Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray

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.

Available on Amazon

Meet the Author:
Shelley Shepard Gray lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. A busy wife and mother of two, she spends her days writing and keeping track of her two teenagers. Her two dogs keep her company when she writes in her basement.

Shelley enjoys writing about the Amish and visits Amish communities in Adams and Holmes counties several times a year. When not spending time with her family or writing, she serves on several committees in her church.

She also bakes a lot, loves coconut cream pie, and will hardly ever pull weeds, mow the yard, or drive in the snow.

Shelley also spends a lot of time on line! 

Please visit her website, www.shelleyshepardgray.com to find out her latest news...or become her friend on FaceBook.

My Take:

I mostly enjoyed this post Civil War Era story. This is the first book in the series and the only one I have read so far. It begins with several Confederate soldiers in a prison camp, making a pact as they bury one of their own. They will stick together til the war is over, and they will be there for each other even after the war has ended. One of them, Philip, has a wife, whom he is madly in love with and she seems to be up on a pedestal. All the men admire her and may even be a bit jealous that he has something so lovely and gentle to go home to. 

Sadly, Philip doesn't make it, and Miranda his wife is left alone to pick up the pieces of their lives and do her best to make ends meet. Philips memory is tarnished by some rumors that have sprung up, and Miranda is suffering in the aftermath. True to their pact, the Captain and Robert decide to find out for themselves what is going on and discretely attempt to help Miranda without giving away the truth about their identities, and their relationship to her former husband, or what they know about his role in the war.

There were some things I liked and some I didn't quite as much about the book. To a certain extent it seemed to drone on a bit too long, and there were a few things that just didn't add up. Some parts of the story were a bit vague and I had a hard time connecting a few of the characters. Robert Truax often put himself down mentally, as a man who didn't deserve to be happy, so to speak. Miranda's maid seems very forward with people and divulging facts about her employer's personal life.  However the plot was good, and kept me interested. Shelley addresses some tough issues such as PTSD and depression, as well as a few references to suicide related to the previous conditions. Miranda struggles to get past her husbands death, and the town's peoples talk, and becomes a bit of a recluse. Oppression from her mother and sister in law doesn't help matters much.

I would certainly try this author again. Shelley peaked my curiosity in relation to other characters introduced in the book, such as the captain and others who were in the prison camp with Philip. I would like to see how their stories play out.

I was provided with a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and Fiction Guild to read. I was not asked to review it positively and all opinions are my own. 

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