Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Shoot at the Sunset by Kathleen Denly

Posted April 16, 2024 by meezcarrie in Book Review, Christian, giveaway, historical, Kathleen Denly, romance / 9 Comments

Shoot at the Sunset book review

Shoot at the Sunset by Kathleen DenlySHOOT AT THE SUNSET by Kathleen Denly
Chaparral Hearts #5

GENRE: Historical Western Romance (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Wild Heart Books
RELEASE DATE: April 9, 2024
PAGES: 377

Will love survive when truth takes aim at their secrets?

Sharpshooter Preston Baker has spent a lifetime confronting danger head-on. So when a heartfelt letter arrives from his big sister asking for help, he doesn’t hesitate to put his traveling show career on hold and journey to her remote desert ranch, determined to make amends for past failures. What he doesn’t expect is to discover his long-lost little sister and her best friend, Lucy, are both hard at work on the ranch.

Unbeknownst to anyone, Lucy Arlidge’s decision to travel to a remote desert ranch was born as much from desperation as friendship. Fleeing San Francisco may have saved Lucy’s life, but the decision left others in danger. To thwart the evil plans of those who pursue her and her family, Lucy must keep her new gem-mining operation concealed and her secrets safe.

Preston is drawn to the mysterious woman, despite her plans to marry the neighboring rancher. Lucy’s quiet strength and undeniable beauty beckon him like a campfire in the wilderness, offering light amidst the dark memories and deepest fears resurrected by the presence of his sisters. But as danger closes in, Preston and Lucy must confront their pasts to save not only their own futures, but the lives of everyone they love.


Other Books In This Series


If you enjoy reading books set on a wild west ranch (complete with a gunslinger!) that feature sweet romance and compelling faith themes along with the dangers of the frontier, then you’ll definitely want to pick up Shoot at the Sunset by Kathleen Denly!

Denly gives us a strong heroine in Lucy Arlidge, though her backstory is layered with much heartache. A big part of those complex layers is her mother who is enslaved by addiction, the depravity of which Denly writes honestly but with heaps of compassion and grace. When Lucy’s life and her mother’s are suddenly caught in the crosshairs of corrupt men who put a bounty on their heads, Lucy flees with her best friend to a remote ranch in the heart of the California desert. (The story of why they are going to that particular ranch is covered in the previous book; see more on that below.) The narrative switches between Lucy’s new life on the ranch, her mother’s life back in San Francisco, and sharpshooter Preston Baker’s story, and I was completely invested in all three of these characters and their journey to restoration and/or redemption. The chemistry between Preston and Lucy is immediately evident, though there are of course some complications that thwart a smooth path to happily-ever-after, and the elements of danger from more than one source ramp up tension of a different kind. All of this blends together into a charming story that balances deep issues and suspense with the gentle romance and character development.

While this technically can be read as a stand alone, I would highly recommend at least reading Murmur in the Mudcaves before you start Sunset. I have not yet read that one yet and felt somewhat discombobulated for about a quarter of this novel as it overlaps with events from the previous one. So, there were several times when I thought, “Wait. Why did we just skip over that whole thing and jump ahead so far in time?” Well, that’s because it was already covered in book four lol, which means I really want to go back and read it as soon as I have a chance to do so – to get those details I was craving. I survived without having read it yet, though, and you will too. Just be prepared to feel a bit disoriented until a few chapters in, when we start to focus on this new story in earnest.

Bottom Line: Shoot at the Sunset by Kathleen Denly combines romance, mystery, faith, and danger with the wildness of the California desert frontier to deliver an entertaining story that will keep you turning the pages! The slow-burn romance between Lucy and Preston simmers sweetly with attraction and friendship until at last the sparks are free to ignite into a steady flame, and I enjoyed getting to know them both. Denly doesn’t shy away from tackling issues like addiction and abuse, but she frames all of it within the goodness of God and His faithfulness. While there were a few issues at first as I tried to orient myself to parts of the story that were detailed in a previous book, overall this was an engaging read that is perfect for fans of Mary Connealy, Kimberley Woodhouse, and Tracie Peterson!

(I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book which I read via Kindle Unlimited. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / enjoyed it!

KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion

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Kathleen Denly

Kathleen Denly lives in sunny California with her loving husband, four children, two dogs and ten cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn’t writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting.

Kathleen would love it if you visited her website at

Waltz in the Wilderness giveaway

Kathleen Denly is offering an ebook copy of Waltz in the Wilderness (book one) and a bookmark to one of my readers! (US only for the bookmark. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What makes you want to read Shoot at the Sunset by Kathleen Denly?

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