The Element of Love

Bethany House, Books Review, Christian Fiction, First Line Friday, Historical Fiction, Novels, Romance, Writing Spot

Welcome to First Line Friday!
Today I’m featuring

The Element of Love by Mary Connealy.

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 discover 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.

When Laura befriends a mission group heading to serve the poor in California during their escape, 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 local minister, 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.

From Goodreads

Author Information

Discover more information about Mary Connealy at: maryconnealy.com

First Line

[Graphic Text]: May 1872, Northern California ~ They were running away from the threat of misery, pain, and degradation.

My Review

The Element of Love by Mary Connealy is the first book in her new The Lumber Baron’s Daughters series.

This book captured me from the beginning. I loved the intelligence of the three sisters and the way their knowledge of the lumber industry helped their escape. I also loved how Caleb explored his new faith by being unafraid to ask tough questions. When ministry didn’t go the way he expected, he was willing to ask whether they were doing things the best way.

I’ll admit, I was nervous to read this book. I wanted to like it (I love lumber-themed stories), but other books I’ve read by this author seemed a bit over the top. This book had a different feel entirely. Perhaps it was the difficult topics that permeated the story (trigger warning for abuse, but handled well, I think). The characters had depth and questions and I liked it a lot.

The Element of Love is definitely the first book in a trilogy. If you prefer to read a connected series all at once, then I recommend waiting until the next two books have released. Without giving any spoilers … based on the way this one ended, the three books will definitely be better read all together. And I can’t wait for book two!


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines.

Retail Links

Amazon | BN.com | Indiebound
Goodreads | BookBub

Now it’s your turn.
Pull out the book beside you and leave a comment with the first line.

First Line Friday is hosted by Reading is my Super Power.


12 thoughts on “The Element of Love

  1. I tried her once and it was a rare DNF, so I have avoided this one because I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Have a good weekend.

  2. Element of Love was quite the exciting book!

    My first line is from Counterfeit Love by Crystal Caudill:
    December 31, 1883
    “I don’t understand why we can’t marry sooner. Cincinnati doesn’t require your grandfather’s consent.”

  3. Thank you Danielle, for your review. It would take me forever to read all the books you read. I just finished a book by a woman named Elizabeth Goudge: A City of Bells. “Jocelyn Irvin, sitting in a corner seat in a third-class railway-carriage and watching the green and gold (no Packer allusion!) of England in the spring slip past the windows, meditated gloomily upon Life with a capital L. A funny business, he came to the conclusion, consisting in climbing painfully to the tops of ladders and falling even more painfully to the bottom of them again.” Ain’t it the truth …sometimes! Love this lady’s stories. Blessings!

  4. Happy Friday!
    I’m just beginning A Proper Scandal by Esther Hatch.
    “I am to go by myself?” Grace dropped the rag she had been using to wash the parlor window.
    I hope you have a great weekend! 😀❤📚

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