Justin Boden, the middle sibling, is a tough and rugged man who "[wears] broadcloth, denim, and buckskin" (Connealy, 139) and has become the top rancher in the New Mexican territory. He's spent the majority of his adult life being a landowner alongside his father (patriarch Chance Boden) and given women very little thought....that is until Angelique "Angie" Dupree, the distracting woman assisting the doctor with Cole's recovery.
With Cole seemingly on the mend, the Boden clan is able to turn their focus towards the continued threats facing them and the Cimarron Ranch (CR). It's become increasingly clear that the threats against them are part of a decades old secret. Can the Boden's unravel the mystery before it's too late?
Angie Dupree, the niece of Sister Margaret, who runs the orphanage is healing from past wounds and hoping to make a fresh start in Skull Gulch. She is determined to "...learn to stand on [her] own...stop letting others rule [her] life...and try to become the woman He made [her] to be." (Connealy, 139). Handsome rancher, Justin Boden presents a problem because he could be just the man to deter her from her newfound resolve.
In Long Time Gone, Mary Connealy continues her engaging and adventurous, Wild West storytelling and gives the reader further insight into the Boden family. I liked the fact that the Boden parents, Chance and Veronica have more of a role in Long Time Gone and I also felt that Ms. Connealy did an excellent job of further developing her characters from her first novel (No Way Up) so that the reader has a clear view of who each person is.
Heroine Angie Dupree seemed to be a bit of a departure of the usual heroines readers have come to expect of Ms. Connealy. Nonetheless, I actually liked the character of Angie. She had a quiet strength about her that I admired.
Of course, what would a Mary Connealy Western be without romance? I truly loved Justin and Angie's story. One detail I observed was that Justin and Angie were always very aware of one another's presence, even if they were in a room full of people. Until they found each other, both of them (Justin and Angie) thought that love had passed them by. "My chance for love was also a long time gone, and now here you are, filling up my whole life with love." (Connealy, 299).
I thoroughly enjoyed re-visiting the CR in Long Time Gone and look forward to the final installation in the Cimarron Legacy (Too Far Down) set to be released this fall.
** Long Time Gone was provided to me by Bethany House in return for my honest opinion.