The Element of Love is the first novel in Mary Connealy’s latest series, The Lumber Baron’s Daughters. The series features three sisters who have left their home at their mother’s urging to find husbands in order to protect their late father’s estate from a cruel and greedy stepfather.

The story begins with an action-filled, unique escape that is both exhilarating and humorous. No one but the imaginative Connealy would conceive such a plan. From there the sisters move on with their plan and end up traveling with a band of missionaries. Despite their obviously advanced skills in certain areas, the sisters are woefully inexperienced with the basic homemaking abilities usually common in women which of course leads to a few chuckles.

I always enjoy books by this author and The Element of Love was no exception. It was a fun story yet had more than enough danger and tense moments to keep in interesting. Although Laura was the featured sister, her two siblings played a major role also. Her relationship with pastor Caleb was tangled as each held their own secrets close.

Each character was well developed and I enjoyed watching their interactions. I loved how their dependence on the Lord influenced their actions and consequently influenced others around them. It was fun trying to guess which of the men the sisters encountered might be the love interests of the other two sisters.

As always I recommend The Element of Love as well as all other books by Mary Connealy. If you haven’t read any of her books, try this one and get in at the beginning of a series. I guarantee you won’t be sorry.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author and Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.


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.

Read an excerpt HERE.


Mary Connealy ( writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has sold more than half a million books. She is the author of the popular series Brothers in Arms, Brides of Hope Mountain, High Sierra Sweethearts, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.