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Reviewed by Amy Raines for Readers' Favorite
Ain’t Always Been a Preacher by Casey McDonald is a short but lively story of a man who tries desperately to keep his past from reclaiming his life since he has chosen to lead a now reformed existence as the preacher in a small town. After being asked to assist his brother-in-law, Reverend Harris leads the way for three small orphaned children to find a peaceful and happy home which is nowhere near as peaceful as his brother-in-law claimed it to be. The Reverend is unsure how to fulfil the task he has accepted without reverting to his former, unholy ways. He is caught up in wrestling with his past and shielding these frightened children when he decides he will protect them, one way or the other.
Wow! Casey McDonald really knows how to tell a story that makes the reader beg for more of the good Reverend's attempt to right past wrongs through preaching rather than drinking and killing for sordid reasons. I enjoyed every single page of Ain’t Always Been a Preacher. I hope that this is not the last I get to read about Reverend Harris’ vengeance against the baddies he is forced to kill in the name of redemption, as he battles with his past and treks into his unknown future. The plot is a very strong indication of how ‘the old west’ could be so very rough and tough, where seemingly decent men hid horrible secrets that they were willing to defend with bullets, taking aim at anyone who stood in their way.
Casey McDonald spares no details about the violent and brazen behavior of the characters in Ain’t Always Been a Preacher, making the story riveting and heroic as Reverend Harris defends the would-be enslaved and the helpless children against their would-be captors. I have always been a huge fan of gun-slinging, trigger-happy westerns by authors writing in the historical genre. Ain’t Always Been a Preacher just soared to the top of my personal list as a brand new favorite! Casey McDonald grips the reader’s attention and imagination. A must-read for fans of historical action/adventure novels and western tales.