Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Review: The Loyal Heart (A Lone Star Hero's Love Story) by Shelley Shepard Gray

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10


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.

This is an excellent Historical 
Christian Fiction read;
I loved it!
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.

Acclaim For Shelley Shepard Gray

"Gray is a master at integrating rich details and historical accuracies to create an engaging tale that will take the reader back in time. Strong secondary characters are well integrated. It is a shame to see this series end."
                              -ROMANTIC TIMES 4-Star review of Whispers In the Reading Room

"Full of vivid descriptions and beautiful prose, Gray has a way of making readers feel like they are actually in Chicago during the World's Fair...the mystery surround the 'Slasher' keeps the reader engaged throughout."
                              -RT BOOK REVIEWS, 4-Star review of Deception On Sable Hill

My Personal Review

I loved this Historical Christian Fiction book surrounding the Civil War era. It is a believable story filled with interesting and extremely well developed characters. 

The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray is the first book in a 2 volume series of the Lone Star Hero's Love Story. (The second book: An Uncommon Protector will be released 2/07/17.) The story begins with the conversation of some Confederate prisoners of war making a pact to always look out for one another. They are being held captive on Johnson's Island in Ohio, surrounded by Lake Erie and little availability to escape. The author does a fantastic job of describing their dismal outlook and the hopelessness that most surely would have been a part of their lives on a daily basis. Immediately, the reader is struck with a connection and desire to know what happens in the lives of these men.

The drama that unfolds upon the release of the soldiers is created quickly within the first few chapters and spins a web of talented writing filled with suspense, mystery, devotion and a bit of romance along the way. It is such a cliche...but in all sincerity...this one was hard to put down! The main character, Miranda Markham pulls at your heart strings as she navigates the waters of grief. The loyalty to his comrade Phillip, makes Robert Truax's character shine as well. The development of the house staff was so good, I could almost audibly hear their voices and see the expressions on their faces.

This book caused me to do some research of the Confederate States of America Officers' POW Camp located on Johnson's Island, Ohio. Additionally, I did a little digging into Galveston, Texas, both during and after the Civil War. When the storyline is so interesting that you want to do more study of the time period that is being dramatized, I think you can safely label it as a "good Historical Fiction" book. I also found myself learning a lot of new vocabulary words within this read. Gray does not sell her readers short and assume that the average adjectives will do, rather she ceases every opportunity to tap into the English language with a plethora of variety. I love that!

This is the first book written by Shelley Shepard Gray that I have had the privilege to read, but I will definitely be reading the next book in this series! I can't wait to see where she takes us! 

Thank you to Zondervan for this review copy of The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray through the BookLookBlogger program. I was not required to write a favorable review, but simply to read the work in it's entirety and give my honest opinion.