Thursday, August 18, 2016

Review: The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Loyal Heart (Zondervan, July 2016)

Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn't expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places.

Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.

After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda's home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip's name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.

Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He's mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can.

He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn't prove to be an easy task---Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.

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I really enjoyed this book by Shelley Shepard Gray.   Not only is it a well done historical romance but it also has just enough suspense to keep you wondering whodunit.

Poor Miranda!  Not only is she a struggling war widow, but someone is spreading rumors about Phillip, her dead husband, and threatening her through frequent letters.   At one point, she finds herself so low that she wonders if she should keep living.  In comes the hero!  Robert is an awesome hero.  He comes in and immediately starts saving the day - he's fiercely protective, he stands up to her hecklers, and he brings life and hope back to Miranda's life.   And he's determined to solve the mystery of who is threatening her and why.

I enjoyed the secondary characters as well, especially the group of Phillip's soldier friends who have made a pact to look out for each other after the war.  The introduction of the Captain and the Major was a good addition and I hope the following books continue their stories.  :)  The loyalty of her servants was great especially considering the town was treating her like an outcast.   I was not, however, enamored of the sheriff.  I couldn't make up my mind if he was a good guy or not and it seems like he did too little too late.   And the revelation of the villain and what he does in the end was, in my opinion, a little anti-climatic.

This is a gentle romance with a steady pace and a thread of suspense.  You'll enjoy this post Civil War historical romance that addresses the prejudices and depression many struggled with after the war.

*Thanks to Litfuse for a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to post a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

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Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

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