in Montana Rose. The Redemption of Wade Sawyer (which should have been the title of the series maybe?) is something I wanted to do badly. I hope I accomplished it. I know I ended up loving Wade Sawyer. He touched my heart in a way few characters have. I just want to do him justice.

  6. Mary Connealy

    Sherrinda…what kissing blog?

  7. Mary Connealy

    Actually Belle and Silas are powerfully drawn to each other. Passion between them is fiery from the first. I felt like, they were so opposed to a marriage that they HAD to have this magnetic attraction to get them to even consider …. as Silas puts it …. the NOOSE of matrimony.

  8. sherrinda

    Mary, I hosted a Kissing Day Blogfest Monday on my blog. There's a Mr. Linky where people signed up to post a kissing scene excerpt from their WIPs. There were 91 bloggers that signed up to post! Amazing!!! It took me 2 days to read them all! Pepper even posted something….and she rocked it! 🙂

  9. Pepper Basham

    Sherrinda,You are way too kind. Thanks for your sweet words!!Mary – I'm posting my review on ACFW. I love to spread the word!!


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