The Loyal Heart   -     By: Shelley Shepard Gray
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The Loyal Heart

Zondervan / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

The Loyal Heart #1, A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story series by Shelley Shepard Gray

It was a favor Robert Truax owed his friend – to care for the widow Phillip Markham had left behind when the war claimed his life.  Now Robert is determined to fulfill his promise and then put his own life back together.  But things quickly become complicated when he meets Miranda.  Shunned by her neighbors because of rumors about Phillip, Miranda seems to be only a shadow. Robert is determined to help her live again, despite the secret he knows about Phillip.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 7.17 X 4.71 X 1.04 (inches)
ISBN: 0310345391
ISBN-13: 9780310345398
Series: Lone Star Hero's Love Story

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Publisher's Description

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.

Author Bio

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.  Find Shelley on her website, www.shelleyshepardgray.com, on Facebook: ShelleyShepardGray, and on Twitter @ShelleySGray.

Product Reviews

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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Speechless. Utterly Speechless.
    December 6, 2016
    Susan Barrett
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray is the first novel in the Love Star Heros Love Story series, and it works beautifully as a stand alone, tying up all the loose ends. In fact, everything about this novel works beautifully.

    Set just after the end of the Civil War, The Loyal Heart follows the story of Philip Markhams widow. Philip was imprisoned at a camp in the middle of the Great Lakes, along with a handful of other men with whom he made a pact to protect each other after the war ended. Unfortunately, Philip did not make it through the war, and the wife he had so highly praised to his fellow soldiers had now turned her home into a boarding house to keep herself busy and employed. When we meet Miranda Markham at the beginning of the story, she has no current boarders, her reputation is in shreds, her husbands name is held in contempt, and she has been contemplating suicide for a long time, getting closer and closer to losing her grip on life each day.

    Robert Truax was one of the men who made a promise to look after Philips wife if anything should happen to him, and upon request from his captain, Robert goes to check up on Miranda. When he learns of the way her husbands name had been dragged through the mud in their town, how disrespectfully Miranda is treated, and how her friends had betrayed her, Robert makes it his personal mission to make sure everything is how it should be.

    This is my favorite book of 2016 thus far. Period. And Ive read about 95 books so far this year. The emotions in this storythe depression, the suicidal thoughts, the hopelessnessis all so raw and real; it brought back memories of times in my own life when Id felt the same. Mirandas character was so relatable to me because of this; I immediately connected with her and was crying within the first chapter. I hurt for her, and I healed with her. Never have I read a Civil War novel that so completely enthralled me and connected me to the characters and their stories. This story is ten out of five stars. This story is one that I will loan out to many of my friends. This story is one that I will never forget, and will likely read again. (This story is one that I would also only recommend to older teens and above due to the intense themes and emotions running through it.)

    This story is one of mystery, romance, heroism, hurts, and healing. Stories just dont get better than this.

    Thank you so much to the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

    *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion which Ive done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
  2. Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Shows the great loyalty of fellow soldiers after the war!
    November 29, 2016
    Lights in a Dark World
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    After making a promise to his fellow comrade during the war, Robert Truax is sent on a mission to check on Phillip Markhams widow, Miranda. He didnt expect to find her in the state shes in with her husbands name being dragged through the mud. He quickly decides he is going to fix Mirandas troubles and get to the bottom of who started thpse nasty rumors as well as who is sending her threatening letters. Will he let his heart get the best of him? Will he be able to get to the bottom of this before she loses everything?

    Such a great story! It shows the loyalty of Civil War soldiers who made a promise to look after each other and their fallen comrades wife after the war. These men took their promised seriously which meant the world to Miranda Markham. The characters were well developed and they had their own flaws. It kept me guessing the whole way through as to who was behind it all. There were a few curves thrown in as well. I highly recommend this book!

    **I received is book free from the publisher through the Fiction Guild program. I was not required to write a positive review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Shelley Shepard Gray is becoming one of my favorite authors!
    November 14, 2016
    Claudia
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Shelley Shepard Gray is becoming one of my favorite authors. Her Chicago Worlds Fair Mysteries are wonderful. Her A Lone Star Heros Love Story series promises to be enjoyable reading as well, based on the first in the series, The Loyal Heart.

    This series is set in Texas at the end of the Civil War. A group of Confederate soldiers made a pact with each other while they were still in POW camp. They promised to watch out for each other and their families even after the war.

    This promise leads Robert Truax to Galveston, Texas to help Miranda Markham. Mirandas husband Phillip was one of the men Robert served with and promised specifically to watch out for his wife if he did not make it. Miranda is left with a house, expenses and not much income after the war is over and Phillip is gone. She decides to turn her home into a boarding house to help her keep her home running, but she is finding life very difficult. Phillips family resents her and the townspeople have turned their backs on her as rumors of Phillips betrayal to the Confederacy spread. When she is at her lowest, Robert shows up on her doorstep wanting to rent a room.

    Gray creates realistic characters that I find myself wanting to get to know better. I enjoyed reading The Loyal Heart. Gray is also adept at creating intriguing stories. Her stories bring readers in to her created world, luring us through each chapter, enticing us to read just one more chapter until there are no more.

    The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray is well worth the read.

    I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that I received from The Fiction Guild.
  4. 3 Stars Out Of 5
    It was okay, enjoyed the Hero's history
    October 28, 2016
    Michelle K
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 0
    I've read a few books from this author that I really enjoyed, but for some reason, I didn't love this book as much as I thought I would. This story had great potential, but I found it difficult to connect with Miranda. At the beginning of the story, she's nearly suicidal and just came across as a weak character, so it took me a while to get into her part of the story. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the parts with the men from the war's prison camp. That really redeemed this story for me. The bonds that grew between them as they struggled to stay alive made me want to learn more of their stories.

    Plot: Set in Texas during the reconstruction period after the Civil War, this story shows the struggles widow Miranda Markham faces in trying to re-build her life. She's opened her home as a boarding house, but due to rumors around town that her husband sold out to the northern states as a spy, business is poor and the way she's treated by the neighbors is even worse. Robert Truax, who was imprisoned along with Philip Markham and Captain Devin Monroe, knows what really happened in the prison camp. Before he died, the men all made a pact to take care of each other and their families, in case the worst should happen. Upon Captain Monroe's request, Robert heads to Texas and boards at Miranda's house in order to help her out without her knowledge of his past connection with her husband. Robert never intended to let the widow get under his skin and make him want to stay.

    Characters: Miranda had to grow on me a bit in this story. She starts off rather hopeless, but Miranda became a stronger character throughout the book. Robert was the honorable gentleman sort of hero, and I adored him, but I still felt like Captain Devin Monroe tended to steal every scene he was in. I can't wait to see more of his story. I really enjoyed having the multiple points of view in the story and the flashbacks to when the men were all in the prison camp together. I liked that the story was almost as much about the bonds between the soldiers as it was a romance between Miranda and Robert.

    Recommendation: I'd recommend this book to those who enjoy clean, historical romance. While I found the story to be a little slow moving at times, I really enjoyed the characters and look forward to seeing their stories in the following books.

    Rating: 3/5 stars

    I received a copy of this book from the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild. This review is my honest opinion.

  5. Bangor, ME
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Civil War Historical
    October 23, 2016
    Rachs Ramblings
    Bangor, ME
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is only my second book by this author, and I loved this read! I fell in love with Robert Truax and his band of friends who try to make good on a promise. Miranda was a well written character that the reader cheers for throughout the book. Reads set during the Civil War are ones I love...this one was set at the end of the war and after it's over. The South is still trying to recover. I loved the history, story line and plot. Though it was predictable, the journey getting there was very enjoyable to read. Some heavy sad scenes, lightened with wit and humor; I recommend this read to historical fiction fans!

    I received this book from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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